In all honesty, I was prepared to not love Los Angeles. 

A city of endless sprawl, where what matters is Who You Know, not Who You Are. Leading up to my trip to L.A. I had heard stories about segregation, extreme traffic, and a general feeling of uneasiness. Those stories, in part, rang true for me. I didn’t fall in love with Los Angeles like I did with other California locales such as San Francisco and Joshua Tree.

But that’s not to say the City of Angels is not without its merits – namely, Venice. Right after I landed at LAX, I took a shuttle to Santa Monica HI Hostel; where I had booked a bed for the night. The hostel is one easy block away from the Santa Monica Pier, and is easily one of the nicest hostels in which I have EVER stayed. The rooms were polished, and it had an adorable courtyard to relax and mingle in.

Being all by my lonesome, I decided to take a walk down the boardwalk from the Pier to Venice Beach, and then saunter around the Canals.

Prior to my being there, I fantasized about Venice Beach. How Jim Morrison first met Ray Manzarek on that very sand. All I wanted to do was roam around on my own schedule, and maybe write some poetry to the sound of the ocean and a California sunset. I’m such a corndog romantic.

Venice was everything the hippie in me could have ever wanted. I found rows upon rows of chic, one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants, incredibly laid-back people, and street-art galore! It was what I had always pictured L.A. to be in my mind’s eye, and in my humble opinion, the rest of the city could take a clue or two from it.

Here is what transpired from my jaunt around town. xo

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier

 

Selfies taken only in desperation. When you don’t have a buddy or a tripod, you become your own buddy and tripod.

 

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier

 

The view from Santa Monica Pier is spectacular. Nary a spec of land on the horizon in sight. Plus, I made friends with a Sea Lion. Score.

 

Venice

 

The sticker on the window reads “Bernie, 2016”. Oh, those were the days…

 

Santa Monica
Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Venice
Venice

 

The Venice Beach strip is also home to a saturated medical marijuana market.

 

Venice Beach
Venice Canals
Venice Canals
Venice Canals

 

Tip: Make sure you look up where exactly the Venice Canals are before you go looking for them. Even with the shoddy help of strangers it took me about an hour of wandering to find them. Partially lack of planning, partially a terrible sense of direction.

 

Jim Morrison

 

Venice is home to some amazing Murals. This one (on the left) is of Jim Morrison and was originally painted in 1991 by Rip Cronk.

 

 

My next trip to Los Angeles will definitely include a stop in Venice. Let me know your favorite off-the-grid spots!

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