Venice

Venice

 

Venice is a beachfront neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles. It is known for its canals, beaches and colorful Ocean Front Walk, a two-and-a-half-mile pedestrian-only promenade that features performers, fortune-tellers, artists, and vendors.  Venice was home to some of Los Angeles's early Beat Poets and artists and has served as an important cultural center of the city.  Venice is located north of Washington Blvd. & continues north of Venice Blvd. to Rose Ave. near Dewey Ave, east of Walgrove, and west to the ocean.
 
Venice, originally called "Venice of America," was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a beach resort town.  Reminiscent of Venice, Italy, you could  take a gondola ride down it's canals, frolic in the arcade and amusement park near the pier or rejuvenate in the heated indoor salt-water Olympic size pool. Venice had it's ups and downs as it weathered the 1930's depression and severe California winter storms and fires that destroyed many of the several piers that used to exist there. In the early 1950's there was a resurgence with Venice dance halls gaining popularity (including the Aragon Ballroom where famous bandleader Lawrence Welk had his show) and the "Beat" generation of counterculture artists, writers and poets frequenting the many cafes and coffee shops in Venice. The 1960's & 1970's brought in what is recognized as the beginning of the Venice we now know as the skateboarding craze, the new Muscle Beach and the beginning of the colorful carnival atmosphere of the Venice boardwalk brought the area national attention.  Adding to the allure was the Cheetah Club where The Doors, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Love, The Mothers of Invention, and Buffalo Springfield frequently dropped by, making the area a must-visit concert spot.
 
Today, many people associate Venice with Venice Beach and it's side walk vendors and street entertainers and as a popular place for rollerblading, jogging and shopping at the many shops and cafes.  The promenade that runs parallel to the beach ("Ocean Front Walk" or just "the boardwalk") has Muscle Beach, handball courts, paddle tennis courts, Skate Dancing Plaza, numerous beach volleyball courts, the South Bay Bike Path and the businesses on Ocean Front Walk. The bike path can take you as far north as Sunset Boulevard and south to Torrance Beach.  The ever trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard is not to be missed and it is great to see this street grow from older abandoned stores to hip, cool and laid back restaurants, jazz clubs, coffee hangouts, art shops and clothing stores.  Venice architecture is also a sight to see and is an eclectic fusion of  early twentieth century character homes, stylized modern homes & trendy lofts.  The Venice Canals have always been a popular place to live and are growing more in popularity with film celebrities, athletes, world-famous artists and renowned musicians residing there.  Besides the shopping, dining and sights along Abbot Kinney and the Beach, Venice also boasts one of the region's best farmers markets which operates every Friday morning from 7–11 a.m. on Venice Boulevard at Venice Way.