Long known as L.A.’s disheveled but beautifully bohemian enclave, the beachfront neighborhood of Venice has been (somewhat) transformed in recent years with the arrival of farm-to-fork foodies and tech-industry titans. There’s the most happening at the end of Venice Boulevard on the pedestrianized Ocean Front Walk more famously known as the Venice Boardwalk; the fancy fashion boutiques and relaxed but refined casual eateries along Abbot Kinney Boulevard; and the low-key dining scene Rose Avenue a few blocks inland. There’s no train service here but Metro does offer a bike share system.
Venice may come across as a bit too grungy for some travelers’ tastes, so if you’re looking for a more polished experience we’d suggest heading just up the coast to Santa Monica. There’s a ton to explore on foot in the upscale coastal city (and it’s Metro accessible) but it doesn’t have quite the same laid-back vibe as Venice.
Get your day off to a good start at Gjusta, the hugely popular bakery renowned for folding fresh fruit slices into sugar-glazed dough. Temple to authentic, handmade pasta Felix Trattoria dishes out perfectly al dente handiwork alongside small plates and great pizzas; make sure you get there early for the papperdelle, it’s so good, it’s usually all gone well before the end of the night.
Lose yourself in an L.A. sunset with a drink firmly in hand at Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop Lounge, a primo patio overlooking the Pacific, then finish off your day with a nightcap at Gran Blanco, a breezy natural wine hangout underneath the VENICE sign.
Stroll along the Venice Canals from which the neighborhood gets its name and take in the beautiful scenes along the water—from arching pedestrian bridges and charming beach houses to bunches of ducklings and the occasional paddle boarder.
The Venice Beach House is a historic, ivy-covered craftsman-style inn that dates back to 1911. That rich sense of history doesn’t get in the way of modern comforts though, with each of the nine rooms beautifully and individually decorated with all the amenities you’d expect. There’s a range of options and prices, from a shared bathroom all the way up to an extravagant suite with its own private entrance looking out across the ocean.
If you do just one thing...
We’ll second our recommendation of the Venice Canals, but if you really want a unique perspective, scope them out by boat. Though you won’t find boat rentals anywhere along the canals, you can bring your own non-motorized vessel to tour the neighborhood at water level (enter via the launch ramp at Venice Boulevard).