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California Diary | Venice Beach and Canals

Venice Beach, California

Venice Beach, Los Angles

Venice Beach Skate Park


Venice Beach Skate Park

Venice Beach, California

Venice Beach is a place of extreme contrasts.

On the one hand, you have the beach itself: golden sand fringed with shady palm trees… plus a street full of medicinal marijuana stands, and some of the tackiest tourist tat you’ll ever see. It’s a fascinating place for a wander, and I particularly like the skate park, which I could stand and watch for hours: this time there was a little girl who couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 doing the most amazing stuff  on her skateboard – it was so inspiring to watch her, and see all the grown-up skaters applaud her moves and high-five her afterwards.  I mean, when I was that age I could barely even ride my bike without falling off, and here was this little girl doing all this….  “skateboard stuff”….as if she’d been born on a board. I found it hard to resist shouting, “YOU GO, GURL!” or something equally lame, but I managed to restrict myself to simple cheers. (Oh, and then her little brother – who was, like, THREE or something – also got up and started skating down the steep sides of the park. I think they were the coolest kids I’ve ever seen, seriously…)

Er, it’s kinda weird that I’ve just written two paragraphs about someone else’s kids, isn’t it? Look, here is a seagull:

Larry the Seagull

His name is Larry. Don’t ask me how I know.

So, you have the skate park, and Muscle Beach, and this glorious jumble of colour and sound – music booming out from shops and sidewalk musicians, people trying to sell you something every few steps, er, marijuana dealers on every corner (It’s legal in California for ‘medical’ use). And then behind all of that there’s the canals that give the area its name, which are so different from the beach that it’s like stepping into another world.


Venice canals, Venice Beach, California


Venice Canals, Venice Beach, California

Venice Canals, Venice Beach, California

Venice Canals, Venice Beach, California


The houses in this area are some of my favourite in the city (mind you, I seem to say that about pretty much everywhere I go, so…): they range in style from the super-modern to more traditional styles, and each one is totally unique, and mind-blowingly amazing. The canal network stretches a few blocks, and I had to give up taking photos, because it’s so incredibly picturesque you could be there all day.

“Imagine actually getting to live here!” I said to Terry at one point – well, at MANY points, actually. I could never in my wildest dreams afford it, obviously (and that’s probably for the best to be honest: I spotted a few crabs scuttling along the canal beds, so if I lived here I’d literally never sleep…), but wow, what a beautiful, beautiful place. If you’re ever in Venice Beach, walk along the “strip” for sure – it’s something you really have to see for yourself. But once you’re done with that, don’t forget to take a stroll along the canals, too: I promise you won’t regret it.


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WEARING:  Alice + Olivia skirt* (old); top c/o Dorothy Perkins; River Island flats; Michael Kors bag

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  • Chiarina
    September 25, 2015

    The canals look amazing, I love “water meets plants and trees”. But what actually had me stop and stare was the colour of your hair in the sun. My daughter (nearly 3) has bright red hair and I dearly hope it will look a bit like yours when she grows up…

  • merry
    September 25, 2015

    Love the canals. We go every few years. People who live by the canals put out bowls of fresh water for the ducks bc they say the water in the canals is salt water. Also love the fresh mango & other fruit cups you can buy on just about every corner. Thanks for a lovely post.

  • Lucy
    September 25, 2015

    Here in Colorado you need a card to purchase medical marijuana…you have to see a doctor and pay a few hundred dollars, and then you show your card to buy weed. Obviously, we have recreational sales now as well, but having a card means you get medical prices, which are lower (I think they’re taxed less or not at all?), and I believe the amount you can purchase is different.

    Just wanted to clarify, you can’t just walk in and say your back hurts lol. Although, I’ve heard that it’s pretty easy to get the card in the first place, as in, you CAN walk into the doctor’s office and say your back hurts, and they’ll give you a card 🙂

  • Harlow Darling
    September 26, 2015

    Venice Beach looks lovely – really different to what I was expecting, I expected it to look grungier for some reason? Probably because of movies I’ve seen that show that area. Also your hair looks brilliant in these photos, the colour is so different in the sun, so much more vibrant! You look beautiful, as always 🙂

    • Amber
      September 26, 2015

      It is very grungy, just not around the canals !

  • Julia
    September 27, 2015

    Lovely, lovely, lovely outfit. Perfect for a shiny day like that one, excellent for a place like Venice. Love it.

California Diary | Griffith Observatory
California Diary | Venice Beach and Canals