Is Venice Beach losing its soul?

Tent City
Tent City at Venice Beach

Yesterday was my annual pilgrimage to Venice Beach with the kids for their end o’ summer/back to school field trip.  (I celebrate the latter).

It is so sad to see the changes going on in Venice right now.  Where the sidewalk was once lined with artists and musicians it is now packed with EZ-up tents selling mostly swap meet type crap.  To even get to the tent city one has to wade through a gauntlet of a dozen or so “independent musicians” hawking their latest CD in a very aggressive in your face manner.

I can count on my hand the number artists left on the sidewalk of Venice Beach.  It was sad to see so few of them left.  It was even sadder to see the number musicians has dwindled to less than a handful.  I miss them all, they were the heart and soul of the Venice Beach that I have come to love over my years here.

In talking with the merchants of Venice Beach during my meander yesterday I learned a few things.  Many are not happy with the tent city that has been set up for a lot of reasons.  The tent city folks don’t pay rent and are undercutting them.  They are cluttering up the view of the ocean from the sidewalks.  They are aggressive in staking out spots in the morning, often violently which they say detract from the spirit of Venice.  A lot of reasons they aren’t happy.  Some even made mention of a movement underfoot to try and set up a permit system to help control them.

One of the more interesting changes was the number of “no photos” signs popping up all over among the tent city folks.  It was mind boggling how they can set up for sale on a public sidewalk then expect to be able to control hundreds, if not thousands of folks each day strolling past from taking pictures.

Finally, the best new thing I discovered at Venice is Schulzies Bread Pudding.  The stuff is inexpensive and really a nicely twisted up departure from the regular bread puddings out there.  I opted for the “Duff’s Peppercorn Raspberry” and was not disappointed.  A slightly spicey/peppery bread pudding with a fresh raspberry puree on top.  Add in the freshly squeezed lemonade and the day was complete for $6.50!


I’ll be back as I’ve always loved Venice Beach.  I do hope that they do find a way to control some of the changes that have occurred there to help bring back the old artsy vibe that I loved there.

All pics by me and get bigger with a click.


5 thoughts on “Is Venice Beach losing its soul?”

  1. Aww. That makes me sad. I lived on Venice beach as a child and I vividly remember all the hand made artist’s goods being sold on blankets on the west side of the boardwalk. No tents were allowed on that side back then. There were fortune tellers, chainsaw jugglers, face painters, candle makers, and more! My 9 year old sister even got in on the action occasionally, sculpting mermaids out of sand with her friend and letting tourists take pictures of the sculptures. Sure, on the OTHER side of the boardwalk, there were a few tents selling tube socks and mass produced t-shirts, but at least it was balanced. I think Venice beach will quickly lose its appeal to tourists and locals alike if all you can buy there is mass produced, cheap crap. Venice was an artist town. What happened?

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