The tic-tac-toe layout of the perplexingly jam-packed mostly gentrified with still a dash of old hippie Venice Beach covers a wide array of professions, cuisines, hidden gems, and attitude. Just like the overly protective nature of East Village patrons and citizens, the Venice Beach population adores the nature of mish-mosh and yearns to keep that vibe going. We aren’t really fans of the “east side” of Los Angeles (Silverlake, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock) and definitely not of the Beverly Hills crowd.
The vertical lines of the dirty boardwalk parallels the high-end boutiques of Abbot Kinney and then goes to Lincoln Boulevard. Anywhere east of Lincoln is frowned down upon, even if you can live in double the space for the same amount of money. Horizontal, starting from the north we have Rose Ave, to Venice Boulevard, and ending at Washington Boulevard, creating more of a matrix than tic-tac-toe board.
When I first moved to LA in 2002, back when I was 19 years old, my Israeli friend Guy and I would just walk up and down the boardwalk, go to the Sunday evening drum circles, and lived mainly off frozen White Castle burgers. I guess you could say we fit in well with the boardwalk folks.
Some places take time to grow on you; others feel like home in minutes. The latter being the effect Venice Beach had on me. We picked the perfect day for it, top off in the mustang and sunshine music playing we let the satnav guide us there (unfortunately it does not advise of the free car park; it likes to direct us to overpriced valet!). Quirky homes and an artist creatively decorating a fridge was when I knew we had arrived. As soon as I stepped out of the rental car I could feel this was a place for me.
First stop breakfast at a beach side café, a very American fruit pancake for me (with multiple free coffee refills) and the breakfast burrito for the other half (he was a big fan!). Our introduction started with some people watching, how better to get a feel for a place? There were the fitness fanatics, hipsters, rollerblading dog walkers, the flawless Californian beauties all mixing together.There was a real sense of knowing, belonging, everyone seemed to be familiar with each other. Oh to live the life of a regular on Venice Beach, now that is what dreams are made of.