Sunny Santa Monica has a lot to offer to both its tourists and locals, especially in the summertime. But sometimes, when the money in your pocket isn’t enough for a shopping spree on the Promenade, it’s hard to find something affordable and fun to do.
With this in mind, The Santa Monica Mirror brings “Santa Monica in Less Than $25” – a series that will break down areas to visit where you can get more bang for your buck.
This week it’s all about Venice Beach. Notorious for its boardwalk, Venice Beach has quite a lot to offer to passerbys.
Venice Beach dates back to 1905 when tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney founded it as a beach resort town. Its name derives from Italy’s famous city of Venice because Kinney intended on creating a seaside resort just like it.
By 1950, it became home to the beats and acquired the nickname “Slum by the Sea.” Over time, it has become a popular destination for skaters, surfers, artists, liberals, and tourists.
From body builders to aspiring artists, there is nothing un-interesting about the cultural hub. Here are some things to do while there:
Every sort of freak, geek, artist, liberal, musician, bohemian, surfer, skater, PERSON can be found in Venice.
Witness entertainer Liam give people “sound blessings” with a didgeridoo; take a photo with the man on rollerblades play his guitar (featured in films like “I Love You, Man”); see body builders lift weights (Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used to go there to work out!); See these people and many more, the stars of Venice Beach.
It doesn’t take an artist to appreciate art. In Venice, you can see a mural of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or admire the life size mural of lead singer of The Doors Jim Morrison. In Venice, graffiti is art – there’s even a place where artists are encouraged to spray paint their own graffiti designs by the beach. In Venice, a man on the boardwalk will sit by his hand sculpted sand castle and hope people give him donations to take photos.
Whether you are checking out art displays on the boardwalk, purchasing individual art pieces from aspiring artists or just glancing at the painted murals – in Venice, there’s always something to see.
Too old for temporary tattoos and too scared of real ones (needles – yikes!)? Check out this temporary but fun alternative.
Almost every 10 minutes you’ll spot a henna stand where you can pick and choose from the henna examples on display, some henna stands even let you customize. Getting a henna is painless and the temporary design makes for a great souvenir.
Cost: Ranges from $5-$20, depending on the size and style tattoo you choose.
Grab yourself a slice of pizza or corndog with fries and you won’t regret it. Venice Beach restaurants offer the classic beachside foods that may not be the healthiest option but still delicious (and affordable!).
Cost: $5 for a slice of pizza and soft drink
Visit the Canals:
When Venice first opened, founder Kinney dug several miles of canals to drain the marshes for the residential area, built a pier with an auditorium, restaurant, and dance hall. Tourists could see the town via gondola.
Now only residents own gondolas, but people are still allowed to walk by the pretty water and over the bridges.
During the holidays, residents decorate the canals with Christmas lights so at night the canals light up.
Don’t park in the lots or meters – it’s a big rip off. Instead, take the Big Blue Bus or ride your bike, it’s much easier.
Total cost of the day: $10 – $20 (depends on how much you decide to spend on that Henna tattoo).
For more information, visit www.venicebeach.com.