When it comes to old-school LA hangouts, Venice is about as quintessential as it gets. But the landscape of Venice is changing—and so should your perception of this beachside town. Not convinced yet? Check out our top eight reasons to hang out in Venice.
1. The Canals
Just like its Italian name twin, California’s Venice is home to a network of canals. Take in the architecture, admire the flowers, or post an Instagram from the top of one of the canals’ iconic bridges—there’s no better place to get away from the hustle and bustle (...and traffic) than by spending an afternoon here.
2. The Restaurants
Over the past few years, Venice has really emerged as a gastronomic hub. From hot spot Gjelina, to brat-and-fries heaven Wurstküche, to lunch favorite Superba Food + Bread, we suggest arriving in Venice hungry.
3. Abbot Kinney
Oh, Abbot Kinney. Despite the over-the-top trendiness and wallet-draining shopping, we love you because you really do have it all—shopping, bars, dining, and some very Instagrammable cups of coffee (Intelligenstia, anyone?). Abbot Kinney is also home to one of our favorite nighttime events: food truck takeover First Fridays.
Venice also boasts some of the best bars in the LA area, including James’ Beach, Canal Club, and The Otheroom. Unfortunately, you won’t be the only one enjoying these spots—arrive early on weekend nights to avoid waiting in long lines.
5. People Watching
Venice is indisputably one of the best places in LA to people watch. Whether you’re ready to be endlessly entertained by the characters who have taken up residency on the boardwalk or are hoping to do some celebrity-spotting on Abbot Kinney, keep your eyes peeled and your ears—and mind—open.
6. Movie Locations
Step out of the screen and onto the real sets of some of your favorite films. Valentine’s Day, Billboard Dad (we see you, MK & A fans), Lords of Dogtown, and others were all filmed here in Venice.
With such a rich and vibrant culture, it’s no surprise that the art scene is alive and well in Venice. One of the coolest things about Venice Beach is the Art Walls—structures set up in the sand for artists (with a permit) to bring their work to life.
8. Alfresco Rooftops and Patios
Enjoy Venice’s year-round sunshine by dining—and drinking—outside. One of our favorite spots is Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop Lounge, where the drinks cost a pretty penny but also come with a pretty spectacular view. The Deus Ex Machina motorcycle cafe’s outdoor patio and Library Alehouse’s back patio are two other must-see spots on any alfresco tour of Venice.