Friday, January 17, 2014

New Year's Eve In Venic Beach, Los Angeles

   Welcome to the City of Angels, for my annual New Years Trip with World Cup in the horizon I wanted to save some money and do an easy trip, so I packed a backpack and headed one state west to Los Angeles California. One of the immediate best aspects of this trip for the budget traveler was that for the 2nd biggest city in the USA if you are willing to stay outside of Hollywood, the hotel/hostel prices are barely jacked up. I've been there done that for the whole Hollywood scene, so I opted for a chill-axed holiday on Venice Beach staying at the wonderful Samesun Hostel right on the beach! For under $200 I did the flight and 3 nights in a 4 bed dorm without a car. Here's my scoop on LA for New Years, Venice Beach, LA on a budget, and LA in general:

  • Hollywood is cool... for a day or two. After you walk the Boulevard, spend your paycheck in a night club, and see the sign, it's time to move on.
  • Each beach has it's own different subset, or culture. Venice hippies, Malibu rich, Santa Monica family oriented, Hermosa clean, etc
  • Even the best areas of LA have affordable hotels or hostels you can easily find on expedia, orbitz, or hostel world.
  • Everyone says "You need a car!" Well you don't, of the 4 million + people that live there, many don't have cars. It definitely helps though, and the buses are definitely slow. But LA can be done without the car, just be prepared to spend some extra time.
  • Don't waste time and money at American chain stores, there are so many awesome restaurants in LA, notably on Venice Beach I went to Cairo Cowboy Mediterranean Grill on Westward Ave, the Pizza at Larry's is equally good (I indulged for my 1st hangover of 2014.
  • Rent a bike, for $10 for a couple of hours to less than $30 for a day you can cruise the whole coast in style while breaking a little sweat also, it's a beautiful ride and it's LA so the weather is usually decent.
  • Check the bars for happy hours, while it's definitely a pricey city, many places have great happy hour deals, in general the places on Venice Beach are a hell of a lot cheaper than the rest of the city.
  • Night time in Venice... Be careful, it's not the most dangerous place in LA but when you wonder off the main roads it's pretty desolate, if you wonder to the beach you will see many people there, but pretty much count on being the only person that has a roof over their head for the night. I've seen more homeless people on Venice Beach than most of the 3rd world countries I have been to.
  • Skate, train, surf, lift. So much physical activity to do on Venice Beach! Don't plan on it being a lazy day unless you are trying to get a prescription for medical Marijuana. You can train at the world famous Muscle Beach, or a short walk to Gold's Gym Venice. You can see world class skate boarders, gymnasts, and all around average Joe's getting in better shape.

  • The beach is not always crowded! If you get up a little early... like 8am, you can have the place to yourself!
  • While you are here... If you have any future travel plans just about every consulate is in LA, got my Paraguay visa the same day! 
  • Souvenirs on Venice Beach are unlimited! I don't know how they can be so cheap, but grab some cool shades, some T shirts, a pic with a rollerskating guitar playing homeless dude, or some nice beach jewelry for some friends at home.

    Whether you come for a short stay or are here for the long run, be ready for a city that can throw anything at you. LA became what it is for a reason. It's sad to see the mix of poverty amongst the giant movie star mansions & Hollywood. Anyone whose lived in America is well aware of the gang violence here. Anyone knows here, this is no easy city to live in with extreme cost of living and an extremely fast pace. But for the traveler who is ready to see a city that has been thru so much and yet still underneath all the crime, poverty, and glutony, you can still find peace in the ocean, friendship among those who care about making a change, fitness in a time of a health epidemic, tastes of the world, art, music from world renown bands to a guy with an acoustic he probably found in a dumpster, singers, jugglers, glass walkers, sculptures built from beer cans, hip hop ensembles, palm trees, sands, and sunsets to live and die by. To Venice Beach, LA thanks for the very Happy New Year!

Choose the continent!!!!


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