Photo Essay: Venice's Abbot Kinney
Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I, like most guys, don't like shopping. It probably doesn't help that I was scarred as a child when my mom first took me jeans shopping. In case you're wondering, an overweight kid, like I was, is not meant to wear Wrangler slim fit jeans. That didn't stop my mom, however, from yelling at me to "suck it in" while she attempted to pull those jeans to my waist.
Yet, here I am, talking about Venice, California's Abbot Kinney, known most notably for nothing other than its shopping. But if you're here expecting a shopping post about Abbot Kinney, then I'm sorry to disappoint. While many people visit Abbot Kinney for its boutique shops, I prefer it for different reasons. Venice is one of my favorite neighborhoods, in part because of its offerings, but also because it's so walkable. Not to mention that the story behind it is so fascinating.
Venice was founded over a century ago by none other than the man himself, Abbot Kinney, a real estate developer and conservationist. Having gone to Venice, Italy years prior, Kinney envisioned developing an American version, which he did, canals, gondolas and all. Then, however, it went by the name, "Venice of America," featuring two miles of canals dredged out of former saltwater marshlands. Many of them since have been replaced by roads. Nonetheless, the arts and culture that Kinney originally envisioned for Venice, started to come to life in the 1970s with surfers and skateboarders descending on Venice, while street art lined the sidewalks and walls of the town.
One such street where this happened, Washington Boulevard, was renamed to Abbot Kinney, which is where you find the district of independent shops, restaurants, and cafes that stands today, predominantly absent of chain stores, thanks to ordinances from the neighborhood council. As such, it stands as what I believe is one of the most photogenic places in a city full of franchises. But rather than tell you anymore, I'd rather just show it off in photos.