Venice Beach – California
Sunshine, surf, palm trees, street performers and weirdoes! Venice Beach has an abundance of all of those.
Start your day with breakfast on the beach at Perry’s Cafe on Hollister Street in Santa Monica. Rent a bike from Perry’s and set out on the bike path heading South to Venice Walk which is lined with stalls where artists and vendors showcase their wares and musicians band together for impromptu performances.
Look up at the fabulous murals by local artists that cover the faces of old buildings. Breathe in the fresh sea air and the scent of suntan lotion.
Make a stop at Muscle Beach to admire the toned bodies of weight lifters as they go through their paces. Watch a game of basketball or paddle tennis, with an ocean view.
Walk out to the end of Venice Pier and admire the view of the coastline, then continue along Washington Blvd.
Tie up your bike, leave the crowds behind, and stroll along the tranquil canals flanked by homes that range from ultra modern to charming refurbished bungalows.
Back on your bike, continue riding east on Washington Blvd. to Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Here, trendy boutiques, coffee bars, and restaurants all housed in reimagined cottages, entice one to browse, shop, and people watch while enjoying a cup of coffee and a pastry.
Choose any one of the restaurants for lunch (my favorites are Salt Air and The Butcher’s Daughter) or for a more quintessential Venice experience, cycle back to Venice Walk, and eat at the Fig Tree Cafe (great food) or the Sidewalk Cafe eatery. For book lovers, don’t miss the Small World book store. Its entrance is camouflaged in a corner beside the Sidewalk Cafe. Their book selection is superb.
Spend the afternoon on the beach body surfing or ducking under the waves of the playful ocean. Enjoy a cold beer at On The Waterfront Cafe or Venice Ale House. Return to Perry’s Cafe to hand in your bike as the sun begins to dip below the horizon, and the colored lights of Santa Monica’s Ferris wheel begin to glitter.
Have your camera ready to capture this beautiful ending to a perfect Southern California day.