Venice (often referred to as Venice Beach) is a beachfront district on the Westside of Los Angeles, California, known for its canals, funky artist colonies, contemporary restaurants, the eclectic shops and galleries on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, boutique hotels, and of course, its beaches and the circus-like Ocean Front Walk—a two-and-a-half mile pedestrian-only promenade that features performers, fortune-tellers, artists, and vendors.
Venice of America was originally founded as a seaside resort in 1904 by Abbot Kinney, a tobacco millionnaire, then officially opened on July 4, 1905. Later, Venice Beach and its Boardwalk nurtured some of Los Angeles’ early beat poets and artists, and has served as an important cultural center since the 1960s. Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a century-old artistic neighborhood filled with trendy shops and restaurants.
A neighborhood of Los Angeles, since being annexed by the city in 1925, Venice is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Marina del Rey to the southeast, Culver City to the east, Mar Vista to the northeast, and the city of Santa Monica to the north.
Interesting Facts about Venice:
• Venice Beach is the 2nd-largest tourist attraction in Southern California after Disneyland
• There were 16 million visitors in 2004; 7 million of these under the age of 35
• 65% of visitors have an average income over $50,000
• The first documented surfing demonstration in California was held off Venice Beach by George Freeth in 1907.
• Venice is the birthplace of modern progressive skateboarding, as celebrated in the documentary film “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and Sony Pictures’ “The Lords of Dogtown.”
• With the Pacific Ocean, Boardwalk vendors, skaters, surfers, artists, and musicians, Venice is known throughout the world as a setting for films such as “Speed” with Sandra Bullock, “Breathless” with Richard Gere, and the popular “Baywatch” television series.
• Venice High School celebrated its Centennial in 2011.
You are invited to explore, experience, and enjoy all that Venice has to offer.
Ocean Front Walk / Venice Beach and Boardwalk
Whether you want to swim, surf, toss a Frisbee or just relax in the sun, the beautiful sandy beaches of Venice await at the edge of the blue Pacific. Venice Beach consistently receives high water testing scores for cleanliness. You may prefer to cast your fishing line off the recently renovated Venice Pier, located at the end of Washington Boulevard. Casual and fine dining is also available at the end of Washington Boulevard in the first block east of the pier, just steps from the water.
There is no better spot to stroll and people-watch in all of L.A. than Venice’s world-famous Ocean Front Walk. Located parallel to the ocean from Venice Boulevard to Rose, the pedestrian Boardwalk is home to a wide variety of street performers and unique vendors ranging from clothing to local hand-crafted art to exotic imports. You can even rent bicycles, skates, roller blades and boogie boards, get a few gifts, or even a henna tattoo. If you’re hungry visit one of the many cozy, affordable eateries to relax and enjoy our constant stream of colorful characters.
For vendor information, contact the LA Dept. of Recreation & Parks Venice Beach Office, 310-399-2775.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Discover Abbot Kinney Boulevard, one of the most vibrant scenes in all of Los Angeles. The eclectic shops, creative galleries, contemporary restaurants, cafes, and bars all reflect the diversity of this 100-year-old artistic Venice neighborhood. Every First Friday of the month shops stay open late and feature special promotions, live music, and refreshments. Find your treasure in this hip five-block zone, located less than a mile from Venice Beach between Main Street and Venice Boulevard.
Be sure to visit an area known for its historical significance: the Venice Canal Historic District, noteworthy for its man-made canals built in 1905 as part of his “Venice of America” plan. Take a walk, bike ride, or drive along the remnants of his effort to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy in Southern California, between Venice and Washington Boulevards. While most of the canals were filled in 1929 to create roads, they re-opened in 1993 after a complete renovation and have become a desirable residential section of the city. The area surrounding the remaining canals was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.