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.
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 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.
Another musician you might be lucky enough to see is Lee England, Jr. an American violinist, vocalist, arranger, and composer based in Los Angeles.
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.
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.
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.
Weightlifting puts a smile on a girl’s face, that’s for sure.
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.
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.
Some of the tightrope walkers are quite agile. The fellow is bouncing on the rope, expertly finding the rope each time.
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.
And here he is, showing the young folks how it’s done.
If you want to climb a rope or practice on the rings, Venice Beach has a place for you.
Aspiring boxers can use speed bags to hone their fighting style.
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.
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. 😎
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.
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. 😎
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!
There are many place to rent bicycles in Venice Beach.
And the best part is that Venice Beach has bike paths where pedestrians are not allowed. Wow! It’s like we’re in Europe!!
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. 😀
Venice Beach: a great place to do nothing but people-watch and have a wonderful time doing it.