I was a little skeptical about going after I read some of the negative reviews - especially from people with children. I really didn't know what to expect and wondered if I should bring my kids here (12 and 15). I have to say we really enjoyed the atmosphere and went back a few times - we biked from Santa Monica Pier through here, shopped, and ate around the corner from the Venice walkway. There was good touristy shops and local artists, etc. that you can get some interesting things from. I found a shop nearing one end of it and I bought some nice clothing for work. I was surprised to find a store like this. There are a few bikini shops with a zillion bathing suits crammed together if you are looking for some. They were just making the set for "American Ninja Warrior" there as well. There are some strange characters around for sure, homeless people (never bothered though) and the smell of pot is everywhere. Some are noticeably high. The Muscle Beach area was fun to watch guys working out and there were some other sports going on. Yes, it is a little dirty along the strip. The beach itself looked fine but we didn't walk all the way down to the water - we were just there to look around. If you want a little culture, enjoy people watching, and are in the mood for some mild, free entertainment - check it out. But I do not think it is for everyone.
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