There’s obviously things you can do in Los Angeles‘ Venice Beach, like you can in any other tourist hotspot, but you’ll probably get a whole lot more out of the laid-back city if you simply exist there and experience the vibe.

However, if loose itineraries and little guidance freak you out, the below is a good starting point. But don’t forget to relax – you’re in Venice Beach, it’d be rude not to.

TICK OFF THE BOARDWALK’S HOTSPOTS

Whether you grab a bike, scooter, on just want to get by on foot, Venice Beach Boardwalk is the obvious thing you’ll need to check out before jetting off to your next stop. Simply walk down the main path to get your full amusement, from buskers and pop-up stalls to Jersey Shore-esque stores full of tourist magnets and sequinned singlets. There’s definitely levels of tack but in the best kind of way.

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Opposite the shopfronts you’ll find the skate park, basketball courts, bike tracks and, of course, those wooden lifeguard towers Marissa Cooper (RIP) used to cry on. Muscle Beach is also right in the thick of it for your viewing pleasure (if that’s your thing, I’m more attracted to stringbeans), an outdoor gym famous for being a frequent hang for Arnie Schwarzenegger.

CHECK OUT ABBOTT KINNEY BOULEVARD

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Abbott Kinney is a mile-long street of boutique stores, cafes, galleries, restaurants and more, stretching from Venice Boulevard to Pacific Avenue.

From Rag & Bone to Heist and Aviator Nation, there’s no shortage of shopping options, some of which even have games like ping pong and that bean bag toss game that they all get hard over in the US.

But even if you’re not a big shopper, the palm-tree lined street is an experience in and of itself with murals, unique shopfronts and all-round vibes. Vegan restaurant Butcher’s Daughter is also must. I got the Brass Monkey Smoothie and the Dolce Picante Pizza and have no regrets. None.

CATCH THE SUNSET AT ‘HIGH’ ROOFTOP

Hotel Erwin has got to be one of the best places you can stay in Venice Beach. It’s smack-bang on the boardwalk, offers free bike hire, has chic rooms with bold interiors and, perhaps the real drawcard, it ‘s home to Venice Beach’s only rooftop bar. It’s aptly called ‘High’.

It gets pretty busy for sunset from 5pm onwards, as you can imagine, so be sure to plan ahead for a primo spot overlooking Venice Beach. Heat lamps and knit blankies will keep you warm, and live local DJs and bartenders will keep you there past sunset.

DROP SOME $$$ ON THE OP SHOPS

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Tucked just away from the touristy and skate stores of the boardwalk you’ll find a nice lil’ nook of vintage stores. Start at Boardwalk Vintage, then turn onto Windward Avenue for Only In Venice Vintage and Animal House. Finish off at Pacific Avenue’s Gotta Have It, which is at the Venice Beach sign intersection.

I’m aware that’s only four stores but I’m telling you, you’ll need to allocate the same amount of time you’d usually allocate for say, an entire Westfield. They’re very good.

BE JEALOUS OF THE RICH FOLK WHO LIVE ON THE CANALS

Located off 25th Street you’ll find a neighbourhood of swanky houses that line four manmade canals, complete with walking paths and bridges. Each canal is about half a km, so take that into account if you don’t have too much time to spare – that being said, you kind of get the drift after the first hundred metres.

The canals were built back in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney as part of his “Venice of America” plan. If you appreciate good real estate, I’d recommend it.

Image: Instagram / @discoverla, @debodoes, @abbotkinneyblvd, @breerios