After reading a glowing story about visiting Venice Beach in Los Angeles in an Australian travel magazine, I decided to write my own, but this one isn’t the type endorsed by a travel company. This is my opinion
Venice Beach, a neighbourhood of the city of Los Angeles, is known for its eccentric people and lack of rules.
When you arrive at Venice Beach is hard to believe this place is located so close to ultra chic places like Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Bel-Air.It seems a million miles away from the upmarket and refined Los Angeles you expect.
I’ve read it branded as ‘quirky and creative’ and ‘American as apple pie’
My goodness I think its better to be called bizarre, over-hyped and stinky.
I have been there a few times over the years and though its really nothing more than a beach, beach front and a concrete beach walk , it is one of the craziest places we have been.
Most Australians go there for the concrete beach walk, the 2.5 kilometre promenade (or Boardwalk) that runs parallel to the beach.
They certainly don’t go there to go swimming at the beach.
Last time I was there a storm had happened two days before and the storm water run off had forced the beach to close ‘due to sewerage contamination’.
LA is home to three of the 10 locations listed on Heal the Bay’s annual Beach Bummer List, which ranks the most polluted beaches in the state.
I really didn’t think the beach was special, I may be biased but we have some of the best beach in the world on our doorstep in Queensland.
On the other side of the boardwalk artists, live street performers, artisans and people that seem to have no talent at all sell their goods under umbrellas and in tents.
The place is known for its crazy performers, fortune tellers and the barely dressed guys working out at Muscle Beach.
Just trying to walk down the boardwalk avoiding the joggers, rollerbladers, marijuana doctors and skateboarders and not trip over people and the litter on the concrete was a challenge for mum.
She also was nervous about her personal safety with the amount of homeless people and “druggy types” around. She said she had never seen so many weirdo’s in one place.
It is hard to get rid of the guys who want you to buy their latest album or the pushy salesmen in green who want you to see the marijuana doctor. (Stop yelling at my mother that your “medicinal” herb can help her arthritis; she does NOT have arthritis, she is just gripping tight to me because you are scaring her)
The area is full of homeless people and can look unwelcoming, untidy and dirty.
There seems to be a population of homeless people who sleep next to the boardwalk or on the beach.The day we visited, there were a number of men and women sleeping underneath the palm trees with all of their worldly possessions next to them.
Muscle Beach is the iconic bodybuilders training area, an outdoor gym with open-air weights being lifted by bodybuilders wearing the tiniest tightest briefs or speedos we have seen.
I’m told that Arnold Schwarzenegger trained here in the 70’s.
You can’t miss the giant concrete barbell atop the roof, its located near the 18th street intersection on the Venice Beach.
A word of advice, be careful when you are taking photo’s, as a number of people there don’t like their picture taken and also will insist on a charge of a dollar or two for the picture.
Venice Beach is part of the City of Los Angeles Public Park system.
Public restrooms are available up and down the Venice Beach Boardwalk.
Restrooms are located at the following locations:
Washington – Venice Pier Parking Lot
North Venice – Beach Parking Lot
17th Ave & Ocean Front Walk by Basketball Courts or Muscle Beach
Horizon Ave & Ocean Front Walk
Brooks Ave & Ocean Front Walk
Ozone & Ocean Front Walk – Beach Parking Lot
The public bathrooms on Venice Beach really are quite nice to look at – outside. Some with nice mosaics.
However, the inside of these restrooms did not match their outer beauty.
In general Californian public toilets along the beach are made of metal,which can be quite cold, and there is rarely paper or soap, but more importantly there is a chance you may find someone sleeping in a beach bathroom.
As there are so many homeless choosing to sleep near the bathrooms the cleanliness is not high either
For us Venice beach and its Boardwalk didn’t live up to the expectation. We thought it was a bit of a tourist trap – long past its heyday of bohemian artists.
On weekends the whole area can get very congested, filling the the tacky stores and sidewalks full of the oddest people. and thousands of tourists.
I would say it could be fun for people watching, if you could find somewhere you felt comfortable enough to sit to people watch