Venice Beach

Venice Beach


Venice Beach is a seaside community located along the Pacific Ocean, about 30 minutes west of downtown Los Angeles and 10 minutes north of Los Angeles International Airport. Also known locally as simply “Venice,” Venice Beach stretches 2-1/2 miles long between Santa Monica to the north and Marina Del Rey to the south. The enclave is most popular for its beachside boardwalk, and its canals that were created to resemble those of Venice, Italy. Tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney built the resort town of Venice Beach in 1905, which at the time included the city of Ocean Park, which was subsequently annexed to Santa Monica. Venice was constructed on marshy land south of the Santa Monica Pier, its goal to reproduce the feel of Italy. Elaborate homes were built along canal waterways, and the area was a prime tourist attraction in its time, bringing in visitors on Red Line cars from all over the state. The city of Venice fell into a slum when oil wells started to propagate the area in 1929, leaving the town in disrepair for many years. A revitalization of the community in the 1960’s, sparked by social change and a thriving art community, turned Venice into the liberal, funky town that it is today.

On Venice’s main thoroughfare, Abbott Kinney Boulevard, one can find organic and innovative eateries, hipster fashion boutiques, and many interesting shops and art galleries. The Venice Art Walls are open for public view on weekends, and are located in the sand on Venice Beach, at the Old Pavilion. Venice Beach hosts a weekly farmers' market at Venice Boulevard and Venice Way, and the sand is where you’ll find handball courts, a skate plaza, and volleyball courts. Stroll the Venice boardwalk, along the stretch of beach south of the Santa Monica Pier, and encounter street performers, vendors selling handmade and mystical wares, and passers-by soaking up the California sunshine.

Venice Beach’s population in 2008 was 40,885. It is considered one of the wealthiest communities in the Los Angeles area, and is home to notable residents like Anna Paquin, Tim Robbins, and Nicholas Cage. Venice Beach is served by the LAFD, LAPD, and LAUSD, which includes several elementary schools, Mark Twain Middle School, and Venice High School.

Attractions in Venice Beach that lure in thousands of tourists every week are the famous Boardwalk, home to various street performers including snake charmers, jugglers, fire-eaters, palm readers, roller skaters, and attractive place for walking and bicycling. Nearby Muscle Beach is famous for its legendary weightlifters working out in the sun, paddle tennis courts, handball courts, beach volleyball courts, Skate Dancing plaza, and the bike trail. Worth visiting are the local surf spot Venice Breakwater, not to be missed Crazy Dave on his skates, and local cultural highlights including the literary center Beyond Baroque, Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), performance spaces at the Pacific Resident Theater, the Electric Lodge and Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the country.




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