Saturday, January 10, 2015

Venice Beach as Seen by Visitors; Reviews from Yelp! and Trip Advisor for 2014

“Honey, don't worry... keep peddling. It'll just be a little longer and we'll be out of here.”

Venice Beach is a hell hole."

"Wow! The Tijuana of California beaches"

"Dirty as hell. "

"I've been there, done it and don't care to go back "

A year’s collection of reviews of
Venice Beach and Boardwalk
from Trip Advisor and Yelp!

Compiled by Derek Harbaugh
January 6, 2015

3 of 5 starsReviewed January 6, 2015
The boardwalk has lots of colourful shops and cafes - we had a great lunch at the Venice Ale House (ordered a coconut water which came in a real coconut, lovely surprise!)

We stayed in Marina del Rey and walked through Venice to get to Santa Monica - it was a fairly long walk (around 4 miles) but we really enjoyed taking in the scenery on foot.

However, after the sun set we didn't feel safe and witnessed quite a few fights and confrontations going on. Beware!
Visited September 2014
 “Would not hurry to visit here again.”
Visited December 2014
Los Angeles still tries to promote Venice but the place is an embarrassment. They try to pull off the Portland Weird vibe along with mini San Francisco but the place is a dump and most locals stay away. I dare you to hang out in Venice after dark. Hopefully enough tourists will avoid this place and LA will catch on to clean it up. You will be asked for $ constantly by the aggressive homeless. Street performers will aggressively try to get $ out of anyone who stops to watch. The beaches in Los Angeles are depressing...they really are. If you want a better beach experience that involves the pure spirit of surfing and peace try Huntington Beach in Orange County. Bolsa Chica State Beach is attached with excellent bird watching. Or go to Balboa Island Boardwalk/Newport Beach...beautiful peaceful vibe.
2 of 5 starsReviewed December 7, 2014
And with that title I would have to give the nod to TJ. Went on a Saturday afternoon and walked the length of the boardwalk freak show. My wife and I's consensus was "don't want our kids around here!" And our kids are 21-29. From the homeless, to the pot smokers and "carny" types this place literally stinks. The weather was great, so I can't imagine coming here in the summer when it's hot and more people are there.....the smell would really be awesome. California has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and this area is a 'scab' on that beauty. We thought we would see some interesting artist and vendors but it was more along the lines of the worst carnival carnies and bums you can imagine! I counted 4 Pot prescription booths, head shops(which I thought where illegal?). There where no real artist there.......just some white guy trying to rap and another group trying to get old white guys to walk like pimps. Kind of felt dirty when we left. I guess it takes all kinds and if you want to see a bunch of dregs and freaks then this is the place for you.

I would not recommend going and keep your kids away! Just a short drive up the coast to Santa Monica Pier or south to Manhattan Beach is where you can enjoy California beaches not ruined by this blight.
Visited December 2014

Reviewed December 3, 2014
I've been here a few time but wanted to take my wife and little boy to see the famous boardwalk. We took the bus from our Airport hotel and the bus ride was inexpensive and interesting. We arrived a bit late in the afternoon and settled in for a great meal at one of the many cafes and then walked along the boardwalk passing the man on the Blades, a guy laying on broke glass, young men playing 4 on 4 basketball and of course Muscle Beach where a few muscled up boys were trying to charge for a photo. I told them to get out of my shot as they were spoiling the equipment. It still has pzazz but getting on dark it begins to take on that sinister side. It is an area known for drugs and that is their time. Easy. Get there early, enjoy the atmosphere and get going.

2 of 5 stars
Reviewed December 3, 2014
Prior to our California trip, we watched shows, read books, and listened to advice of the places we absolutely shouldn't miss seeing. So on day 1, we headed to the Venice Beach Boardwalk. WOW. Eye opening is an understatement.

We had a bad/scary adventure with parking but that's probably our fault for not researching ahead of time and obviously having a big tourist stamp on our heads! Luckily our rental car wasn't destroyed and none of our belongings were stolen. Just beware of leaving your keys with someone who will park/squeeze your car into a little lot. I'm still amazed that none of the homeless people have figured out that the guys who park the cars leave the driver's windows down and the keys over the visor. That's really safe! Yikes!

The boardwalk is filled with souvenir shops, restaurants, artists, and street performers. It is a very busy atmosphere with all different types of people.

Warning: the locals set up stands and sell homemade crafts but they do NOT want you to take pictures. They will become confrontational if you do and they have signs saying how much they charge to take pictures. So be careful!

Another warning: I knew the boardwalk would be filled with street performers and I knew they'd probably have buckets for tips. But what I didn't know is this....if you stand there and watch a performance, they will throw out a specific dollar amount that you owe when the show is finished ($20 PER PERSON). One show we watched even went as far as to say that having no cash isn't an excuse cause you can use your credit card and get cash out of the ATM right behind them. Also, there wasn't a tip bucket. Instead, they literally walked from one person to the next collecting money. Not a good or safe atmosphere!

There was a freak show on the boardwalk that you could go into for an admission fee. No joke. They had midgets and a bearded lady sitting outside trying to attract tourists to pay to come inside. We didn't take the bait.

We looked at several of the little boardwalk food places and even the biggest restaurants, but none really grabbed our attention (at least not both of us were craving the same type of food).

Overall, we spent several hours here walking the boardwalk and while I'm glad we can mark it off the bucket list, it will NOT be on the list of places I'd like to ever visit again.

Reviewed November 29, 2014
I come to Venice for 40 years and it was never so dirty and full with apparently happy homeless people. They might have found the plant to make all horror disappear, otherwise it is incomprehensive why they stay in droves. If you want to see the sea go to Santa Monica instead.
Visited November 2014

Reviewed November 15, 2014
I would certainly not want to take children here. It felt very dirty no maybe where you are on the broadwalk. I was depressed when leaving just to know so many people are in dire straights even if it is by choice or illness. Knew things were a little different when there were police ever few steps along the boardwalk.
Visited November 2014
1 of 5 stars
Reviewed November 8, 2014
Doesn't look like much has changed over the past 40-50 years. Still looks like something from the 1960-70's. I would not want to go there after dark - scary enough during the day. I would NOT recommend, unless you like that sort of life. Definitely better beach boardwalks.

4 of 5 starsReviewed October 31, 2014
10.30.2014 -- seedy, shabby but fascinating if you can stomach the smell of marijuana wafting out of the numerous Marijuana clinics. But the most major troubling social aspect is the sheer number of homeless people about, amongst their possessions -- some even with multiple pet dogs in tow. Many of the street artists seemed to be living in squalor too on the streets. So sad and so humbling to see.
3 of 5 stars
Reviewed October 27, 2014
It was a beautiful beach, lots of rentals, great restaurants, very congested and lots of homeless people though. Although they do not bother much, there are a significant amount all over the place from on the beach, all along the boardwalk, in the gazebos, etc. It's very sad even though it almost seems as if they enjoy it as odd as that may sound.
Visited October 2014
3 of 5 starsReviewed October 25, 2014
Lots of little stores but nothing special. Homeless laying everywhere, you could smell the marijuana. Just a dirty place and very disappointing.
Visited October 2014

4 of 5 starsReviewed October 18, 2014
Yes, the area is a bit shady but it was interesting to walk down and see all the buzz and crazy people. We went during sunset and there were less people. Shops were nearly closing around 6. Although we did feel like this was bit of a shady area. So watch your bags.

3 of 5 starsReviewed October 12, 2014
I was excited to visit Venice Beach boardwalk but once I got there I couldn't wait to leave. It's so filthy. Yup there is the skateboard park and muscle beach but who cares? It's not that exciting. Absolutely not returning here.

3 of 5 starsReviewed October 10, 2014
Interesting to visit quickly and leave. We walked from Santa Monica to Venice Beach along the boardwalk. What a difference between the two. Venice Beach is dirty, and seems to have a massive gathering of people living along the beach and path ways.

4 of 5 starsReviewed October 7, 2014
This is another must see spot however be prepaired to be hassled by everyone wanting Money the entire time you are here. We did this walk on a 100 degree day, did wonders for the tan Great shopping and food along the way.

2 of 5 starsReviewed September 28, 2014
There's a number of shops along the area, which all cater to the tourist. Once you've been in one shop, you've pretty much been in them all. Few places for food along the area, and most of them looked questionable. The area was filled with homeless people panhandling, some rude street vendors who would stand in your way, and gang members strolling around the area. I was in a group in the middle of the day, so I felt safe, but I wouldn't come back here after dark and/or alone. There was nothing really special about it, and not worth the hype it was given.

2 of 5 starsReviewed September 26, 2014
Venice beach is one of those place you need to go, just to say you have done it. Now I’ve done it, I don’t have any urge to rush back. I was quite disappointed by the selection of shops and food and was expecting something far more up-market than what was available. It really does seem full of tat stalls, with lots of homeless people sleeping along the sidewalk. If you move toward the beach away from the boardwalk, it's much prettier but if you want a safe and less touristy area to walk along, I would head to Santa Monica beachfront instead
Visited September 2014

3 of 5 starsReviewed September 19, 2014
The sites and sounds of the boardwalk are hilarious but I would never bring my kids. Marijuana dispensaries, Jamaican music videos being filmed etc etc. Heck, I went to see the bodybuilders work out and all I saw was a guy working out in his underwear. And I don't mean boxers, I mean Michael Jordan endorsed tight whites. Also, due to the amount of people the actual beach area was horrendous. I actually found a used condom twenty yards in from the shore.
Visited September 2014

4 of 5 starsReviewed September 16, 2014
Very much a case of been there and done that. To be honest it was a bit of a let down. Cheep clothes shops, down and outs and small fenced off gym that is not what you expect to be Muscle Beach. Best said is been there, done that, won't be back!
Visited September 2014

2 of 5 starsReviewed September 15, 2014
It's a beach, beach front, beach walk - just like other beaches but with smell of urine everywhere and lots of homeless staying in the park and beach front. It's not a good sight. Not good for tourist and there's a public toilet here however do not wish to even go in to use it as would assume the homeless pitch their tent near here to use them.

Use the boardwalk to walk to the piers and look at the junk that's being sold by the vendors. Lots of eateries selling fast food.  What's good about it is there's a path for bikes and a path for walkers so there's no clashing however some bikes come into the walkers' path. The sunset is gorgeous from here though.

The water is so far away from the hotel strip as the sandy area is so wide. Heaps of physical activities like cycling, body building equipment, volleyball nets on sand, skate park etc to people watch. So many weirdos.
Visited September 2014

2 of 5 starsReviewed September 11, 2014
After so many years of hearing about this area my wife and I wanted to make it a stop on our California trip. Well....we can say we saw it. We didn't feel unsafe but with the smell of weed in the air, many street craft/art venders who appear to live on the beach and the occasional strong smell of urine......lets just say the area has seen better days. You will see lots of strange characters if you like to people watch but not our scene!
Visited September 2014

3 of 5 starsReviewed September 7, 2014
We rented bikes and went on the bike path To Venice ! Went past Muscle beach and on to the pier ! Soooo many homeless people sleeping in groups on the Grass and on the beach ! Feeling sad in My heart ! We just went out on the pier and rode our bikes back to SM.

2 of 5 starsReviewed September 1, 2014
I have been there many times and sometimes it feels safe and sometimes it is criminal central. I really love the unique feel all the interesting things to shop for and the performance artists. You really don't see that anywhere else in the area so it is a one of a kind experience. I have gone many times and it has been fun and a great time. But sometimes the gangs show up in droves or the homeless are too aggressive and the police presence is not what it should be, so I would say worth a trip but be aware of surroundings.
Visited May 2014

1 of 5 starsReviewed August 27, 2014
Venice Beach - what can I say. The Boardwalk is home to the lost & the bewildered. The air is sweet with the smell of Weed which is freely available to all at a small price. 10 mins after I arrive myself & my daughters had the pleasure of seeing the seedy side of the USA. Men & Women walking around in a total stupor high as kites, while others offered us Weed as if it were a 'Diet Coke'. There is nothing to see here. Seedy gift shops, tattoo parlours & just pure ugly. Maybe this is some1s kinda dream place but if you want class, nice restaurants & beautiful people travel a mile or two down the coast to Santa Monica. Venice Beach is a hell hole. Not even it's beach redeems it.
It was cool to see but I was surprised how dirty it was. I guess I just always thought it was going to be a little nicer. But we still had a good time walking around.
1 of 5 starsReviewed August 16, 2014
After spending a few hours at Santa Monica Beach, my daughter wanted to check out Venice Beach which was about 4 miles south of Santa Monica. So, we drove down and parked at one of the lots a block from the beach and walked in.

I have to say that Venice Beach is the exact opposite of Santa Monica Beach. Venice has a rougher crowd of people, with strange looking people wandering around, shops promoting cannabis, and a lot of swearing in general. Definitely not a place you should take your family.

There's a big fascination for Muscle Beach where big body builders lift weights outside so passbyers can gawk at them, and a skateboard park for 20 year olds to impress the crowds with their skills. In my opinion, these people are just showing off and like the attention, especially the weight lifters. Nothing that I'm interested in.

So if you've got a family and don't want to hear the swearing or see obscene merchandise, avoid Venice Beach and head up to Santa Monica Beach instead.

3 of 5 starsReviewed August 15, 2014
We had parked the car in Venice Beach and walked to Santa Monica along the beach, so we walked back along the Venice Beach Boardwalk. How do you sum up Venice Beach? I guess my heading says it all. There are pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, rollerskaters, beautiful people, bizarre people, and so-called musicians flogging dodgy CDs. There are places to eat, drink and build up your muscles. Yes, it's a bit of a freakshow but it's interesting, I suppose. It wasn't as good as expected, but it depends what you're looking for. I was looking for my car.

1 of 5 starsReviewed August 6, 2014
First I have to say that I have a very open mind, and I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with seeing any place at least once. I stand by that with the VB Boardwalk.

However, this place is just not for me. Although I appreciate the uniqueness and diversity, the entire experience just left me feeling sad. Within 5 minutes, my husband and I stopped for a quick hot dog at one of the boardwalk stands. I noticed a little boy crying nearby - probably about 4 years old. Luckily, a LA fireman on a bike was at the same hot dog stand. We went to get him to help the little boy. Turns out, this little boy was lost. The fireman put the boy on his shoulders to see if he could find his dad. We watched this for about 15 minutes, to no avail, the boy didn't find who he was looking for and was still crying. We walked around for about an hour. On our way out, on the south side of the boardwalk area, the same boy was now with 2 female officers, who were trying to keep him happy. He had a balloon sword he was playing with at this time. Still, no parent anywhere around, and an hour had gone by. I felt so, so, so sorry for him. I wish I knew the resolution of his situation.

Also, I was also deeply saddened by the sight of grown adults bringing their young kids to wait with them into the "medical" places. I am aware that these situations can happen anywhere, but having too much of this in such a short amount of time, all in the same place, gave me the feeling that I needed to get out of there, quick.

The only thing I enjoyed about Venice at all was the neighborhood with the canals (separate review). And that, I loved.

I know a lot of people will think VB is really cool, it just isn't for me. I would never bring my kids there either.
Visited August 2014
3 of 5 starsReviewed July 29, 2014
Take a walk from Santa Monica and enjoy the broad walk .. after a couple of miles you end up in Venice beach .. Official Home of Skateboarding and Golds Gym and the wacky people who inhabit the beach area ... its fruity and controversial , weed and tobacco scent the air it was different but i preferred the less fruity Santa Monica Beach .. its a matter of taste I guess..
Visited May 2014

3 of 5 starsReviewed July 29, 2014
We came here after visiting Santa Monica Pier - jeez, what a difference! At first, when you're walking up from the main street it seems pretty cool and lively, lots of people and lots happening. But then you realize it is just quite dodgy. Heaps of homeless, sketchy-looking people, obvious drug use. It's nothing special, but at least we can say we've been there. Not really a place to spend too much time. The open air gym is pretty funny to watch all the muscly guys showing off! Avoid the public toilets at ALL costs, they are absolutely foul.
Visited June 2014
2 of 5 starsReviewed July 14, 2014
We stopped on the way back to our hotel in Santa Monica. There were people from all walks of life, to say the least. Lots of souvenir shops. Didn't feel safe. Maybe it's better during the day. The beach itself looks nice though.
Visited June 2014

3 of 5 starsReviewed July 13, 2014
There are lots of little shops selling shirts, bags and other odds and ends, there are people skateboarding, there’s the famous gym.. Exactly like i have seen on TV but there are also lots of potheads trying to sell you art, mixtapes and medicinal marijuana.

As someone from Australia, the beach was disappointing. My husband who is American also agreed (Just so you not I am not biased). Its worth a trip to say you have been, but now that i have seen it, i probably wouldn't go again.
Visited November 2013

4 of 5 starsReviewed July 10, 2014
Yes- it's a place to visit so you can say you visited it. Having grown up near Hollywood Florida beach my whole life, I can tell you that Venice Beach is not that attractive. It's eccentric in nature....make no mistake. I've read some reviews where people are saying they saw no drug use, nor strange people. You obviously walked through Venice Beach in 5 minutes!! We were invited into hemp shops, smelled hemp, was stopped by people selling their rap CD's and watched some moron curse at himself profusely. We found it amusing, but I would not recommend this for families with children.

This is a good place to stop and see, but I wouldn't spend a beach day there.
Visited July 2014

2 of 5 starsReviewed July 9, 2014
We really looked forward to visiting this area as we had heard so much about it being a truly unique place. We quickly learned that once was more then enough!. The cast of characters is definitely unique but the place itself was dirty as were many of the characters. A walk out on the pier was nauseating as the smell of urine was overpowering-totally gross.
Visited July 2014
4 of 5 starsReviewed June 29, 2014
I agree with other reviewers who have cautioned, in good nature, that you should be prepared before you go. My wife and I enjoyed the boardwalk. Be sure to stay in the pedestrian lanes, and do not walk in the bike lanes.

Must see attractions: outdoor weight lifters (be warned: if your significant other likes muscle guys, you might have a hard time getting your significant other to leave!); skate park; and the beach itself (it's huge!).

The original "Pumping Iron" documentary (technically, a "docu-drama") with Arnold inspired me to get fit, so seeing Venice Beach and Muscle Beach was a "bucket list" item for sure.

There are lots of hippies and homeless people in Venice Beach, but they never bothered us. Outdoor medical marijuana use is common, so the smell of marijuana is ubiquitous in Venice Beach. Just be aware of that.

There are several medical marijuana "clinics" in Venice Beach, and one of their "doctors" approached me and assured me that he could "get me legal" quickly. I don't have any problems with marijuana use, whether recreationally or medicinally, but I don't smoke, so I politely declined.

Lots of shops, local artists, t-shirt shops, etc.

There are also several street performers. Do not photograph them without tipping them. That's a fast way to start an argument or a scene.

A police officer warned me not to carry my camera equipment to Venice after dark. He used the phrase, "sitting duck" about 5 times. Definitely keep your "Street Smarts" while on the boardwalk, especially at night. Violent crime is extremely rare, but with all of the street performers and other activities, pickpockets and other thefts could occur. Carry your wallet in your front pocket, put your cell phone in your pocket, etc.

3 of 5 starsReviewed June 25, 2014
This is part of our city tour, so many shops to see and many skate boarders. The only downfall is too many homeless people at the walk areas, using tents and police roaming around too often, otherwise nice place to walk
Visited June 2014
3 of 5 starsReviewed June 23, 2014
Venice is something that should be seen for first timers to LA. That being said I doubt many would want more than one visit. It’s so grubby and carnival like. And man have those Venicians got the no free photo thing down. Signs everywhere. Food looks nasty and junk shops are expensive.
Visited June 2014

3 of 5 starsReviewed June 15, 2014
Coming from the conservative south, it was hard to keep my lower jaw in place. There were some fun "street performances" and the view once you walked down to the beach was pretty, but this is not a place for families with small children at all, and I saw plenty there. Tattoo shops, medicinal marijuana evaluations, piercing shops, scantily clad "muscle men", homeless sleeping all around - I've been there, done it, don't care to go back.

3 of 5 starsReviewed June 12, 2014 via mobile
During the day I felt ok walking the boardwalk. There are a bunch of people selling their work and some was cool. But once it became dark you soon realized how many people actually live on the boardwalk or beach. I have never seen so many homeless people. It was so depressing. Many were drunk or smoking weed I didn't feel safe. Cops would stay in their vehicles and watch the drama that took place.
Visited April 2014

3 of 5 starsReviewed May 28, 2014
I visited Venice Beach several years ago, and it was a vivid, active place to visit. I stopped by to check it out once again, and was sad to see it is falling apart, and homeless people have taken-over the boardwalk. Tourists will not like seeing that. The prices of t-shirts have gone up, and this place used to be a reasonably priced place to find t-shirts, but not any more! The ocean is the only thing that is a positive experience of Venice Beach. The rest of it is dirty, and disappointing. I am not sure I will be returning. I did visit a restaurant that was very impressive and reasonable, I just wish I could remember the name. It reminded me of a malt shop, and the owner was very nice and professional. I would definitely eat there again.
Visited May 2014

2 of 5 starsReviewed May 22, 2014
I was actually looking forward to going there, but I guess my expectations were a little too high. The place is plain dirty and not just because there's homeless people laying around everywhere, but also trash on the boardwalk. also you're constantly forced to dodge people on skateboards and bikes who seem not to care if they hit you or not. it smells of weed pretty much everywhere, which is also sort of annoying.

The good side: there's a different group of street performers every 10 ft and a lot of them are really good. there's a skate park right next to it, so if you wanna see some good skateboard action you can go there. we actually saw "the illusion" (youtube-guy who was on Tosh.0) skate around a little. And the restaurants have decent prices and long happy hours. But overall it's a place that you go to once and then you're done with it.
Visited March 2014
2 of 5 starsReviewed May 16, 2014
I had heard this was a wild scene with lots of characters, fun shops, Muscle Beach, etc. We've travelled a lot and don't mind the offbeat character. However, this was not what I expected. The only "characters" were the homeless who were mostly sleeping everywhere. The shops were cheap t-shirt shops, cheap souvenir shops and marijuana dispensaries with "the doc is in" signs -- on repeat over and over along the street. The stores had aggressive street hawkers trying to lure you in. Even Muscle Beach was just a run down set of weights with some older guys working out. Maybe it picks up during the summer, but this was a beautiful day in April--perfect workout weather. Anyway, I was sad that this former fun boardwalk has declined into this.
Visited April 2014
2 of 5 starsReviewed May 14, 2014 via mobile
When I heard of the boardwalk, I thought it would be awesome people watching. I'm not scared of homeless or strange looking people. I prepared my 10 year old what to expect when we got there. We rode our bikes from our hotel about 10 minutes to the boardwalk, but was not prepared for how bad it was. There were homeless people laying in the streets, people screaming and talking to them selves, it was if we had walked into a psychiatric ward gone bad. I told my husband I didn't feel comfortable with my daughter seeing what was going on. Do not take your children here!
Visited May 2014
1 of 5 starsReviewed May 12, 2014
Apparently this used to be a really nice boardwalk at one time, but it's not anymore. Glad we came during the day. Not for families.
Visited May 2014
3 of 5 starsReviewed April 17, 2014
This place is unsurprisingly full of hobos,  that means in broad daylight seeing people going to the toilet in public, sleeping around the palm trees and on the beach, intimidating people etc.

Most worryingly, today I cycled past a guy without shoes who out of nowhere started threatening these guys on their bikes at the top of his voice, with kids and women about "i'm going to f****** cut your head off!!" - after he asked for a ride and they cycled on.

Please be aware this place is dangerous.

Take away the hobos, and you have an excellent beach, excellent bike paths and skate parks and not a bad vibe, also great for people watching. However the stalls and shops are all the same cheap tatt, and again with all the tramps and hobos you won't believe you are in supposedly a civilized, developed country.

No wonder there are no 4/5* hotels here on the beachfront.
Visited April 2014
3 of 5 starsReviewed April 16, 2014
It's great for people watching and also for looking at the lovely beachfront houses, however, you are harassed a lot and there's nothing really there for me.

2 of 5 stars
Reviewed February 27, 2014
bring your camera! you will see it all here. lots of people, marijuana doctors, huge amounts of homeless people, shady characters, tattoo shops, the smell of drugs........and everyone else trying to make a dollar from you.

lots of shops and food spots around. check out muscle beach and the skate park if you can. parking isn’t too expensive. bathrooms are not the best. watch out for the bikers and skaters zooming by.

Visited March 2013
2 of 5 stars
Reviewed January 28, 2014
The shoreline and water and both stunning and beautiful .... But that is all that is stunning and beautiful!  We drove Hwy 1 from LA area South to San Diego and this beach was by far the most interesting in looks but not the nicest by far.
Great place if you are a people watcher (wouldn’t go there after dark) and if you are in need of a medicinal use licence for Pot smoking.... Lots of crazy looking and strange people and not what I excepted for sure!

2 of 5 starsReviewed January 21, 2014
We always go down the bike path thru Venice Beach. This year it seemed a bit dirtier and like anyone can just put a table up with anything on it for sale. Watch out for people shoving cd's at you saying they are free but then asking for a donation to their cause. Weekends are impossible to walk freely down the walkway by the shops. A lot of performers, different types that caused congestion and stopped the entire flow of the foot traffic. Though bathrooms are plenty make sure you have some tissue in your purse or backpack as none of the stalls had any when we visited. Save yourself time looking for parking and just go all the way to the beach for parking it's cheaper and less hassle. Fun for a short visit to see all the different things but keep your eyes open. The shops have some cute clothes but a lot you could find in the bigger stores for less. The freak show people walk up and down to solicit people to come to the shows. Watch out for the tree trunk that may stand up off a nearby stoop as it will freak you out. Week day visit will be a better experience.
Visited December 2013
2 of 5 starsReviewed January 21, 2014
Why travel overseas to a third world, when you can visit Venice Beach?. For such a well known location I was disappointed and concerned with the local people who seemed to live by the beach in boxes etc. I guess this is just the social divide of USA.
With people hanging around the public toilets and signs saying "no public toilets available" inside restaurants I would make sure you are prepared if you want to make a visit. Vagrants abound in this area, maybe I'm just a concerned parent.

1 of 5 starsReviewed January 16, 2014
First of all, people were smoking pot right out in the open. I'm not cool with that, sorry. I was too nervous holding on to my purse to really do much people-watching. The only enjoyment we had was watching the skateboarders. They are pretty talented!

If you are going to Los Angeles to get the whole "LA" experience, I guess this is a good place to go, but it was not for us.
Visited January 2014

2 of 5 starsReviewed January 7, 2014
I live in Venice and have spent countless hours on the boardwalk area.

The Venice boardwalk is not a true boardwalk in the wood-on-piers way. It's a large pedestrian walk that runs from Santa Monica to the Venice Pier along the beach. In its history, it was part side-show, part outdoor market, carnival, fair -- like a Coney Island. Nowadays, there is still a sampling of this vibe but the bigger cross section is cheap sunglass stands, "artists" selling wares, tattoo shops, lots of cheap food stands. There are some nicer restaurant options which is a nice addition and makes for popular places for people watching on a nice day. This is definitely not a retail destination. But if you forgot your hat or sunglasses or flip flops, you'll find them here.

My biggest complaint are the homeless. There is a lot of crime and drug use, mostly after dark, but even during the day, it's very apparent that groups of people are literally living on the beach with piles of stuff and sometimes even tents. I am all for supporting these people with city services but I have seen time and time again, the homeless littering or urinating in public. This is prime ocean front property and as a resident I want to feel that I can use it. I want it to be clean and inviting when a visitor comes to see it. Overall it just comes across a little seedy and like you need to keep a close eye on your wallet.

Venice has a definite eclectic charm but this beach front stretch is sadly not it's best side. See the beach, yes, but for a better experience of Venice, visit Abbott Kinney.
Visited January 2014

1 of 5 starsReviewed January 5, 2014
If you are seeking a quiet, relaxing vacation, this is not the place to be. We rented bikes then got out of there quickly. The beach and boardwalk are very crowded. There are a lot of homeless people and strange characters. It is much nicer in Santa Monica, which is just a short bike ride away.

3 of 5 stars
Reviewed January 1, 2014
This is a very long Boardwalk that is filled with a lot of different Shops and restaurants. There are a lot of vendors here and one has to be very careful what they do around here at night. It is worth going to see as the beach is awesome. There are a lot of homeless tents and belongings every where Drug paraphernalia is readily available in a lot of stores and shops. Still worth the visit if you can find a parking spot. Best advice is to leave before it gets dark.