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Venice Beach Canals: A Quiet Tourist Attraction


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Venice Beach canals are one of the dreamiest tourist attractions in Los Angeles. It is a tourist destination for people who just want to chill and hang out with their companions. Los Angles is known for its extravagant Hollywood Entertainment Industry, expensive houses, beautiful beaches, and the lavish lifestyle of some people.

But among all these, Venice beach canals are a hidden gem that you should visit in Los Angeles. The Venice Beach canals are surrounded by a quiet suburban area. You can take a walk down the sidewalk, or go kayaking or boating in the canal water, or just take photographs for your Instagram posts.

The place is a getaway from all the flashy places in Los Angeles like Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Santa Monica. Venice Beach canals are said to be a small version of Italy. So, let us get into more about canals, things you can do, and places you can visit around the Venice Beach canals.

What Are Venice Beach Canals?

Just like any other canal, Venice Beach canals are man-made waterways. Canals are used by boats and ships to travel from one waterbody to another. It is also used to transport water for irrigation and other purposes. But nowadays canals are not used much due to modernization and inventions of various other means of transport.

Still, some canals conduct transportation and contribute to global commerce. Global commerce includes tourism, real estate business, and other businesses that profit due to the canal. Just like in modern times, canals used to be a big contribution to the region or kingdom.

There are two types of canals. The first type of canal is Waterways which can connect two or more water bodies, cities, and regions. Waterways are constructed near a bay or an open sea.

The second type of canal is Aqueducts. They are used only to transport water for drinking, irrigation, and other mundane uses.

Venice Beach canals are used for short boating trips from one canal to another, and a water parade which is held annually. The area around the canal is very posh, and the property prices are quite high. It is an expensive residential area and neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Origins and Other Historical Facts of the Venice Beach Canals

In July 1905, Abbot Kinney opened Venice of America as a beach resort for the people of America and tourists. Abbot Kinney was a wealthy businessman who became a millionaire due to his tobacco business.

Kinney bought saltwater marshland in 1904. This was his first step towards making a resort which is a replica of Venice in Italy. His architectural plan of the area included seven canals, one big saltwater lagoon, four islands, buildings inspired from Italian architecture, and a miniature railroad.

In 1905, Kinney dug up canals to drain most of the water collected in his residential land. The water was there due to marshes and other geological conditions. The length of the canals went for several miles. His main goal was to recreate Venice of Italy physically and atmospherically.

Howard, Sherman, and Clark also built a set of new canals. They were investors and the architects of another group of canals which were connected to the Grand Canal.

They were built towards the south of the original canals. The main aim was to capitalize on Kinney’s success. At present two canals are named after the new canal builders.

In the 1920s, the use of cars had increased. Due to this, the demand for roads had increased, and many of the canals had to be drained and filled to make pavement. In 1928, after several hearings, the Supreme Court ordered seven of the thirteen canals to be turned into roads for transport.

Through the years, the use of Venice Beach canals decreased, and it was not appropriately maintained. By 1940 the maintenance of the canals was neglected, and soon the sidewalks and walls began to succumb due to poor condition. Now only six canals are left which can be seen to this day.

There are many theories on how these canals survived. Many say the canals survived as the contractor lost all his money due to the Great Depression. Some might say that due to the decrease in the demand for construction of roads the canals survived to exist till this day.

The renovation was discussed but never came to action due to lack of financial bearers, funding, and other conditions. Environmental circumstances and surrounding areas were also the reason due to which renovation did not occur. Finally, in 1992 the six canals were renovated and were then regularly maintained through the years.

After the renovation, the canals were re-opened to the public in 1993, and soon it gained popularity because the area has a beautiful scenery and neighborhood. The more popularity the canals gain, the more the housing plots around the canals started to sell. Soon the neighborhood began to gain a reputation for being expensive and valuable.

In 1982, the district around the Venice Beach canals was recorded in the National Register of Historic Places. Soon the district was called Venice Canal Historic District. As the years passed, the old houses were renovated, re-designed, and re-modelled. Now the neighborhood houses are relatively modern and are maintained quite thoroughly.

The Venice Beach Canals Today

Coming back to the present times, there are still six Venice Beach Canals. The six canals are divided into two divisions according to the direction.

There are four east-west canals and two north-south canals. Carroll Canal, Howland Canal, Linnie Canal, and Sherman Canal are part of the east-west canals. Eastern Canal and Grand Canal are part of the north-south canals.

The seven Venice canals that were turned into roads are still present to this day. The current names of the streets are Main Street and Canal Street, Cabrillo Avenue, San Juan Avenue, Windward Avenue, Altair Street, Market Street, and Grand Boulevard.

The water in the canal is also regulated so that it is not stagnant. Through the water gates of Washington Boulevard or sea gates of Marina Del Ray, the waters enter the canals. During low tide, water enters the canals through sea gates when they are opened. When the high tide comes, the sea gates are closed. The water is kept in the canals for three days and then again is refreshed during the low tide.

The Venice Beach canals are a marvellous scenery for sore eyes. Now the canals are strewn with sidewalks and bridges.

The white bridges on the canals might look the same from afar, but actually, each bridge has a different design, and no bridge is alike. Each canal has one to three bridges which help you change sides. These bridges add their own charm to the scenic beauty.

The canals are several miles long, which is ideal for a long, leisurely stroll or walk with your friends, family, or partner. You can also go cycling or take your pets for a walk. Each house in the neighborhood has a maintained garden and a backyard. Each house owner also has a dock where they can tie their boats. Most owners have a boat in their possession to travel from one canal to another.

Tips to Enjoy the Venice Beach Canals

How to Reach

If you want to visit the Venice Beach canals, first of all, you need to reach Los Angeles, which is in Southern California. You can reach there with the help of google maps and a local guide. The canals are near Venice Boulevard. You can park your car there and then go south.

Walk down the boardwalk to reach 25th Avenue. There are directions and signs on 25th Avenue to guide you towards the canals. Street parking is also available in Venice boulevard, which is a blessing for those who are coming there via a vehicle.

Hotels to Stay

If you want to stay near the Venice Beach canals or a few kilometers away from it, many hotels give comfortable lodgings, delicious food, and exciting packages.

Hilton Garden Inn is located in Marina Del Rey, which is a few miles away from the canals. The hotel is close to the airport, and you can easily visit the beaches like Venice Beach. The Inn also has bikes and cycles which you can rent.

Hotel Erwin is one of the best hotels near Venice Beach canals. It is a walk away from the canals and has a package for you to learn surfing at the beach. They have beautiful stay quarters, and you can also choose a room with an ocean view too.

Things to Do

As said earlier, you can go for a stroll and enjoy the sidewalks, bridges, and surroundings. You can also rent out bikes, boats. Kayaks and roller skates and take them for a ride down the walkways and waterways.

There are many restaurants, food places, and bars where you can grab some snacks and drinks. Do not make noises to disturb the property owners. You can take photographs and videos too.

If you go during the Springtime, the flowers give a whole new perspective to the sidewalks. You can also feed the ducks and baby ducks which might be swimming in the canal waters. During December, competitions are held like house decoration and bridge decoration. An annual boat parade is also held where captains guide different boats through the canals as a band performs the decks.

While there are many reasons to go to Los Angeles, Venice Beach canals should be one of them. The place will take on a whole different world which will serenade all your senses. The area offers every outdoor enjoyment that you can enjoy.

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