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Venice Beach vs Manhattan Beach – Which One Should You Visit?

Both Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach are popular vacation spots located in Los Angeles, California. 

This post will look at the differences between them to help you decide where to visit on your next trip! It covers hotels, activities, atmosphere, nightlife, beaches and more!

Summary – Venice Beach vs Manhattan Beach

Venice BeachManhattan Beach
Edgy & artsyRelaxed &
laid-back
BusyQuiet
Street performers,
surfing, murals
Volleyball, surfing,
cycling
Lots of activitiesLess activities
Vibrant nightlifeLimited nightlife
Hotels close to
the beach
Hotels away from
beach

Manhattan Beach is cleaner, quieter and less touristy than Venice Beach which is more commercial and has lots of vendors, tourists and a lot of character.

Venice Beach has an edgy and artsy vibe whereas Manhattan Beach has a laid-back and relaxed feel.

Venice Beach is a buzzing beach town known for its funky shops, street performers and colorful murals. It’s a foodie hotspot and also has tons of stylish boutiques. 

Manhattan Beach is a laid-back beach city with an expansive beach lined with volleyball nets. It’s also super popular with surfers. 

Manhattan Beach is much quieter than Venice Beach with fewer activities. You’ll find a long, quiet beach that is much less crowded. Venice Beach is much more busy and always has lots going on.

Manhattan Beach has more of a small town feel compared with Venice Beach which feels a bit more urban.

Which Is Bigger? Venice Beach or Manhattan Beach

Venice Beach is slightly smaller than Manhattan Beach in terms of area as it covers 8km2 compared with Manhattan Beach which covers 10.2km2.

Venice Beach is a bit more crowded and busy as it has a slightly higher population of 40,000 people. Manhattan Beach has a population of 35,500.

Which Has Better Activities? Venice Beach or Manhattan Beach

There are a lot more activities available in the Venice Beach area compared with Manhattan Beach.

Activities In Venice Beach

There’s lots to do in Venice Beach. It’s a very arty and trendy area with a wide range of activities to keep you occupied. 

Top activities in Venice Beach:

  • Oceanfront boardwalk
  • Shopping on Abbot Kinney Boulevard
  • Venice Beach Skatepark
  • Venice Canals
  • Mosaic Tile House

There are lots of fun things to do in Venice Beach. The mile-long Abbot Kinney Boulevard contains tons of high-end restaurants, galleries, stylish boutiques and more. This area is a hotspot for foodies!

The beach itself is a vibrant mix – head to Muscle Beach to see all the bodybuilders working out on the sand or head over to the skatepark to see some epic tricks. 

Venice Beach is also a popular surfing spot. If you’ve not surfed before, get yourself a surfing lesson and learn from the best. 

In Venice Beach, you’ll also find street performers and artists lining the oceanfront boardwalk which runs parallel to the beach itself. 

Join an electric bike tour and cycle through these famous streets seeing all of Venice’s best sights including the boardwalk, the skatepark, the canals and the beach itself. 

Activities In Manhattan Beach

Whilst Manhattan Beach doesn’t have as many things to do as Venice Beach, there are still a small range of activities to keep you occupied.

Top Activities In Manhattan Beach: 

  • Surfing
  • Volleyball
  • Manhattan Beach Pier
  • Roundhouse Aquarium 
  • Marvin Braude Bike Trail

Most people spend their time in Manhattan Beach doing some shopping or relaxing on the beach. You can also take a bike ride along the bike trail which runs parallel to the beach. 

Surfing is a super popular activity in Manhattan Beach so put on your wetsuit, grab your surfboard and catch some waves.

Slightly inland, Downtown Manhattan Beach is the bustling city center where you’ll find high-end boutiques, shops, bars and lots of restaurants.

Head out to Manhattan Beach Pier for epic views of the beachside mansions and surfers.

Activities In Los Angeles

Both Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach are close to central Los Angeles so you can easily enjoy the wide range of activities there including visiting the famous Hollywood sign, Beverly Hills and more. 

Book yourself onto a Los Angeles tour so you can see all of LA’s top sights in one day.

Which Has Better Accommodation? Venice Beach vs Manhattan Beach

Both Manhattan Beach and Venice Beach have some great places to stay, however the hotels in Venice Beach are better located, closer to the beach and main town area.

Accommodation In Venice Beach

Venice Beach has a good range of hotels. They are all modern, clean and comfortable and perfectly located close to all the hustle and bustle.

Best Hotels In Venice Beach:

Accommodation In Manhattan Beach

In Manhattan Beach, there are not many hotels close to the main beach area. Most of the hotels are on Sepulveda Boulevard which is a long walk from the shops, restaurants and the beach. 

Be prepared to get an Uber or Lyft every day to and from the beach if you plan on staying here. 

Best Hotels In Manhattan Beach:

The Sea View Inn At The Beach is one of the best places to stay in Manhattan Beach as this is the closest hotel to the beach. It’s also one of the only hotels by the beach in the area.

Which Has Better Beaches? Venice Beach vs Manhattan Beach

Both Manhattan Beach and Venice Beach have great beaches. Manhattan Beach is much more relaxed and laid back compared to Venice Beach.  

Venice Beach is a very busy area with lots going on from rappers performing on the boardwalk to skateboarders skating around on the Skate Park so the beach always tends to be busy. 

Manhattan Beach doesn’t get anywhere near as busy and the atmosphere is much more relaxed and less touristy.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach is home to 3 miles of sandy coastline. The beaches are popular with swimmers, surfers and sunbathers. 

Venice Beach is accompanied by an oceanfront boardwalk where you’ll often find street performers, artists and vendors. 

The street performers are really good, you’ll find a mix of different performances from mimes and juggling to musicians. 

Most people will enjoy a day on the beach, take a stroll down the boardwalk or even join a workout session on Muscle Beach.

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach’s biggest draw is it’s beach. This flawless beach has ultra-smooth sand and is dotted with volleyball nets. It’s also a hotspot for surfing!

Manhattan Beach features a small shopping area with local shops and restaurants right next to the beach itself. 

You can also take a walk along the scenic boardwalk which runs parallel to the beach or along the Manhattan Beach Pier where Manhattan Beach meets the Pacific Ocean. 

You can take a nice relaxing stroll up here to enjoy the breathtaking views of the expensive beachside homes that line the beach. 

Which Is Better for Nightlife? Venice Beach or Manhattan Beach

Venice Beach has a much more exciting and vibrant nightlife than Manhattan Beach.

Nightlife In Venice Beach

Venice Beach has a vibrant nightlife scene. You’ll find a good selection of bars along Abbot Kinney Boulevard and Main Street. 

Many of the bars do awesome happy hour deals so you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. 

Head over to the High Rooftop Lounge for a bird’s eye view of the area and a swanky cocktail.

Nightlife In Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach has a range of bars to choose from as well as upmarket and exclusive clubs. 

Head over to The Strand House for unforgettable ocean views and speciality cocktails. 

Which Is More Affordable? Venice Beach or Manhattan Beach

Anywhere you visit in or around Los Angeles is going to be pricey. 

There is little difference between prices in the two locations as both are close to central Los Angeles and both are major tourist spots.


Both Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach are fantastic vacation destinations. 

I hope this article was helpful in highlighting the main differences of Venice Beach vs Manhattan Beach.

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