If you are planning a visit to Southern California, you mustn’t miss Venice Beach! Starting at Windward Ave. and ending three quarters of a mile later at Navy Ave., tourists are in for the stroll of their lives. Beach life flourishes and international tourists flock to this amazing take on vacationing among talented artists, musicians, environmental activists, psychics, locals and world-class bodybuilders, who have their own section of the beach, infamously known as Muscle Beach.
There is NEVER a dull moment and plenty of eye candy for all as you walk down the unique boardwalk through cyclists, roller skaters and skateboarders. There is a gracious cemented path for these activities, but most people ignore the law and travel the boardwalk, not wanting to miss out on the action. From June to August, beach police cruise the boardwalk in vehicles looking for violators. Luckily there is enough room for all and it usually is not a significant problem. Surprisingly, most of the people doing these activities are remarkably good at these sports and will grab your attention as well.
There’s a man who skateboards while his dog runs beside him then, all of a sudden he whisks the small dog up on his shoulder. Everyone thinks the dog is going to hit someone, but I saw this at least ten times and the dog never did. If you arrive early enough, around seven or seven-thirty, you can see all the surfers running towards the water to catch that perfect wave. The musicians and performance artists are usually in full gear by noon and you can stand and watch anything from a performance by a gold painted man and his gold stuffed dog, to a wonderful rendition of Mozart performed by a homeless man on a thrown out piano that he has brought back to life.
Every week the performers and vendors may be different due to a weekly lottery system for spaces. Be sure to check out Elle’s Hats, which are hand crotched. She is very good if I say so myself, able to do special requests within a half-hour! There are plenty of reggae t-shirts, hats, purses and some of the most intricate designer jewelry you will ever find anywhere. Browse the jewelry while listening to the drum circle with it’s own lovely belly dancer to boot. The vendors and performers take pride in their wares, but one note. Do not let children freely examine the merchandise without an adult. Also, don’t let young children venture down the boardwalk or the beach alone. On any given weekend there are over one hundred thousand people there and you never know who can be trusted.
I could go on and on because I am a big fan of Venice Beach. Instead, go, enjoy yourself and then try your best to recover! My last advice is to get there early or you may end up walking a long way to get to the boardwalk from where you were forced to park.