I must admit it is easy to unconsciously stereotype LA and possess a limited perception of the type of people that play and dwell there. However, on this particular trip, my outlook on LA was completely transformed, thanks to the free spirited neighborhood of Venice.
To sum it up, we encountered the friendliest locals, an abundance of organic plant based eateries, high quality coffee, lovely boutique shopping, epic weather, a sea of bright colors lining the sun kissed streets, and lots of vibrant energy! It was nice to see everyone casually hanging out being their authentic selves, and not overly caring about appearances or social status. I didn’t see plastic this and bling that. It was just a really cruisy and pleasant vibe, and I can’t wait to visit again. Here is what we got up to:
There are tons of air bnb options to choose from in Venice, however since we booked last minute they were all snatched up, so we got lucky and found the super comfortable, modern and conveniently located Venice Breeze Suites. We recommend staying on the 4th level at the back of the building in room 406 (where you can still see the ocean and sunrise) because you don’t hear noise from the crazy Venice beach esplanade down below. Watching the sunset from the rooftop is a must!
Ask anyone and they will tell you to eat at cool, hip and trendy Gjelina. No doubt it’s a good choice for dinner, however it was The Tasting Kitchen a little further up the road that won us over. Both the food and service was spot on (request amazing Amy to be your waitress, and be sure to order the whole fish off the menu, it is simply divine).
The only place to go for breakfast is at the beautifully decorated restaurant The Butcher’s Daughter (you may have heard of the one in New York), they do everything from buckwheat pancakes, to avocado with eggs on gluten free toast, and crunchy paleo style granola with fresh berries and coconut yogurt. A unique selection of healthy hot drinks, juices and elixirs are all perfect accompaniments to your delicious meal.
There are other nutritious food choices on Abbot Kinney and greater Venice including Another Kind of Sunrise, Kreation Organic Kafe & Juice, and Café Gratitude.
Little gem: find decadent pieces of biodynamic dark chocolate down the Venice Rabbit Hole at ZenBunni. Each delicious bite was handcrafted in California and inspired by Mother Nature.
Abbot Kinney has every stylish store and cool brand you could possibly need. I dig Alternative Apparel for organic cotton clothing, rag & bone for cool street wear, Tortoise General Store for modern home wares and works by Japanese artists, and vnyl for adding some new records to the collection. Special mention for my husband Chris, Rapha Pop-Up LA is the ultimate cycling store for spiffy gear to look your best on the rode (they also organize local group rides that anyone can join in on). The Abbot Kinney Artist Market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to sunset throughout the year (they are only closed when it is raining – which lets be honest is super rare in LA). We picked up some lovely natural candles in recycled champagne bottles to take home from Piece By Paz, which make for beautiful gifts too. Each soy and beeswax blended candle comes with an eco friendly wood wick and a beautiful paper tag infused with wildflower seeds that you can plant and watch grow into lovely blooms.
- Walk along the beach with your toes in the sand from Venice to Santa Monica Pier and back.
- Walk the Venice canals after breakfast with a cup of coffee to go in the morning. The colorful houses are absolutely fascinating.
- Take lots of photos of interesting graffiti and unique street art scattered around the neighborhood.
- Make conversation with the locals – they are super nice and give great tips for exploring the best of the area.
- Make reservations in advance – some of the really good nighttime foodie spots can get booked up quick.
- Get up early to make the most of the day and take it as it comes, the best adventures happen when you go with the flow.
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