Just writing this post makes my heart ache a little, but for all right reasons. When you fall in love with a place you had absolutely no expectations of I think it will always have a special place in your heart, even if everyone else in the world disagrees with you. Not that I think anyone would disagree with my love for Venice Beach but it became my baby on my last trip to America and one of the places I am missing the most.
We planned to explore Venice in a day, as we were on a bit of a time sensitive schedule but we knew we wanted to see everything this quirky spot on the SoCal coast had to offer and of course my trusty Lonely Planet guide had just what we needed. In the back of most city pockets guides the book offers up the 'Best Walks' for each area. The one we chose is called 'The Venice Stroll', the walk highlights a route, spots along the way, tips of public transport and even where to take a break along the way, as an obsessive planner, this is perfect for me!
We drove from our apartment about 15 minutes away in Santa Monica an parked right on the beach and where the guided walk begins, we viewed the route before hand so we weren't looking down at a map and one, looking like total tourists and two, incase we missed anything. The walk suggests the 3.5 miles stroll will take around 2 hours, but after hitting the first point, South Venice Beach, I already knew it was going to take us a lot longer, I became obsessed with everything about the area.
My favourite part was definitely the Venice Canals, they were better than my expectations but more than that, I became obsessed with the lifestyle. There were a couple of mothers just chatting away as their children swam in the canals, because unlike the canals we know in England, they are crystal clear. Other highlights included the Venice Beach Graffiti Park and Skate Park and just the amazing people of Venice Beach.
You can be walking down the street and right next to your typical beach front t-shirt store, there is a 'weed doctor' or be sat enjoying the sun when a flashmob appears from nowhere and possibly find some awesome art work from one of the street sellers or finally, be asked by some homeless people 'come on just help some hippies get high'. The last story actually sums up Venice Beach and maybe why I love it so much, it's amazingly weird but it is unashamedly that way.
Have you been to Venice and how did you find it?