Venice is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the Westside region of Los Angeles County. Venice is bordered by the neighboring communities of Mar Vista and Culver City to the east, Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey to the south, Santa Monica to the north, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west.
Venice, originally called “Venice of America,” was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a seaside resort town. It remained an independent city until 1926, when it merged with Los Angeles. Today, Venice is famous for its canals, beaches, and the circus-like Ocean Front Walk, a two-and-a-half-mile pedestrian-only promenade that features performers, mystics, artists and vendors. Since the 1960s, Venice has branded itself as a hot-bed of bohemian art and counter-culture, which it proudly maintains today. Many prominent artist, poets, musicians, and architects hail from Venice.
For a period of time after annexation, Venice was essentially neglected by the city of Los Angeles, and by the 1950s, gang activity began to take hold. By the 1990’s Venice’s reputation was of a neighborhood dominated by gang violence and open-air drug markets. After peaking in the 1990s, an increased police presence in Venice and gentrification of Westside communities over the next decade began to drive much of the gang activity eastward towards Inglewood. Over the course of just a couple of years, Venice has become one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles. According to the real estate website Zillow, it is the seventh most expensive neighborhood in which to buy a house, its median home value — $1,578,200 — coming in just behind the Hollywood Hills and just ahead of Beverlywood. When you rank neighborhoods in the city of L.A. by price per square foot of real estate, Venice becomes even loftier: According to data provided to L.A. Weekly by Zillow, Venice is tied with Bel-Air for No. 2. Only the Pacific Palisades is more expensive per square foot. As for median rental price per square foot, Venice is the most expensive place in L.A.
Venice Canals- This quaint neighborhood community was originally conceived to be the “Venice of America” (yes, we are talking about THAT Venice), and the canals have been restored to pristine condition and preserved. Beautiful homes line the canals while walkways are connected over the water by 14 small bridges.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard serves as Venice’s downtown proper with many high-end stores, restaurants, bars and art galleries lining the street. Many of the stores here are operated as loss leaders- they may not make much of a profit for the company, but their mere presence on Abbot Kinney serves to promote the brand. Abbot Kinney also hosts “First Fridays“- a monthly street fair featuring numerous food trucks, open galleries, performances, and extended shop hours.
Venice Beach receives millions of visitors a year and is known for surfing, streetball on the public basketball courts (which have produced many NBA players), muscle beach, and the Venice Beach boardwalk. The “Ocean Front Walk” is a 2.5 kilometer boardwalk with a pedestrian walkway, bike path, rollerskater and skateboard ramps, and restaurants. The boardwalk is world-famous for eccentric street performers and local venders and artists peddling their crafts against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
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