Everything to eat, drink, and do in Venice Beach—one of the most iconic neighborhoods in Los Angeles, California.
One of the most appealing things about visiting Venice Beach is briefly indulging in the fantasy life that locals in the area live out every single day—from biking on The Strand to eating kale salads and imbibing at long-standing beach bum dives.
Jess and Stratton Easter are two such locals, and depending who you ask, they’re basically the unofficial mayors of Venice Beach. Jess, a marketing executive who has built global brands in many countries, and Stratton, a former touring musician-turned-creative content marketer, are both longtime LA residents who have lived in the Venice area going on six years now. They’ve made it a point to get to know their local neighborhood—and neighbors—intimately through their community dinner series at the historic Venice Beach House.
“Venice Beach is one of the most remarkable and extraordinary neighborhoods,” claims Jess Easter. “It’s a hub of artistic inspiration and creativity as well as health and wellness. We get a little bit of everything: West Coast beach life, unique shopping, sophisticated art/music scene, great food, and home to a fitness mecca.”
“There is a lot of history here,” continues Stratton. “Abbot Kinney (the person, not the street) built the ‘Venice of America,’ otherwise known as the Venice Beach Canals that are man-made canals running along a residential district. It’s fun to walk along the beautiful pathways and see some historic homes.”
Below, find Jess and Stratton Easter’s ultimate local’s guide to Venice Beach, California.
The Local’s Guide to Venice Beach, CA
9:00 a.m. — Keeping the Neighborhood Caffeinated
Go to Rockenwagner for cappuccinos, mocha chip muffins, and croissants. We love that they serve Caffe Luxxe coffee beans. It is truly a neighborhood cafe where everyone knows us by name.
9:45 a.m. — Breakfast Bites
The Butcher’s Daughter is great for a juice flight and avocado toast while Blue Star Donuts serves the best hard apple cider fritters and blueberry bourbon basil confections. The French Market Cafe is a tucked-away gem that is great for a weekend breakfast. Super charming, and you only know if you know.
11:00 a.m. — Sweat it Off
We are both keen on working out. Stratton either goes for a bike ride or to Deuce Gym, a uniquely Venice community hub for athletes looking to combine general CrossFit strength with functional/specialized training. Jessica will join Stratton for a bike ride on occasion but prefers to run along the beach, practice yoga at LOVE Yoga, or brave Barry’s Bootcamp at their chic new studio in SoCal.
1:30 p.m. — Patio Vibes
We like Tacos Por Favor for authentic Mexican tacos, Gjelina’s Takeaway (GTA) for the quick and easy banh mi sandwich and kale salad, Gjusta for the patio vibes, or Sunny Spot for a great burger, cold beer, and tasty Caribbean-inspired cocktails with outdoor seating.
2:30 p.m. — Stroll it Off
The Venice Beach strand is a circus-like ocean front walk, a two-and-a-half-mile pedestrian promenade that features the famous “muscle beach,” street performers, fortune tellers, artists, and vendors. It’s the absolute best people watching! The monthly Venice Art Crawl is a free journey through Venice Beach artistry that is known throughout the world—third Thursday of every month.
3:30 p.m. — Tonic Break
Erewhon Market for a juice, tonic, or tumeric latte, and Menotti’s for a cappuccino and a stroll along Winward Circle.
4:00 p.m. — Art on Abbot Kinney
Venice Beach’s Abbot Kinney is one of the most famous streets in California. Widely known for its amazing shops, boutiques, and cafes, it also is a coveted by art lovers from around the world. While it’s easy to visit a gallery or museum, people will find the amazing works of art painted on the walls or between the buildings. With so many colorful, creative murals to choose from, you’ll find it hard to pick a favorite, but it’s so much fun to try. Lots of Instagrammable moments, too.
8:00 p.m.—For a Special Meal
Our favorite Venice spots are The Rose Cafe, Gjelina, The Tasting Kitchen.
11:00 p.m.—Historic Debauchery
Roosterfish is a Venice staple. For decades it was known as the gay bar in town and as Venice gentrified, it was in danger of getting bought out. Thankfully, it was purchased by a local Venice resident and updated to perfectly capture the beach-chic vibes that permeate the city. Old Man Bar is where you go when you want to cozy up to a warm fire in a dark room. With one of the more impressive whiskey selections, Old Man Bar is attached to Hatchet Hall and features myriad crafted whiskey cocktails with knowledgeable staff and a truly unique vibe. It’s oh-so-easy to spend hours here sharing drinks and stories with friends.
The Venice Beach Essentials
Where to Stay in Venice Beach:
Hands down, stay at The Venice Beach House.
Know Before You Go:
Venice Beach has a rich history that it still clings to even in the face of rapid growth and development. Speaking with the locals, watching the surfers, or getting around town on a bike are some of the best ways to get an authentic feel for this unique beachside locale.