48 Hours Solo In Venice Beach & Santa Monica: What To See/Do | Budget Travel Guide
As some of you know, back in 2018, I had what was possibly the best month of my life so far when I went travelling around the USA. The first leg of my trip involved embarking on a Trek America tour (read all about that here) before going on to meet my friend in San Francisco. However, being the savvy traveller that I am, I did some *quick maths* and realised it was actually cheaper to travel to LA a few days early and pay for a cheap hostel, than pay for the more expensive flight on the day I needed it for the tour (read the full cost breakdown of my whole trip here). And so, I flew out early and spent 2 nights in the beautiful Venice Beach by myself before I met up with my Trek group.
Fast forward to me arriving and spending 48 hours wandering around: I quickly realised that there is SO much to do in the area. You can easily fill 48 hours full of activities that are great for flying solo, and I'm here to tell you what those things are, so let's begin!
Venice Beach Boardwalk
Free. The famous ocean-side walk way that is the hub of all things Venice. This busy, vibrant boulevard is filled with street performers and lined with palm trees. Along here you'll find hostels, restaurants, shops and the famous Venice Beach Skate Park.
The Mosaic Tile House
$20. Open Saturdays 12-3pm only. This house and gardens are exactly what you'd expect them to be... made completely out of tile mosaics. Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran are established artists who have been living in and working on the house for over a decade, and now they let people in to see it too. Although on the more spendy side of things, the house is such a unique experience, so definitely pay it a visit if you're there on a Saturday and have the money to spare. Visit the website for the house here.
Take A Surfing Lesson
From $50. Venice Beach has some of the best surfing conditions in the LA area, and is perfect for beginners and seasoned pros alike. Lessons are also a great idea if you'd like some company for a few hours. There are plenty of surf schools dotted along the beach offering different lessons and prices, so make sure you have a shop around to see which suits you best. If a recommendation is needed, Kapowui has been awarded the "best surf school in Venice Beach" for the past 7 consecutive years, although they are slightly more expensive.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Free. Known locally as the 'coolest block in America' filled with famous brands, vintage boutiques, galleries and independent cafes, this mile long street offers absolutely everything you could want. Far from the hustle and bustle of inner city shopping, the atmosphere here is effortless, cool, boho chic. The perfect way to spend a relaxed afternoon.
Free. It's not just the atmosphere that's vibrant in Venice, the walls are too. The majority of the boulevard, skate parks and side streets are bursting with colour; the whole area feels like a giant art commission. Have a wander, admire the pieces, take some cool selfies, whatever you fancy.
Free. Originally the birth place of the 'fitness boom' in America, Muscle Beach is filled with obstacles to swing, push, pull and well... gain muscles from. Whether you want to join in or just watch, it's one of the most famous places in the area so make sure you don't miss it.
Free. Why do you think the place is called Venice? Abbot Kinney bought this area of land way back in 1904 and began modelling the area on the Italian city of the same name. The canals now provide some of the most beautiful and peaceful walkways in California, hidden away from the busy ocean front. The area is a wildlife preserve, and is often home to all kinds of birds. There's a monarch butterfly garden, and occasionally seals enter the water through open ocean gates.
Santa Monica Pier
Free. Possibly the most famous image of the area, you'll probably have seen the silhouette of this pier against a dramatic sunset whenever you've Googled Santa Monica. Here you can lie on the beach, go fishing, ride a rollercoaster, or do a spot of souvenir shopping while watching the various shows and street performers that often occupy the walkways.
Third Street Promenade & Santa Monica Place
Free. If you came to America to shop, this is where you need to be. From worldwide brands to independent stores, cafes to restaurants, this mall area is the hub of all things spending.
Watch The LA Sunset
Free. Are you even in Los Angeles without a damn good sunset? The sun sets perfectly over the ocean here and can be seen from most areas along the coast. Personally I recommend heading over to the pier, or down near the skate park/ palm trees, for that real boho California experience.
Venice Beach was such an incredible place, and it's impossible to feel lonely in such a vibrant place, even when travelling solo. Don't forget, going on tours and staying in hostels are always a good way to meet some friends if you don't want to venture out alone. I wrote a whole post on my tips for your first solo trip a while ago, you can read it here if you'd like. Also I stayed in the Samesun Venice Beach hostel which was really social and in the perfect location to walk to all attractions, I'd definitely recommend it.
Does Venice Beach sound like somewhere you'd like to go? Have you ever travelled anywhere solo before? Let me know!
Speak soon, Meg x