A Guide to Walking the Venice Canals in Los Angeles


Yesterday, Mike commented on my article and asked where the last photo was taken.  Instead of just answering the question, I thought I’d go a step further and write about it.

Many people around the world have heard of Venice, California. But not everyone is as familiar with the waterways that lie within its inlets, better known as the Venice Canals.

The Early History of the Venice Canals

A man named Abbot Kinney originally built the canals. In 1905, our modern day equivalent of Venice was originally named Ocean Park; it was envisioned and designed to be a Southern California beach resort.

Welcome to our Feathered Friends

To help create his vision, Kinney modeled and named his dream town literally after the fabled Venice, Italy. His plan was to reproduce several miles of canals and gondolas that help to navigate that famous Italian city. Kinney– in furtherance of his beach resort idea–built a 1200-foot-long pleasure pier complete with an auditorium, ship restaurant, and dance hall.

To keep the amusements coming, by 1910 the Kinney Pier added a Venice Scenic Railway, Aquarium, Racing Derby and other smaller rides and game booths. About this time, the name of the town—Ocean Park–was changed to Venice. However, a fire in December 1920 destroyed the Kinney Pier.

Not willing to have his dream go up in smoke and be defeated, the Kinney family (Abbott Kinney died in November 1920) rebuilt the Pier even bigger and better than the original and by then there were thousands of visitors arriving every weekend.

I had company

Venice’s Decline Period

But the hard times which gripped the rest of the nation during the Depression along with Prohibition, also lead to the downfall of Venice. Los Angeles laid claim to it and in 1925 voted to annex it to Los Angeles.

In true political style, Los Angeles decided that Venice wasn’t road friendly enough, so by 1929, most of the canals were filled and paved. However, the residents didn’t go down without a three year legal battle.

The Rebirth and Redevelopment of Venice

Today’s canals are quiet, beautiful, and a favorite walking and jogging escape. In fact, while I was there many people were traversing and walking the trails alongside the canal and I saw an older woman going up and down one of the many walking bridges.

Multi-million Dollar Homes

Today, the Venice Canals are prime real estate with houses starting at $2,000,000. Along with the new Albert Kinney Boulevard with its hip eateries, design studios, film studios, and cross-world transplants, Venice has come full circle–from a no-go place to a must-be place. Indeed, Venice has come a long way over time.

I’m including a walking map of my route, but as you might notice, there are many more canal passages to walk. Each canal has a sidewalk bordering it.

View Venice Canals Walking Tour in a larger map

As I add more and more walks here—and elsewhere—during my Travelin’ Local sojourns, I’ll be sure to update them.

So in the meantime make every effort to visit our local Venice Canals instead of going to Europe, or do so by way of Travelin’ Local.

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