Venice Beach was developed in the early 1900s, first as a beach resort and then as an entertainment venue and amusement park. Over the years it has become famous as a cultural center, attracting a variety of street performers, bodybuilders, artists, and even some Beat poets. People come here from around the world to shop and gawk, see...
Venice Beach was developed in the early 1900s, first as a beach resort and then as an entertainment venue and amusement park. Over the years it has become famous as a cultural center, attracting a variety of street performers, bodybuilders, artists, and even some Beat poets. People come here from around the world to shop and gawk, see and be seen.
You’ll find a two-mile stretch of beach; a lively promenade, called Ocean Front Walk or simply the Strand, that runs parallel to the beach; the outdoor gym Muscle Beach; handball courts; a skateboard plaza; beach volleyball courts; and the Marvin Braude Bicycle Trail (formerly the South Bay Bicycle Path). Ocean Front Walk is lined with touristy shops selling jewelry, hats, and clothing (some have steps and minimal maneuvering space). One store at the north end caught my eye because of the finely detailed metal sci-fi sculptures lined up outside. There are restaurants of every sort, street performers and vendors, tattoo parlors, and beach bums, and all who travel the Strand are on stage. Be advised that numerous marijuana clinics openly solicit customers along the walkway.
Plan to spend the day here taking in the sights, like the enormous bodybuilders who work out at Muscle Beach; or playing basketball, squash, or handball on wheelchair-accessible courts. An information window is on the south side of the Parks and Recreation and police building; an accessible playground is adjacent to it.
At the southern end of the beach is the 1,300-foot Venice Pier. Built in 1963, some 20 years later it was falling to pieces and was scheduled for demolition in 1986. Venice residents rallied to the cause, and after years of perseverance the pier was restored and reopened in 1997. It is fully accessible, including cutouts where you can fish from a wheelchair.
Call (310) 939-0000 (Mon.-Fri.) or (310) 864-3717 (Sat.-Sun.)
to request a beach wheelchair, or flag down someone at the main lifeguard station near the southwest corner of the parking lot along Ocean Front Walk south of Venice Blvd. The lot that serves this facility is posted no entrance, but we were told otherwise and were able to get a wheelchair after asking several people.
Vehicles with a disabled placard can park for free in the beach parking lots at the foot of both Rose Ave. and W. Washington Blvd. These fill up quickly during the summer and on weekends. Street parking is difficult close to the beach.
At the parking lots at Rose St. and Washington Ave., and on Ocean Front Walk at 17th Ave., Brooks Ave., and Horizon.
Tables with attached seats are off the Rose Ave. parking lot, but there is no clear space for a wheelchair rider to pull up to the table. Just a few yards away, a concrete ramp leads out onto the beach to a raised area where there is a table with wheelchair seating.