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Venice Beach Pictures

Flower power lives! Visit Venice, California, where the date is always 1969!

You're viewing pictures of Venice Beach, California in the slide show above. You'll see photos of Windward Avenue, featuring architecture designed a century ago to resemble Venice, Italy...and you'll also see several of the remaining canals of Venice, California (another holdover from Venice's resort days of yore.) And you can't help but notice the many palm trees which line the famous Venice Boardwalk...noted for its street performers (but also a popular morning jogging spot for area residents.)

Venice Beach, more than a place to swim

Photo of the Gotta Have It vintage clothing store in Venice, California

You can swim at "any old beach." So, why not visit Venice Beach, California to enjoy doing other things?

If you miss the hippie days...or if you didn't get to live through them the first go-around, visit Venice to revel in the past.

Or, if you're an art lover, visit Venice Beach, California to enjoy the many works that you'll find in "Mural City." On public walls and private buildings...murals seem to be everywhere. You'll never know where you'll come across another one of these enchanting tributes to creativity.

Early morning photo of the Venice Beach Boardwalk in greater Los Angeles, California

Venice is weird. Venice is grimy. Venice is beautiful, too. It all depends on which part of Venice Beach you're looking at when you make the statement.

Celebrities make their home in this rapidly gentrifying Los Angeles suburb. So do dozens of homeless men. Visitors from all over the USA (and the world!) come to gawk at Venice Beach. And, so do folks from the nearby neighborhoods and barios.

When should you visit Venice Beach? Well, on weekends you'll find more street entertainers along the Venice Beach Boardwalk...but you'll also find more tourists gawking and more local youth hanging out at the beach. Actually, a great time to visit Venice Beach is on a weekday during the "slow" season. You'll get to enjoy the same Venice that the locals do. Residents walking their dogs and jogging along the cement "board"walk. Homeless people wheeling the shopping carts that carry their belongings. Local vendors going about their daily business. People relaxing in cafes and drinking their cappuccinos.

Or, you could just bring your swimsuit. There really IS a very nice beach in Venice!

Venice Beach -- "Mural City"

Mural on the Venice Beach Boardwalk: Venice Beach Chorus Line, by Rip Cronk Actually, if you hunt for them, you'll find colorful murals in all parts of greater Los Angeles.

Murals at Venice Beach, however, just seem more "at home." Venice Beach murals fit in with the unique atmosphere of the area as neatly and naturally as Mickey Mouse fits into Disneyland, or a Rolls Royce fits into Beverly Hills.

The joy of stumbling across a new mural as you tour around Venice Beach is one of the special delights of visiting here. Each mural is as unique as its artist.

One artist, however, stands out in his contribution to the other-worldly atmosphere of Venice Beach. His name is Rip Cronk, and he painted some of the most famous (and interesting) murals along the boardwalk and its surrounding areas. While it's tempting to think that all the Venice murals got into their places because some free-spirited, artistic passerby simply brushed them into place, that isn't always the story. Rip Cronk, for example, has a master's degree in fine art! Careful planning and execution went into the murals' making. But...I guess knowing that tidbit of information sort of ruins the reputation of Venice as being home to the "wild and the free," doesn't it?

Venice Beach Mural: Venice Reconstituted, 1989, by Rip Cronk The mural that you see heading this section of the page is called "Venice Beach Chorus Line," a 2004 creation by Mr. Cronk. I love the pastel colors and the funky "look" of the mural. No, I don't have a clue what it's "all about" or what it's trying to say...but I do know that it fits right into the atmosphere of the boardwalk, and is enjoyable eye candy for visitors to this famous strip of real estate.

In the photo to your right, you see an even MORE famous mural by Rip Cronk...the 1989 "Venice Reconstituted," which, like the "Venice Beach Chorus Line," you'll also see as you stroll along the Venice Boardwalk. If you've never seen the "Venice Reconstituted" mural, perhaps you never look at television or watch movies. This mural seems to be a "darling" of film makers, and you just may get a glimpse of it unexpectedly someday as you sit by your TV!

Photo of the Jim Morrison mural in Venice Beach, California

Several readers have requested a photo of the Jim Morrison mural at Venice Beach. So, here's a photo of that famous mural to your left...taken at night.

Below the first Jim Morrison mural picture, you'll see a 2nd photo of the same mural. The first picture was taken in 2007...and the 2nd one in 2011. As you can see, the color of the building changed during that time period, but the mural itself is stil intact. You might have a preference for one better than the other.

Directions to the Jim Morrison mural: From the main thoroughfare of Pacific Avenue in Venice (not Santa Monica, as some readers have wondered), take Windward Ave to the beach.

As you turn onto Windward, it will look like you're heading into a dead end street. Don't worry; it's NOT a dead end. When the road ends, you will come to an alley, and that's where you'll turn LEFT. From that point, you can see the mural. Just drive up close and admire! (You may use the Google map at the end of this page to help you find this area, if you like.) The alley really does have a name...Speedway St. If you're looking at Venice maps on your cell phone, then you should find Speedway if you zoom in your resolution of Windward Ave in Venice.

Photo of the Jim Morrison mural in Venice Beach, CaliforniaIf you'd like to look at more examples of Rip Cronk's Venice murals (including a daytime photo of this terrific Jim Morrison mural), you may use the following link to view a great web page about Rip Cronk's Venice, California murals.

If you would like to see examples of murals by various artists which appear in and around the cities of Venice and Santa Monica, California, you may use the following link to see the website.

Morrison Apartments: A 2nd (and more authentic) Doors tourist attraction in Venice Beach can be found a few blocks north of the Jim Morrison mural. Not originally named the Morrison Apts, this building was re-named in honor of the time that Jim Morrison spent here living on the rooftop...and writing songs...during the summer of 1965. Here's a map to the Morrison Apartments, which are plainly marked on this special web page. This location is at the corner of Westminster Ave and Speedway, and isn't difficult to find. You may wish to view this Google map to the Morrison Apt area, so you may plan out how you plan to get there from your starting point.

The Doors Star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood: If you're interested in seeing other Doors tourist attractions while visiting Southern California, you will certainly want to see the Doors' Walk of Fame star on Hollywood Boulevard. It's located about an hour's drive away from Venice Beach...maybe less, maybe more, all depending on the traffic. To see pictures of the Doors star, to get directions, and to discover the other Hollywood landmarks you may see while you're there, please visit our Doors Walk of Fame Star page.

Venice Beach's historic & funky Windward Avenue

Venice Beach history lives in its buildings and canals, built to resemble Venice, Italy!

Photo of Windward Avenue, a must-see attraction in Venice Beach, California Though only one block long, Windward Avenue between Pacific Avenue and the beach is the number one "must see" attraction in all of Venice, California. This is the heart of Venice, California in a number of ways. First of all, the mural-painted buildings resemble a Flower Power-era reincarnation. And, secondly, the Venice, Italy-inspired architecture of Windward Avenue was the whole advertising gimick which brough Angelenos from downtown out to the Venice Beach area in the first place (back in 1905! It was quite a trek back then; a good gimick was definitely NEEDED to pull folks away from the then-popular Downtown LA district.)

A Mr. Abbott Kinney and his associates built this planned settlement to resemble and honor Venice, Italy. He made a very elegant little downtown area, using classical pillar styles from the original European Venice. In addition, the settlement was laced with a network of water-filled canals...most of which are filled in today. Ah...but the ones that remain are an interesting sight to see!

At any rate, these days the Windward Ave. buildings are doubly-nostalgic. First, they're nostalgic as we reminisce about Abbott Kinney and his fledgling efforts to draw Los Angeles residents from downtown out to his shiny new "Venice, Italy reproduction" at Venice Beach. And, secondly, the buildings are nostalgic because, as you can see in these photos, they've been painted "hippie style"...not so much as a "tribute" to the late '60's and early '70's...but, rather, as a natural and spontaneous continuation of the distinctive styles spawned during that historic era.

Closeup photo of a painted pillar on Windward Avenue of Venice Beach, California Other than gawk, what can you do in the Windward Avenue area? Well, you could grab a bite to eat. If you stand at the corner of Windward and Pacific, you'll see the locally-popular Chinese eatery, Mao's Kitchen. At Mao's Kitchen, you can choose from a variety of Asian dishes, which will be made to your order. Vegetarians like this restaurant because there's a good selection of tofu dishes, and the chefs are willing to work with the clientele to customize the orders.

The Mao's Kitchen address is 1512 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291. The Mao's Kitchen phone number is 310/581-8305.

You could also go shopping for "treasures" at the "Gotta Have It" Vintage Clothing Store. This clothing resale shop both buys interesting articles and sells them. You can have some fun looking through the ever-changing displays here. The Gotta Have It address is: 1516 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291. The Gotta Have It store phone number is 310/392-5949.

Though not right at the Windward/Pacific street corner, another popular local coffee hangout is Abbott's Habit, (named after the same Abbott Kinney who founded Venice.) At Abbott's Habit, you can choose your favorite specialty coffee or tea, and munch into a pastry. The Abbott's Habit address is: 1401 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291. The Abbott's Habit phone number is: 310/399-1171.

Photo of Pacific Avenue at Windward Ave, Venice Beach, California

Venice Beach Directions and map

Photo of the Venice Market on Windward Avenue in Venice, California If you're heading to Venice, California to go to the beach, it doesn't really matter to what part of the city you head. The sand is nice and clean throughout the miles of Venice Beach shoreline.

If, on the other hand, you'd like to take in the sights and stroll along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, you'll want to head straight to the heart of town, the corner of Windward and Pacific Avenues. Once you're there, you can find a pay-to-park lot for your car...or, you might get lucky and find an on-street parking meter!

Map to Venice Beach, California: To get a look at where you'll be heading, you may use the following link to view a Google map of the Venice Beach area.

Other Venice Beach Maps

1.) Here's the link a "fun" map of the Venice Beach Boardwalk and bike path. You can see some of the Boardwalk's entertainment features and the Venice pier marked on the following colorful map: Map of the Venice Beach Boardwalk area from the website.

2.) For further information about "things to do" in Venice Beach, you can use the following link to access the Venice, California Chamber of Commerce official website.

3.) Venice Beach Mural Tour: If you're heading to Venice Beach specifically to enjoy the city's many murals and public are, the Venice Chamber of Commerce has created a detailed Venice Beach walking tour in a convenient PDF format for you to print out at home before your visit. You may use the folowing link to view or print the Venice Beach COC's walking tour of Venice murals.

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