There’s something so sweet about saying you’re going to Venice Beach. 1 – Because without clarification others will automatically picture you exploring the canal ways of Italy’s Venizia via a gondola. 2 – Venice gives a sense of nostalgia and the hopes of a teenage Leonardo DiCaprio wandering around. Outside of all of that, Venice Beach is a hip area full of Insta-worthy spots, grit and colorful characters along the way. Here’s the rundown on where to stay, eat, and shop with drinks all throughout while visiting this charming little beach town.
Not only is it a short walk from the famous Venice boardwalk, but Hotel Erwin is a green hotel and they have a killer rooftop view. Grab a Lemon Apple Toddy and grub on some crab dip on their rooftop for an amazing sunset. Or book an oceanview room and pop a bottle of wine from Venice Beach Wines on your balcony.
Hotels not your thing? Live like a local and go with an Airbnb. We love the “Venice Roost” and this artsy loft on Abbot Kinney. For some peace and quiet, check out this beachy guest house on an island in the Venice canals or go for this ’60s-inspired airstream home — beach cruisers included!
Due to lack of seating and overcrowding, your best bet is to grab some breakfast at Gjusta and enjoy it on your balcony at Hotel Erwin or your Airbnb while watching the city from above. The food at this no-frills deli is worth the wait and confusion. Make eye contact with the staff like you’re ordering alcohol and grab some freshly-baked pastries (the baklava croissant is a must-have), charcuterie, a porchetta sandwich and a side of vegetables… any vegetables.
As the frilly big sister of Gjusta, Gjelina is another must-do on every “what-to-eat in LA list” but we would be doing a disservice to you to not include it. LA isn’t really known for its pizza, especially if you happen to be visiting from New York, but Gjelina nails it. We suggest the mushroom, fontina, truffle tremor goat cheese, thyme pizza and the grilled bok choy with bottarga and chili, and literally anything else on the menu.
If the two-hour wait at Gjelina doesn’t work for you, head over to South End where you’re more likely to get a table. Order a Neapolitan-style pizza with a glass of wine and enjoy the local vibes. Order the Venus — the simplicity of the pepperoni, red onions and chili make this pizza so good.
Superba Food + Bread
Follow the smell of fresh baked bread over to Lincoln Blvd to the bright picturesque Superba for any meal of the day from specialty toasts to smoky lamb ribs. On a cooler night, stay a while and wrap up in one of Superba’s blankets. Get a baguette to-go for a beach picnic later.
One of New York’s favorite lunch spots, The Butcher’s Daughter, opened the outpost of their “vegetable slaughterhouse” on Abbott Kinney earlier this year to bring its vegetarian/vegan fare to the West Coast. This isn’t your basic avocado toast — The Angeleno is topped with cilantro, strawberry and corn salsa, burrata and chili oil, all heaped on top of 12-grain toast. Wash it down with a cold-pressed juice cocktail.
LA is known for good Mexican food and while maybe not the most authentic spot, Cerveteca serves up some good tacos. Outside seating is a prime spot for people-watching on Rose Avenue — and it’s dog-friendly if your road dog is traveling with you. Start your meal off with Mama’s Ceviche and Fried Calamari with Shishito Peppers and Leche de Tigre Dip. As far as tacos go, the Baja tacos and grilled salmon tacos are delicious. Have a beer from their wide selection or a cocktail and enjoy conversation with your table neighbors in close quarters.
This cool-girl brand is designed in Venice and made in L.A. The brand has become a cult favorite and their store is just as dreamy as their Instagram account. Shop effortless dresses you can wear to the beach and then over to a lunch meeting.
Flowerboy Project is a one-stop shop to cure your caffeine and flower addiction while offering up some apothecary and other cool products on the side. Designed by the people behind The Line Hotel, you know this place has good interiors. Choose an item off the alphabet magnet menu, but we suggest their homemade cold brew or The Rose Girl (steamed rose and honey milk).
A curated collection of, well… everything, Burro is like the treasure trove of Venice. From cute stationery and trinkets to handmade jewelry and woven homewares, there is too much cute in this store to not walk out with something.
General Store started out in San Francisco, and the second location in Venice is run by Boss Babe, Hannah Henderson. Stop in for beautifully crafted artisan-made products like California ceramics, jewelry and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.
If the Mad Hatter lived in the wonderland of Venice, this is where he would shop. Venice’s very own hat maker, Nick Fouquet, calls his brand a “psychedelic bourgeoisie bohemian experience” inspired by a mix of travel, Tom Sawyer, Keith Richards and his dad. The hats are made with 100% beaver fur felt which is sustainably harvested and many styles feature a signature matchstick in the band. Go up your hat game.
The Pistol Club
Take a step back into the ’70s in this vintage-lovers dream on Abbot Kinney. Owned by vintage-curator and stylist Shelly Glagock, this store is a goldmine for Stevie Nicks devotees. From old-school graphic tees to custom leather jackets, this store is not short of major finds.
The Piece Collective
Wander through the bright yellow triangle door into a haven for modern boho wares by local and global indie designers. They have apparel, accessories, home goods and even footwear. Right now we’re crushing on their Bedouin dining collection handmade in Morocco.
Walk along the famous road and spend the day perusing all the shops it has to offer.
Lots of artists flock to Venice, so it’s no wonder there’s lots of street art to be seen. Take a guided tour of Venice’s murals or just see what you stumble on.
Pick up some churros and walk along the boardwalk for an entertaining people-watching experience from fire breathers to stilt walkers.
Buy a cheap towel from the boardwalk and sit on the beach, take in the waves and enjoy the fact that you are in this quirky town of sunny California.
Stroll the Canals
If you’re looking to escape the noisy crowds of Venice Beach, take a stroll down the canals. Built in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney in attempt to recreate Venice, Italy in America, the canals are a fusion of eras with its historical waterways and eclectic homes. Immaculate backyard gardens and roaming ducks make for a perfectly charming and surprisingly peaceful walk.
Written by Danika Daly
Feature image via Curbed