Venice is one of LA’s best neighborhoods. Restaurants, shops, canals, and boardwalks. Whether you’re a long-time LA resident or a newcomer, the beachfront neighborhood is a great way to spend a perfect California day.

Photo: Flickr/ La Citta Vita

So the next time that you have a day off, consider our best recommendations for where to go, what to see and how to eat! Here’s our day guide to Venice!

What to Wear

You’ll be walking, or maybe biking! So wear some appropriate clothing. We’d recommend flats or trainers, comfortable sandals or walking boots. Consider your outfit to leave yourself the opportunity to try the bike-share if you like, and a sun hat is always a great idea!

Getting a Good Start

Arrive early, when the sun is coming up and the neighborhood is just starting to buzz. This is your chance to try out one of Venice’s amazing bakeries or breakfast shops. We (and many others) like Gjusta, which serves artistically designed sweet pastries of fruit, sugar and deliciousness. Pastry not your thing? Then try a coffee and some grains or salmon at the Cow’s End Cafe or a smoothie from Muscle Beach Juice!

Photo: Instagram/ megsmapsandmarvels

Once you’ve had a nosh, put your carbs to good use by renting a Breeze Bike or using the Metro bike share system. There are also electric bikes available to rent as well!  The beachfront paths in Venice are perfect in the morning to get a good view of the local architecture. There are 17 miles of bike-only paths! Not a cyclist? Then walk off your breakfast on the beach or the boardwalk instead.

Whichever you choose, don’t miss the Canal Historic District. The neighborhood, built around a series of man-made canals, dates back to 1905 and is an attempt to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy. It’s a beautiful place for walking and sightseeing, taking in the wildlife and unique architecture.

Lunch and Beyond

If you get some good early exercise, you’ll be ready for a more relaxed afternoon of shopping and lunch. Abbot Kinney Boulevard is your go-to for excellent (and eclectic!) shopping spots, including both high-end boutiques and hippy/beach-bum accessories. In and among all of this, you’ll find international goods and more!

Check out the flagship TOM’S shoestore, buy high-end paper goods at the Urbanic Paper Boutique or shop for Japanese crafts at the Tortoise General Store. While you are there, you can also buy handmade jewelry at Alexis Bittar or personal care products at Aesop. Looking for more of a Boho vibe? Check out Ananda Venice for books, crystals, art and gifts!

Photo: Instagram/ fabi_olla

Is shopping not your bag? Then you can always check out Venice’s famous Muscle Beach, a historical landmark of fitness and exercise and still a mecca for gymnasts and weightlifters. Go check out the muscle on display at the nearly 70-year-old weightlifting platform! And don’t worry- it’s not just for show. You can try the equipment too!

Once you’ve shopped (or lifted), don’t forget to eat! The small and delicious Poke-Poke still serves up the best in raw Hawaiian seafood, and you can also find hearty Mexican at Casa Linda or local and healthy Californian cuisine at Greenleaf. Don’t forget dessert at Boca de Agua- home of handmade ice pops and ice cream!

Dinner and Nightlife

Wrap up your day by watching the sun go down and the clubbers show up in Venice! You can have a drink away from the crowds at the Hotel Erwin’s rooftop bar or check out the Lincoln, a cozy, industrial bar with crazy cocktails.

Photo: Instagram/ hotelerwin

Hungry? Dinner can be anything from the piles of ribs at Baby Blues BBQ to Happy Hour at Hama Sushi, Canal Club Simmzy’s or Barlo- each with great food and drink specials. Happy hour is a real institution in Venice in most watering holes, from the dives to the beach bars.

If you’re staying late into the night, Venice will take care of you with a wide variety of art, comedy and theater choices! Abbot Kinney hosts a First Friday art walk on the first Friday of every month, and Venice is home to the LA Louver, one of the best art galleries in LA. The Louver features American and European contemporary art. If a live show is more your thing, you can check out the Pacific Resident Theater for some drama or comedy.