Ah, Venice Beach. You either love it or you hate it, but nobody can deny that it’s an interesting place. Known to visitors as the home of the famous Muscle Beach and a vibrant, interesting boardwalk and known to locals as that crazy place to go on a weekend when you need a dose of weird in your life, there’s something for everybody in this quirky, lively seaside community.
I remember going to Venice Beach in the 90’s and seeing such delights as a man with no legs who danced to M.C. Hammer music so well that it put those of us with legs to shame. Then there was the fabulous array of street peddlers hocking everything from handmade bracelets to paintings to baked goods. Not much has changed since then. It’s still one of the quirkiest places in Los Angeles and absolutely worth a visit.
On my most recent visit, I was happy to see the street peddlers (and street evangelists for ALL religions) were still there. I rubbed elbows with the man who plays electric guitar while rollerblading and, of course, steered clear of some parkour guys putting on a show of jumping over one another. I waved away musicians trying to sell their CD’s and caught whiffs of the wacky tobaccy (as it’s sometimes referred to) as I passed both the “420 Doctor” and dispensaries alike. One of my favorite things about the area, however, is the street art. There is an abundance of interesting street art on pretty much every wall and building you’ll encounter as you stroll down the boardwalk and around town. I love it!
Venice Beach is much seedier than it’s more sophisticated neighbor to the North, Santa Monica, and if you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach, this might not be the best spot. However, if you want to experience a place that is full to the brim with excitement, oddness, and where surprises abound, you should definitely make a point to spend an afternoon here.
Be prepared for large crowds, annoying people trying to sell you things, and the possibility that you might see (quite literally) ANYTHING…and bring your camera! You’re in for quite the experience.
Have you been to Venice Beach? What was your impression?