Article by VP travel correspondent, Harry Kidd.
Venice is a quirky coastal neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, California and a prime location for a budget backpacker to explore. You will discover sandy beaches, breathtaking sunsets, a circus-like boardwalk filled with performers and unique personalities embracing a bohemian lifestyle. Here I have listed the top 10 things to do in Venice on a backpackers budget.
1. Put your Flip-Flops on & visit Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a perfect location to lay back and relax, soak up the California sun and enjoy mother nature. This manicured three-mile beach is a huge part of what makes Venice special, so grab a towel and take a dip in the Pacific.
2. Watch the vibrant scene at Venice Skate Park
This is free entertainment for all and a great option for budget backpackers. A few steps away from the ocean and picturesque palm trees lining the park, The Venice skatepark has easily become one of the most iconic spots for skaters and rollerbladers alike.
3. Stroll the world famous Boardwalk
Most likely one of Venice’s most famous attractions, the Venice boardwalk stretches about a mile and half along the sand and is home to: Performers, street vendors, artists, psychics, gift shops, cafes, bike rentals, tattoos dispensaries and more. Once you are done shopping, grab a fresh coffee from one of the local cafes and people watch, the Venice boardwalk is always thriving with unique characters.
4. Dive into a book at Small World Books
Love books? You’ll love Small World Books. A peaceful retreat from the excitement of the boardwalk, Small World Books provides a calming environment consisting of a number of hard-to-find books along with some major publications. Stop by and meet the resident cat, Conan the librarian.
5. Ride & Skate with Jay’s Rentals
Jay’s rentals is the place to go when you’re looking for excitement, Jay’s has been catering to locals and tourists alike since 1996. Based right on Boardwalk, they offer a range of fun activities for you to take part in while you’re visiting Venice.
Want to cycle, skate and surf on a budget? Jay’s Rentals offers a day pass for $45 which allows you to: cycle, skate and surf! This pass also includes a wetsuit rental and luggage storage! Grab your pass at Jay’s Rentals from 7am to 8pm and have 13 whole hours of Venice Beach… FUN!
6. Discover the Venice Canals
This hidden gem of Venice was built by developer Abbot Kinney as part of his Venice of America plan and was inspired by Venice, Italy. Fun fact: the canals were once home to gondolas with real, imported gondoliers from Italy. The gondolas are gone, replaced with kayaks and little boats but the canals are still there for you to take a relaxing walk and admire the beautiful homes that reside there.
7. Have a play day at the Venice Beach Recreation Center!
Venice is one big playground for adult and children too! The Venice Beach Recreation Center consists of: Basketball courts, handball courts, a gymnastics area, children’s play area, sand volleyball courts, a fishing pier, skate park, the Muscle Beach weight pen, and an outdoor stage. There is enough to keep you entertained for days! The Rec. & Parks office offers handball, basketball, and boxing bag rentals for free with a valid I.D. Paddle tennis racquet rentals are $5 with a valid I.D. Instructors are also available and the courts are first come first served. 1800 Ocean Front Walk. Venice, Ca 90291. 310.399.2775.
8. Shop for intriguing treasures on Abbot Kinney Blvd.
A few blocks from the beach, Abbot Kinney Blvd is a collection of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, gift shops and much more. GQ even named Abbot Kinney “The coolest block in America.” Abbot Kinney is known for being the home of one of a kind local goods along with some more popular shops and designers.
9. Watch Venice’s enchanting Sunset
When I saw my first Venice sunset six years ago I was mesmerized, the sky fills with a variety of colors that shine down onto those who watch it, giving them a golden glow. The best part about staying in Venice is the sunset you get to re-live everyday and the people you get to enjoy with.
10. Unwind with a Cocktail and rooftop view at the High Rooftop Lounge
Treat yourself after a hard day of sun bathing and cycling to a cocktail at the High Rooftop Lounge! From Lifeguard lemonade to a Summer Spritz. The High Rooftop Lounge offers a selection of tasty beverages with one of the best views in Venice!