By Tatev Oganyan
Regarded as the ‘Bohemia of Los Angeles,’ Venice is a cross section of SoCal art, culture and cuisine where surfers, tourists, street artists and foodies collide. Surrounded by idolized images of Bob Marley, Venice embodies the “live in the moment” mentality and embraces individuality.
To prepare for a Venice daycation, grab this travel guide and pack plenty of sunscreen, water, a bathing suit, shorts, t-shirts, sandals, and a change of clothes for a night out.
1. Grab a Cruiser: With plenty of rental shops on Ocean Front Walk, you can rent cruisers and bike locally or challenge yourself to take on the South Bay Bicycle, a 22-mile scenic beachside path that begins in Santa Monica and goes through Venice, Marina del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and ends at Redondo Beach. You can also take advantage of Santa Monica bike share stations, where you can find a bike near you using the mobile app at santamonicabikeshare.com.
2. Visit the Venice Canals: For a mini European adventure, head to the Venice Canal district in between Washington Street and South Venice Boulevard. Built by Abbot Kinney in 1905, the district includes pedestrian bridges, duck ramps and boat ramps.
3. Join the Excitement at Venice Skate Park: Head over to the Venice Skate Park at 1800 Ocean Front Walk to watch dozens of skateboarders shred the park in a backdrop of an oceanfront view.
4. Pump Some Iron With Pros: Just steps away from the Skate Park is Muscle Beach where you will find sweaty weightlifters and aspiring instafit models pumping iron for a crowd. Muscle beach is recognized as the birthplace for the 20th century fitness boom in the US and home to professional bodybuilders such as former Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
5. Grub at Abbot Kinney: Proclaimed to be the “coolest block in America,” Abbot Kinney is home to a handful of artisan restaurants, boutiques and bicycle shops, bars and coffee cafes. Open for breakfast Monday thru Friday from 8:00am -11:00am and open for brunch Saturday and Sunday from 8:00am to 3:00 pm, Gjelina serves unique breakfast dishes with bold flavors, such as the comté & prosciutto panini with pickles and mustarda, the moroccan baked eggs with merguez tomato sauce, served with cilantro and yogurt and the the onion bialy, crispy egg, and pork belly served with tomato harissa and fontina. For a casual lunch, grab a slice of Spicy Chicken Pizza at Abbot’s Pizza Company and head over to Venice beach.
6. Cool Off: For something sweet, try generous servings of some fresh made ice at Salt & Straw. With funky flavors such as Eggplant Honey Custard, Caramel Corn on the Cob, and California Avocado & Hazelnut Praline Sorbet, don’t shy away from their free samples before you commit to your order.
7. Sing to Sinatra at C & O Cucina: For an oceanside Italian retreat at nearby Marina del Rey, consider C & O Cucina by the Venice pier. Join the nightly sing-a-long while carb overloading on unlimited servings of their famous killer garlic rolls. Given their generous portion sizes, expect to go home with plenty of leftovers and a photo souvenir of your dining party.
8. Watch The Sunset: Enjoy panoramic views of Venice atop the high rooftop bar at Hotel Erwin, where you can watch the sunset and sip on the roughgarden – a delicious concoction of Titos vodka, st. germain, honey bubbles moscato and grapefruit.
9. Pub At the Oldest Bar: What was once a speakeasy during Prohibition, Townhouse, is the oldest bar in Venice. Townhouse offers classic bartending with live entertainment in the basement downstairs that hosts comedians, burlesque dancers, djs and entertainers five to seven nights a week.
10. Embrace the Street Art at Night: The streets and walls of Venice are adorned with breathtaking street art of geniuses such as Albert Einstein, literary figures such as Edgar Allan Poe, and present day sports stars like Ronda Rousey. Even the homes in Venice resemble the vibrant personalities of the locals.
Venice is an ecosystem of its own sprinkled with racial, ethnic, and economic diversity with a boardwalk that is home to extravagant personalities, animated characters, and friendly street artists. Escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles for a day to soak in the tremendous energy that surrounds Venice, daycation Venice!