Venice Beach, where geeks meet boho chic

Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:39am EST
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By Eric Kelsey

VENICE Calif. (Reuters) - Venice Beach, one of the few spots in car-choked Los Angeles with a vibrant street life, has been a cultural melting pot for more than half a century, welcoming everyone from hippies and homeless wanderers to the latest generation of tech executives.

The neighborhood known for its palm trees and cool Pacific breezes has been on a winning streak in recent years, transforming from the "Slum by the Sea" into "Silicon Beach", thanks to the digital giants who have set up shop.

It was founded in 1905 by tobacco magnate Abbot Kinney as a tourist attraction and absorbed into Los Angeles in 1926.

But it has kept its distinct identity, and championed a live and let-live attitude that was enjoyed by the Beats in the 1950s. Experimental artists, architects and Baby Boomer bohemians all call it home.

Venice is crossed by three particularly bustling thoroughfares -- Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Rose Avenue and the beachside Ocean Front Walk, home to street vendors, skateboarders, cyclists and sunbathers soaking up southern California's endless summer.

Here are tips for getting the most out of a trip to Venice from Reuters, whose 2,600 journalists in all parts of the world offer visitors the best local insights.

SURF IN STYLE   Continued...

People watch a skateboarder at the Venice Skatepark in Venice, California November 7, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn