People from all over the world flock here to hang out at funky Venice Beach. It's a casual, trendy community with great beaches,... more » restaurants and shopping. Situated between Santa Monica to the north and Marina del Rey to the south, Venice always has been known to drum to its own beat.
It was the hub of the hippie culture in the 1950s and 1960s, and always has attracted the creative and artistic types. Jim Morrison reportedly lived in Venice for two years; it's where he met Ray Manzarek to form the nucleus of the Doors.
Venice has had its ups and downs over the years, but thanks to strong community involvement it underwent a major revitalization over a decade ago and emerged as a hip seaside town. A grand opening took place Jan. 15, 2001, to showcase a polished Venice, now a mix of gritty beach charm and upscale neighborhoods attracting singles, couples and families.
Today, many parents choose Venice to raise their children and to join civic groups that promote hometown events, such as the Abbot Kinney Festival (www.abbotkinney.org). The annual September event features local artisan crafts, live music and food.
That's not to say that Venice has lost its quirkiness. Far from it. Take a stroll along Ocean Front Walk (the boardwalk) where you'll see street performers, jugglers, musicians, tarot card readers and barely-clad roller-bladers. That hasn't changed. People watching on the boardwalk is still the main attraction. But there are other reasons to visit this eclectic beach town.
Surfers are drawn to the Venice Breakwater, a popular, local surf spot located north of the Venice Pier and lifeguard headquarters and south of the Santa Monica Pier.
Shoppers dive toward the Abbot Kinney shopping district in Venice's downtown area, bordered by Abbot Kinney and Grand boulevards and Main Street. Downtown Venice is a magnet because of its many bars, nightclubs, art galleries and edgy apparel shops occupying both its older brick and Art Deco storefronts.
Venice may still have a bohemian reputation-–but in a good way. No matter whether you're a Los Angeles resident or a visitor (single or married), it's worth spending a few hours in Venice. You won't be sorry. less «