When in Venice
Need a family getaway but can’t leave town for spring break? From Pasadena to Pacific Palisades, there are several fantastic day trips within an hour’s car ride from the Valley. One of them is the colorful city of Venice.
Not only is Venice Beach just a hop, skip and a jump from this side of the hill, its unique vibe offers enough adventure to make you feel like you are on vacation … for at least a day. The city’s popular entertainment corridor or “main drag,” Abbot Kinney, is filled with chic boutiques and swanky restaurants and is sure to satisfy just about any shopping and dining need. If you are rolling your eyes, longing for the magical hippie days of the ‘60s and ‘70s, sure it’s changed. But there’s still enough local flavor and culture to make it thoroughly entertaining for adults and kids.
Start the day with something familiar to ease kids in. Pitfire Pizza sits just east of Lincoln Boulevard, and like its NoHo twin, it will be a family pleaser. Great selection of gourmet pizzas, tasty salads and craft beers. Plenty of seating, comfy booths and a noisy atmosphere make it the perfect relaxed-meets-rambunctious environment you need when dining with little ones. Burrata pie and the kale salad are faves for adults, while the kid-sized pizzas, organic soft-serve ice cream and pizza-making parties will dazzle the “littles.”
12924 Washington Boulevard
You’ll find Burro, a sweet little children’s boutique, in the middle of Abbot Kinney. It packs quite a punch for its small size, with a clever, curated assortment of gifts and the adorable clothes. Lining the shelves is a colorful selection of children’s books and Blabla dolls, both big and small. Don’t miss the adjacent Burro gift shop for women, with art books, bags, candles and pretty stationary.
1409 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Hidden amongst rows of beautiful, modern homes and quaint beach cottages, the Venice Canals provide the perfect landscape for exploration. Originally developed in 1905 by the city’s founder, Abbot Kinney, the canals were part of the Venice of America plan that would transform the little city into a beach resort town with European flare—complete with gondoliers and quaint walking bridges. Today many of the original canals are no longer in existence, but a few remain, offering the same charm and the perfect respite to a hectic week. Stroll down the sidewalks, say hello to the ducks and geese, and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Find the Venice Canals within South Venice Boulevard, Pacific Avenue, Ocean Avenue and Washington Boulevard.
Always an adventure: the Venice Boardwalk. There are always a host of eclectic characters and an enthusiastic crowd. It is fun to browse among the vendors that line the walkway with tables of tourist tchotchke. Tucked behind the busy boardwalk is the Venice Beach Skatepark. Find yourself a spot and become mesmerized as skaters (sometimes including a few pros) fly within the 16,000-square-foot facility.
Located just east of the beach near Windward and Ocean Front Walk. Open 9 a.m. to sunset.
The celeb hang-out of the 80s.