My sister and I had so much fun on our girls' getaway to Los Angeles, CA. This city has lots to offer, but my favorite part was Venice Beach, where we returned three times. I recommend it as a great starting place for your L.A. adventure. Check out these 10 fun things to do while you're there.
Venice has an upbeat, busy boardwalk. You can either rent a bicycle/rollerblades, or explore by foot. Shop for bohemian style clothing, beautiful tapestries, and L.A. souvenirs, get a henna tattoo (or even a real tattoo if you're feeling daring), and check out the local artisans' pop-up shops. However, if you're anything like me, people-watching will be the best part - Venice Beach has visitors of all ages, styles, and vibes.
It is no secret that surfing was what I was looking forward to most for our L.A. getaway. I have always loved the ocean, and after my first surf lesson in Australia, I have become addicted to the feeling of riding a wave. The swells are great for a beginner to drop into with a longboard, though I found many advanced surfers here as well. Jay's Rentals offers both 8ft soft boards and fiberglass boards for rent by the hour, 3 hours, or full-day increments at a decent price. There you can also rent a wetsuit if you find the water is too chilly. I surprisingly didn't think the surf was too crowded, which meant I had lots of room to practice!
Head to nearby Abbot Kinney Boulevard for a mile-long strip of a sophisticated yet laid-back atmosphere. There are stylish salons, quirky boutiques, and fun eateries all up and down this street. My sister and I picked up some cute accessories from a few of these shops. Check out a full directory of Abbot Kinney's merchants here.
Although I definitely recommend venturing out to Abbot Kinney Boulevard for a full meal, the boardwalk features a few good spots to nourish your body after a long day at the beach. I especially loved the fresh fruit at Amazebowls, and Big Daddy's Pizza always had a long lineup (I recommend a slice of the Farmer's Market Pizza.) If you do decide to walk over to Abbot Kinney Boulevard, don't miss Greenleaf, a darling cafe with delicious salads, bowls, and fun create-your-own entree dishes. We also loved Lemonade, for both the good food and the (obviously) fresh lemonade - they have so many different flavors to choose from. Salt & Straw is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth - the "Rose Water, Saffron, & Pistachios" handmade ice cream is so yummy!
Any of my previous traveling companions can tell you how much of a sucker I am for bookstores, where I tend to get lost for hours-on-end. Small World Books is located right on the Venice Boardwalk and is connected to Sidewalk Cafe and Bar. It features a nice collection of titles for any other book-lovers out there (I can't be the only one, right?), and was even listed as the LA Times Bookstore of the Week a few years back.
I have to say, I was extremely impressed by the talent at the Venice Skate Park. Although this isn't typically something that I would expect to entertain me, my sister and I repeatedly found ourselves returning here to be amazed by the speed and skill of the skaters. Our favorite was a fearless ~7 year old boy. All of the older skaters seemed to know him, and everyone cheered the little guy on as he rode around with agility. I was no more than a content observer here, but I'm sure anyone who enjoys this sport would be happy to spend some time skating.
Venice is filled with street performers. We found musicians, in-action artists, and acrobats lining the boardwalk. Head further down the boardwalk to check out the infamous Muscle Beach.
A day at Venice of course wouldn't be complete without relaxing on the beach. Lay out on the warm sand to soak up the sun, or jump in the water for a swim.
I did not expect to find street art on the beach, but the colorful murals (and palm trees) were fun and unique. I almost always spotted at least one graffiti artist working on something new whenever we passed by.
10. Make New Friends
Venice Beach is a social hub and great place to meet new people. If you're new to L.A., I recommend making this one of your first stops so that you can make some new friends with whom you can explore the city or continue your California trip!
Los Angeles, CA is a fun city and a must-see stop on your west coast road-trip.
See more from our girls' getaway to L.A. here
I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.