Tourism is big money on the Westside. Venice Beach is the second largest tourist attraction in Southern California after Disneyland. In Santa Monica, 13,700 local jobs are supported by it, and in Marina del Rey, Communications Manager for the Marina del Rey Convention & Visitors Bureau, Valerie Arias says the industry “is estimated to have an economic impact of over $250 million annually.”
While Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and Marina del Rey are all beach-front tourist hot-spots this is where any comparison ends.
“There are a few factors that set Marina del Rey apart from Venice,” says Arias.
However, there is one app that consolidates all the attractions and helps people navigate through the smorgasbord of what is on offer on the Westside.
Created by Venice Beach locals, Mason Lee and Evan White, the Boardwalk App is a high-tech way tourists, and even a few savvy locals, are able to get a sense of what is available around them, from attractions, to shopping, to some of the Westside’s favorite local restaurants.
From sharing the location of an obscure mural to featuring an app-only cocktail special from a local bar, the Boardwalk App is about helping both tourists, locals, and local businesses get the most out of the diverse beach-side community that spans the Marina, to the Venice, along the Boardwalk all the way to the Santa Monica.
“The app looks different for everyone who opens it, because it shows you what’s actually nearby,” says White. “The interface allows you to explore more than you might otherwise see if you just went to search Google or picked up a map.”
A boon for local business owners, the app enables them to create deals that help lure in some of the millions of tourist dollars. It is not just tourists who benefit from the deals on offer: many locals use the app to learn about events, art shows, and special in app happy hour discounts at various bars.
“In the last year we’ve expanded from a few dozen locations in Venice to over 1,000 locations from Marina del Rey to Santa Monica,” says White. “New businesses are emailing us almost every day asking to join the Venice Boardwalk App.”
White says a large amount of tourists use the app to navigate the beach communities of Marina del Rey, Venice, and Santa Monica.
In Marina del Rey, Arias says the area has become LA’s hot spot for water recreation.
“The Marina lends itself to water activities like sailing, boating recreation, parasailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, dining cruises, sport fishing and even paddle board yoga,” Arias says. “The majority of these activities are only found in Marina del Rey.”
The Boardwalk makes fun deals easy to find.
“One of my favorite new vendors is LA Flyboard, where you get to go out on a boat in the ocean and learn to fly,” says White. “Jetpack skateboarding. It’s nuts. They are based out of the Marina, and are currently running an amazing Boardwalk Deal.”
Available for both Android and iOS, download the Boardwalk App from the app store or online at veniceboardwalkapp.com.