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From its world famous boardwalk and beautiful beach to the shopper’s paradise of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice has always offered a unique and vibrant mix of activities and attractions. In the last decade, it has also become one of the premiere places to live in Los Angeles.

Originally called “Venice of America,” Venice was founded in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney as a beachfront resort town. Kinney’s initial vision of creating a cultural mecca was set aside to accommodate the public, and Venice became the “Coney Island of the Pacific,” complete with an amusement pier and a miniature steam railroad. Kinney also created a system of canals and imported gondolas and gondoliers from Venice, Italy.

Today, Venice is the most iconic beach city in Southern California. With its famous boardwalk, beautiful surf spots and endless shops, Venice offers something for everyone. Within its 3.1 square miles lies a colorful community of artists, wild street performers, talented musicians and much more. During the day you may find yourself fishing with the locals on the pier, taking surf lessons, or enjoying the volleyball courts at the Venice Recreation Center. People watching becomes a sport as you visit the vast Venice skate park, the outdoor bodybuilding arena known as Muscle Beach, and the variety of performance artists along the Boardwalk. Not to mention the sprawling bike and walking paths that allow you to soak up the gorgeous views from the beach.

With Santa Monica to the north and Marina Del Rey to the south, Venice is situated within a mecca of premium restaurants and unique storefronts. Enjoy the frenetic energy of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, GQ’s “Coolest Block in America”, with its boutiques, salons, galleries, restaurants and bars. And don’t forget the nightlife! Enjoy a drink at the rooftop lounge at the Hotel Erwin or hop to the local bars that intersect the beach along Washington Blvd. Appropriate for couples or families, Venice boasts an array of activities for everyone.

Another “must see” in Venice are its unique canals. Built in 1905, the Venice Canal Historic District is famous for its man­made canals, which evoked the canals of Venice, Italy and likewise featured gondola rides. The canals originally covered the entire area between Abbot Kinney, Pacific Ave., and Venice Blvd. Because of the growing popularity of automobiles, most of the canals were filled in 1929 to create streets like Windward Ave. and Market St. The remaining canals fell into disrepair for decades, until they reopened in 1993 after a multi-million­ dollar restoration. The residential district surrounding the remaining canals was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Many of the old houses have been renovated, while large, modern homes have also been built. Visitors can walk along the canals in the area located within South Venice Blvd., Pacific, Ocean Ave. and Washington Blvd.

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