Venice, California is well known from near and far. In fact, images of iconic Venice Beach are the first conjured in the minds of many when thinking of Los Angeles, the beach, and California summers.
With good cause, dear friends! Venice embodies the vibrancy of Southern California and boasts much more than beaches and bathers. More, too, than the host of colorful characters many visitors hope to see on the famed boardwalk area (be it the man on stilts dressed like something from The Chronicles of Narnia or the rollerskating rocker with an electric guitar in his arms and an amp on his back). Beyond the boardwalk’s bevvy or bars and restaurants and eclectic mix of shops and street sellers lies some of the finest architecture in California. Indeed lining the boardwalk, facing out over the Pacific Ocean are numerous beautiful homes… so you better start saving yesterday.
Just after the turn of the last century, Abbot Kinney, a wealthy conservationist, developer and businessman (and world traveler fluent in six languages, part of a family steeped in Washington politics and so on) carved Venice out of the surrounding communities with a vision to recreate the famed Italian city. Which he did, complete with man-made canals and gondolas importer from Italy. But Kinney’s vision of a cultural mecca — a new hotspot for the artists and intelligentsia — foundered somewhat. Rather than a center of learning and arts, Venice, CA became a much-visited vacation and amusement location, sometimes compared to Coney Island, NY.
Today, Mr. Kinney would likely feel rather proud that the city he envisioned has in many ways come to fruition. Today’s Venice is indeed a hotspot for artists and thinkers. And for free spirits and surfers and tourists and locals alike. It is the mix of people, as well as the brightly colored, often modernist architecture, and the sheer volume of things to see and do in this famous town that make it deserve its venerated name.
But it’ll cost you a pretty penny to live here. Venice boasts beautiful homes, especially if you always dreamed of living near the beach. It may be worth the hefty mortgage to live in town like Venice in a places like these:
All very nice, right? Beautiful, certainly. At least the third one is under a million.
Image courtesy Sameer Khan / WikiCommons.org