Every city has it’s own vibe, and man does Venice Beach have a unique one. Venice Beach, CA is the type of place where you’ll see artists and business people alike ride bikes along the boardwalk (a gorgeous curving sidewalk along the beach). It is one of the best places in LA to people watch, surf, shop and eat some incredible food. The activities here are endless if you love a good laid back beach.
Of course there are several fun typical things to do in Venice. You know, activities like surfing, biking and maybe going to the aquarium. If you want to get a real feel for Venice Beach as if you were an LA native, here’s what your day might look like:
1. Don’t Walk, Bird!
Say what.. bird? Yes! A Bird is a little motorized scooter you can rent out for very cheap through an app called Bird. It costs about a couple dollars for a typical ride and once you’re done, you can just fling it practically anywhere as long as you’re not blocking any driveways or anything. It’s a cheap, energy efficient and super fun way for you and your friends to explore the cute streets of Venice.
There’s another app called Lime which is the exact same thing as Bird except the lame competitor. Think of it as the Lift to Uber. Stick with the Bird and fly around!
2. Grab Lunch at Gjelina
If you’re looking for great tapas type food with a locals environment, this is your place. Their lunch menu is incredible. They have all kinds of creative small plates made to share with a gorgeous presentation. Make sure to request a seat outside in the back of the restaurant. If this is your first time in Venice, this place is perfect for spotting those classic LA people: trendy, attractive health nuts. Don’t be nervous if people stare– everyone stares around here.
Keep in mind, there is a section of the restaurant with a separate entrance that is to-go only. Make sure you end up at the entrance next door cause it’s a whole other grimy world on that takeout side! Gjelina also has a great bar scene if you want to come back in the evening for a couple of drinks and maybe meet beach bum prince charming 😉
3. Wait in Line to Taste the Best Ice Cream Ever
Besides the fact that there is a massive constant line out the door, Salt & Straw is one of my new favorite spots to get incredible and unique ice cream flavors. Don’t worry, the line moves quick! You can’t miss it when your birding around. You will immediately notice a big crowd around you, that’s when you’ll know Salt & Straw is near.
I only ate one ice cream I swear! I’m holding my friend Amanda’s in the photo! Or am I… 😉 My favorite flavor is the honey lavender (highly recommended). For their full list of flavors check out their website here so you know what to get before you go! (Or don’t if you need something to entertain you for when you’re in line!)
4. Take a Bunch of Photos on all the Epic Walls
Venice is FULL of colorful walls that will light up your Insta feed. From solid colored walls to crazy painting and three dimensional creations, the walls will not disappoint. Local girls from all over LA are constantly taking glamour shots in front of these walls (including myself) so don’t be shy! Get up there and ask someone to take your photo (or 10).
No need to look for specific spots, I can assure you you’ll see incredible walls everywhere you go. In fact there are so many, you’ll want to take photos in front of all of them and then you won’t know which picture to post. #Firstworldprobems
5. Boutique & Trinket Shopping
You will most likely be overwhelmed with the amount of adorable shops you’ll see walking along Abbott Kinney and other charming streets in Venice. Make sure you stop in every single one because they are all incredible and you won’t find anything else like it. (Set a budget for yourself so you don’t go crazy!) From strange trinkets to adorable bikinis, Venice Beach will steal your heart with it’s beachy shop charm.
6. People Watching: Hobo or Billionaire? You May Never Know
Venice Beach is one of the best places in LA to people watch! You never know if you’re looking at a homeless, artist, or billionaire. I decided to test my people watching experiment and take a photo of this random man on the street of Abbott Kinney. I was trying to be discrete but I noticed he saw me.. in fact he smiled and asked me if I would email him the photo I took.
This particular man happens to be an artist. I know because asked him. People watch with caution especially if you take photos of random strangers lol. This one was friendly!
Let’s recap shall we:
- Don’t Walk, Bird! (Those electric scooter things remember?)
- Grab Lunch at Gjelina (Way too good)
- Wait in Line to Taste the Best Ice Cream Ever (Just stick it out and wait in the line!)
- Take a Bunch of Photos on the Epic Walls (Don’t be shy, you got this)
- Boutique & Trinket Shopping (Must not miss out on this level of charm)
- People Watching: Hobo or Billionaire? You May Never Know (Seriously.)
A non-touristy day in Venice Beach looks like a whole lot of exploring, photos and fun. I can guarantee if you spend your Venice Beach vacation trying out these non-touristy activities, your trip will feel much more fulfilled than if you just did the basic Venice Beach tours and sat on the beach. Let me know how your Venice Beach trip goes and if there are any other non-touristy activities you discover, comment below, I’d love to add onto the list!