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Venice City Beach

Venice Beach is California’s wackiest beach town. The beach is the center of city, or at least for entertainment purposes. Venice, which shares the same name as the Italian city also shares similar traits such as its canals, which run through beautifully constructed neighborhoods and its eccentric and one of a kind feel. Even though the two Venice’s are worlds apart geographically and culturally the two cities are both in categories of their own.

Venice Beach is located in the Santa Monica Bay between Marina del Rey and Santa Monica. The center of the beach scene is off of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and Windward Street. The weekends draw the biggest crowds and the most interesting group of locals as well. The 1.5 mile boardwalk is lined with innovative shops and stands, fun carnival-like treats and almost every kind of touristy treasure you could hope for. Venice is where people come to watch street performers. There is a variety of attention-grabbing entertainment on almost every corner.

The boardwalk is not just a spectator boardwalk but also an active one. You can rollerblade, run, walk, bike or skateboard along the bike path. Beware that the bike path ends at Washington Street and the local residents are not forgiving if you miss the “Bike Path Ends Here” sign. It probably would be a good idea to wake up early or choose a week day for these activities, because the weekend crowds can get really thick. Skateboarding is one of the favorite past times here in Venice and if you are not dodging the skateboarders on the boardwalk you can check them out doing their tricks close by.

If you are feeling like you need to hit up the gym, Venice comes complete with its own outdoor gym, called Muscle Beach. You can buy a day pass for the facility if you are not nervous about working out in front of big audiences. There are also basketball, volleyball, hand ball and tennis courts available. You can surf, swim or just lay out on the sandy shoreline. If sailing is your thing, the close by Marina del Rey harbor has the facilities to accommodate most nautical activities.

You will need lots of luck and patience to find parking at Venice beach, especially on the weekends. There is free and metered parking along most of the streets around Venice Beach and there is also paid parking at the Venice Pier at the end of Washington Street. You will probably do some walking to get to the beach, but it will be a good warm up for the boardwalk stroll.

There is a famous boat parade, which lights up the canals of Venice in December. This holiday event, organized by the Venice community is spectacular and should not be missed.

NO alcohol/glass containers
NO camping
NO dogs
NO vehicles on the beach
NO fires
YES Bathrooms/ showers available