There are myriad fun and exciting things to see and do in LA. Whether it is taking advantage of must-have tickets to Disney, visiting fun attractions like Universal Studios Hollywood, or exploring locations like the world famous Venice Beach. Venice is renowned for its gorgeous beach, shops, restaurants, and thriving cultural scene, and it is certainly an area that must be visited when in LA. Venice is more than just sand and surf (though you should of course enjoy this as well), it really has it all and it’s not quite like any other place on earth. So make sure to explore this guide and discover the best things to see and do in Venice Beach.
The famous beachfront neighbourhood of Venice has more to offer than just sun tans and sun loungers, Venice Canal is a beautiful area comprised of three canal-lined blocks that provide a truly picturesque and tranquil environment to enjoy a walk in the sun. Containing lovely arching bridges to walk across, picture-perfect beach houses, ducks, and boats, Venice Canal is a historic spot you won’t want to leave without seeing. Found in one of Venice’s most affluent neighbourhoods, and the canals of course inspired by the Italian city, the area provides a peaceful contrast to the energetic and vibrant atmosphere found elsewhere in Venice.
Superba Food + Bread
Superba Food + Bread is a Venice favourite which insists on healthy living. This stylish café serves up California-inspired food to a community that cherishes the belief that the best things in life should be shared. Specialising in fresh and homemade baked goods, Superba Food + Bread is part bakery, cafe and urban park, and they told us that they’re “proud of our space, our food and our people, and we’re committed to sharing these lovely things with our community.”
With a delicious all-day menu that includes breakfast items like their special avocado toast, Superba Food + Bread is a fresh and healthy spot to enjoy great food in this truly unique part of the world. Brunch and dinner can also be enjoyed here, with an extensive menu being provided that is bound to impress. Superba Food + Bread say that “we’re doing our darnedest to create an environment where trying new things is not only possible, but exciting, comfortable, superba.” Make sure it’s on your Venice to-do list.
When most people hear the name Venice, the beach maybe what first comes to mind but Abbott Kinney Boulevard is an area that must be visited, being home to some of the city’s very best bars, restaurants, shops, and galleries. A sophisticated location with a very laidback atmosphere, Abbott Kinney is just minutes from Venice Beach and visitors will certainly want to stroll over (or bike across) to this one mile long strip of fashion, art, and food. For a true taste of Venice and what the area has to offer, First Fridays – an event which occurs on the first Friday of the month – sees a plethora of popular food trucks park up along the boulevard, allowing visitors to enjoy great food (including Mexican, French, American, and seafood) while socialising with locals and visitors alike.
The Butcher’s Daughter
Image credit: Rebecca Duke Photography
One Abbot Kinney location that has to be visited when in the neighbourhood is the marvellous plant-based restaurant known as The Butcher’s Daughter. This café, juice bar, and ‘vegetable slaughter house’, is a green lover’s dream, producing healthy vegetarian dishes and delicious juices. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s a Venice location you won’t want to miss out on. Heather Tierney, owner, founder and lead designer at The Butcher’s Daughter, told us what she believes makes this spot so special:
“First and foremost the weather! I love the idea of having a restaurant that can be indoor/outdoor - with the ocean breeze flowing year round! I also think Venice and California in general is very health focused and it’s integrated into the everyday lifestyle.
“Because our menu is almost entirely composed of fruits and vegetables, we are able to highlight the best of each month. We source from local farmer’s markets, so we’re able to get fresh produce as soon as it becomes available. For example, I love ramps - they are a vibrant green savoury vegetable that look like large green onions. But they are only available one month out of the year - sometimes even a few weeks. So it’s important for us to keep up with the changing produce so we can catch short-lived produce like ramps and fiddleheads.”
With the referenced changing menu, any visit to The Butcher’s Daughter is bound to be a wholly unique Venice experience.
Aloha Brothers surf lessons
It would be a shame to spend your time in the sunny climate of Venice and not enjoy the beach itself. Beyond sunbathing and sandy walks at dusk, why not also get into the water itself and learn how to surf from some top instructors? Aloha Brothers would be the perfect people to link up with if this strikes your fancy, with the outfit offering lessons for beginners and experienced surfers who want to pick up a few more skills. Speaking to us about what they offer, Nick from Aloha Brothers told us:
“I think the best thing about surfing with Aloha Brothers surf instructors is that not only are they typically above average surfers, they genuinely care about everyone who chooses to surf with us and they are definitely above average teachers. There are literally no duds on our program. Any toxicity inevitably weeds itself out. Safety is always front and centre for all of us. As cheesy or cliché as it sounds, we operate like a team. Everyone gets along really well, which is calming and great for potentially jittery customers. A relaxed, knowledgeable instructor is critical for having an awesome lesson.
“I also try to run our program more like a collective in the sense that I do my best to reward our instructors salary wise rather generously. It definitely cuts into the short term profit margins at times for me, but we want nothing to do with short term dollars anyway. We want to be going strong teaching your kid’s kid lessons a decade from now. That down the line mind-set gives my guys and girls more of a feeling of having some skin in the game. Ultimately I’d like to think our customers feel that level of care coming from whomever it is they interact with at Aloha Brothers.”
There is so much to explore in Venice that its natural there are a great number of delicious locations to enjoy top food. One of the more unique experiences in the area has to be Poke-Poke, an establishment that specialises in the increasingly popular sashimi based food from Hawaii known as poke. Poke is an adventurous savoury food made up of ahi or salmon, soy sauce, sesame oil, onions, and sesame seeds. It’s an essential experience to try while in Venice and Poke-Poke, is the very best place to do so.
Jason McVearry, who opened Poke-Poke back in 2010 with his wife Trish, told us a little more about the restaurant: “Poke has become a national phenomenon here in the states. Beyond a few grocery stores and fish markets on the mainland, Poke-Poke was the very first made-to-order poke restaurant… ever. So visitors can experience the original recipes and vibe that started it all on Venice Beach!”
Regarding their menu, Jason told us: “What you get at Poke-Poke is a product like you would get in Hawaii. I lived in Hawaii for 5 years and try to replicate the flavours and composition of poke on the island. We do make poke to order, and offer lots of ways to customize it, but unlike the 'new-school' poke places that have assembly lines like chipotle with toppers, sides etc., we focus on the fish and flavours that complement each other in one cohesive, well composed poke.”
Learn to stand up paddle board
While enjoying the supreme weather and cool water of Venice Beach, why not take up a new hobby in the process and learn how to stand up paddle board with Paddle Method. With one of four locations found on Venice Beach, Paddle Method is an accredited SUP school that takes great pride in making SUP a fun and accessible experience for all that wish to participate. With lessons for beginners and intermediates, you can leave Venice Beach with more than just a tan but a skill that you can enjoy time and time again. And for those already fond of the sport, Paddle Method also offers paddle board rentals, so you don’t have to miss out on riding the Venice waves.
James’ Beach opened its doors in 1996 and can be found just half a block from Venice Beach, making it a must-visit spot during your time in the area. James’ Beach has garnered a reputation for astounding food, top drinks, wine, and a marvellous atmosphere to enjoy all that Venice has to offer. This iconic Los Angeles gathering place boasts a food menu comprised of celebrated dishes that are made up of the best quality ingredients. Described as a haven for modern American food and drink, for those who have their hearts set on enjoying craft cocktails while admiring the swaying palm trees amid fresh ocean air, James’ Beach is the place for you.
Pacific Resident Theatre
Away from the sand and waves, Pacific Resident Theatre is a Venice attraction that certainly deserves your attention. Run by local actors, this intimate theatre is known for putting on a series of wonderful shows, producing classics, obscure dramas, new plays and more, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Pacific Resident Theatre, which also play an important role in arts education of young actors, offers a full calendar of top shows across all genres and has been entertaining Venice residents for 30 years, becoming a mainstay of the area’s burgeoning arts scene. So if you fancy enjoying a show during your LA holiday, head on over to their website to see what their calendar has lined up for you.
An iconic restaurant which can be found in the heart of Venice, Rose Café has been serving travellers and locals alike since 1979. Keeping intact 36 years later what the community knows and loves about the Rose, Chef Jason Neroni takes great pride in presenting a wonderful seasonal menu of globally inspired cuisine. The team at the Rose Café revealed to us what makes their space such an attractive prospect as well as the delights of their menu: “Our beautiful space consists of an indoor and outdoor dining area with a beer garden, a full market and bakery, a Verve Coffee bar, and 40-foot cocktail bar.
“Our menu focuses on local Southern California cuisine with an international influence from Chef Jason’s world travels. We take pride in farmer’s market ingredients spanning all our menus, which we source weekly from our local farmer’s market. It wouldn’t be a true Rose experience without pizza and pasta from our own wood-burning hearth oven from Italy. You can also enjoy our house-made viennoiserie and pastries freshly baked daily. Whether it may be a quick brunch meeting to a romantic dinner date, we at The Rose definitely would love to give you an amazing dining experience.”
Enjoying Venice Beach
This was just a few of the many highlights available in Venice Beach, an experience that you will certainly not forget and a must-visit destination when spending time in LA. Los Angeles is replete with wonderful things to see and do, and if you are looking for extra ideas, make sure to visit our LA attractions page.
Image Credit: La Citta Vita,