Los Angeles is famous for it’s year-round sunshine, comfortable warm weather, and perfect coastal positioning. While you may be stuck for time, fitting in the boundless sights and attractions this cultural mecca has to offer, we strongly suggest making time to wind back and relax, and treat yourself to an LA beach day.
Here’s our itinerary for making the most of your day basking in the LA beach vibe.
Bike the Strip
It’s been done by so many, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it, its definitely a great activity and helps you get in all of the sights along the Venice Beach to Santa Monica strip. We parked in an all-day parking lot right on the beach front at Venice beach where the action all starts. As soon as you are here you will be overcome by the many companies offering bike hire, some starting out at ridiculous rates, others very budget friendly.
Don’t take the first option you see. We did a quick google and found a store offering an online discount for their basic beach rider bike just around the corner, and this ended up saving us a good $20 each (this is like two extra Aperol’s to enjoy at sunset!!!). Ps. You only need the basic bikes on offer because the bike path is completely flat, so none of that fancy bike gear is necessary.
Once your sorted with your bike take to the bike path stretching from the hustle and bustle of the Venice beach market place, all the way up to Santa Monica. This is a great way to scope out your future setup spot, and also gets you to Santa Monica Pier in a fun and easy fashion.
Explore the Pier
Once you reach Santa Monica Pier, lock up your bike (this should be provided by your hire company), and set off exploring the vibrant pier and its breathtaking views along the LA coastline.
Because I am a child at heart, there was no way I was letting us leave the pier without taking a ride on the famous Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel. It’s the perfect place to get above the crowds for some even more amazing views of the beach and LA, and it’s also a bit of light hearted fun that’s sure to give you a chuckle. The sight of two grown 25 year old men, laughing and having a mid-ride photoshoot was no doubt an interesting sight for the other visitors of the pier, but who’s to judge, we’re on holidays!
Checkout Abbot Kinney Blvd
After you’ve played out your Los Angeles childhood dreams on Santa Monica Pier, take to the bike path again and return your bike. The longer you hire the more it costs, so we figured we’d seen what we wanted on the bike and got the most out of them, so we dropped them off and took to walking. Next stop, Abbot Kinney Blvd.
We hadn’t heard a lot about Abbot Kinney, we’d just seen a few Instagram posts of cool looking stores, so figured we could spend some time before lunch checking them out, before heading back to take in the beach. Abbot Kinney is an easy 10-minute walk back from the beach, through the Venice streets, don’t stress once you get there you can recharge in one of the many cute café’s waiting for you.
Upon arriving to Abbot Kinney we were blown away by just how cool this street was. It is a long stretch of trendy stores catering to minimalist, bohemian, modern design lovers. There are so many different stores here, many not seen anywhere else, that you could easily spend your whole day here browsing, or purchasing, depending on your will power. Definitely, keep an eye on the time, because you still have plenty of things to do before days end.
Now if you’re like us, then by now you would have definitely worked up an appetite, lucky for you Abbot Kinney is overflowing with awesome foodie hot spots, two of which feature on our Top 3 LA Eats post. We opted for Butcher’s Daughter, but honestly there are so many great places to choose from depending on what you’re craving.
It’s Beach Time
Now the sightseeing is done, and you’ve filled your belly with some LA culinary goodness, it’s time to walk off that lunch and head back to Venice Beach for some much-deserved beach time. One thing we will say is that Venice Beach is unsurprisingly very busy, it’s full of tourists and LA locals, so finding a spot can be a bit of a mission. But, once you pick your spot, set up and make your claim, you’re in it for the long run. This is the time to sit back, relax and rotate between swimming in the cool Pacific Ocean and getting your Californian tan on.
We stayed at the beach right up until sunset, and trust me you will want to do this too. Sunset at Venice Beach is incredible, and the photos you will get are jaw-dropping. With so many options to choose from you can watch the light fade away over the Malibu mountains and turn the coastal condos a beautiful orange glow, or you can take up a spot along one of the very recognisable Venice Beach lifeguard towers like we did, and take some very California-vibe photos.
Dinner is waiting for you!
Once the sun has set and the party starts to pick up along the Venice Beach foreshore, you will see more and more people line the streets and take part in the Venice culture of street performances, and budding artists showing their craft.
We knew this was time for us to pack up and head to our dinner. We had chosen our spot earlier in the day when we were on Abbot Kinney, because as I said, the place is teeming with amazing dining options. We chose Gjelina for dinner, and it was the perfect finale to an amazing beach day. We left Venice Beach feeling very drained from the sun we had taken in all day and all of our activities, but we absolutely loved jamming everything in and living the LA beach life for even just one day.
For a very comfortable and convenient stay while you’re in LA, check out the Airbnb we stayed in here.