Venice was founded in the early 1900s by a tobacco millionaire, Abbot Kinney. The area was originally a beach resort set on two miles of oceanfront property. It was an independent City until 1926 when it merged with Los Angeles.
Unlike other areas of Los Angeles, Venice pretty much-invented bohemia, Southern California lifestyle. Venice’s square mile encompasses a patchwork of small eclectic neighborhoods, including a world-famous beachfront Boardwalk: a Felliniesque pageant of roller skaters, T-shirt vendors, bongo players, bodybuilders and fire-eaters – which has become the most popular tourist destination in Southern California after Disneyland, Windward Circle, east of the beach; the care-free “walk streets”; the Venice Canals; and the Silver Triangle around the canals.
Over the past several years, a slew of artists, restauranteurs, and designers have entered Venice, imbuing the area with a creative, innovative sensibility. Its stylish locals truly appreciate and support the plentiful food, coffee, and fashion establishments scattered throughout town—places like Gjelina, Salt and Straw and Blue Bottle Coffee have devoted fan bases.
Craftsman bungalows, steel-and-glass boxes, Cape Cod cottages. Tropical oases shaded with palms and ferns. Zen retreats containing little more than raked gravel and a trickling water feature. Profuse cottage gardens with annuals and perennials from every corner of the world jammed together in willful, exuberant and perfectly appropriate chaos.