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Venice Beach Canals

Venice Beach Canals

“The canals” as the area is referred to by locals is a lovely little theme park of a neighborhood built around the only canals still remaining in Venice. Though quaint, these are not the broader canals of yore.

The humble beach bungalows that once dominated the canals are rapidly giving way to battleship-style McMansions, few of which are architecturally pleasing. Still, the canals make for a lovely stroll. Watch out for duck poopk, Snowy Egrets, old hippies and publicity-shy Hollywood types.

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Venice Beach Cotel

Venice Beach Cotel

On Windward right at the beach. Close to the graffiti wall, the breakwater, Muscle Beach, recreation center, boardwalk…

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drum circle

Venice Beach Drum Circle

Less drum “circle” than inspired cluster-f#%!, this popular, long-running, public Venice happening usually gets its groove on by late afternoon Saturdays, coalescing on the beach at about Brooks Ave. Come, drum, dance, spin, flail, inhale the exotic bouquet.

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handball courts

Venice Beach Handball Courts

Part of the Venice Recreational Center, the public handball courts — there are four outdoor concrete courts facing a concrete riser viewing area — are as close to being on the beach as you can get without being literally on the beach. Bouncing balls off walls, winter, spring, summers and falls. Free.

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Venice Beach Hostel

Venice Beach Hostel

On Pacific above Venice Originals Skateboard Shop. A block from the beach, boardwalk and crazy Venice scene. Good for traveling graff artists on a budget.

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Venice Beach House (B & B)

Venice Beach House (B & B)

An historic bed & breakfast in the grand summer home of Abbot Kinney, the guy who built Venice out of a swamp. The quaint B & B resides in a beautiful setting within steps of Venice Beach, the canals, Venice Pier and Washington Blvd bars and restaurants. Old prints and pictures of Venice, CA and Venice, Italy adorn the homey interior. The mellow staff keeps the coffee fresh, the baked goods coming and the atmosphere relaxed and comfortable.

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venice beach public paddle tennis courts

Venice Beach Public Paddle Tennis Courts

Nine, free public paddle tennis courts at the beach. If you’ve never played, it’s a blast, particularly doubles, which is a laugh riot even if you suck. Open to the public from sun-up to sun-down.

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skate dance area

Venice Beach Skate Dance Area

Not the scene these days that Central Park’s roller disco spot is, the skate dance area at Venice Beach (near the Public Art Walls) hosts plenty of dedicated roller boogie-oogiers, particularly on weekends. Some dance on blades, some on old school four-on-the-floor skates. Are you phreak enough to disappear down this hip-hop roller-disco rabbit hole? Un-huh, un-huh…

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Venice Beach Skate Park

Venice Beach Skate Park

The birthplace of modern skateboarding is about to finally get a bona fide skate park. Venice’s current, modest skating area, adjacent to the Public Art Walls on the site of the old Venice Pavilion (or Venice Pits), already plays host daily to plenty of ollie-ing groms and the odd street skating OG. It’s already the only beach side skate park in Cali. Still, given Venice’s place in the skating pantheon, it’s about time it had its own state-of-the-art park.

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Venice Beach Suites

Venice Beach Suites

On the boardwalk opposite the dude who makes mermaid sand sculptures. I’m surprised more rock stars don’t come to these places to do drugs.

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