L.A.’s Best Day Trip

Contributing editor Carolynn Carreño takes us on a low-key “daycation” of strolling canals, bohemian shops, and gourmet cafés in her favorite neighborhood, Venice Beach.

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Venice Beach "walk-street" house
Photographer Thomas J. Story

Stylish Transformation

Originally called Venice of America, it was founded in 1905 by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney as a seaside resort, and had been on a decline since the Great Depression. But in the five years since I came to Los Angeles, I have seen Venice transformed from a borderline neighborhood defined by grungy beach culture to a cool, clean-air alternative for stylish urbanites. It’s characterized by an eclectic mix of classic California bungalow style and notable modernist architecture that makes the most of the town’s small lot lines.

Abbot Kinney, the mile-long stretch that runs diagonally through town, is one of the few streets in L.A. where outdoor cafes and galleries, antiques and design stores, clothing boutiques and restaurants turn strolling into a stimulating activity. “Meet me on AK!” is a typical text that I send to friends. People talk about a “staycation.” For me, getting away to this laid-back village is what I call a perfect “daycation.”

Left: A "walk-street" house

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