Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 1.
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 Venice Beach
Check out the muscles at Venice Beach.

The embodiment of the laid-back (and slightly eccentric) Southern California lifestyle can be found with a day trip to Venice and Santa Monica beaches, linked by five miles of palm trees, sand, waves and interesting people to watch.

To get the full experience, rent a bike or a pair of rollerblades at the south end of Venice and roll north through crowds of tourists and funky shops to the Yuppier habitats of north Santa Monica. (For those on foot, Venice to the pier is a more realistic distance.)

Muscle Beach in Venice offers views of tanned bodies weightlifting or games of paddle tennis and handball or a fast-paced game of pickup basketball. Along the storefronts, you’ll find a more Bohemian scene—henna tattoos, T-shirt shops galore, painters, artists and performers ranging from pantomime to chainsaw juggling.

At the Skate Dance Plaza, try your moves then cut through to the Graffiti Pit, an ongoing work in progress. Jump onto the bike/skate path to bypass the tourists for a more scenic route to Santa Monica pier. Topside landmarks include the merry-go-round featured in the classic Redford/Newman film The Sting and the 130-foot-high solar-powered Ferris wheel.

Not far past the shade of the pier underpass, you’ll have escaped most of the tourists. The final 2 miles to Chautauqua Boulevard allow you to stretch out and gain some speed as you roll past million-dollar beachside homes, a private beach club and beach volleyball courts.

After returning your wheels, conclude your visit by body boarding or joining in the weekend Venice Beach Drumming Circle, for a free-spirited California moment.
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