One of Los Angeles’s most vibrant and well-known communities, Venice attracts both local and out-of-town visitors who come for its beachfront locale and funky vibe. Built in the early 1900s around a canal system modeled after Italy’s infamous one, Venice became a seaside escape for Old Hollywood stars and Los Angeles residents. After years of neglect, Venice has recently reemerged as a hot spot for the surrounding area, boasting hotels with unparalleled views, trendy shops and restaurants, and a farmer’s market that draws huge weekend crowds.
Probably the most famous of Venice’s attractions, the Venice Boardwalk (pictured above) runs along the edge of Venice Beach for about a mile and a half and offers everything from street vendors and performers to souvenir shops, cafes, rollerblading and biking rentals, tattoos and dispensaries. When you’re done people watching here, you can hop across the Boardwalk to the beach or walk out to the end of the Venice Beach Pier and watch the fishermen. Or head a few blocks from the beach to discover the Venice Canals, which are still used for boating by the locals. Visitors can follow the sidewalks and walking paths along the canals which lead to foot-traffic-only bridges. Alternatively, take a stroll to Abbot Kinney Blvd., with its variety of upscale shops and restaurants as well as low-key coffee bars and antique stores.
Venice Canals Walkway at Dusk
The restaurants along Abbot Kinney offer a range of prices and cuisines. At the top end are Gjelina, with beach-inspired American fare for brunch, lunch, and dinner and The Tasting Kitchen, with creative Mediterranean plates and a bustling brunch scene. Gjelina’s sister restaurant, Gjusta, is both bakery and cafe with yummy sandwiches and artisan baked goods. Lemonade, a casual eatery, is family friendly with delicious, light fare. If a view is what you’re after, head to the rooftop bar at Hotel Erwin near Venice City Beach, where you can lounge and watch the sunset over the Santa Monica Mountains. Perfect for a girls’ only brunch, 26 Beach, located about a mile from the beach on Washington Blvd., offers a wide-ranging breakfast and lunch menu with a fun, quirky outdoor patio space.
Accommodations in Venice range from cozy bed and breakfasts to boutique hotels like Air Venice, which overlooks the Venice Boardwalk and offers rooms with a view. If you’re in for a longer stay, try the Venice Beach Suites & Hotel with its upgraded suites that include kitchenettes and living room areas. Or remove yourself from the beachfront hustle and bustle at the Jamaica Bay Inn, featuring a relaxed upscale vibe and close proximity to Mother’s Beach on Marina Del Rey with its walking path, playground, and various restaurants.
No matter your length of stay in Venice, you’re sure to stay busy with its many shopping, dining, and beachfront options. From its eclectic boardwalk to Muscle Beach to the multi-million dollar homes lining the canals, a day spent in Venice is one well-remembered.