We showed you the way around San Diego in 24 hours but now it is time to head north. Venice beach has become more than an outdated 1980′s beach town. While you can stroll its two-and-a-half mile long ocean front that is known for its countless tattoo parlors, souvenir vendors, fortune tellers, street performers, and of course people on rollerblades, we suggest you stray from the well known path. Venice Beach has evolved into a unique fusion of a laid back beach town and a modern downtown. You will find a contrasting blend of barefoot surfers and polished hipsters. This renowned beach town is experiencing a cultural revival and proving to be a real game changer in where to go in So Co. All you need is 24 hours.
When deciding where to shack up, it is no question that a rental is the way to go. You can find anything from a beach front cottage to a modern bungalow. Since the whole L.A. neighborhood is walkable you are in a perfect location no matter where you stay. Whether it’s you and a significant other or the whole gang, you are sure to find a rental that meets your needs.
After settling into your new abode, it is time to start exploring everything this revived beach town has to offer. While the beach is great, the first stop on your list should be Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The seemingly endless boulevard is lined with palm trees, houses, and a bounty of high-end shops and innovative eateries. Caffeine is a must when you only have 24 hours and Intelligentsia is the perfect place to get your fix and a morning treat.
Intelligentsia is an experimental coffee brand with shops all around the US that are known for re-creating the coffee experience. Enter through iron gates and follow an ivy-engulfed path to sip a decadent brew. The space features an industrial design with exposed piping and sky lighting. Start your journey at the granite countertop where you wait for your own personal barista to take you to one of their four espresso machines. Your cup of joe is then prepared by request through a one on one interaction between you and the barista. And don’t forget to grab one of their gourmet pastries that pair perfectly with a steaming cup.
Once your caffeine buzz wears off and you have seen enough designer brands for one day, it’s time to refuel at Gjelina located on the same boulevard. Gjelina offers seating but we recommend visiting their take away counter to indulge in their renowned sandwiches and pizzas on the beach. The menu is more limited than the restaurant, but makes for a perfect picnic beside the deep blue. The minimal interior of wood and glass highlights the superiority of the food. Favorites include their brisket bahn mi with sliced carrots, cilantro, pickled onion, jalapeño vinaigrette, and aioli all piled high on a baguette. For those with their eyes on a pizza be sure to try the squash blossom with burrata, garlic confit, squash blossoms, baby zucchini, cherry tomatoes, parmesan and thyme. Be prepared to encounter a line and a bit of a well worth it wait.
Once you have taken a few hours to bask in the California sun it is time to freshen up and make your way to dinner. Southern California cuisine is known for its South of the border flavors and vibe and Oscar’s Cerveteca is definitely the place to indulge. This hot spot is always full of locals, which confirms it is the place to be.
Start with happy hour drinks at the counter that overlooks the kitchen before making your way to a table in the lively outdoor patio that is illuminated by exposed lightbulbs. Raw wood panels encase the seating area that is sheltered by a black awning. The genuine craftsmanship of the restaurant is evident in both the furnishing and the food.
Oscar’s features an extensive menu that carters to hesitant vegetarians and ravenous carnivores alike. Get started with the Peruvian sashimi with salmon, aji amarillo, key lime cure, chocolo corn, sweet potato and cilantro. We also recommend warming up your taste buds with their “Mexican Pizza” that is made with corn masa crust, house tomato sauce, cotija cheese, sliced red onion, black beans, and for an extra $2 you better add the house made chicharon.
The appetizers set the bar for the exquisite entrees they offer. For meat lovers, the sausage board is a must. It comes with two house made smoked pork sausages served with house made sauerkraut with maple bacon, mustard, and grilled crusty bread. Another great option is their Pescado a la Veracruzana which is a red snapper paired with castelvetrano olives, capers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, arroz ajillo, and tortillas.
If you have time to spare in the morning before venturing on, the brunch at Salt Air is to die for. This up and comer just opened in June and has already received culinary prestige. Carrara marbles tables are systematically scattered throughout the beach bistro and complement the whitewashed brick walls. It is a perfect place to kick back relax and reflect on a short yet memorable visit.
On their brunch menu the gravlax is not to be missed. A perfectly poached crispy egg comes out of the fryer and placed on top of bed of arugula, frisee, and capers before making it to your table. Frying a poached egg is possibly one the greatest breakfast innovations to have come by. The poached eggs are another memorable dish with summer beans, maitake mushrooms and an herb vinaigrette.
While you could spend much more time in the revived beach town, 24 hours is all you need to wet your lips. From the food and the shopping to the bustling waves of the pacific and spotless beaches Venice beach will have you coming back for more. It’s ever changing landscape maintains its position on the map as a California hot spot. Trust us when we say you need to go, because it will be a 24 hours well spent and always remembered.