Venice Beach. You’re never quite sure exactly what you’ll see, but you know you’ll be treated to an eclectic variety of entertainers, sights, sounds, and people. And with all the variety, there’s no shortage of things to do here with kids.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard
(from Venice Blvd. to Westminster), Venice, CA
Abbot Kinney Boulevard was named by GQ Magazine as the “Coolest Block in America.” On this approximately-one mile stretch, you’ll find a variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Among the shopping choices are unique speciality stores as well as more internationally-known brands and goods.You’ll also find the “Abbot Kinney First Fridays” special event which features food trucks, shops that remain open late, and other special events. First Fridays occurs on the first Friday of each month, from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
You’re never quite sure what you may see while strolling along the Venice Beach Boardwalk. But you certainly won’t be bored. You’ll find a number of street performers, vendors, art pieces, restaurants and refreshment stands, and souvenir shops here.
Venice – Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library
501 S. Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
The Venice Library is a branch of the Los Angeles Public Library System. At this branch, you’ll find a wide variety of special events including “Mad Science Marvels of Motion” for kids, adult yoga, Game Day for kids, Movie Day for Kids, and much more. Check the website for a complete listing of upcoming events. (Special note — the library is usually closed on Sundays, but in addition, this branch will be closed from May 23 to June 26 for facility repairs).
Venice Beach Pier (at the end of Washington Blvd.)
The Venice Oceanarium describes itself as a “museum without walls.” You can find them most Sundays, from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, on the beach and/or pier, where they bring their exhibits to you. In addition, they host a yearly reading of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, where volunteers read on the beach, and the public is invited to stop and listen and enjoy for as long as they’d like.
Venice Beach Recreation Center and Muscle Beach
1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
When the kids need to run around and get moving, head to the Venice Beach Recreation Center. You’ll find outdoor basketball courts, a children’s play area, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and tennis courts here. Also located here, is the famous “Muscle Beach.” This outdoor weight room has seen celebrity bodybuilders (including Arnold Schwarzenegger) and continues to be a favorite of hard-core fitness enthusiasts as well as spectators. And if you’re so inclined, day passes can be purchased as well.
Venice Beach Skate Park
1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
If you’ve got skateboarders in the family, take them to the Venice Skate Park. Located right on the sand, beginners and more experienced skaters will be able to show off their moves in this 16,000 square foot space. And if you don’t skateboard, stop by and enjoy the tricks and moves you’ll see others performing.
12958 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066
The reDiscover Center is an “arts and environmental nonprofit promoting resource conservation, creativity, and community engagement.” They offer a variety of different programs including the “Tinkering Club” where children (ages 7-12) use tools and materials to create new inventions and “Crafting Corner.” The idea is to provide children with the opportunities to recycle and reuse materials and create their own wonderful inventions. They are open Monday through Friday (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and Saturdays and Sundays (from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm).
Carroll Ct. and Eastern Canal Ct., Venice, CA 90293
The Venice Canals were originally constructed in 1905 and were inspired by the canals in Venice, Italy. Mr. Abbot Kinney is credited as being the founder of this “Venice in America” attraction. You can explore the Canals on foot, walking the many pedestrian bridges, or on the water itself (by bringing in a small boat using the public boat launch). (Be sure to check the website for restrictions on size of the boats). While exploring, you’ll be treated to an eclectic view of homes, gardens, and ducks!
Venice Beach Bike Path
(starts at Navy St on the North end, runs to the Venice Pier at Washington Blvd).
You can ride a bike, roller skate, or rollerblade on this popular bike path. Traveling along the path will take you past the Ocean Front Boardwalk and the beach which means there’s no shortage of people-watching! And if need be, there are also places to rent bikes along the beach.
C & O Trattoria
31 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Located close to the Venice Pier, this Italian restaurant is a local favorite. Regular diners describe it as fun and festive with good food at good prices and large servings. Added bonuses are the nightly sing-a-long to Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” and the crowd-favorite garlic rolls.
Washington Blvd. and Ocean Walk
If you want to try fishing without getting on a boat, then head to the Venice Fishing Pier. The Pier is 1,310 feet in length and offers a great vantage point for checking out the sights — including watching the sunset.
Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at her website WendyKennar.com where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).
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