Venice Beach is a California classic, a first and must visit for newcomers to Los Angeles. Over the years, Venice has become ever more gentrified, but it still retains its bohemian roots with colorful characters, painted murals, graffiti walls and offbeat atmosphere. I took these photos in January, but really, the best time to visit is in the summer. If you’re timing is right, you’ll catch competitions at muscle beach, an art crawl, street festivals, and more. And let’s not forget the ever popular Go Topless Event in August. I’ve actually never been, but needless to say, there is no lack of photographers clicking away. A full list of events is available at www.visitveniceca.com. The site also has maps and walking tours.
The heart of Venice is at Windward Ave at Pacific and at Speedway. Walk along this block and you know you are in Venice.
If you start at the corner of Pacific and Windward, you can’t miss this distinct building where you can stop for coffee at Cafe Collage. And of course, you have to love a restaurant called Mao’s Kitchen.
Venice is also famous for its murals. If you walk a little bit north to 1501 Pacific, you’ll find several, including this one of Mohammed Ali.
And if you’re hungry, just a few store faces south of Windward, you can visit the ever popular Egg Slut. I had given up on the line at Egg Slut in Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. I finally managed to get an Egg Slut sandwich on a quiet day in Venice.
Walk west on Windward, and you’ll see the Touch of Venice mural by artist Jonas Nevers.
And at the end of the street at Oceanfront Walk, you can satisfy your sweet tooth at the colorful Kettle Corn Corner.
Of course, the beach is the main attraction. First, you’ll see all the vendors hawking their goods. Unfortunately, some of the vendors don’t like pictures of their goods being taken.
On the beach, you can’t miss the 60 foot tall “Declaration” steel sculpture by Mark di Suvero. The sculpture was installed in 2001 for the Venice Art Walk’s 22nd year and was only expected to stay six months. Fortunately, it has remained.
Just some steps away are the famous Venice Art Walls. Anyone with a permit can paint on them.
And just next to the Art Walls is the skateboard park.
If you go just a bit south of Windward, you’ll see the famed muscle beach. On a good summer day you can get some photos of some very muscular people.
I never noticed this until this last visit, but at the base of the workout platform, there are a number of plaques honoring well known bodybuilders.
There are also recreation facilities, including the popular basketball court.
If you’re visiting, here’s a map courtesy of www.visitveniceca.com