When Arnold Schwarzenegger moved to the United States in the late 1960s, he worked out at the iconic Gold’s Gym in Venice, Los Angeles, California.
Venice is located on the western part of Los Angeles. Last month, I spent a week in Los Angeles, and then made my way to Santa Monica for the weekend. I didn’t care too much for Los Angeles (the highlight of my trip there was finding myself in the middle of the Ferrari Festival in Beverly Hills). However, I absolutely loved the areas of Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
Santa Monica is a small city that unlike Los Angeles, is actually walkable and pedestrian friendly. When I checked into the hotel for the weekend, the front desk agent told me that I could do 2 things while in Santa Monica: go to the Pier and the beach, or shop along the Third Street Promenade.
The Santa Monica pier is dominated by the Ferris wheel and various amusement park rides:
The pier is surrounded by the beach:
From Santa Monica, you can walk along the boardwalk all the way to Venice Beach. The boardwalk can be described as edgy, full of T-shirt shops, tattoo parlours, and even a Marijuana testing facility (don’t ask).
There were even Transformers!
If you step off the boardwalk, there is a paved walkway surrounded by beaches and palm trees. The walkway actually stretches for 22 miles:
Further down the boardwalk near Venice is Muscle Beach, which has become somewhat of a bizarre tourist attraction. It is essentially an outdoor gym, full of jacked up bodybuilders working out:
The city of Venice itself is also pretty cool. You can walk along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, a street full of cool coffee shops, amazing restaurants, and hip clothing stores. It advertises itself as the “coolest block in America”.
I had brunch on the weekend at Gejlina, which is apparently Natalie Portman’s favourite restaurant in Venice:
I had an amazing weekend in Santa Monica, which made up for a lame week in Los Angeles.
If you ever find yourself in Los Angeles with a limited amount of time, I would suggest that you skip the city, and spend most of your time in Santa Monica and Venice Beach instead.
Thanks for reading!