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Snaking through Venice beach is its legendary boardwalk

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Venice Beach

Venice Beach and its desirable canalside bungalows are seen as backdrops in TV shows, movies and even video games. Famous residents include Dennis Hopper, Nicolas Cage and Julia Roberts.


Venice Beach is 3.2km (2 miles) long, and while the sand is not powdery soft, it's comfortable enough for sun worshippers to throw down a towel and bake. The ocean waves and a breakwater make the area popular with surfers. The city added amenities to broaden the attraction of the beach: there is a plaza, paddleball courts, volleyball courts, the biking bath close to the water's edge, and an area where the bodybuilders work out (hence the nickname, Muscle Beach). There are public bathrooms and showers on the beach, and lifeguards on duty.

Beyond the beach

The paved Ocean Front Walk is called the Boardwalk. About half a dozen blocks long is where the vendors and street performers are located. Passers by are entertained by fire breathers, musicians and jugglers, one of whom hurls three operating chain saws in the air. Across from the beach are shops selling temporary tattoos, toe rings and tarot-card readings. New Age merchants nearby offer "guided meditations," "devotional dancing" and paths to your inner peace. There are also lots of bars and casual restaurants to satisfy more basic needs.

Family fun

The Muscle Beach area includes jungle gyms and a padded area for young gymnasts. All sizes of bikes, skates and blades can be rented. Or catch the public bus or a taxi up to Santa Monica and book the 90-minute bicycle tour; the guide recounts the history and architecture of both beach towns.

Exploring further

Rent a car and head into eastern Los Angeles for the acclaimed Getty Museum at the Getty Center. This US$1-billion structure is futuristic and, set above the busy 110 Freeway, offers panoramic views of the city and ocean. The permanent collection of art is priceless. To study a different set of masterpieces, drive to the Petersen Automotive Museum, where visitors can see period cars in beautiful condition. Or drive south to Long Beach and step aboard one of the boats offering fishing trips or dinner cruises.

Splashing out

For that memorable purchase, how about your very own scent, created for you at Strange Invisible Perfumes ( Or pick up one-of-a-kind jewellery at Nagual, 1142 Abbott Kinney Boulevard, said to be popular with celebs. For an extra-special memory, how about a helicopter tour of LaLa Land? Celebrity Helicopters ( offer themed flights, starting with a 35-minute Celebrity Home Tour flyover.

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