Life's a beach
The bohemian side of Los Angeles, Venice Beach is a vibrant beach town lined with stylish boutiques, delicious food vendors, and colourful wall art. Walk the famous two and a half mile pedestrian promenade and meet the characters that give Venice Beach its quirky reputation. Check out the action at the lively skate park and witness the drum circle that takes place daily on the beach. Then when it’s time to cool off, hit the impressive stretch of sand and go for a dip in the crystal waters.
Originally called ‘Venice of America’, Venice Beach was founded by tobacco eccentric millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905. Kinney had a vision to bring a piece of Italy to Lose Angeles. With partner Francis Ryan, they bought two miles of oceanfront real estate and developed a resort town called Ocean Park on the north end, and later a seaside resort at the south end. Miles of canals were dug out to drain the marshes for the residential area, giving Venice Beach the look of its Italian namesake. Kinney built piazzas and shipped over authentic gondolas and gondoliers from Venice, Italy, to complete the theme. You can still see these canals today in the Venice Canal Historic District.
Referred to as the birthplace of the fitness boom in the United States, Muscle Beach is an outdoor gym focusing on bodybuilding and acrobatics. Once the home gym of bodybuilders Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, it has gained worldwide fame for its people-watching potential. Contests are often held at Muscle Beach, and often bodybuilders are happy to post for a photo with you.
Other interesting facts about Venice Beach in Los Angeles
- In the 1950s, Venice Beach was referred to as ‘Slum by the Sea’ as it had been so badly neglected
- Venice Beach Recreation Center was used as a location for the movie White Men Can’t Jump
- The world-famous band The Doors formed in Venice Beach in 1965, now considered one of the greatest bands of all time