Here’s the second episode of my new travel show, LAblocks!
Smack dab in the middle of the Venice Beach boardwalk is the awesome block Pacific & Windward. It’s a hodge podge of Snapchat employees, struggling artists, and the very rich. Pacific & Windward and Venice Beach in general is a place where bums and billionaires rub shoulders more than other parts of town in Los Angeles. Looking at the history of this neighborhood helps you understand why. Venice was founded by Abbot Kinney at the turn of the 20th century, and he wanted to create the “Coney Island of the west coast.” He also wanted to make the neighborhood resemble Venice, Italy, and proceeded to build canals out of the marshland that existed. Due to plumbing problems, the canals began to reek, so the only people who would brave the vile stench were artists looking for cheap rent. And so the culture of artists living in Venice Beach was born. Once the automobile came into prominence, almost all of Abbot Kinney’s canals were paved over and turned into streets. It wasn’t until the 1990s when some canals were restored and the plots of land surrounding them quickly became some of the most expensive pieces of property in Los Angeles. Hence, the billionaires.
Luckily, you don’t need to be a billionaire to enjoy the Venice Beach block of Pacific & Windward. If you’re looking for swimwear, a board, or maybe a surf lesson, check out Mollusk Surf Shop. After catching some waves, refuel by eating at Bank of Venice, a restaurant built inside a former bank. Might as well peruse the 15,000 items available at the Gotta Have It vintage clothing store, too. Then why not get a little caffeine fix at Menotti’s, named after the owner of the speakeasy that existed on this block during Prohibition. Or if caffeine isn’t your thing, Windward Juice offers organic, cold pressed Clover juice in a quaint alley setup. And round out your day at Pacific & Windward with a stiff drink at Townhouse Venice, a bar that has continuously operated since 1915, even during Prohibition (shh, don’t tell anyone).
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