Venice Beach is a great place to plan a day of fun in the sun. It is a great place to see artists performing and vendor display with bargain deals. There is a great variety of items to be found in the many merchant stores.
Parking can be expensive but to avoid the pay parking lots there is usually parking along the streets of Venice Blvd. within a half mile from the beach. Another great place to park is on Venice Way. It is the light just after Abbot Kinney. There is usually closer parking and the walk to the beach goes right through the center of the city with the sculptures and right onto Windward Avenue.
The boardwalk at Venice is like none other. From Windward to the left is Muscle Beach. Further down is the Venice Pier. Venice Pier is a nice walk. There are no shops on the pier and less of a crowd. It is lined up with fisherman though. At the end of the pier is a nice area to view the ocean. To the right of Windward is the shops and entertainment.
For a cheap meal there are about four places to pick up a slice of pizza for $2. Around 4:00pm there is a huge gathering and people bring their drums and form a drum circle. This is a time to celebrate and dance or just sit back and meditate to the beat of the drum. It is common to hear the waves crashing and the drums going and it is a very soothing and enjoyable event.