In 1904, a man named Abbott Kinney came from the east in search of a better climate to help his health. He found Venice California, fell in-love, and decided to build something that reviled one of his favourite European cities: the Venice Canals. He initially began building 20 miles of canals using manual labour and donkeys. He was close to realising his dream at one point but due to financing had to stop.
Over the years the Venice canals have gone through many changes over the years including being a slum but thanks to a $6 million dollar renovation in the 90’s, combined with famous Hollywood types and architects moving in, the 2 miles of canals left are once again beautiful.
It’s sort of a secret area; I’d lived in Santa Monica for four years before hearing about them and visiting. It’s become a regular walk for my dog and I and a must-visit for my out of town guests. I’ve even toyed with the idea of moving here but there’s hardly anything ever available and a small, 500sf home will set you back at least $3K a month!
The architecture here is stunning. What I loved was how unique every home was and how they all maintained a sense of privacy despite the fact you were walking right by their homes, often right by their windows. There’s beautiful examples out outdoor living spaces and gardens. You’ll definitely get design inspiration and lust here.
The Venice Canals are a relaxed area, definitely upscale but completely casual at the same time. Most lots are small (30′ wide by 80′ to 95′ deep) so there’s a lot of different homes to look at. Highly recommend this easy and beautiful walk if you’re in the LA area where dogs are welcomed if they’re leashed but bikes are not.
Parking is relatively easy but a great thing to do is park in a lot on nearby Abbot Kinney so you can shop and eat there then walk it off for half an hour through the canals.