Venice Boardwalk

Beach / Culture / Outdoor Activity / Shopping Area
Venice Boardwalk A carnivalesque 1.4-mile pedestrian walkway bursting with frenetic weirdness, the Venice Boardwalk is one of LA's prime gawker destinations. Los Angeles United States 33.993722 -118.479668
3.94 83
Venice Boardwalk - Beach | Culture | Outdoor Activity | Shopping Area in Los Angeles.
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Emma

Party Earth Review A carnivalesque 1.4-mile pedestrian walkway bursting with frenetic weirdness, the Venice Boardwalk is one of LA’s prime gawker destinations. A whirlwind of activity keeps shutterbugs busy, while tourists crowd around storefronts... ... read full review

  • Neighborhood:

  • Address:

    Ocean Front Walk, between Navy Street to the north and Washington Boulevard to the south
    Venice, CA 90291

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  • Hours:

    24/7, though most of the retail businesses close around sunset.

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot

Venice Boardwalk Schedule of Events

Party Earth Venice Boardwalk Review

The Scene

A carnivalesque 1.4-mile pedestrian walkway bursting with frenetic weirdness, the Venice Boardwalk is one of LA's prime gawker destinations.

A carnivalesque 1.4-mile pedestrian walkway bursting with frenetic weirdness, the Venice Boardwalk is one of LA’s prime gawker destinations.

A whirlwind of activity keeps shutterbugs busy, while tourists crowd around storefronts to peruse the cheap knickknacks, postcards, handicrafts, t-shirts, and knock-off sunglasses.

Savvier locals, on the other hand, spend their time soaking up the sun at the open-air cafés and beer gardens or making the rounds of the various tattoo parlors, smoke shops, and marijuana doctors.

Boom boxes and impromptu drum circles provide the beat for the walk itself, where bikini-clad rollerbladers glide by painted performers, cyclists enjoy their own parallel track, and joggers dodge the maze of hustlers and panhandlers.

Both sunbathers and transients set up camp on the grassy patches along the beach side of the walk or on the wide sandy beach itself, while more athletic types skateboard, spike volleyballs, shoot hoops, surf the breakers, or get a day pass to Muscle Beach to work on their massive pecs.

Abuzz with activity during the day, the area dies down around sunset when the vendors close up shop and a seedier air prevails.

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Tip from Emma:

Take a mini boardwalk pub crawl! Start off with cheap drinks, apps and live music at the Sidewalk Café and then head to Boardwalk Café where their Happy Hour goes till close and Bud pitchers are only seven bucks!

  • Crowd

    Locals and tourists of all types and ages.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Street performers, musicians, street ball hoops, periodic weightlifting competitions.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Countless restaurants and cafés along the boardwalk and side streets. Jewelry dealers and artists set up shop on the grass along the boardwalk. Assorted public parking lots and street parking throughout the area.

  • Prices

    Access to the boardwalk is free. Food prices range from modest to upscale.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes. Most people are in beachwear.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any afternoon. Most energetic on weekends. Busiest in summer, but the crowds flock here year-round.

  • Close By

    The best daytime drinking spots include the beer garden at On The Waterfront Café (205 Ocean Front Walk) and the outdoor patio at The Venice Whaler (10 Washington Boulevard). The swanky bar at the High Rooftop Lounge (1697 Pacific Avenue) offers one of the best sunset views in town. The lively Townhouse Bar (52 Windward Avenue) features a popular burlesque dancer show on Wednesday nights.

Venice Boardwalk User Reviews

Average rating:
Just Go
Britt E. Aug 30, 2013
Its an explosion of all your senses come to life. Strong smells come at you from every direction. Characters from all walks of life approach you (dont take or listen to the CD's). I like to do knickknack and tourist shopping here. You can haggle, although I will say owners are becoming less found of it in recent years. It's the best place to try on junkie sun glasses(there is a pair for everyone here) and people watch. Yes, those neon green medicinal marijuana people are real, if you don't believe me watch the people who come out of those buildings. Venice is one of those places you just have to see for yourself, so get out of here and get on the stand already!
LA's Brighton
Jordan W. Aug 23, 2013
Being raised in Brighton, England I can tell someone a lot about the pebbles, the burnt pier, smell of BBQ, and boats. For me going to Venice Beach was just that a little piece of home. Walking barefoot in sand is a lot more comfortable than walking on pebbles. Another thing I adorned was all of the street performers. I spent a good amount of dosh (as we say or said in England. I haven't been home for years.) Another HUGE plus for me is it was kid friendly, going to Vegas was fun but I couldn't invite family with kids to visit. Venice is fun for the whole family.
Very chilling, different, and a lot of fun!
Katya G. Aug 20, 2013
Great place to hang out with your loved one, family, or friends! Amazing restaurants where you can eat great food from any culture. Very fun people, who just enjoy every second of their life. Here you can definitely find some cool things to buy from huge variety of hand made items. Paintings, hand made soap, bracelets, jewls, clothes, and other nice things! Beach is very nice and clean. You can easily rent a bike and make a quick trip to Santa Monica and back. Must go place!
Venice: Sun, Fun and the Unexpected
Heather P. Aug 20, 2013
Venice Boardwalk is an absolute must see. Venice Boardwalk has everything anyone could possibly be looking for all in one place. While strolling the Boardwalk, you'll find art, live performances, plenty of shops with unique clothes and gifts and trinket, plenty of food to satisfy just about any craving. If all that isn't enough, there are the people on the Venice board walk. Here you will see everything from gorgeous tanned men and women in bikinis, on roller blades and long boards to strange performers and artists that specialize in shock and awe. The attitude and feel of the Venice Boardwalk is laid back and fun and has something new to offer every single day. This is an absolute must see because it has something for everyone, nothing is ever exactly the same. SO come take a stroll along the beach and take in everything Southern California has to offer on the Venice Boardwalk.
An Explosion of Culture, Art, Music, and All Things California
Giovanna B. Aug 7, 2013
A Venice Boardwalk visitor is flooded by a thousand sensations at once upon arrival - live musicians playing an unbelievable array of diverse instruments, colorful murals and street art along the way, and an unexpected assortment of performers anxiously seeking to draw a crowd of people in their direction. Lightly-clad rollerbladers and skateboarders make their way through the boardwalk, often leaving behind the distinct smell of a very familiar five leafed plant. Talented artists and artisans sit diligently at their posts, often working on new projects and awaiting the curious approach of an enthralled tourist. Venice is fertile earth for all things cultural, artistic, mystical, musical, and strange. Nothing can ever be anticipated from a trip to Venice - no visit to the famed boardwalk is ever the same as the last one. On the boardwalk, one will find people of all backgrounds and nationalities trying to get a sense of California's culture and its residents. The "relaxed, surfer-hippie, open-minded" stereotype may be semi-fabricated elsewhere in the state, but in Venice, it is very much a way of life.
No place like it in the world
Rudy M. Aug 6, 2013
The famed Venice Beach Boardwalk is a place of all things unique. Anything and everything can be found on this roughly 3 mile strip of beachfront property. With Los Angeles being one of the most diverse and open-minded cities in the world, it's no surprise that this place exists. Venders selling everything from art to bird calls to makeshift jewelry are lined up along the boardwalk just in front of the grass and sand. Shops selling shirts, souvenirs, skateboards, medical marijuana cards and paraphernalia are just a few of the things in-between the various restaurants and tattoo parlors. There is even a freak show, which fits in perfectly with the community of Venice Beach. Wether you're from the area, new to it or just visiting, Venice Beach Boardwalk is a must-see experience. There is truly no place like it in the world.
Food, Entertainment, Music, Art
Mariana A. Jul 19, 2013
The Venice Boardwalk is full of everything. There is food, entertainment, music, and art. The Venice Boardwalk is a great place to have a walk or catch a bike ride—there are shops on the boardwalk that rent out bikes—but you can also skate. There are also a multitude of shops. For example there are tattoo shops, restaurants, and small stand that sell their own specialties. When I go with family, we always try to find the stand that sells kettle corn. You can bring your dogs but if they are afraid of crowds then it may be best if they stayed at home because the crowds can get really big. The great thing about the Venice Boardwalk is that you can walk and take it to the Santa Monica Pier. It may be a distance, but it can be a great way to relax and just spend some time with family or by yourself. The only complaint is that parking can sometimes be hard to find. But overall the atmosphere is pretty nice.
LA Summed Up
Yester S. Jun 21, 2013
The Venice Boardwalk successfully encompasses the complexity and diversity of the multiple cultures the coexist and simultaneously define Los Angeles. It's where the unwarranted, unwanted, and untraditional bring to life an underground culture of art and music. An example of this is the the talented individuals that make impeccable art with graffiti. This may not necessarily be a place you want to take the children since every other shop is a medical marijuana shop and you can bet your money on the fact that most of the people there are either high or drunk.... or both. However, it is definitely a sight to see if you are visiting Los Angeles. You have vendors ranging from henna shops to ethnic jewelry to churro stands, and if you are lucky enough, you may have a shot at getting your fortune read. On my latest visit I bought tickets to, experienced and LOVED their famous exposition. Now, this isn't the kind of exposition you go to for conventional educational field trips, but it is definitely something different. What kind of expo was this? It was the Venice Beach Freakshow. Yes, a FREAKSHOW. It only costed me 5 dollars, but it was 5 dollars well spent seeing that I would probably not have a chance at experiencing something like that anywhere else. Overall, Venice Beach Boardwalk is a place where you can have fun for little to zero dollars. Cheap food, cheap entertainment, cheap fun.
West Coast Incarnate
Roberto M. Jun 11, 2013
Seriously, I heard this about 10 times walking down the boardwalk. If you want a Medical Marijua Card, this might be the place to go to! This however is just part of the unique vibe of Venice Beach. There are all kinds of restaurants, souvenirs shops, and art stands that will make the liberal hippie in you make you want to run away from home and just sell art by the beach. The Venice Boardwalk is impressive and unique more for its free spirited idealism than anything else. Any of the things here could easily set up shop somewhere else but the core of it all would be gone. The boardwalk is a place I enjoy checking out with friends who have never been just to see their reactions. Venice captures a very significant part of the West Coast Easy Living VIbe and makes it tangible through its various trinkets and street performers. It is fun every now and then but if you come here to often you will either find yourself consumed by the culture and actually become a part of it or you will grow bored. Luckily however the boardwalk isn't the only thing there is to amuse yourself. You have skate parks, basketball courts, Muscle Beach, drum circles and if that isn't enough the entire Pacific Ocean is staring at you in the face. Definitely check out Venice and all its magic and wonder and you might just spark some lost or hidden creative fire inside you.
Fun, funky and unforgettable
Rachel C. Jun 3, 2013
Venice beach boardwalk is a can't-miss spot for first-time tourists or an endlessly repeatable trip for natives and locals. Venice Beach Boardwalk's vibes are world famous, with good reason. The Venice Beach Boardwalk represents everything quintessentially LA and SoCal, from the palm trees surrounding the skate park to the head shops and sunglasses stands. It's always worth the trip to Venice just for the boardwalk, you'll have enough to do, see, eat, drink, and shop for regardless of whether you hit the actual sand strip or feel the surf. The best part of Venice Beach Boardwalk is the view- the ocean is simply a backdrop for the endless parade of carnival street performers. Hear jokes from the world's greatest Wino, choose sides in a breakdance battle, or scope out the body builders. Venice Beach Boardwalk is an LA landmark you can't miss!
Very cool, alternative vibe
Daniela M. Jun 3, 2013
The scene at the Venice Boardwalk is very cool and colorful; it’s a mixture of rasta and edgy. There is fantastic art on display—people sell beautiful hand painted skateboards and posters and figurines. The street performers are entertaining, and they range from generica hip hop dancers to a man who sticks a nail through his nose. There is also good shopping, if you’re into bohemian-type clothing. I recommend renting rollerblades and skating around. And if you don’t want to rollerblade, you can always watch other skaters at the skate rink. If you’re want to get a body piercing, there are several piercing and tattoo shops along the boardwalk. This is a very fun place to go if you’re looking for a beach with an alternative vibe.
Artsy
Gor G. May 22, 2013
Venice Boardwalk is an interesting place to be at. Every time I have gone, it's always been full of people. They have lots of little shops on one side selling souvenir type T-shirts. On the other side, some vendors sell hand made stuff like bracelets. Some vendors paint a caricature of you and other vendors paint a beautiful scenery on the spot. There is a number of tattoo shops as well. Some of the tattoo shops also do piercings. Venice Boardwalk is a nice place to take a date and explore the artsy liberal environment around you. It's right next to the beach and the pier so you can check that out right after. There is a number of bars and eateries in the area so you can grab a bite while enjoying your day out. You will also run into some street performers. Make sure to have a couple of dollars on you to tip, because they gotta get paid too.
enjoy the breeze
Nancy D. May 15, 2013
this is a fun place to go walk and enjoy the beach breeze. while walking you see so many little shops that sell souvenirs. this place is fun to go if you just want to hang out and not to anything that crazy.
Take a boardwalk on the wild side!
Kristian J. May 13, 2013
If it's a taste of authentic inauthentic LA life you want then a saunter down the Venice Boardwalk is an absolute must. In fact any visit to The Angels would be left incomplete without it. Make sure you come armed with your wits and a willingness to haggle and hustle though, because without them you might be left out of pocket by the plethora of inexpensive stores full of vintage clothing and dubious hats and sunglasses. Not to mention the countless independent stands offering everything from original paintings and sculptures to spiritual enlightenment and psychic certainty, on the beach side. Bars, cafes and food outlets are in the plentiful supply, and if you just want to chill beach side then there is no shortage of sitting space on the golden sand. But above all else the boardwalk is a people watching persons paradise. Tattooed tantrics, rollicking roller bladers, mystical musicians and savvy street entertainers will keep your eyes popping all afternoon, and if it's the under world you yearn then hang around until after dark and wait for the freaks to come out. If you want to feel LA life in the raw then come and talk a walk down the boardwalk!
A Balanced Blend of People
Samuel S. May 12, 2013
Venice Boardwalk is a really cool place to be and the performers are very entertaining. Venice borders Santa Monica, and the walk between the two is relatively short which makes it accessible to tourists. That being said, the local community has a sizable presence on the boardwalk, so be prepared for a major culture shock. Make sure to go during the weekends and in the day time to get the most out of your experience. If you go during the weekdays, you won't see all the amazing performers. If you go at night, it can get a bit sketch. Also, beware if you're LGBT. My boyfriend and I get a lot of looks every time we go there, and we hear anti gay derogatory words a lot, too.
Truly a new experience
Sandra C. May 5, 2013
Venice boardwalk is a place like no other. It is a place full of diverse people and cultures. Surrounded by peculiar shops all along the boardwalk, Venice is definitely an interesting sight. You'll be surrounded by people doing acts such as walking on glass, performing crazy stunts, or simply singing and playing instruments. Nonetheless, these performers will give you a show you won't forget. While Venice boardwalk may not be a typical sight you're used to, give it a moment and embrace your surroundings. You're bound to form great memories and stories to share about your experience at the Venice Boardwalk.
An experience you won't get anywhere else
Janna W. Apr 29, 2013
Venice boardwalk is a site to see at least once. As you walk around you will see several thrift shops and cheap food while enjoying beautiful weather on the beach. It is true that there are several homeless people, young artists trying to sell their music, "doctors" who are trying to sell you cannabis medical cards and weirdos everywhere, but is it all a part of the strangeness of the Venice boardwalk. You will see people performing tricks, covered in body paint and rollerblading in bikinis. You can shop around for clothes and there are tobacco pipe shops everywhere! If you like to ride your bike or skateboard, there is a path for that separately alongside the boardwalk. If you would rather relax in the sand on the beach it is only a few steps away. Don't visit Los Angeles without stopping to check out the Venice boardwalk.
Rediscover Your Soul, At Least Small, Forgotten Fragments Of It, On The Venice Boardwalk
Darren D. Apr 5, 2013
Did you know "Whitey" is to blame for the homeless plight in America? I was unaware. Then, walking along the Venice Boardwalk, I heard a transient, soap-box prophet proclaim this diatribe to his congregation of wayward souls and passersby. I stopped. Listened. Moved along. I'd been on the Venice Boardwalk, a 2.5 mile slalom course of weird, for approximately five minutes when this knowledge bomb was dropped. That's the beauty of The Boardwalk: It doesn't take long for its energy to infiltrate your skin and senses, perhaps making you behave erratically, excitedly, a little out of character. There is a micro-gasmic collection of earth-energy lingering over Venice Beach, and the Boardwalk specifically. What was built as a dreamy sea-side escape for the wealthy in the early 1900s - super beautiful beaches, hidden pedestrian walkways, canals - morphed into a cultural center, a place where artists, poets, musicians and other marginalized souls on a bigger journey than themselves, took root during the countercultural 1960s and 70s. The roots of those early cultural pioneers are anchored deep beneath The Boardwalk now, and their souls preside over the scene, like the tall palms swaying in the breeze. Expect to have comfort zones challenged on The Boardwallk. Embrace the culture shock! You'll see homeless folks sipping from brown-paper-bagged 40s, discussing chess and the government. You'll be asked if you need to buy weed or obtain a medicinal marijuana prescription. You'll see the side boob of a beautiful, sun-drenched hippie girl who is dancing with a hula-hoop. Sweat falls heavy on the streetball and handball courts, where you should absolutely stop and watch a game or two unfold while sipping a delicious fresh fruit smoothie some guy just made you out of the back of his pickup truck for $4. Get lost in the chaos of tanned bodies cruising past you on longboards while pianists with the grace of Mozart and dread-locked Rastas with broken acoustics set a soundtrack only possible in that moment, that fleeting present of being there in the now. In the time it takes you to meander up and down the boardwalk, about 3 hours, stopping, of course, at various smoke shops, knock-off fashion bazars, the Skate Park, bars and pop-up street performances, you'll have been temporarily enlightened, awakened, redefined. You'll have received an intimate glimpse into the actual lives of other people who share this earth with you, from the freaks and the lost to the athletically and artistically gifted. Sometimes, on the Venice Boardwalk, you'll find those two things are one in the same. By that time - after you've walked up and down, filled your camera's memory card, drank a few beers and contemplated your existence in relationship to the universe - the sun should be setting, that big ball of beauty dropping gracefully into the horizon. If you look on the beach, near the skatepark, you'll notice a large circle of humans developing. The sound coming from that circle sounds tribal, forbidden. The bodies are flailing, dancing, with limbs moving wildly in every direction. Go, my friend, walk towards that circle. Let its moving parts charm you, like that that dark-skinned man in his underwear did to some pythons and cobras earlier in the day. Get in the middle of the circle and start clapping, chanting and dancing. Get lost in that moment. Afterward, return to wherever you came from feeling a little bit different than you did when you arrived.
The Heart of Los Angeles
Steph D. Apr 1, 2013
If Venice Boardwalk could be described in one word it would be unique. There is nothing quite like this place anywhere in the world. People from all walks of life come to Venice to relax, eat, shop, sell and explore. If you love to people watch, this is the place to go. If you walk far enough you can catch some serious street basketball games on the boardwalk courts. Walk a little further and you’ll see some body builders lifting weights at Muscle Beach. Expect to stop for some awesome street performances and to run into a few characters. Everywhere you turn there are people selling really cool art, trying to convert you to their religion, or offering you a "green" marijuana card. If you're looking for a high energy and very interesting place to spend the day, head to Venice. If the boardwalk gets a bit crazy take a break from the crowds and head to the beach! A must see for anyone hoping to get the Los Angeles experience.
Classic California
shimon m. Mar 28, 2013
There is nowhere on earth with the rich culture, history, and people like Venice Beach Boardwalk. Set aside at least a couple of hours to visit this classic California tourist attraction. Parking might be a bit of a problem, but paid parking is always an option. The boardwalk is lined with tourist stores, containing a bunch of shirts and souvenirs to buy. The real, authentic merchandise is the art. Venice Beach Boardwalk is flooded with artists and street performers who sell their services and products. Most of these are amazing, one of a kind, and they make very good gifts for friends back home. The laid-back atmosphere is only emphasized by the aroma of incense and sight of beach bums just laying out. If you walk a little farther down you will be able to catch Muscle Beach, a huge outdoor gym famous for its ridiculously muscular members. If you want to catch a bite to eat, Venice is flooded with cafes and random food stops, including delicacies such as FRIED PIZZA! All in all, Venice beach is a MUST SEE if you are visiting.
A Blend of Different People
Jasmit N. Mar 26, 2013
The Venice boardwalk is such an amazing place. So much happens here. When I don’t feel like being in the water I love just walking the boardwalk. You meet so many different characters of people. You see so many people trying to sell the most random stuff. The eating-places here are really good. I love going to the pizza place to order pizza and taking it to go while I walk the boardwalk. There are some creepy and weird people there but I feel that just having a mix of everything makes this place a good place to be at. It’s right next to the beach so you can go to the beach whenever you finish exploring.
Ocean Front Tattoo if you want a piercing!
Teresa P. Mar 26, 2013
The great thing about the Venice Beach Boardwalk is that you can have a unique beach day without swimming or having to spend a lot of (or any!) money. There is so much to see and do as you walk around. Local artists and craftsmen sell their work which is usually pretty cheap and cool to just look at. If you're looking to get something pierced, check out Ocean Front Tattoo and in particular ask for Myke. The store kind of looks like a hole in the wall with a bunch of tattooed guys, but the staff is very professional and friendly and they do a really good job.
LA Landmark
Kate K. Mar 25, 2013
Venice Boardwalk is by far the most unique location in Los Angeles. Although it is a destination for tourists, many locals hang out there as well. The boardwalk stretches for a couple of miles along the beach and is filled with vendors, street performers, and food stands. It is great for people watching and you will undoubtedly see some odd sites. The shopping is pretty good, there are souvenir stores as well as some regular shops. Good See has a very large selection of quality eyewear and is worth stopping by for prescription lenses or sunglasses. The boardwalk is also great for bike riding and skateboarding.
GREAT DATE SPOT
Kevin K. Mar 22, 2013
Tall palm trees, graffiti on the wall, and muscle dudes... We're at Venice Beach Boardwalk! It was my first time exploring Venice Beach Boardwalk and I must say this place is amazing! We were able to find a parking lot literally a block away from the boardwalk!!! We came here hungry and ready to pig out! There are plenty of places to eat around the boardwalk! Mediterranean cuisine, Chinese take out, Hawaiian poke, fresh fruit vendors, and smoothie stands can be found here just to name a few. There are also plenty of souvenir shops to check out and we saw several smoke shops here as well! There are so many activities around the Boardwalk! They have a skate park, basketball courts, and even a children's playground (so even with all the weirdos and bums around the beach, it still has that family friendly feel to it)! Overall, we had a great time here! I'd recommend making a stop at this famed beach/boardwalk if you are nearby. Who cares about the traffic?! It's worth it!
Venice Boardwalk
Isabella C. Mar 16, 2013
If you're looking for a lively, unique diversion at any time of day, Venice Boardwalk is highly recommended. You will love this vibrant area because every corner catches your eye, with some of the most interesting and authentic people and things you'll ever see. From local artists and vendors, to locals and gawking pedestrians, there is never a dull moment. With a gorgeous sea view, the Boardwalk offers a variety of activities that include bicycle rentals, skateboarding, tennis, weight-lifting, volleyball, sun-worshipping or just people-watching. Taking in the talented skateboarders or observing the buff men show their stuff cannot be missed. The Boardwalk is alive day and night, with some interesting and eclectic food choices that allow you to wallow away the hours in the Southern California sun or in the cool evening breeze. As one of the most irreplaceable Los Angeles destinations, the Venice Boardwalk will always exceed your highest expectations. A word of caution; on weekends it can get very crowded.
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