bohemian venice beach, california

Saturday, January 4: Venice Beach in Los Angeles is a beachfront neighborhood of mist and muscles, bikinis and tattoos, piercings, surfboards, sunglasses, funnel cakes, pizza, hot dogs, exuberant street art, and medical marijuana. It’s gritty, energetic and a little chaotic, even before noon.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVenice began as a seaside resort town in 1905; it was a separate city until 1926, when it merged with Los Angeles.  Today Venice is known for its canals, beaches and its eccentric Ocean Front Walk, a 2 1/2 mile pedestrian-only boardwalk that features performers, vendors, artists, fortune-tellers and the acrobats and body-builders of Muscle Beach (Wikipedia: Venice, Los Angeles).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVenice Beach is a combination of the tacky, the mindless, the ironic, and the novel.  ~ Freelance Dionysian

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnique among the world’s Bohemias. ~ Gordon J. Hazlitt


As we stroll down the boardwalk, we’re approached by men of various colors offering copies of their latest Rap CDs. I don’t take any of them.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor about 150 days a year in Venice, the sun doesn’t show through the mist until noon. ~ Ray Bradbury

Stephanie and I wade our way through the chilly mist in search of a lunchtime spot.  We can’t even see the ocean but we know it’s out there, somewhere at the end of the broad expanse of sand.  We find Figtree’s Cafe and Grill, where we sit outdoors on the patio shivering under a heat lamp, and I order an omelet with chicken-apple sausage, red onions, tomato and guacamole.  The stuff of California dreams.

Omelet with chicken-apple sausage, red onions, tomato, guacamole at Figtree's Cafe
Omelet with chicken-apple sausage, red onions, tomato, guacamole at Figtree’s Cafe
Stephanie at Figtree's Cafe on Venice Beach
Stephanie at Figtree’s Cafe on Venice Beach

By the time we finish, the mist is starting to clear.  The ocean is somewhere out there, but we still can’t see it.

After lunch we wander a little further down the boardwalk before we turn down a side street to explore the walk-streets and cottages of Venice; we’re captivated by succulents and tropical plants bursting out from behind every fence.

patio garden on Venice Beach
patio garden on Venice Beach
me with Venice Beach succulents
me with Venice Beach succulents
succulents in Venice
succulents in Venice
bicycles for rent
bicycles for rent

I only get one look at the Venice canals.

Venice Canal
Venice Canal

Stay tuned for a stroll through the walk-streets of Venice…

All quotes about Venice Beach from Quotations About Venice.

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42 thoughts on “bohemian venice beach, california

    1. That’s the truth, Annette! I love the mid-century modern kitsch of Los Angeles! And it sure was warm there, a far cry from the sub-freezing temps and snow we have this week. I hope you’re keeping warm!

  1. LOVING your California adventure Cathy! That is the only part of California I have been and it is so quirky and cool! As looking at luxury real estate is how I like to waste my time online to escape, I have looked at some amazing little properties along the canals, what a life!!!! Ridiculously expensive but people with money can create jewel boxes with the tiny cottages!! So magical! The food, the variety, the energy, amazing!! Your sister is beautiful and her life is the stuff of dreams, as is her incredible art! How lucky you are to have such a sister and such a great relationship! Looking forward to more posts! We are on a semester break here, next week the fresh horror of something like 3000 new scholarship students will be arriving with no new teachers being hired to deal with the certain calamity and chaos that will cause. How are you liking your “mini-retirement” from teaching? As if I need to ask…..!!!!! Happy trails!!!!

    1. California was great fun; too bad I couldn’t have stayed longer. I tried to do too much in too short a time. It was great to reconnect with my sister and to finally spend time with my dear friend Jayne in San Francisco.

      I’m loving my mini-retirement so far, but have already started the job application process and am working on finishing my 1st revision of my novel. Happy trails to you!

  2. I love Venice and have rented a hose in a walk street one row back from the beach. Every time we go back we take a pic outside which is beginning to infuriate D#2 who reminds us that’s IT’S NOT OUR HOUSE.

    Well I want it to be so she’s just going to have to lump it.

      1. Is what a Dyson, Jude and sorry Cathy I think the smallgreenworld has got a bit tight for Jude. You’ll have to read my last post to have a smidgeon of an idea what she’s on about 🙂
        If you work it out please tell me #AllEars

    1. I can imagine how you feel, mrs. carmichael. As you can see in my following post about the Venice walk-streets, I took a lot of pictures of the charming houses, gardens and bungalows of Venice. I wonder if I captured your old house (or hose!). 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for the feature, James & Terri. I love your idea of doing a slice of Americana series. I’m away from home now with no computer access, just my phone. I look forward to checking your series more thoroughly when I get home. 😊

  3. Thanks. Lashings of fascinating atmosphere ! I’m glad to have found your blog and I’ll drop by again. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (drop a nickel!).

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