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Is Venice Beach Safe to Visit Anymore?

If you’re heading to LA this summer, knowing where to find a safe place to have fun in the sun is essential. Venice Beach is often a place of interest for visitors, but is it the safest spot to kick back and relax? 

Exploring a busy place like Venice Beach comes with its own set of unwritten rules. Not understanding the rules could get you in trouble. It’s wise to research the area before visiting the beach. Here’s a quick compilation of information to get you started. Check it out!

About Venice Beach, California

Venice Beach has a long and storied history. Tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney established the area in 1905. He intended the location to be a beach resort, but it didn’t last long. In the 1920s, drillers found oil in Venice, and people eager to profit covered the town with oil rigs until the 1970s. 

In the 1950s, Los Angeles had neglected Venice for so long that it had the label the “Slum by the Sea.” The crime took hold in the area, along with the creation of the Shoreline Crips and a large homeless population. 

By the 1990s, officials had cleaned up the boardwalk along Venice Beach a bit. However, it was still a place where criminals caused mischief. Venice Beach was even in several hit movies. 

When the pandemic hit in 2020, the beach became a tent city. Due to the extreme nature of the pandemic, the town briefly suspended the no camping rules on the beach, and unhoused people took over the area within a couple of days. With the homeless population came a steep rise in crime. 

With more than 200 unhoused people living on the beach, the city of LA had to act. In July 2021, the city relocated the homeless community of the beach to better accommodations, and the area has been slowly working its way back. 

Pro Tip: There’s lots to see and do in California, but you may want to avoid these Most Overrated California Tourist Attractions.

Couple posing together in Venice Beach
Many tourists flock to Venice Beach, but it may not be the safest spot to explore.

Why Is Venice Beach Famous?

Venice Beach is famous for a few reasons. It first made waves when it was a flashy beach resort. Then, finding oil off the beach made it quite famous. You may also thank Hollywood for all the movies that feature Venice Beach. There is a slew of art and other media of an eclectic culture as well. Ultimately, the beach is famous for being a unique location and community. 

Is the Beach Safe to Visit Anymore?

When the homeless took over the beach and the boardwalk in 2020, the area got pretty rowdy. The police had other things to worry about due to the onset of the pandemic, and Venice Beach quickly turned into the wild west. 

However, the local government has made several moves in the past year to clean the place up. They relocated the bulk of the homeless population to better housing, and the crime rates have fallen dramatically. 

However, the beach isn’t a place you want to visit after dark. It’s a fast-paced urban jungle, even in the daylight, so you’ll have to understand what you’re getting into before visiting. If you know how to navigate through high-pressure salespeople, catcalls, a few passed-out drunk folks, and some people who may be mentally unwell, then you’ll be fine. 

Though the boardwalk by the beach isn’t a sweet and wholesome place, it’s a location you might want to explore. Just ensure you visit during the day. It’s not a safe place to be at night. 

Beach view of Venice Beach.
Venice Beach is safe to explore during the day, but avoid this destination after dark.

What Is There to Do On the Beach? 

There’s much to do on Venice Beach, which is one of the main draws for visitors. If you’re into exercise, you could get a workout at the famous Muscle Beach. You could go surfing or swim in the ocean. Some visitors like to skate at the legendary Venice Beach skate park or explore the piers. There are also many unique places to get food. 

Is Santa Monica or Venice Beach Better?

The answer to this question heavily depends on who’s traveling. If you aren’t used to the action of the big city, or you have children along for the adventure, you might feel more comfortable visiting Santa Monica Beach. Venice Beach isn’t a family-friendly spot. 

If you want to dive into the eclectic culture of the West Coast, then take your journey to Venice Beach. Just ensure you bring your street smarts along for the ride. 

Pro Tip: Need a place to stay while exploring California? We found The Best Beach Camping in California.

Is Venice Beach Worth Visiting? 

Venice Beach has been through many changes in the past 50 years, and LA is still working to turn the spot into a safe and exciting place to visit. Though you have to be careful and wise while traversing the boardwalk of Venice Beach, we still think it’s worth visiting. 

You can’t ignore the eclectic culture in the beach. There is beauty in the chaos, and Venice Beach is like a living Picasso. Don’t sell yourself short of the experience. 

Will you take a chance and visit Venice Beach? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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