Its sandy beach is almost five kilometres long but that’s not the reason why most people visit Venice Beach. This stretch of coastline is mainly known for its eclectic mix of unusual people, street artists and California beach boys. People watching is all the rage on Venice Beach.
Venice Beach is part of the district of Venice, situated between Santa Monica Boulevard and Marina del Rey. The district takes its name from the many canals that were dug here in 1905 in order to create a residential area. In the 1920s a large number of canals were filled in so streets could be laid for horse-drawn carriages. Fortunately, a number of canals were retained and these now form part of a special residential area behind the strip.
Ocean Front Walk, Venice Beach’s boardwalk, is always busy. Countless street artists entertain the public here, varying from musicians and singers to acrobats and magicians. Iron is pumped on Muscle Beach, the place where bodybuilders and fitness fanatics work on their bodies using the equipment provided. Whether they are really trying to improve themselves or simply showing off to the ever-present audience is the subject of constant debate.
In any case, sport is a popular pastime here. Volleyball and basketball courts are dotted along the beach, and the long cycle path from Venice Beach to Santa Monica is popular among skaters as well as cyclists. Roller skates and bikes are available to rent from various places along the boardwalk. Skating alongside the beach under the palm trees while the sun goes down: This is California at its best.
Venice Beach is the perfect place to shop for attractive and somewhat unconventional souvenirs. Dozens of clothing and jewellery shops can be found along the boardwalk, and a tattoo takes no time at all. Even more choice is available on Abbot Kinney Boulevard: This street runs right through the heart of Venice and offers a good mix of boutiques, restaurants and trendy bars.