Biography: What began as a seaside resort in the early 1900s is now a community known for its artsy style. Tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney had a bold vision to build the “Venice of America” and dug canals to drain the marshy areas. Kinney’s resort was a hit and the area grew rapidly. Venice has been through many changes but it has always attracted artists, poets, and writers and maintains its creative spirit. Recent development and the expansion of the Silicon Beach startup culture has brought new energy to Venice.
Real Estate: Venice has a wide mix of homes for sale including both older properties as well as innovative modern architectural homes. The Venice Canals Historic District is a particularly sought after area. There are fewer canals than there were in Abbot Kinney’s day, many have been filled in, but there are still homes for sale along these canals and owners often have small paddle boats to navigate these quiet passageways.
Along the beach, oceanfront properties command a premium price. Venice also has several pedestrian-only streets known as “walk streets” by locals. These homes are on double lots with alleys where residents park their cars. The walk streets feature a mix of architectural styles and the unique experience of living on a street not traversed by motor vehicles.
Architecture has been part of Venice’s story since the early years and Frank Gehry has designed several well-known properties in the area including the compound once owned by Dennis Hopper.
Community Life: Venice is probably best known for its famous Boardwalk, a vibrant beachside promenade full of shops and cafes and populated with all manner of street performers and fortune tellers. Muscle Beach, the always in-use basketball courts, handball and paddle tennis courts, skate park, and the beach volleyball courts all contribute to the energy of the area.
The street that bears the founder Abbot Kinney’s name is now a popular destination full of trendy restaurants and creative boutiques. First Fridays along Abbot Kinney Boulevard attracts large crowds to browse the local art and sample offerings from food trucks converging in the area. The Venice Farmers’ Market attracts early bird locals, it is held each Friday from 7-11 a.m.
Education: Venice is served by the Los Angeles Unified School District and includes Westminster Avenue Elementary School and Coeur d’Alene Avenue Elementary School. Other local schools include the Animo Venice Charter High School operated by Green Dot Public Schools. Private options for kindergarten through eighth grade include St. Mark and First Lutheran School of Venice.
Transportation: Venice can be reached by the 405 and 10 Freeways as well as Pacific Coast Highway and is served by five local bus routes. The area earns high ratings for walkability and the Venice Beach bike bath actually continues through Malibu and Santa Monica to the North and Marina Del Rey to the South.
Local Attractions: The boardwalk and Venice Beach are the main local attractions. People also fish, or just take in the view, from the Venice Beach Pier. For an intensive look at the panoply of local art, the Venice Art Crawl takes place on the third Thursday of the month.