Just a few hundred yards away from the pandemonium that is Venice Beach on a sunny summer Sunday, the Venice Canals are a sea of tranquility. Aside from the obvious stunning visuals, what strikes me is the sound. It’s quiet. Instead of city traffic noise, you hear gurgling water, wind chimes, birds, some animals, a few muffled human voices. You rarely encounter more than a dozen people even if you wind your way through the entire canal system.
And about those obvious striking visuals. They really are striking. Modern homes, miniature castles, and even villas coexist peacefully with cottages that are truly from a century past.
Bright colors are everywhere.
Many of the homes have dinghies, row boats, or canoes out front, so residents can get some exercise while paddling over to their neighbors to shoot the ample breeze.
Even the celebrity residents are currently of the low-profile variety; I’m told that the white-haired gent who often sits outside this charming cottage reading the paper is 1970s game show icon Orson Bean.
The other local celebrities you will encounter on your walk are ducks, although they can be a bit shy.
A pirate flag flying over a basketball backboard? It doesn’t cause an eye to bat in the Venice Canals.
It’s hard to fathom that the Venice Canals, built by Abbott Kinney, once extended all the way North to Santa Monica and East to Sepulveda, or so I’m told by one local resident. At least the enclave that remains is large enough almost immediately to create a sense of peace and wonder when one strolls among the footpaths and across the numerous arched bridges.
And that’s why the Venice Canals are one of my favorite Los Angeles area spots.