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
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