Venice Beach is about one and a half miles long, a wide sandy beach with a winding bike path, a world-class skate board park, Muscle Beach gym, and the boardwalk, hosting shops, restaurants, street vendors, and daily busker performances. It is part of Venice, California, a city with canals reminiscent of Venice, Italy.

The first time I went to Venice Beach was in the early 2000s. I was watching a busker and was, along with five other gentlemen, called forward by the performer. He donned a Batman cowl and cape and instructed us to pick him up and hold him as if flying, á la Superman, and run. Thus, my very first memory of Venice Beach is when I helped Batman fly.  😎 

We don’t go to Venice Beach for the shops or the food, we go there for the entertainment, to watch the daily happenings of the people who enjoy just being themselves. 

People watching

Venice Beach Freak Show girl attracting customers.

Venice Beach Freak Show girl attracting customers.

The Venice Beach Freak Show, sadly, is now closed. It housed a collection of freaks, performers, two-headed turtles, and the like, including pretty girls in fetching costumes with a come-hither look, enticing prospective customers to come inside.

Harry Perry on guitar.

Harry Perry on guitar.

Harry Perry is an iconic busker on the boardwalk. He sells tee-shirts and his music CDs (for those of you with a CD player), and has been doing it for almost 50 years. 

Lee England, Jr. entertaining on the boardwalk.

Lee England, Jr. entertaining on the boardwalk.

Another musician you might be lucky enough to see is Lee England, Jr. an American violinist, vocalist, arranger, and composer based in Los Angeles.

Muscles

Making those thighs work for it!

Making those thighs work for it!

Muscle Beach gym is the place to go to see, well, muscles.  The gym is located at Muscle Beach Venice, so that might be expected.  Once the home gym of bodybuilders Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, the newly outfitted facility still serves the community as the only outdoor weight room.

Spotters are important.

Spotters are important.

Weightlifting is a time-honored sport, practiced in both ancient Egyptian and Greek cultures. It’s also social: you depend on your partner when living those heavy pieces of iron.

Most lifters are happy to pose, especially if a pretty girl is involved.

Most lifters are happy to pose, especially if a pretty girl is involved.

Although the athletes are outdoors and probably enjoy being admired, they take their sport seriously. But, as you can see, when a lifter is taking a break, he is more than happy to pose for a photograph.

Pretty girls can be weightlifters, too.

Pretty girls can be weightlifters, too.

Weightlifting puts a smile on a girl’s face, that’s for sure.

Gymnastics

Something we admire about Venice Beach is that people are allowed to practice their activity without supervision, signing wavers, or worrying about too many rules. You do what you like and you take care of yourself and others.  Pretty simple, really.

A good place to learn funambulism.

A good place to learn funambulism.

There is more than just weightlifting on the sands of Venice Beach.  People attach ropes to poles and practice the art of funambulism. It’s the perfect place for it; when you fall, you will be cushioned by soft sand.

This funambulist is practicing bouncing on the rope.

This funambulist is practicing bouncing on the rope.

Some of the tightrope walkers are quite agile. The fellow is bouncing on the rope, expertly finding the rope each time.

Learning to swing on the Monkey Bars.

Learning to swing on the Monkey Bars.

Monkey Bars at Venice Beach give children of all ages the opportunity to practice their agility.  The bearded fellow on the left and shown below, is coaching the swinger, telling him he just has to go for it; you can’t do it in half-measures.

Swinging from bar to bar on the Monkey Bars.

Swinging from bar to bar on the Monkey Bars.

And here he is, showing the young folks how it’s done.

Rope Climbing on the beach.

Rope Climbing on the beach.

If you want to climb a rope or practice on the rings, Venice Beach has a place for you.

Working out with a speed bag.

Working out with a speed bag.

Aspiring boxers can use speed bags to hone their fighting style. 

Swingers

He makes it look easy.

He makes it look easy.

There are average looking people at Venice Beach who will walk up to jungle gym full of rings, and swing like they were born to do it.

Working the rings like a pro.

Working the rings like a pro.

Of course, it takes a lot of practice and effort, and a desire to fly through the air à la Tarzan.

 

Lest you think that ring swinging is for over-muscled he-men, I am including a slide show of a more feminine swinger.   😎 

Horizontal bar swinger at Venice Beach.

Horizontal bar swinger at Venice Beach.

Not all swingers swing on rings. This athlete prefers the horizontal bar for her art form.

Interestingly, the spotter would count down as they were beginning. “Five, four, three, two, one!”  He expected her to begin the flip on “one”. However, she responded as a dancer or performer would, and finished the flip on “one”.  Fortunately, they were able to work out their timing.

Roller Skating

Roller skaters at Venice Beach.

Roller skaters at Venice Beach.

Venice Beach has an active skate dancing community.  The dancers are frequently on the cement practicing and giving impromptu performances. 

Just ordinary folks doing extraordinary moves on roller skates.  😎  

Skateboarding

Venice Beach Skateboarder enjoying the Skate Park.

Venice Beach Skateboarder enjoying the Skate Park.

Venice Beach is home to a 18,000 square foot skateboard park, open to the public.  The park was designed by Zach Wormhoudt, a world-class skatepark designer and renowned big wave surfer.

Amazing what can be done with a couple of wheels attached to a piece of wood!

Dispensaries

A Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Venice Beach.

A Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Venice Beach.

In 1996, California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act, allowing the use of medical cannabis. A patient needed a doctor’s certification for a condition that could not be treated by standard medicine, such as headaches and back pain. “Evaluation Centers” sprung up all over the State, helping those in need. In reality, a person paid a fee and was issued a license; the employees of these shops were frequently very good looking men and women, and the “patients” were in their 20s. Thus, Venice Beach was soon populated by Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, or simply Dispensaries. 

Since 2018, California residents do not need the fiction of illness to obtain weed. However, the staff and customers are still good looking and young; some things never change.   😀 

Loving the Life at Venice Beach.

Loving the Life at Venice Beach.

Venice Beach: a great place to do nothing but people-watch and have a wonderful time doing it.

awa Travels Tip:  Venice Beach, California is a voyage to another world. Athletes, artists, and anomalies abound. Be sure to spend a day or two enjoying the talent and skills these folks share with us.