One weekend in LA: Venice Beach highlights

While most people got in their cars and headed towards cottages a few work colleagues and I boarded a plane for a 2-day meeting in LA. With the weekend to spare a couple of us stayed behind to relax on the beach. Having never been to LA before or have much clue about it’s vast areas other than some parts are not to be visited I booked a room in AIR Venice in Venice Beach, seemed closest to where work-related plans were taking us.

Venice beach itself is a very interesting place: filled with tourists by day and in complete darkness by night. Over an over we’ve been told it’s not a safe neighborhood and that impression came to life as every door on the strip shut at around 9pm. Luckily there is enough daytime to wonder around and get a healthy tan before the sun sets. The beach has a great bike route and the usual amount of shops selling your typical touristy stuff from offensive t-shirts to magnets and hats. The best part about Venice Beach, however, is the culture: street performers of all styles are spread across, some are quite fantastic, on the weekends one might come across a drum circle, admittedly from afar it looks a bit shady with all of the police cars near by but once you come closer you’ll join a fun and free-spirited group of people making music, dancing, and relaxing to the backdrop of the setting sun.

A short walk from Venice is Abbot Kinney Blvd, a long street generously populated by everything and anything you might want and need. A walk along Abbot Kinney Blvd was strongly recommended. During the day it is a fantastic place for shopping whether you’re looking for home décor, clothes or coffee. The strip also brings together a wealth of dinning options in between the ice cream and coffee shops and for the evening it completely transforms opening doors to lounges, cocktail bars and an occasional nightclub. A few favorites are:

Toms Flagship Store: not just a coffee shop, the store has a full retail collection and a serene back patio where in the evenings you can listen to some live music. A great place to rest and pass time in the sun.

Salt & Straw Ice Cream: if it’s a weekend there will be a line up. The wait is worth it. You can taste a few and take a cone for the walk, all ice cream flavors are unique and delicious.

3 Square Café: Great lunch spot with a healthy selection of food and super fun décor. This where you can find bagels, soup, pretzel buns and fresh burrata all in the same place.

Butcher’s Daughter: contrary to it’s name this is a vegetarian place with full vegan options. Despite it’s alternative protein options the menu is absolutely fantastic and the restaurant itself is a must-see.

Willie Jane: restaurant and cocktail bar, the staff are incredibly friendly, food is delicious and cocktails are to die for.

The Otheroom: a place where you go to get a drink, any time of day. Their windows are wide open letting fresh air in while you can enjoy a crispy pint of local beer.

To see the adventure through Instagram look up #xoLA16. Believe it or not I did not take a lot of photos of food, hence there are none in here 🙂