Venice isn’t just a place to visit. It’s a place to experience. A place where art is all around. Where boutiques and restaurants are owned by locals. And where “normal” does not apply. Sure, it may not be for everyone, but we love it. Since 1975, Hotel Erwin has been a proud ambassador to the Venice way of life, and there’s nothing our staff loves more than sharing our favorite things about Venice with our guests.
Here are some of the biggies. These are world-famous spots or at least Insta-famous that no trip to Venice would be complete without visiting.
Explore a totally different side of Venice. Situated between the gritty Venice Boardwalk and the high-end Abbot Kinney, the Venice Canals are unlike anything you’ll find in SoCal. Lined with stunning multi-million-dollar homes, the canals provide a relaxing and idyllic counterpoint to the vibrant eccentricity of the rest of Venice.
You know you’ve made it when Hollywood makes a movie about you. Known as the birthplace of American skate culture, the film “Lords of Dogtown” is based on the rise of skateboarding in Venice during the 1970s. Today, the 16,000 square foot Venice Skatepark attracts large crowds clamoring to see some of the world's best skaters do their thing.
Walk, ride or skate to the Venice Pier. Located at the end of Washington Blvd., it’s just a few mins from Hotel Erwin, and it’s something to behold. Sure, you’ll get your stunning SoCal sunsets and ocean views, but the people-watching is what it’s all about. Enjoy street entertainers living their best life on the Boardwalk, or watch the surfers as they try to catch the next big wave.
There’s no better way to soak in the sights and sounds of Venice and our neighbors than by bike. The oceanfront bike path goes through the Venice Boardwalk, meaning you'll get to glimpse the street entertainers, vendors, and tourists and go through Santa Monica up to Malibu's pristine beaches.
If you’re not satisfied by simply gazing out onto the ocean, then we suggest hopping on a standup paddleboard or kayaking and becoming one with the Pacific. There are several rental shops in nearby Marina Del Rey where you can get a SUP, a kayak, or even charter a boat for the day.
So, you may not be able to pump iron like Arnold, but Muscle Beach is always a sight behold. The ultimate destination for bodybuilders, Muscle Beach, is a piece of living history and offers a $10 day pass for mortals like yourself who want to try some powerlifting. After getting over your momentary inferiority complex, get your game on with a quick pick up game of basketball or grab a paddle and enjoy some beachfront paddle tennis. In Venice, the beach is your gym.
We get it. You’re here for the food. Skip the chains and the big names and try some of our favorite local spots. These are the places you’re gonna want to get your grub on.
This hole-in-the-wall is the go-to spot for traditional Mexican food in Venice.
YOU GOTTA TRY! The Shrimp Tacos or Shrimp Fajitas are the best you can get without crossing the border. Be sure to get some of their authentic, homemade salsa too.
17 min walk | 5 min bike | 4 min car
The freshest fish in town, Hama is Venice’s original sushi joint. They’ve been at it for over four decades, and they’re still rolling strong (see what we did there?).
YOU GOTTA TRY! The sweet shrimp is crazy good. Or get a little funky and try one of their wild specialty rolls.
3 min walk | 2 min bike | 2 min car
What do you get when you cross a burger joint, with a dive bar, and a pool hall? Jim Morrison’s favorite hang out spot, that’s what. Since 1962 (that’s older than Erwin), Hinano has been grilling up the best burgers and coldest beers west of the 405.
YOU GOTTA TRY! The burgers are legit LA famous. Come on the weekend and enjoy some great live music too.
STAFF TIP: “Seriously, the best turkey burger! It’s a dive bar in the best way…sawdust, jukebox, live music, cold beer!” – Derek H., Exec Team
14 min walk | 4 min bike | 3 min car
Inspired by the Communist Revolutionary but made for the proletariat, Mao’s serves up ridiculously good Chinese food with a side of Mao-themed humor.
YOU GOTTA TRY! The Orange Ginger Chicken will make you want to march in a straight line it’s so good. Plus, they have $1 egg rolls. I repeat, $1 egg rolls!
1 min walk | 1 min bike | Don’t even bother getting in the car
They were sustainable before sustainable became a thing. This laid-back seafood joint offering literally the freshest seafood in town also has a great bar scene and Sunday brunch.
YOU GOTTA TRY! The Lobster Roll topped with shaved black truffles because seven more beautiful words don’t exist in the English language.
17 min walk | 1 min bike | 1 min car
Like your favorite sweater, James’ Beach is a cozy neighborhood restaurant and bar that has been a local fave since 1996. The food is locally sourced. The art is locally done. The owners are local natives. How Venice is that? YOU
GOTTA TRY! The Fish Tacos because, as Jason Segal says in “I Love You, Man” – “Those fish tacos are the tits!”
STAFF TIP: “Shhhhhh…$7 Martinis on Wednesdays!” – Alex R., Exec Team
4 min walk | 1 min bike | 1 min car
THE ROSE CAFÉ
Iconic. International. Innovative. The Rose’s globally influenced menu has it all, so clear out your calendar because you’re gonna wanna spend some time here. Good thing there’s plenty of outdoor patio seating. Get comfy, and get eating.
YOU GOTTA TRY! The Grilled Cauliflower T-Bone is massive and hearty and is totally meat-free. Craving meat? The Butcher’s Board is an ever-changing display of everything that’s being served that day (you might get lucky with some liver mousse, duck rillette, or rabbit mortadella).
16 min walk | 5 min bike | 3 min car
Check out what our staff had to say about some of their favorite local haunts.
“At Menotti’s, flip the frame of Mr. Menotti, which is hung by the pastries, to discover the secret drink menu. Try the Bee Sting, which is like a cayenne and honey-infused latte.” – Amy, Sales
“The best negroni in the hood is at Felix (on Abbot Kinney). While you’re there, try the sficncione. It’s the best bread you’ll ever have!” – Andrew B., Front Desk
“My favorite soup is from Plancha on Pacific Ave. The Vegetarian Carrot Soup is the best on the planet!” – Dee W., Culinary
“The Friday Farmer’s Market is a hidden gem, that is mostly all locals. It’s just a short walk from the hotel and is a great place to pick up some hummus and pita for snacking on later at the beach, or a pretzel from RockenWagner Bakery, or a freshly squeezed tangerine juice.” – Ashley T., Culinary
“For a real ‘only-in-Venice’ experience, you gotta check out the turtle races at Brennan’s. That’s right; I said turtle races.” – Anonymous Erwin staffer