Venice Beach Canals – A History
Original Post by Andrew Renslow
Venice Beach is known for its skate/surf culture, bodybuilders pumping iron at muscle beach, and the babes and bros of BAYWATCH running in slow motion near the shore; but not everyone knows that Venice California was inspired by Venice Italy. There isn’t a lot that these two cities have in common aside from both being named Venice and the canals. That’s right, Venice Beach has canals! These canals are almost as old as the city itself and still offer fun activities with beautiful scenery not only to the people of Venice but tourists as well.
Six waterways flow throw a neighborhood just a block away from the beach boardwalk and they are what remains of a much more vast network of canals that in the early twentieth century brought in spectators from all over the US. Venice was developed by a man named Abbot Kinney. After taking a walking tour of Venice Italy, Kinney was determined to bring that level of grandeur to the states in the form of a resort destination. Kinney chose southern California because of its beauty, ideal climate, and ultimately, because his asthma didn’t flair up; he could finally breathe easy, literally. Aside from building the lavish hotels, restaurants, boardwalk, and amusement pier, Kinney and his crew dug out nearly sixteen miles worth of canals in order to mirror Venice’s European counterpart. Tourist from all over the country came to marvel at Venice of America. Unfortunately, by the late twenties most of the canals had been converted into streets due to the growing number of cars on the road. The remaining canals were not converted simply due to lack of funding which in the long run benefited the property owners. The property value around the canals is some of the highest in Los Angeles and it’s easy to see why someone would pay top dollar to live there on the water.
For tourists, the canals still offer fun filled activities. You can enjoy gondola rides provided by Gondolas D’Amore, stay the night at any of the rental properties with prices as low as $199 per night, or just take a stroll down the public sidewalks lining each canal to enjoy historic neighborhood that brought in folks from all around the world. Venice California and Venice Italy may not have too much in common structurally speaking but one thing is for sure, these two spots are ideal vacation destinations!
Come check it out for yourself on our LA Highlights Tour!