Ahh Venice…Italy’s romantic “floating city” is indisputably original. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a little slice of romantico right here in Los Angeles. LA’s Venice Canals are a series of tranquil waterways tucked away from the hustle, bustle, and shiny muscles of the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Spirited entrepreneur Abbot Kinney developed the canals in the early 1900s on what was once a vast wetland. Marketed as the “Venice of America,” the Great Depression led to the area being annexed by Los Angeles. The city eventually paved over many of the canals, and today just six remain, laid out in a compact grid connected by a dozen Venetian-style bridges. Grab a friend or paramour for a 2-mile stroll around the remaining network, passing waterfront gardens and homes styled from modernist to classic Cape Cod. Start on the Grand Canal south of Venice Boulevard. You won’t see gondoliers here but kayaks and canoes cruise around on crisp waters, reflecting palm trees planted along the pathway. Stroll over arching wooden bridges currently decorated in holiday lights. Salute!
Take the I-10 to Santa Monica to exit 1A. Turn left and drive 1/3 of a mile south on 4th St. to Pico Blvd. Turn right, drive three blocks to Neilson Way, and turn left. After 1 mile, Neilson Way becomes Pacific Ave. Continue straight another mile to South Venice Blvd., and turn left. The entrance to the canals is located half a block from Pacific on the south side of the street beneath a sign labeled “Venice Canals Walkway.” Look for street parking along Venice Blvd. If no street parking is available, you may park in the lot across from the canals for $5 to $20. Walk down the east side of Grand Canal to Carroll Canal and start touring the square-shaped grid of canals. Return to your vehicle via Grand Canal. Dog-friendly!