I decided to begin my adventures with none other than Venice Beach, a really cool place located about 14 miles west of Los Angels.
If you're a California native, you've probably been here at least once. I chose the Venice Beach Boardwalk because I remember coming here on one of my first trips to California as a kid, and I fell in love with it.
Venice Beach: Where you find the essence of SoCal; vendors, hustlers, music, shopping, weed, beach biking, walking in the sand, & freedom of expression.
Venice Beach is adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier, with the boardwalk about a quarter to a half mile down (another post on Santa Monica Pier will be done later). I love this area for many reasons, but mostly because it's dog, bike, and walk friendly. Nerdy moment here - I love the bike rent and bike sharing programs they have available, so you don't have to walk the whole time if you didn't want to. The boardwalk is pretty flat the whole way, so you can coast with minimal effort.
The boardwalk has pretty much everything - restaurants, vendors, street performers, freelance artists, shops, weed doctors, fortune tellers, and tons of cooky people. It was a lot dirtier than I remember, and way more homeless lounging around than before. Not to mention EXPENSIVE! A simple maxi dress cost anywhere from $65+! There's a lot of custom stuff there that you can get that I guess justifies some of the pricey things - like handmade crafts (mostly from vendors across from the actual shops) and handcrafted ceramics. I wish I could have snapped a few pics, but the majority of freelancers don't allow pictures because people will jack their style. The whole strip is lined with apartments that people smoke and wave from. If you're really anti-marijuana, this place isn't for you.
On a side note, I was a little sad to hear that they closed down & moved the "Freak Show" carnival. Not because I care about two-headed turtles and bearded ladies, but because it was one of the main tourist attractions there. Apparently, the old space will be converted into a few offices, which is a little weird to me. For now, it's an empty building.
Overall, I love this place. Not just because I can come here in December and wear a short-sleeved dress, but because it's probably what most people think of when they dream of coming to SoCal - beach, millennials everywhere, "FUCK TRUMP" signs all over, abundance of weed, and people "living free" (AKA homeless). I will continue to come here every summer.
Rebekah was born and raised in the small town of Wichita Falls, Texas, and moved to California over 10 years ago. This blog documents her adventures in truly seeing local Southern California and all it has to offer for the first time since moving to the state.