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Venice was the creation and dream of one man, Abbott Kinney. Kinney was an investor who built a sort of recreation of Venice, Italy including a massive systems of canals and a huge entertainment complex that opened in 1905 and became very popular.
The overly ambitious canals were mostly filled and made into streets in 1929. A few of the canals survive and are lined with funky, expensive, and architecturally diverse urban homes. A stroll along a couple of the remaining streets is a lesson in architectural eclecticism.
Kinney's huge Pacific Ocean Park entertainment complex survived until the mid-1960's, eventually succumbing to competition from Disneyland and others. The spirit of his seaside entertainment complex, however, still pulses in Venice's captivating Boardwalk.
In the 1950s and 60s, Venice became a center for the Beat generation. There was an explosion of poetry and art. Major participants included Stuart Perkoff, John Thomas, Frank T. Rios, Tony Scibella, Lawrence Lipton, John Haag, Saul White, and Philomene Long. Jim Morrison of The Doors also lived in Venice and wrote much of his poetry and song lyrics here.
In the late 60s, Venice became a center for radical activism, including a Black Panther chapter, a Free Venice (from Los Angeles) movement and many other activities opposing various urban renewal plans. Venice, today, is a community in the throes of gentrification but maintains a strong identity and progressive political posture.
More than one hundred years after Kinney's debut, Venice remains unique and well worth the visit.
You'll have all of Los Angeles to explore, but these are some of the attractions just a stone's throw from your hotel.
Canals: Venice's canals (complete with ducks) are home to some of LA's most eclectic residential architecture. See tiny bohemian cottages next to million-dollar ultra-modern houses. If the drapes are open, peek in the windows - that's how close you are to the homes. The canal streets are between Washington Blvd. and Venice Blvd.
The Abbot Kinney district (the area along Abbot Kinney Boulevard) runs for about 1.5 miles between Main St. and Washington Blvd. The area is a hotspot for artists and hipsters and includes numerous shops, restaurants and bars including several excellent art galleries, about a half-dozen interesting clothing boutiques and over a dozen cafes and eateries. Named for the developer who originally created the "Venice of America", the area holds an annual festival featuring music and art.
Along with spending time on the beach, you'll want to to get out of the hotel just to see and be seen.
Venice Beach: One of the LA area's more popular beaches, including the infamous Muscle Beach which the city has set up as an outdoor weightlifting gym for the local hulks. People watching along Venice Beach is something to put on your "things to do before you die" list. Think of the scene as a Bohemian-Mardi Gras-Beach Blanket Bingo-Circus. If that doesn't make any sense, well neither does Venice and that's the charm.
Every summer day and every weekend, join the parade of humanity strolling amongst amazing and bizarre street performers, obscenely bulging body builders (at Muscle Beach), eclectic shops and street vendors, panhandlers, and beautiful, scantily clad, people desperately seeking attention. Go ahead and stare at it all. That's the point.
Walking is fine but if you like to bike there is a great path along the beach. There are many places to rent bikes. You cannot however ride them on the pedestrian street.
Surf off the jetty’s is good on some days and the beach break has it day too.
To see the wide range of hotels available to you for your beach vacation in Venice Beach, enter the dates of your stay in the “Quick Search” search box on this page and the available hotel rooms for your selected dates will be shown.
When you want to go shopping near your hotel, Venice offers a selection of options as varied as the city itself.
Abbott Kinney Blvd. reflects the neighborhood's funky feel with eclectic shops. There are also many local artisans and craftsmen at Venice Beach. Items range from spoon art and bottle art to bongs made out of beer cans.
Your hotel in Venice can make a good base point for exploring the rest of Los Angeles including:
Santa Monica. A neighboring beach city that is slightly more touristy than Venice and features a fun and famous pier.
Culver City. A neighboring city and the home of Sony Studios that in recent years has been undergoing a rebirth and now has an increasing number of food, shopping and entertainment options.
Marina del Rey. The "marina of the king" is home to a vast number of restaurants and hotels, and while not as touristy as some of the neighboring beach cities is nonetheless a fun spot to spend an evening.
Source: Wikitravel 2008.