I’ve lived in Southern California for many years now and have always wanted to see the Venice Canals! I’ve been to Santa Monica and Venice Beach and couldn’t believe I have never come across these canals which up until now, I’ve only read about. The other day when I was up in Los Angeles, I decided to drive over the check them out.
If you don’t live in SoCal, you need to know that the Los Angeles area offers many beautiful places and countless spots to take photos if you are a photography addict like I am. It’s not that bad of a drive to get from Hollywood to Beverly Hills to Santa Monica, but the fabled traffic is not just a legend, its true. The traffic will cause a ten-minute drive to become an hour-long drive.
I saw that it was a relatively quick drive from where I was in Los Angeles to get to the canals but thanks to traffic, I was on the road for a solid hour!
Here’s a little background info:
The Venice Canal Historic District is a district in the Venice section of Los Angeles, California. The district is noteworthy for its man-made canals built in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney as part of his Venice of America plan. Kinney sought to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy, in Southern California.
Along this two-mile walk, you will see kayaks, boats, lush flowers, succulents, large trees, homes of varying style and shapes, ducks and birds. Its a very picturesque place to visit and I was torn between wanting to photograph every home and trying to respect what is private property. The whole time we strolled along the canals, I kept thinking how relaxing it would be to sit out on a deck and sip a Margarita as the sun went down. What amazing photos you could get at twilight and dusk from any spot along the walkway!
There are several canals and bridges offering perfect places to take pictures. I noticed several people with selfie sticks and a couple of impromptu photoshoots happening! I recommend taking your time to enjoy every step of this relaxing stroll.
Things to keep in mind:
The canals seemed closer to Marina Del Rey than the Venice Beach/Santa Monica area I am more familiar with.
My directions took me through Marina Del Rey and up to the canals, rather than down Venice Beach and to the canals. We drove through a beachy area I had never seen in order to get to our destination. I used the Waze app and wasn’t sure if I was taken a different route to avoid traffic or an accident. Whatever the case, the drive was longer than I intended.
Parking was a challenge, and we circled the canals for about half an hour. There is street parking but its very constricted and difficult unless you are an ace at parallel parking which I am not.
A parking lot charges a flat rate of $25 which is great if you plan to spend an entire day around Venice or that area of Marina Del Rey. We only intended to see the canals for an hour or less.
I found a parking spot in a shopping center and then we walked to the canals which was roughly 1/2 to the canals.
Take your camera with you as you walk around this lovely area! There are plenty of places to stop and take pictures.
Get there early, park and plan to spend a few hours exploring the area so you don’t feel rushed.
The walkways are quite narrow so if you have a stroller or wheelchair, you may have slight difficulty. The streets surrounding the canals are also very narrow and driving through them is stressful since the cars are so jam-packed! Stay on the main roads if you can and avoid the side streets.
There is no swimming, no boat rentals. You will see boats but they are privately owned.
There is a Thai restaurant and a few other places to eat such as a Subway, I didn’t happen to notice any other options to grab a bite to eat. I am always searching for healthy restaurants with gluten- free options. Your best bet is to eat in Santa Monica, Venice Beach, or Marina Del Rey, and then walk around the canals.
If I could plan my ideal experience, I would stay overnight in Santa Monica or Venice Beach and walk to the canals via Abbott Kinney Blvd, one of the main streets in the Venice Beach area. This is such a fun area and I can’t wait to go back!
Have you visited the Venice Canals? What did you think?