Los Angeles is so vast that it stretches beyond your imagination. If you are on a high point with a 360 degree view, you will see the city going in every direction. However what makes it an interesting and worth visiting is not visible from that high point. As we did not have a lot of time dedicated to L.A., we had to pick and choose among many landmarks and recommended places. After seeing Hollywood, we thought that our next stop should be Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Well, that was a great decision.
Santa Monica is a beautiful area with lots of shopping, dining and sightseeing options. I cannot say we discovered each and every exclusive corners of the town but stayed there long enough to appreciate the feeling of being in L.A. Santa Monica Pier is something you have probably seen in a movie and is definitely a worthy sight after dark.
If you come by car, I would recommend to park it at one of the multi storey parking lots at Santa Monica and enjoy the area on foot. You can easily walk to Venice Beach and take a cab back.
The seaside walk until and by the Venice Beach was surely one of the most memorable experiences we had. Our timing was fortunate so that we could have a late afternoon lunch at the start of the Venice Beach, coming from Santa Monica. The nachos we had was served with a generous and delicious portion of salsa & guacamole.
By the time we arrived at the very heart of the area, it was late afternoon, impending sunset was perfect to soak it in and take beautiful pictures.
Venice Beach is not only famous for the ocean and very wide sand beach where people swim, surf, build sand castles or play sports. It is also famous for the most entertaining people watching opportunities offered along the promenade.
There are literally all sorts of shops, selling anything from souvenirs to ‘medical’ marijuana; art shops, tattoo parlours and even psychics(!). The sage leaves that we normally drink as tea is sold as a roll to be be smoked like a cigar. Buskers are everywhere; singing, dancing, performing acrobatics or just plain being a hipster. :)
The area famously called “Muscle Beach” has an open air gym where you can, if you are interested, watch a performance art by body builders showing off their triceps and abs. There is also multiple tennis or basketball courts and a skating ring.
During our walk at Venice Beach, after a while, all visual stimuli started to feel like an illusion or an interactive audio/visual game but not reality. We did not give a try to ‘medical’ supplies that are offered; so that our state of mind was not influenced by anything but the shared surreal consciousness of the locals and tourists alike. Venice Beach is not just a place, it is a state of mind.
To read more on our California trip, please visit: California Road Trip of 2014