Exploring Venice, California – One of LA’s Hip Beach Neighborhoods
I’m dodging a winter storm in Calgary and feel lucky to have landed in Venice, California, one of LA’s hip beach neighborhoods.
Before my arrival here I’d only heard of Venice in a vague sort of way. For the life of me I wouldn’t have been able to give you any specifics.
Now I can.
And my first impressions are very positive – even if I feel like I’ve been dropped on another planet. Although Venice is only 2 ½ hours by air from Calgary, and then a mere 20 minutes from LAX - it’s got a hip, youthful, edgy type of vibe that makes Calgary feel staid and conservative.
What have I learned about Venice in a few short hours?
For the record I am not a shopper but I could be in Venice. Seven blocks of shopping nirvana – with nary a chain store in sight – is what you’ll find on Abbott Kinney Blvd. There’s an incredible mix of stores and restaurants – offering things we won’t be seeing in Canada for another five years. The latest in design is right here. And it’s actually refreshing to see such original stores. Really I could lose myself here for days. Of course there are trendy restaurants and cafes – many with a vegan and vegetarian angle that I hope to dine in over the next couple of days.
Abbot Kinney Blvd – an uber cool street for shopping & eating
I could be the ultimate consumer in The Juicy Leaf – there was nothing I saw that I didn’t want
Colourful buildings and street art
Racing to catch the sunset
Looking down Venice Beach
On Venice Beach
People congregating to catch the sunset
Spectacular sunset on Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a happening spot on a Sunday night
Along the Venice Beach boardwalk
Eateries to appeal to every taste
Someone in need of attention
Where to Stay
I’ve landed at the edgy, hip and urban Hotel Erwin. It’s exceptionally well located – just steps from Venice Beach and the boardwalk and walking distance to all the great shopping on Abbott Kinney Blvd. Rooms are huge and some have balcony views of the action on Venice Beach. There’s a restaurant on site offering breakfast and dinner and a 7th floor open air rooftop bar – perfect for taking in sunsets.
You know you’re in southern California when you get a surf theme happening in the lobby
A kitchen/living room area
The bed is in a separate room
After a hurried breakfast on my first morning here I rushed to the beach to see what it looked like in daylight. I’ll be back for more this afternoon – when I rent a bike to cycle the whole boardwalk. I’ll also take the time to check-out the Venice canals – a place one of my readers says I must visit.
The surfers are out on Venice Beach on a December morning
Morning on Venice Beach
So far Venice has exceeded my expectations by a long shot. Stay tuned as I explore some of LA’s finest museums, hike in canyons, visit Catalina Island and then make my way back into winter with a four night stay in Yosemite National Park.
Have you ever been to Venice, California? What are your favourite activities, places to eat, shops to check out?
Thank you to Visit California for sponsoring my trip. But all thoughts, opinions and everything else are strictly my own.
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