Venice Beach: Wikis

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Venice Beach and Boardwalk
Sunset at Venice Beach
Panorama of Venice Beach from the Pacific Ocean

Venice is a district in western Los Angeles, California, United States. It is known for its canals, beaches and circus-like Ocean Front Walk, which features performers, fortune-tellers and vendors.[1] Throughout the summer months, the boardwalk is actively entertaining, and this tradition continues on weekends in the winter.[2] It is an important tourist attraction in Southern California,[3] and has retained its popularity in part because it is an attractive location for walking and bicycling.[2] It was home to early Beat poets and artists in Los Angeles.[4] Its area codes are 310 and a 424 overlay. Its ZIP Code is 90291.

Venice is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, by the unincorporated Marina Del Rey on the southeast, by Culver City on the east, by the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista on the northeast, and by the city of Santa Monica on the north.

Contents

History

Workers build the canals, 1905.

The township that became Venice was established in 1822 by communist pioneer Walter Thompson. After a treacherous year-long journey, he set up "Camp Arok" named in memory of a companion.[citation needed] The camp soon drew settlers and grew into the town of Venice, which was declared a proctectorate of Mexico. Venice came to be known primarily for its fishing industry and peaceful locals who were welcoming to travellers.

In 1836 gold was discovered in Venice and the township was flooded by prospectors from around the world. This barrage of newcomers exploited the local people and almost completely destroyed their peaceful way of life.

Walter Thompson then returned to the Venice spotlight as a revolutionary. He organized the locals into a guerilla force that confronted the thieving gold speculators. In response the United States sent in a military unit to capture Thompson. Thompson escaped into the wilderness of California and lived out the rest of his life as a social agitator for Natives and other oppressed peoples along the coastal region.[citation needed]

Venice of America was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a beach resort town, 14 miles (23 km) west of Los Angeles. He and his partner Francis Ryan had bought two miles (3.24 km) of oceanfront property south of Santa Monica in 1891. They built a resort town on the north end of the property called Ocean Park, which was soon annexed to Santa Monica. After Ryan died, Kinney and his new partners continued building south of Navy Street in the unincorporated territory. After the partnership dissolved in 1904, Kinney built on the marshy land on the south end of the property, intending to create a seaside resort like its namesake in Italy.

When Venice of America opened on July 4, 1905, Kinney had dug several miles of canals to drain the marshes for his residential area, built a 1200-foot-long pleasure pier with an auditorium, ship restaurant, and dance hall, constructed a hot salt-water plunge, and built a block-long arcaded business street with Venetian architecture. Tourists, mostly arriving on the "Red Cars" of the Pacific Electric Railway from Los Angeles and Santa Monica, then rode Venice's miniature railroad and gondolas to tour the town. But the biggest attraction was Venice's mile-long gently sloping beach. Cottages and housekeeping tents were available for rent.

A gondolier on the Venice Canals, 1909.

The town's population increased, annexed adjacent housing tracts, and changed its official name from Ocean Park to Venice in 1911. The population (3119 residents in 1910) soon exceeded 10,000, and drew 50,000 to 150,000 tourists on weekends.

Attractions on the Kinney Pier became more amusement oriented by 1910, when a Venice Scenic Railway, Aquarium, Virginia Reel, Whip, Racing Derby and other rides and game booths were added. Since the business district was allotted only three one-block-long streets, and the City Hall was more than a mile away, other competing business districts developed. Unfortunately, this created a fractious political climate. Kinney, however, governed with an iron hand and kept things in check. When he died in November 1920, Venice became harder to govern. With the amusement pier burning six weeks later in December 1920, and Prohibition (which had begun the previous January), the town's tax revenue was severely affected.

Windward Ave. in 1913.

The Kinney family rebuilt their amusement pier quickly to compete with Ocean Park's Pickering Pier, and the new Sunset Pier. When it opened it had two roller coasters, a new Racing Derby, a Noah's Ark, a Mill Chutes, and many other rides. By 1925 with the addition of a third coaster, a tall Dragon Slide, Fun House and Flying Circus aerial ride, it was the finest amusement pier on the West Coast. Several hundred thousand tourists visited on weekends. In 1923 Charles Lick built the Lick Pier at Navy Street in Venice, adjacent to the Ocean Park Pier at Pier Avenue in Ocean Park. Another pier was planned for Venice in 1925 at Leona Street (now Washington Street).

Canals with roller coaster in background, 1921.

For the amusement of the public, Kinney hired aviators to do aerial stunts over the beach. One of them, movie aviator and Venice airport owner B.H. DeLay, implemented the first lighted airport in the United States on DeLay Field (previously known as Ince Field). He also initiated the first aerial police in the nation, after a marine rescue attempt was thwarted. DeLay also performed many of the world's first aerial stunts for motion pictures in Venice.

By 1925, Venice's politics became unmanageable. Its roads, water and sewage systems badly needed repair and expansion to keep up with its growing population. When it was proposed that Venice be annexed to Los Angeles, the board of Trustees voted to hold an election. Those for annexation and those against were nearly evenly matched, but many Los Angeles residents, who moved to Venice to vote, turned the tide. Venice became part of Los Angeles in October 1925.

Los Angeles had annexed the Disneyland of its day, and proceeded to remake Venice in its own image. They felt the town needed more streets, not canals, and paved most of them in 1929 after a three-year court battle led by canal residents. They wanted to close Venice's three amusement piers, but had to wait until the first of the tidelands' leases expired in 1946.

In 1929, oil was discovered south of Washington Street on the Venice Peninsula. Within two years, 450 oil wells covered the area and drilling waste clogged the remaining waterways. It was a short-lived boom that provided needed income to the community, which suffered during the Great Depression. The wells produced oil into the 1970s.

The canals were modeled after those in Italy's Venice

Los Angeles had neglected Venice so long that, by the 1950s, it had become the "Slum by the Sea." With the exception of new police and fire stations in 1930, the city spent little on improvements after annexation. The city did not pave Trolleyway (Pacific Avenue) until 1954 when county and state funds became available. Low rents for run-down bungalows attracted predominantly European immigrants (including a substantial number of Holocaust survivors), and young counterculture artists, poets and writers. The Beat Generation hung out at the Gas House on Ocean Front Walk and at Venice West Cafe on Dudley. Police raids were frequent during that era.

Alleys of Venice, near 17th Place. The portrait of past-resident Jim Morrison is one of many murals in the area.

Venice and neighboring Santa Monica were hosts for a decade to Pacific Ocean Park (POP), an amusement and pleasure-pier built atop the old Lick Pier and Ocean Park Pier by CBS and the Los Angeles Turf Club (Santa Anita). It opened in July 1958, in Santa Monica. They kept the pier's old roller coaster, airplane ride and historic carousel, but converted its theaters and smaller pier buildings into sea-themed rides and space-themed attractions designed by Hollywood special-effects people. Visitors could travel in space on the Flight to Mars ride, tour the world in Around the World in 80 Turns, go beneath the sea in the Diving Bells or at Neptune's Kingdom, take a fantasy excursion into the Tales of the Arabian Nights on the Flying Carpet ride, visit a pirate world at Davy Jones' Locker, or visit a tropical paradise and its volcano by riding a train on Mystery Island. There were also thrill rides like the Whirlpool (rotor whose floor dropped out), the Flying Fish wild mouse coaster, an auto ride, gondola ride, double Ferris wheel, safari ride, and an area of children's rides called Fun Forest. Sea lion shows were performed at the Sea Circus.

Since attendance at the park was too low to justify winter operation, and with competition from Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and Marineland, it was sold after two seasons to a succession of owners, who allowed the park deteriorate. Since Santa Monica was redeveloping the surrounding area for high-rise apartments and condos, it became difficult for patrons to reach the park, and it was forced into bankruptcy in 1967. The park suffered a series of arson fires beginning in 1970, and its was demolished by 1974. Another aging attraction in the 1960s was the Aragon Ballroom that had been the longtime home of The Lawrence Welk Show & the Spade Cooley Show, and later the Cheetah Club where rock bands like the Doors, Blue Cheer & many other top bands performed. It burned in the 1970 fire. The district around POP in the southside of Santa Monica is known as Dogtown, it is a common misconception that Dogtown is in Venice, the original Z-boys surfing and skateboarding shop was and is still on Main St. in Santa Monica. Venice and Santa Monica were home to pioneering skateboarders the Z-Boys, as profiled in the documentary film, Dogtown and Z-Boys. Little known is that POP pier was actually completely in Santa Monica, it started at the end of Ocean Park Blvd and extended to the line where Venice meets Santa Monica.

Chiat/Day Building, Main Street. Frank Gehry, Architect. The binoculars, which house a conference room, were designed with help from Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

Producer Roger Corman owned a production facility, the Concorde/New Horizons Studio, on Main Street, where many of his films were shot. This facility was razed to build the Venice Art Lofts and Dogtown Station lofts.

Demographics

In 2009, the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project supplied these Venice statistics: population: 35,820; median household income: $67,057.

Furthermore, the racial and ethnic composition in Venice is White (63.9%), Asian (3.7%), African American (5.6%), Latino (22.2%) and Other (4.6%).[5]

Attractions and neighborhoods

Venice is today one of the most vibrant and eclectic areas of Southern California and it continues a tradition of liberal social change involving prominent Westsiders. The Venice Family Clinic is the largest free clinic in the country.

Many of Venice's houses have their principal entries from pedestrian-only streets, and have house numbers on these footpaths. (Automobile access is by alleys in the rear). However, like much of Los Angeles, Venice is also well-known for traffic congestion. It lies 2 miles (3.2 km) away from the nearest freeway, and its unusually dense network of narrow streets was not planned for the demands of modern traffic. Mindful of the tourist nature of much of the district's vehicle traffic, though, its residents have successfully fought numerous attempts to extend the Marina Freeway (SR 90) into southern Venice.

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Venice Beach

Streetballers at the Venice Beach basketball courts.

Venice Beach includes the beach, the promenade that runs parallel to the beach ("Ocean Front Walk" or just "the boardwalk"), Muscle Beach, the handball courts, the paddle tennis courts, Skate Dancing plaza, the numerous beach volleyball courts, the bike trail and the businesses on Ocean Front Walk. The basketball courts in Venice are renowned across the country for their high level of streetball; numerous NBA players developed their games or recruited on these courts.[6]

A performer on the Venice Boardwalk.

Along the southern portion of the beach, at the end of Washington Boulevard, is the Venice Fishing Pier. A 1,310-foot (400 m) concrete structure, it first opened in 1964, was closed in 1983 due to El Niño storm damage, and re-opened in the mid-1990s. On December 21, 2005, the pier again suffered damage when waves from an unusually large northern swell caused the part of the pier where the restrooms were located to fall into the ocean.

Waves at the Pier, Dec. 21, 2005

The pier remained closed until May 25, 2006, when it was re-opened after an engineering study concluded the pier was structurally sound.

The Venice Breakwater is an acclaimed local surf spot in Venice. It is located north of the Venice Pier and Lifeguard Headquarters, and south of the Santa Monica Pier. This spot is sheltered on the north by an artificial barrier, the breakwater, consisting of an extending sand bar, piping, and large rocks at its end.

This spot has differing breaks depending on swell intensity, swell direction, tide and time of the day.

Downtown Venice

The areas along Abbot Kinney and Grand Boulevards and Main Street form the traditional downtown of Venice. During the 1920s and 1930s, the area's nightlife was quite active, with thousands of Angelenos arriving every night by streetcar. (Before he burst onto the national scene, Benny Goodman had a brief residence as a bandleader in Venice). Nightlife boomed again in the late 1960s as the area became a center of hippie culture. Since the late 1990s, downtown Venice has been especially popular, with many bars, nightclubs, art galleries, and edgy apparel shops occupying both its older brick and Art Deco storefronts and hyper-modern glass facades.

Oakwood

The Oakwood neighborhood of Venice, also known as Ghost Town and the "Oakwood Pentagon", which lies inland a few blocks from the tourist areas, is one of the few historically African American areas of in West Los Angeles, although Latinos have comprised the overwhelming majority of the residents. During the age of restrictive covenants that enforced racial segregation, Oakwood was set aside as a settlement area for blacks, who came by the hundreds to Venice to work in the oil fields during the 1930s and 1940s. After the construction of the San Diego Freeway passed through predominantly Mexican and immigrant communities, they moved further west and into Oakwood. Small numbers of whites moved in or around the Oakwood area during the 1980s and 1990s.

The Venice Shoreline Crips and the Latino Venice 13 gang, which are under a shaky truce, continue to remain active in Venice. The Venice White Boys, another gang, disappeared decades before the 2000s. By 2002, numbers of gang members in Oakwood were reduced due to gentrification and increased police presence. According to a Los Angeles City Beat article, by 2003, many Los Angeles Westside gang members resettled in the city of Inglewood.[7]

Near the end of the 20th century, gentrification has greatly altered Oakwood. Although still a primarily Latino and African-American neighborhood, the neighborhood is in flux. According to Los Angeles City Beat,[8] "In Venice, the transformation is....obvious. Homes are fetching sometimes more than $1 million, and homies are being displaced every day." Author John Brodie challenges the idea of gentrification causing change and commented "...the gunplay of the Shoreline Crips and the V-13 is as much a part of life in Venice as pit bulls playing with blond Labs at the local dog park."[9] Xinachtli, a Latino student group from Venice High School and subset of MEChA, refers to Oakwood as one of last beachside communities of color in California. Chicanos and Latinos of any race comprise over 50% of Venice High School's student body.[10]

East Venice

East Venice is a racially and ethnically mixed, residential neighborhood of Venice that is separated from Oakwood and Milwood (the area south of Oakwood) by Lincoln Boulevard, extending east to the border with Mar Vista, near Venice High School. Aside from the commercial strip on Lincoln (including the Venice Boys and Girls Club and the Venice United Methodist Church), the area almost entirely consists of small homes and apartments as well as Penmar Park and (bordering Santa Monica) Penmar Golf Course. The existing population (primarily composed of Caucasians, Hispanics, and Asians, with small numbers of other groups) is being supplemented by new arrivals who have moved in with gentrification.

A housing project, Lincoln Place, was built nearby by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles to accommodate GI's returning from the war and in need of affordable housing. It later came to house working class families. Lincoln Place is currently in the midst of an extensive legal battle between past and present tenants and the owner, AIMCO. The developer, which acquired the property in 2003, plans to demolish it and build a mixed-use condominium and retail structure on the site. Only 13 tenants remain, all of them elderly or disabled.

Notable residents and businesses

Palm trees along the Venice Boardwalk

Venice has always been known as a hangout for the creative and the artistic. 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, Robert Farrington and Philomene Long.

Prominent residents of Venice include artist Greg Colson, writer Russell T. Davies, singer Brandon Boyd, actresses Julia Roberts, Kate Beckinsale, Valeria Andrews, Lana Clarkson and Anjelica Huston, actors Tom Conway (brother of actor George Sanders), lived here in the 1960s, Nicolas Cage, Chaney Kley, Tim Meadows, Robert Hegyes, Mark Valley, Michael T. Weiss, Fairuza Balk,Taylor Negron, artist Martha Alf, and musicians Perry Farrell, Evidence of Dilated Peoples, Saint John of Saint John and the Revelations, Joshua Kadison, John Lydon (who owns a sizeable amount of rental property in Venice), Ozzy Lusth from Survivor, architect Lawrence Scarpa, John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tommy Mars of the Frank Zappa band, Fiona Apple and Mike Muir and most of his Suicidal Tendencies bandmates. Photographer Lauren Greenfield has lived in Venice since 1972.

Actor Robert Downey Jr. kept an apartment on the boardwalk during the 1990s. Harding Avenue is also where the Lennon Sisters of Lawrence Welk fame grew up. Jim Morrison lived in Venice for two years where he met Ray Manzarek to form the nucleus of The Doors. Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting career began after becoming a regular bodybuilder at Venice's famous Gold's Gym, whose present facility claims to be "The Mecca of Bodybuilding." Restaurateur Wolfgang Puck has owned and operated noted eateries in the area since the 1990s. Other notables include actors Viggo Mortensen, Rutger Hauer, Bryan Callen, and Elijah Wood, and film directors Vadim Perelman, Henry Jaglom and Paul Mazursky. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Host Ty Pennington both resides and owns his own Home Decor store in Venice. For many years, pro wrestlers Hulk Hogan and Sting were announced as residing in Venice Beach as well. Standup comedians, such as Nick Swardson, Eddie Ifft, Paul Provenza, George Carlin and Zach Galifinakis and street performers have proliferated in Venice, Wavy Gravy and Swami X being two of the more recent hippie busker alumni. Political contributions have been sent from homes in Venice from the actor Dennis Hopper and Simpsons creator Matt Groening. South Park co-creator Matt Stone lives in Venice as well.[11] Harry Perry, the famous street entertainer, is one of the boardwalk's key performers. Photographer Helen K. Garber maintains a studio on Ocean Front Walk. Graffiti/Street Artist and painter Jean-Michel Basquiat lived in Venice in the 80's. Immature, an R&B group from the 1990s, used to perform on the boardwalk prior to becoming famous. Other notable residents included comedian George Carlin.

TNA professional wrestlers Hulk Hogan and Sting are billed as being from Venice Beach, CA. However they actually hail from Tampa, Florida and Omaha, Nebraska respectively.

Venice is today a vibrant area of Southern California and it continues a tradition of progressive social change involving prominent Westsiders. The Venice Family Clinic is the largest free clinic in the country. The Venice Community Housing Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the economic, racial and social diversity of Venice and the surrounding area, provides affordable housing, economic and community development opportunities and needed social services to low income residents. Women in Recovery, Inc., a non-profit organization offering a live-in, 12-step program of rehabilitation for women in need, was founded by a longtime resident of Venice, Sister Ada Geraghty. Geraghty and her organization on Coeur D' Alene Avenue annually honor those who've made a difference in helping women overcome substance abuse problems. The 2006 honoree for Women in Recovery was Christopher Lawford; past honorees have included Jamie Lee Curtis, Angela Lansbury, and Anthony Hopkins.

The canals of Venice

Los Angeles County Lifeguards

Venice Beach is the headquarters of the Lifeguard Division of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. It is located at 2300 Ocean Front Walk. It is the nation's largest ocean lifeguard organizations with over 100 full-time and 600 part-time or seasonal lifeguards. The headquarter building used to be the City of Los Angeles Lifeguard Headquarters until they were merged into the County System in 1975. The department is commonly referred to by Angelenos as Baywatch Lifeguards.

The Los Angeles County Lifeguards safeguard 31 miles (50 km) of beach and 70 miles (110 km) of coastline, from San Pedro in the south, to Malibu in the north. Lifeguards also provide Paramedic and rescue boat services to Catalina Island, with operations out of Avalon and the Isthmus.

Lifeguard Division employs 120 full-time and 600 seasonal lifeguards, operating out of three Sectional Headquarters, located in Hermosa, Santa Monica, and Zuma beach. Each of these headquarters staffs a 24-hour EMT-D response unit, and are part of the 911 system. In addition to providing for beach safety, Los Angeles County Lifeguards have specialized training for Baywatch rescue boat operations, underwater rescue and recovery, swiftwater rescue, cliff rescue, marine mammal rescue and marine firefighting.

Government and infrastructure

Local government

The Los Angeles Fire Department operates Station 63, which serves Venice.

Los Angeles Police Department operates the Pacific Community Police Station at 12312 Culver Boulevard, 90066, serving the neighborhood.[12]

County, state and federal representation

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services SPA 5 West Area Health Office serves Venice.[13]

The United States Postal Service operates the Venice Post Office at 1601 Main Street and the Venice Carrier Annex at 313 Grand Boulevard.[14][15]

Education

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Venice is served by many Los Angeles Unified School District schools. The area is within Board District 4.[16] As of 2009 Steve Zimmer represents the district.[17]

The neighborhood is served by Coeur d'Alene Avenue Elementary School and Westminster Avenue Elementary School. Students go on to Mark Twain Middle School. High school students attend Venice High School, which is actually in Venice rather than, as many believe, in the adjacent neighborhood of Mar Vista.

Private schools

Saint Mark Elementary School is a private school in the area.

Public libraries

Los Angeles Public Library operates the Venice - Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch.[18]

Educational organizations

Venice hosts numerous organizations including Venice Arts: In Neighborhoods which offers free art education to youth.

Venice in the media


Dozens of movies and hundreds of television shows have used locations in Venice, including its beach, its pleasure piers, the canals and colonnades, the boardwalk, the high school, even a particular hamburger stand.[19] Various Venice venues are visible in this list of selected media:

Music

Film

Television

  • American History X
  • Adam-12
  • Beverly Hills 90210
  • CHiPs
  • The L Word
  • MADtv (for Lorraine visits the beach)
  • Simon and Simon
  • Baywatch (shot at various beaches around Los Angeles)
  • Pacific Blue
  • The A-Team
  • The Real World: Los Angeles The $2 million (1993 dollars), three-story, 6,000-square-foot (560 m2), four bedroom, four bathroom house is located in Venice Beach on 30th Avenue, one block east of the beach.
  • Huff
  • Freakazoid (An episode with Vorn the Unspeakable featured Venice Beach as a haven for weirdos, and many jokes were made about the residents' strangeness)
  • Three's Company (The opening titles for the first three seasons of the show were taped here.)
  • Gilmore Girls Jess comes to live with his father. His father owns a hot dog stand there.
  • Just Legal was based in Venice and starred Don Johnson as a lawyer.
  • Rob & Big In one episode, Rob Dyrdek and Big Black visit the crowded Venice Beach for "Go Skateboarding Day" where they meet a skateboarding dog and his owner.
  • One On One (Season 5 only)
  • The Rookies
  • Starsky and Hutch
  • 24 Season 6
  • Alias It is revealed in the fifth season that Sydney Bristow resides in Venice.
  • The X-Files Season 7 - Episode 151 - X-COPS: The city name used was 'Willow Park' but this entire episode was filmed in Venice, CA, primarily on the avenues of Sunset, Rose, 4th and Electric.
  • Yo! MTV Raps(1989)-The whole episode is shot in Venice co-hosted by N.W.A.
  • South Park 2007 episode "Night of the Living Homeless" ends with shots of Venice and a parody song with lyrics, "…city of Venice; Right by Matt's house, you can chill if you're homeless."
  • Californication (2007) - Main character Hank Moody's daughter and ex-girlfriend live in Venice. Several characteristic places and marks of the district, such as the Ballerina Clown, the Venice letter sign, the canals, and the beach, are seen in establishing location shots, the opening credits intro video, and some scenes.
  • Wipeout (2008) - season ending episode was filmed at Venice Beach.
  • FlashForward- pilot episode "No More Good Days"
  • Entourage

Books

  • Bradbury, Ray. Death is a Lonely Business Knopf 1985, ISBN 0-394-54702-0 . Hard boiled detective mystery taking place in Venice circa 1949.
  • Frey, James. Bright Shiny Morning
  • Garber, Helen K.. Venice Beach, California Carnivale, Xlibris 2005, ISBN 1-4134-9108-1 . Photographs of the surreal life on Ocean Front Walk. Official Commemorative Book of the Venice Centennial (1905–2005).
  • Myerhoff, Barbara. 'Number Our Days'
  • Powers, Tim. Expiration Date first published -UK- HarperCollins, March 1995. ISBN 0-586-21856-4 . A Fantasy- Psychic thriller involving the pursuit of the Ghost of Thomas Edison, and the young boy who hosts him, by mortal psychic vampires; with many scenes in and around Venice, the canals, & the Queen Mary. (Perhaps inspired by the name "Ghost Town")
  • Stanton, Jeffrey. 'Venice California: Coney Island of the Pacific' Donahue Publishing 2005, ISBN 0-9619849-3-7 . Comprehensive history of the beach town and its amusement piers including Pacific Ocean Park with 367 historic photographs. (Available from Venice History Site - see below)
  • Wakefield, Dan Home Free
  • Boyd, Brandon From The Murks Of The Sultry Abyss

Video games

  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Venice Beach is a playable level.
  • Tony Hawk's Underground, Venice beach is an unlockable level which is an exact replica of the level in THPS2, but without the goals.
  • Dreamfall, A large portion of the game plays out in Venice set in the future.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas's Verona Beach is based on Venice Beach.
  • True Crime: Streets of L.A., you can drive and fight on the streets of Venice along the beach.
  • NBA Street, Venice Beach is a playable level.
  • NBA 2K7, Venice Beach is a playable level for the streetball option.
  • Street Hoops, Venice Beach is an Unlockable/Playable Court.
  • LA Rush, You can drive through the streets of Venice and along the beach.
  • Thrasher: Skate and Destroy Venice Beach is a playable level.
  • Future Cop: LAPD, Venice Beach is the setting for the second mission of the game.
  • Gangstar: West Coast Hustle, a game for the iPhone and iPod touch is set in Venice Beach.

References

External links

Coordinates: 33°59′27″N 118°27′33″W / 33.99083°N 118.45917°W / 33.99083; -118.45917


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Venice (California) article)

From Wikitravel

Venice Canals
Venice Canals

Venice [1], also sometimes referred to as Venice Beach, is a district of Los Angeles in Southern California. Its colorful Boardwalk is a great scene: free, fun, and funky, making the "short list" of things to do in Los Angeles.

Understand

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 system 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 ecclecticism.

Kinney's huge Pacific Ocean Park entertainment complex survived until the mid-1960s, 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.

Get in

Driving from Los Angeles International Airport [2], take Lincoln Boulevard (CA-1) north and turn left on Venice Boulevard.

Taking a pulic bus from LAX to Venice is quite simple; take a free shuttle to the LAX Transit Center then board a #3 Santa Monica Blue Bus, north; ask for an interangency transfer. Get off at Washington Blvd. and at the NW corner of Lincoln and Washington take the Culver City Bus #1, west. Get off at Pacific and Windward; you are now in the heart of Venice Beach and Ocean Front Walk.

Get around

Venice itself is pretty much small enough to walk in, especially along the beach. You can hit more inland areas of Venice by car, bike, or on Metro bus lines.

  • 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; park on Dell to access.  edit
  • Abbot Kinney, [3]. 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.  edit
  • Ocean Front Walk (Venice Boarkwalk Assc.), (between Washington Bvld. & Navy), 310/392-4687 ext.6. Venice's Ocean Front Walk runs between Washington Blvd. to Navy. Along the walk you will find an assortment of retailers, from tourist souvenier shops, bike rental outlets, arts and crafts booths, restaraunts and "snack shacks" for dishes from around the world to hot dogs and corn dogs, ice cream, coffees and smoothies. You'll find henna tattoo artists, chair massages praticioners, fortune tellers and more. Of course, sit at one of the ocean-side restaurants to watch the parade of people go by.  edit
  • Venice Scavengers, Venice Boardwalk, [4]. A great way to learn the history and have fun with friends is with scavenger hunts put on by local outfit "venicescavengers". A must do... www.Venicescavengers.com $20/person.  edit
  • 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-Mardis 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  edit

Yearly Events There are always exciting things happening at Venice Beach. During the Winter months, start the Holidays with the Venice Canal Holiday Boat Parade, usually the second Sunday of the month of December. Watch the small, non-motorized boats punt or row down the canals in their finest -- and funnest -- holiday decore, brilliantly lit and costumed as only Venice can. Then on January first, join the Venice Penguin Swim Club for their Annual "Chilly" Swim at noon off the beach north of Venice Blvd. and south of Windward Ave.

In Spring, celebrate the home and garden, during the month of May, with the Venice Garden & Home Tour (usually the first weekend in May.) This self-guided tour of local Venice homes and gardens also benefits a local Venice charity. Also in mid-May there is the Venice Annual Art Walk in the Abbot Kinney area, again benefitting a local charity.

Summer celebrates the outdoors with Venice Beach Carnevale -- usually the first weekend in June. Outdoor musical and dance performances plus lively costumed participants highlight the soul of Venice. Food, fire-spinners, belly dancers, live theatre and prizes for the best dressed. Also during the Summmer months are various bodybuilding and figure contest, including the Venice Championships (Memorial Day Weekend and early September ) and Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach (July 4th).

Fall celebrates the arts with the Venice Music Festival (mid-September) and the Abbot Kinney Blvd. Festival that honors arts and crafts, live music, family fun and food (end of September.)

  • Venice Pier, (End of Washington). Venice Pier offers parking, fishing and access to the beach below. Just before the Pier on Washington Blvd., there are numerous restaruants for fine dining or a quick bite, and great places for an evening of drinking. Plus, there are numerous shops for all your beach needs -- from swim suits and sunglasses, to sunscreen and sweatshirts.  edit

Buy

Abbott Kinney Blvd. reflects the neighborhood's funky feel with eclectic shops, artist galleries, one-of-a-kind clothing and more. There are also many local artisans and craftmen at Venice Beach along the Ocean Front Walk. Items range from tourist items, handmade jewlery, spoon art and bottle art (which is really cool) to bongs made out of beer cans.

  • Jin Patisserie, 1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd., +1-310-399-8801 (), [5]. Tues-Sun 10:30AM-7:00PM. Abbot Kinney's exquisite tea garden and pastry shop resides right next to Aragon Ct. Jin offers an exceptional selection of teas and signature truffles, as well as a delectable food menu. The quaint spot is an ideal location for baby showers, bridal showers, and Mother's Day celebrations.  edit
  • La Cabaña, 738 Rose Ave., +1-310-392-7973. Open 11 AM to 3 AM daily. This easy-to-find Mexican restaurant is just west of Lincoln Blvd. Great food in large quantities. Burritos start at $4, with most other entrees priced between $6 and $12 and margaritas available for about $6 more.  edit
  • C&O Trattoria, 31 Washington Blvd., +1-310-823-9491, [6]. M-Th: Lunch served 11:30AM-3:30PM, Dinner served 3:30PM-10:00PM; F: Lunch served 11:30AM-3:30PM, Dinner served 3:30PM-11:00PM; Sat: Breakfast served 8:00AM-1:45PM, Lunch served 12:00PM-3:30PM, Dinner served 3:30PM-11:00PM; Sun: Breakfast served 8:00AM-1:45PM, Lunch served 12:00PM-3:30PM, Dinner served 3:30PM-10:00PM. Located right next to the beach and a short walk from the Venice Pier, C&O Trattoria is a popular spot for casual dining as well as large birthday parties. This Northern Italian seafood restaurant features an indoor seating area and a patio, with menu items available in either "individual" or "gargantuan" portions (for family-style meals). The wait staff is friendly, and every night during dinner hours, activity temporarily pauses for a restaurant-wide singalong of Dean Martin's "That's Amore," during which servers roam around and toast with the diners. The atmosphere is comfortable and fun, and their garlic balls are famous. Prices range from $5-10 for "individual" sized dinner antipasti to $15-20 for "gargantuan" sized entrees.  edit
  • The Firehouse, 213 Rose Avenue, +1 310-396-6810, [7]. Built in a retired firehouse, this restaurant/bar offers all manner of breakfasts, sandwiches, and other meals from a "healthy" and "less healthy" set of menu selections. Weight lifters from Venice Beach gorge themselves on egg whites, chicken breasts, broccoli and tofu, while the rest of the population has a variety of sandwiches and breakfast items to choose from. The ambiance is fun, the food is decent, and prices are reasonable. $7-$15.  edit
  • Hama Sushi, 213 Windward Ave, +1-310-396-8783, [8]. Serves lunch on weekends from 11:30 until 2:30, and dinner daily after 5:30. The sushi is reasonably good and not outrageously priced, but the love-it-or-hate-it feature of this restaurant is the numerous screens scattered around the eating area showing everything from sports to 1950's surfer flicks. For some this provides a unique atmosphere, while those with attention deficit issues may not be able to focus on just one thing for days afterward.  edit
  • Piccolo Ristorante, 5 Dudley Ave. High end, authentic, Italian food in a street alley of the beach in Venice this is one of the hidden gems of Westside eating, the area itself is a little rough around the edges though so be careful at night. $18-$35 entrées.  edit
  • Primitivo Wine Bistro, 1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., +1-310-396-5353. Primitivo is a Mediterranean tapas restaurant with a large wine selection. Dark scenery and a large outdoor seating area in back. Moderately pricey, but the food is delicious. Try the bacon wrapped dates.  edit
  • Joe's, 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., +1-310-399-5811. Joe's offers gourmet California/French cuisine in an elegant setting. Quiet, not overly crowded, and laid back, the chefs will probably stop by to say hello during your meal, and waiters will be more than happy to allow you to sample the wines before ordering. There are fixed-price dinners for $50 to $70 per person, or entrees can be purchased for $20 to $35. An extensive wine list offers bottles from the $30 to $500 range.  edit
  • Wabi-Sabi, 1637 Abbot Kinney Blvd., +1-310-314-2229. As its hip Abbot Kinney location demands, Wabi-Sabi doesn't easily fit one mold, offering good (but pricey!) sushi as well as Asian-fusion cuisine. The menu includes everything from sushi to beef dishes to pumpkin dishes. The wait can be long on weekends.  edit
  • Beechwood, 822 Washington Blvd. (corner of Washington and Abbot Kinney), +1-310-448-8884 (fax: +1-310-448-8889), [9]. Both a bar and an upscale restaurant, Beechwood provides an elegant environment for hanging out and grabbing a few drinks. The crowd is varied, ranging in age from late-20's on up. Drinks are good although somewhat pricey, with several excellent microbrews on tap. There is both an indoor and outdoor lounge area, with heavy bass pumped through the speakers although not so much as to drown out conversation.  edit
  • The Otheroom, 1201 Abbot Kinney Blvd, (310) 396-6230. 5PM - 2AM. Wine and beer bar with a large selection of beers on tap and by the bottle. The bar manages to be both casual and hip, with the crowd tending towards well-to-do 20 and 30 somethings. Dark, but not too dark with a good selection of modern alternative music in the background (at times a tad too loud). Lots of seating area, but the spots by the windows are prized. Bar has menu's for local delivery options and pretty waitresses. Earlier on warm evenings, the windows are opened giving a very open, breezy feel to the place.  edit
  • Townhouse, 52 Winward Avenue (located in the Venice Circle), (310)392-4040. A dive bar through and through. Though under new ownership, much of the old tradition, decor, and dankness remains. This is a good thing. This is the oldest continuously running bar west of the Mississippi (it was a speakeasy during prohibition) and though never really a scene, it is nice place to stop off for a drink on a low-key night.  edit
  • Baja Cantina, 311 Washington Blvd. (end of Washington, east of the Pier), 310-821-2252. Tropical mexican food with a great assortment of margaritas and other tropical drinks. Late night menu and drinks.  edit
  • Cabo Cantina, 30 Washington Blvd. ((end of Washington, east of the Pier)), 310-305-4010. Small but fun place; great assortment of tropical drinks, bar appetizers and during the summer months check by often to see their drink and meal specials. Indoor and outdoor seating.  edit
  • Hotel Erwin, 1697 Pacific Avenue (@ Windward and Pacific Ave), +1-310-452-1111 or +1-800-421-8151 (fax: +1-310-452-5479), [10]. Newly launched full service boutique hotel about 200 feet from the ocean in the heart of Venice Beach. Rooftop lounge called High with incredible panoramic views of the ocean and City of LA. Hotel has spacious guest rooms and 2 room suites, ideal for families. Many rooms have beautiful ocean views. Hotel has gated indoor parking.  edit
  • Venice Beach Hotel & Hostel, 1515 Pacific Ave. (corner of Windward Ave.), +1-310-452-3052 (, fax: +1-310-821-3469), [11]. Private and shared rooms, housekeeping apartments, all with free internet.  edit
  • The Inn at Venice Beach, 327 Washington Blvd., +1-800-828-0688 (fax: +1-310-827-0289), [12]. Located one block from the Venice Beach Boardwalk, adjacent to the world's largest man-made yacht marina. Has direct online reservations and special packages.  edit
  • Venice Beach Suites and Hotel, 1305 Ocean Front Walk, +1-310-396-4559 or +1-888-877-7602 (fax: +1-310-396-3989), [13]. Venice Beach Suites & Hotel offers fully furnished vacation/corporate suites in the heart of Venice Beach.  edit
  • 15 Rose Ave Hostel & Vacation Rentals, 15 Rose Avenue (Located on the corner of Rose and Speedway), +1-310-399-1850 (, fax: +1-310-564-1977), [14]. checkin: 3:00PM; checkout: 11:00AM. Built by Abbott Kinney in 1908 as a guesthouse, The 15 Rose Ave. Hotel offers a variety of room options. Bachelor rooms with or without private baths are ideal for those travelers on a budget, while the vacation rentals offer the traveling family or business person stays ranging from cozy to the luxurious. The building has been lovingly restored to it's historic splendor with high ceilings and Victorian moldings, and is situated right in the heart of Venice Beach just a few steps from the ocean, shopping, and restaurants. Parking, and free wireless internet available. starting at $50 per night.  edit
  • Venice Breeze Suites, 2 Breeze Avenue (Located on the boardwalk, facing the beach), 310 566 2222 (), [15]. Ocean front fully furnished vacation suites on Venice Boardwalk. Beautiful brick building has been recently remodeled retaining classic Venice Beach charm but with chic design and a variety of amenities. Full kitchens, bathrooms with rain showers, walnut floors, free wifi, cable TV, parking and spectacular roof deck with BBQ and panoramic views across Los Angeles. Nightly, weekly, monthly rates available.  edit
  • 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.
Routes through Venice
Santa BarbaraSanta Monica  N noframe S  Marina del ReyLong Beach
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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