How to Navigate Venice Beach Like a Local: 10 Spots to Check Out
Whether you're visiting Los Angeles or are a long-time resident, spending time in Venice is a must. The beach town, known for its rowdy boardwalk and skateboarding park, is also home to top-notch shops and some of L.A.’s best restaurants—both on famed Abbot Kinney Blvd. and on neighboring streets, like Rose Ave., in the quaint, seaside area.
A visit to this Westside oasis feels like a mini vacation (and if you're on vacation already, bonus points!). Strolling through the Venice Canals is reminiscent of (and modeled after) Italy's Venice—look for gondolas and tiny boats passing under its artfully designed bridges. Nearby Abbot Kinney Blvd. is lined with hip boutiques and delicious restaurants (hello, Gjelina).
New spots open here all the time so you’ll always find something refreshing and cool. Plus, on the first Friday of every month, stores stay open late, food trucks line the street, and Abbot Kinney transforms into a giant block party. If it gets too hectic, head over to Lincoln Blvd. (Highway 1). The wide thoroughfare that cuts right through the city is rapidly growing and populated with a number of chic spaces worth a visit.
Can't decide where to go? We've rounded up a list of our favorite spots in Venice and broken them down in categories for quick reference. So skip the tourist-trap boardwalk and check out these can’t-miss destinations instead.
Gjusta: For Coffee (and a Killer Bagel)
Chef Travis Lett, from Venice staple Gjelina, recently opened this deli counter and café on Sunset Ave.—and you’ll want to order one of everything (falafel sandwich, brisket banh mi, avocado mousse, and more). Going for brunch? A café con leche and bagel with cold smoked lox will do the trick. Plus, the staff are outfitted in chic gear from Gjusta’s collaboration with denim brand Citizens of Humanity and online retailer The Dreslyn. You can even buy their workman jackets (in pale white or overdyed light blue) on The Dreslyn's site, with 20 percent of the proceeds going to the Gjelina Volunteer Program. Brunch with a side of giving back? We’re all for that.
320 Sunset Ave.; 310-314-0320; gjusta.com
Garrett Leight California Optical: For Cool Eyewear
Garrett Leight recently opened an outpost of his uber-cool eyewear brand on Abbot Kinney Blvd., complete with a cactus garden and a floor-to-ceiling slated wood display to show off rows of chic frames. Need opticals in a pinch? This location is the first GLCO store with a full service optical lab that can fill prescription lenses in one hour. Not only that, they can customize your new specs as well, like intstalling custom sunglass or dye lenses.
1522 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310-392-3225; garrettleight.com
Cuyana: For Stylish Basics
San Francisco-based handbag and apparel company Cuyana set up shop on Abbot Kinney Blvd., next to other fellow wardrobe wonderkid Current/Elliott. The 1,000-square-foot boutique, full of must-haves that meet its mantra of “fewer, better things," showcases a selection of high-quality, timeless leather totes, wallets, travel cases, and a pared-back clothing line. The boutique also offers custom monogramming on-site.
1140 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 844-326-6005; cuyana.com
Leona: For a True California Dinner
This new restaurant sits on Washington Blvd. and draws crowds for its seasonally driven, California-inspired menu. Kick off your meal with the Coctel Mixto (local seafood, radish, cilantro, and crispy rice paper), then order the local black cod (mouthwatering!). To round out the restaurant's California surf vibe, the walls are lined with historic Venice photography. Bonus: Fresh baked cookies and house made agua frescas are served out of a side window if you’re just jonesing for a snack.
123 Washington Blvd.; 310-822-5379; leonavenice.com
Moon Juice: For Pressed Juice (an L.A. Staple)
Nestled on the budding Rose Ave., this juice spot specializes in 100 percent organic, cold-pressed juices, nut and seed “Moon Milks,” and Gwyneth Paltrow’s favorite "Moon Dust" powder supplements. Need a boost? Order the Goodness Greens, made with celery, spinach, dandelion, kale, and parsley. The super juice claims to alkalize, detoxify, lift moods, and raise energy levels. Then, might we suggest grabbing one of its famous dusts to kick your at-home smoothies up a notch? The “Beauty Dust” promotes glowing supple skin, shiny hair, and brighter eyes.
507 Rose Ave.; 310-399-2929; moonjuiceshop.com
Christy Dawn: For Boho-Chic Dresses
If you’re wondering where the Venice locals shop, look no further than Christy Dawn, a boutique on Lincoln Blvd. that sells vintage-inspired frocks handmade from deadstock fabric. The line of flowy dresses (some one-of-a-kind) are perfect for the breezy L.A. sunshine. Plus, Taylor Swift and Emily Ratajkowski are fans, so you know they’re cool-girl approved. While you’re there, stop into neighboring stores Late Sunday Afternoon and Bassike.
1930 Lincoln Blvd.; 310-450-7860; christydawn.com
General Store: For Gifts to Bring Home
Located just across the street from Christy Dawn is another Lincoln Blvd. must-stop: General Store. The shop is filled with unique ceramics, books, jewelry, vintage clothing, and everything you didn’t realize you needed. Justify your purchases (because you can’t leave without buying something beautiful) by gifting friends and family with souvenirs from the shop.
1801 Lincoln Blvd.; 310-751-6393; shop-generalstore.com
Hotel Erwin: For the Best Views
Skip up to the rooftop of this beachfront hotel for happy hour and a killer sunset. The combo of breezy ocean air and views down the coastline will surely amp up vacation-mode. Plus, the roof is a haven for the tech wizards that make up “Silicon Beach” (the Silicon Valley-like tech center of Los Angeles) in case you’re ready to pitch your next great idea.
1697 Pacific Ave.; 800-786-7789; hotelerwin.com
Love Yoga: For a Quick Yoga Sesh
Shut out the busy L.A. madness with a yoga class at Love Yoga. The serene, blue-walled space will have you reaching zen in no time and its classes are inspired by flowing movement and grace. Try the “Love Flow,” an all-levels vinyasa, or the “Tough Love” class for advanced students, where you can expect arm balancing and inversion practices within the vinyasa format. Namaste.
835 Lincoln Blvd.; loveyogaspace.com
Parachute: For Home Goods
Online bedding company Parachute recently opened its showroom on Rose Ave. Its high-quality bed sheets are designed in Venice Beach, made of the finest long-staple Egyptian cotton, and spun in a Tuscan mill (the linen bedding is produced in Portugal). Aside from creating the comfiest bed ever, these luxe sheets are also reasonably priced (top sheets are $50 and fitted sheets are $60). Parachute also just launched its bath towel collection, so you can restock your entire abode at the new spot.
542 Rose Ave.; parachutehome.com