6 inexpensive, off-the-path things to do in Venice Beach
By Aimee Heckel
If you’re looking for an exciting beach vacation this summer that won’t break the bank, head to Venice Beach, Calif. With great people-watching, endless stretches of great beaches, good waves for surfing and a huge selection of restaurants and shops, it’s hard not to have fun in Venice.
On a budget? Here are six inexpensive, off-the-beaten-path things to do in Venice Beach:
1. Visit the Venice Beach Freakshow. Only $5 to get in and well worth it, at least for entertainment value. Watch a live show that may include sword-swallowing, staple gun tricks and electrocution. Walk through the museum of odd creatures and meet the five-legged dog. The Venice Beach Freakshow has been the subject of a popular reality TV show, and now you can see it all firsthand.
2. Visit the skate park. Give the many different ramps a try — but maybe start with the novice area, and only if you know your stuff. The tricks here are enough to keep you entertained for hours. You will be amused by the talent — and also the nearby great people-watching.
3. Ride bikes along the paths. Rent a bike at one of the many bike rental stations along the beach and go for a ride on the paved paths along the coast. They seem to go on and on and never end. You can easily spend a full day riding and exploring different coastal cities. Stop for a snack at a restaurant and munch under a beach umbrella, before heading back home.
4. Enjoy the street art. If you appreciate good graffiti, Venice Beach will amaze you. You can find murals on nearly every street corner. The street vendors and buskers sell some incredible work, too. Venice Beach is a hub for underground, nontraditional creativity and tons of color, literally and figuratively.
5. Walk down to Washington Boulevard, the best part of Venice Beach. Get away from the crowds and hang with the locals on West Washington Boulevard, with some excellent bars and restaurants. Grab a delicious latte or smoothie at Cow’s End and take it with you for a walk all the way to the end of the lengthy pier. Enjoy a filling (and garlic-filled) dinner at the C&O Trattoria — so popular that you should expect to wait to be seated. But the garlic balls they serve you as an appetizer are worth it alone.
6. Explore the winding canals. Another free and interesting activity away from the crowds: Stroll or ride a bike along the endless winding canals that stretch from pier to pier, tucked back behind the action-packed coast. The houses are stunning, the landscaping lush and tropical and the energy is so calm and soothing, you will feel like you’re in another city. Watch the sun set from the top of a white arched bridge above the canals, or rent a stand-up paddle board and slowly cruise through the still waters.
Looking for inexpensive tickets to California?
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