The Best Hostels in Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Stay steps away from the sand in Santa Monica
Stay steps away from the sand in Santa Monica | © Stella Levi / Getty images
Dominic Bertolami

Freelance writer

If you’re on a budget, you might think staying at these beachfront LA neighborhoods – with their buzzing bars, bodybuilder-laden boardwalks and neon-lit amusement parks – would be out of the question. Luckily, they are home to many affordable and high-quality hostels in Santa Monica and Venice Beach that will give you your own slice of sun-drenched paradise.

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HI Santa Monica

The largest purpose-built hostel in the United States, HI Santa Monica is steps away from the white sands of the beach and psychedelic lights of Santa Monica Pier. There is a large shared kitchen to whip up a budget-friendly meal, and the outdoor patio is perfect for sunbathing. Rooms range from dorms with bunk beds and shared bathrooms to the deluxe queen which is ensuite. Head to the game room for a round of billiards, or tag along to one of the scheduled events, including a comedy night, hike and limo party.

Samesun Backpackers

Samesun Backpackers is bookended by striking murals depicting Venice Beach’s glitzy grayscale past and its bohemian sky-blue present. Shared dorms and private rooms are available, many with views of colorful street performers along the Boardwalk and the ocean. Take a stroll to Muscle Beach, zip along the coastal bike path, hire a surfboard or drop in at the skatepark. Take a beat in the shared lounge’s fuchsia hammocks.

Venice Beach Hostel

Just one block from the beach, this budget hostel in Venice Beach is close to all the attractions, like the Venice sign and Boardwalk, with popular restaurants and bars just downstairs. The large open common area and balcony overlooking the busy street below is ideal for chatting with other travelers. There is complimentary breakfast, free Los Angeles airport (LAX) pick-up services and on-site bicycle rentals. Dormitory and private rooms are available with locker rentals and free wifi. Spend the day shopping on nearby Abbot Kinney Boulevard or take a short walk to the Venice Canals.

The Venice Beach Youth Hostel

Not to be confused with the prior hostel (on Pacific), this is the oldest hostel in Venice Beach, consisting of two separate locations. The first is a converted German-style country house, and the other is a two-story boutique building. Both are conveniently located on Washington Boulevard, about a 30-minute walk from Venice Beach and Boardwalk. Exclusively for international travelers, guests are asked to provide a passport plus proof of traveling onward when checking in. Although pre-booking is available, buildings are assigned after check-in. Both accommodations are private and homey, offering some of the best locations in Los Angeles.

PodShare Venice Beach

Podshare Venice is flanked by the theatrical Boardwalk crowds and the beachy boutiques of Abbot Kinney. Inside the mixed-gender dorms, bunks made from upcycled wood have created snug nooks with reading lights and flat-screen TVs. The shared bathrooms come with free toiletries – helping you save suitcase space as well as money – while common areas are dotted with tobacco-brown leather sofas, lockers and iMac computers. The giant garden is a particular social haven for those who like a game of volleyball, ping-pong or basketball.

Chloe Byrne contributed additional reporting to this article

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