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POPULAR TIMESWeekends; summer
RESERVE IN ADVANCENo
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATIONNone
HIGHLIGHTSVenice Beach; Venice Canals; Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Offbeat Pacific coast town drawing everyone from celebs to crazies. If you’re looking for far-out fun, the area around Venice Beach has become a haven for all that’s weird and wonderful about LA: off-the-wall street performers, hippie street performers, artists, bikini-clad rollerbladers, kooky trinket vendors, and world-class weightlifters at Muscle Beach. The beaches themselves are wide and long and lined with bike paths if you choose to rent some wheels when you get there. Elsewhere, the whimsical Venice Canals–a posh 1920s residential area loosely modeled on its Italian namesake–and the boutique-lined Abbot Kinney Boulevard are boho-chic enclaves catering to an upscale crowd.
GO HERE WITH
Friends – for shopping on Abbot Kinney or an entertaining day at the beach; a sporty companion – for a tennis match at the Recreation center or bike ride along the paths; a date – for a romantic meal in one of the chic restaurants on Abbot Kinney Boulevard
WHY WE LIKE IT
We like the unique mash-up of offbeat areas like Venice Beach and the more upscale centers of Abbot Kinney and the canals. We’d make a day of it in Venice, first taking in the shops, then scoping the eccentrics pottering on the boardwalk, and finally rounding out our day with a sophisticated bite or drink at one of the posh cafés.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
Sometimes it is just a bit too eccentric for us. And to quote a friend, “there are more bikes than Beijing,” which can make it just a bit hard to take a laidback stroll along the beach.
GOOD TO KNOW
Venice Beach is the original “Muscle Beach”–it earned its nickname when “high-tech” sports facilities were installed as part of a 1930s health initiative. Also note that for a great scenic SoCal day, you can rent a bike and ride from Venice to Santa Monica and back (about two to four miles each way, depending where you pick up and drop off).
Santa Monica (Los Angeles)
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