Your California Bucket List: Size up classic cars, tour historic Union Station and collect OMG reactions at colorful Venice Beach

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Southern California

Collect OMG reactions at crazy and colorful Venice Beach

Muscle Beach (Los Angeles Times)
Muscle Beach (Los Angeles Times)

Why: You could probably discern a first date’s political stance, sense of humor and quite possibly his or her sex life by the reaction to the sights at Venice Beach, one of the world’s great bohemian attractions.

What:  Great street performers, an ocean view and a freewheeling collection of stores and restaurants await on this two-mile stretch of sand and skin.

Get a day pass ($10) to Muscle Beach, where Arnold Schwarzenegger first made a (very long) name for himself. Rent a bike or strap on roller blades and get rolling on the boardwalk, a.k.a. Ocean Front Walk.

At the nearby Venice Skate Park on weekends, DJs often spin music.

Even if you’re not a skater, the spectacle is worth a look. Whether in motion yourself or perched at a table at the Sidewalk Cafe, you’ll see things you’ll never forget in this mostly family-friendly attraction.

Add in a walk along the canals or a bike ride to Santa Monica and you could easily fill a day here. At sunset, head to the Hotel Erwin, where a rooftop lounge offers memorable views of the bay.  

Where: Ocean Front Walk continues north into Santa Monica. The Sidewalk Cafe is at 1401 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, 18 miles west of downtown L.A.

How much: Free. Parking runs from $4 to $25 per day. Lots fill up on summer weekends, so best to come early.

Info: Venice Beach

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