Hot! Venice American Style

In Italy, the city of Venice rises from the Adriatic sea in splashes of vibrant color, architecture, and canals. Thousands of miles away another famous Venice sits beside the Pacific Ocean with splashes of colorful characters, beach houses, and yes, even its own canals.

Boardwalk Carnival
Where Venice, Italy has its Carnivale – the pre-Lent celebration of masks and elegant dress – Venice Beach has its boardwalk – a daily celebration of American counter culture, muscle men and minimal dress. On Ocean Front Walk, the fresh ocean breeze quickly mixes with the smells of incense, fried foods and active bodies. It’s a people-watching buzz of T-shirt shops, taco stands and oddities galore.

Yup There are Canals
Step a short two blocks away from the activity on the boardwalk into the serene neighborhoods on the Canals of Venice. Yes, the city took its name from its Italian counterpart along with its design but it wasn’t long before cars and population growth became the priority. Most of the original canals were paved over for roads. Only six canals survived. As housing along the waterways shifted from artist and musician flophouses to upscale neighborhoods, the canals were refurbished. It’s now a pleasant walking tour past some beautiful beach homes.

Get Lost with the Locals
While the original Venice is known for its tourist attractions, it’s also known for its meandering side streets and neighborhood life. The same is true of its California sister. Away from the touristy boardwalk and kitchy canals is the day to day ease of the SoCal beach life. The best place to observe and become a part of this is found on Abbott Kinney Boulevard. Named for the founder of Venice, Calif., this street is a mix of antique stores, cool shopping, bars and restaurants. How hip is this street? It’s a frequent destination for California’s latest eating trend – mobile food trucks. On an average day, these temporary restaurants come and go like the tide.

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  1. Carolyn Lamberson

    Like the new look, GFA!