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Venice Beach

A neighborhood of Los Angeles situated along the edge of the Pacific, Venice Beach takes its name from the "Venetian" canals built to recreate the celebrated Italian village on a Californian coast. Even though the limited presence of the canals still attests to this crazy dream (the rest were sacrificed to oil drilling in the 1930’s), Venice Beach has once again become a local attraction, but for other reasons.

A veritable "Walk of Miracles" of Los Angeles, the neighborhood, principally along the Venice Boardwalk, is now a human zoo, where tourists rub shoulders with the most heterogeneous local fauna. From the turbaned guitar player on skates to the juggler twirling a running chain saw over his partner, passing by legless people dancing for money, those under the "influence", bikinis, and many fortunetellers all add to the already animated spectacle.

Add to that Schwarzenegger’s Muscle Beach, the terrain from which a game of half court basketball emerged, Jim Morrison’s apartment building, the pier where Michael Douglas found death in Falling Down, along with all of the street peddlers, and you’ll have taken in a good view (especially after your five dollar fake Ray Bans purchase). Finally you’ll be able to have a seat at the Sidewalk Café to enjoy a good salad, taking in the spectacle or a good book from the adjoining bookstore.

In short, an attraction not to be missed. Nevertheless, be advised not to stay there past nightfall, when the regulars make room for creepier wildlife.

  Fred Thom

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