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Venice’s First Friday on Abbott Kinney

Apr 20, 2010 by Lindsay Pullin

First Friday” is a monthly celebration in Venice, on Abbott Kinney Blvd., when the stores and galleries are open until 10pm or later, and the streets are filled with throngs of people as well as food trucks galore.

If you’re new to First Friday, I’d suggest walking the entire street and back again, so you can see if there’s anything you didn’t know about that’s happening, or to see where a lot of people are headed to find out where “the action is.”

While I was last there, the crowd was large, lively, and active.  Our first stop was a shop called Mystic Journey Bookstore, a bookstore filled with books about spiritual exploration in its many forms, and filled with lots of customers, (thus, it piqued our interest).

Finding it too crowded, we skedaddled across the street to Tumbleweed & Dandelion, which sells hand painted custom furnishings:

Tumbleweed & Dandelion’s owner and founder, Lizzie McGraw, was hanging out in her shop drinking wine and talking to customers. Her store was previously a Victorian house, now appropriately filled with handmade custom furniture.  McGraw told me that the home was first built in 1926, and she thinks it adds to the community there, which is really what First Friday is promoting.

McGraw told me that the last eight months have really been booming with people and commerce, which was self-evident. McGraw, who opened Tumbleweed and Dandelion in 1997, sees the increased interest as a good thing.

The next stop on our list was Fiore Designs, a custom floral shop. It’s filled with an amazing swell and smell of the store’s wares. As well as selling custom floral designs, Jennifer Juhos, the owner, told me she travels to England every year for new gifts and jewelry. Therefore, you’ll be able to find a lot of imported cards and chocolate that you won’t find anywhere else here in town. Fiore Designs has recently opened their new location on Abbott Kinney about two months ago.

"Come in and grab a bunch-it’s not so formal", she says.  Diana, waiting in line, agrees. "My last arrangement was stunning," she proclaimed.

After all this shopping and talking, hunger pains hit, so off to the food trucks we went. Talk about food trucks. Here’s just a few of the ones I saw:

  1. Barbie’s Q
  2. Kogi
  3. Dogtown Dogs
  4. Nom Nom
  5. Willoughby Road
  6. Calbi
  7. Border Grill
  8. Fishlips Sushi
  9. World Fare
  10. Fire Hook
  11. CoolHaus Ice Cream Truck
  12. The Grilled Cheese Truck
  13. Dim Sum Truck
  14. Frysmith

See something you wouldn’t mind trying? Our problem was we saw too much worth trying, finally settling on Kogi burritos, which are fast and delicious.

My night was winding down, but the other revelers were obviously far from done, even with the 10pm official ending time.  The late night shopping seems to spark the desire to celebrate, and the bars reflected that with their long lines.

First Friday is obviously drawing much larger crowds than just Venice locals, but this is nothing new for Venice:

The rich cultural history on this street, mixed with its exciting transformation of many things hip and new—is a reminder that this isn’t the Venice of yesteryear or last decade.

Venice’s gentrification, transformation, and redevelopment are nothing short of amazing—and expensive!

If you’re heading to First Friday, check online first to see what’s special that night, and be open to checking out things you wouldn’t necessarily notice. Be prepared to enjoy the uniqueness that’s Venice.

Of course, when Travelin’ Local, it’s always cool to know what’s cool.

Slider photo courtesy of LAaLALand Alert

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One Response to “Venice’s First Friday on Abbott Kinney”

  1. Robin says:

    1st Friday’s are a blast!!

    [Reply]

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