Photo courtesy of DM on Flickr
As much a Los Angeles icon as the Hollywood Sign and Walk of Fame, Venice Beach has undeniable allure. There's the sun-baked boardwalk, two-and-a-half miles of showboating rollerbladers, beach bunnies and bros, street performers and soothsayers. There's Muscle Beach, an oceanfront gym that saw plenty of Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the 1960s and '70s. There's buzzy Abbot Kinney Blvd. with so many chic shops and in-demand cafes you won't know where to start first. And, of course, there are the quaint canals, built by developer Abbot Kinney in 1905 as part of his Venice of the West plan (which also gave the city its name). While these sights are all more than worth a look (especially for first-timers), we really wanted to know one thing: Where do the locals go?
So we reached out to Michelle Halpern. She's the in-the-know social-media manager of three quintessentially SoCal fashion brands--Joie, Equipment, and Current/Elliott--who, after a stint in NYC, has adopted Los Angeles as her city and Venice as her 'hood. "Venice is unlike any place I've ever lived," she says. "I love that you can't stereotype Venice residents by a certain set of qualities because you come across quite the mix of characters on any given day. But the best part is that, as varied and diverse as the people can be, everyone coexists in this crazy, creative little town which only adds to its charm."
Michelle kindly cooked us up an insider agenda that makes sure you avoid endless driving, soul-crushing lines, and the kind of scenester-y hotspots that deliver the hype but don't live up to it.
From the team at Spot.com.
Caffeinating at TOMS
"There's no shortage of great coffee spots in Venice, but Intelligentsia and the newly opened Blue Bottle Coffee are typically where people gravitate, which also means they have the longest lines. I like the coffee at TOMS--yes, the shoe company's Venice flagship--just as much, and you can camp out and work all day in their cozy backyard if you'd like. It feels more community working space than boutique, which I think is so Venice."
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