If you ever visit Southern California, or if you live there and have never been to Venice, our little coastal city is a must-see. Of course, I may be prejudiced since I’ve called Venice my home for 15 years, but the So Cal Hippie Surfer that I am thrives on the people, atmosphere and, of course, the waves.
I always start my day with coffee and, by far the best I’ve ever had, is at Intelligentsia. If you can’t get to Venice, the good news is you can buy their amazing coffee online. If you do make it to our neck-of-the-woods, another place you have to visit is Axe Restaurant. It is the place-to-be on Saturday and Sunday mornings and their 9 grain pancakes are the stuff that dreams are made of.
I grew up surfing out near Huntington Beach where there was a surf shop every time you turned around but in Venice there are, surprisingly, very few. However, in Santa Monica, or Venice adjacent as I like to call it, there is ZJ Boarding House and they have everything you could ever need. It’s where all us locals pick up supplies before heading to the beach to work off the pancakes we just consumed.
There are too many restaurants to name them all but, for a down-home dinner, Baby Blues BBQ is my all time favorite restaurant. I’m a meat lover so there’s almost nothing there that I haven’t tried but I especially recommend the ribs. My daughter, Lennon, loves the cornbread and usually ends up eating mine before I can even get a bite.
The most iconic symbol of Venice’s hippie culture is the boardwalk. The little shops, the beach, the performers and artists who sell their work on this little stretch are nothing short of miraculous in their ability to entertain all us kids, from 2 to 72. But Venice has been changing a lot in recent years with an influx of both a Hollywood and an art crowd altering the landscape of our little beach community. Multi-million dollar homes are popping up everywhere and, though Abbott Kinney Road has been the go-to for great restaurants, galleries and shops, Rose is a real up-and-coming street now, as well. There truly is something for everyone. Hope to see you around!