A Weekend in LA – Part One: Venice

10th June 2009

I just had a great weekend in LA. The city gets a really bad rap, but it’s honestly one of my favorite vacation spots. Tons of great restaurants, shopping, people-watching and fabulous weather. And, I now have a new favorite spot in town: Venice.

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Eat

For breakfast we stopped at The Wood Cafe on Washington Blvd. on our way to the beach. All their food is local and sustainable – and it’s so yummy! I ordered the Breakfast Club, which I expected to be like a scramble based on the description. I was very wrong. It was literally made like a stacked club sandwich. Very good, maybe too much food for breakfast!

For lunch we went to Gjelina which is getting tons of press right now, and rightfully so! It’s an amazing spot – perfect for lunch, brunch or dinner. Honestly, we loved everything – I don’t think there is anything on the menu I didn’t enjoy!

And while it wasn’t open while we were there, Intelligentsia coffee just opened a new shop on Abbot Kinney. They have amazing coffee – definitely check it out! I peered through the gate wishing they would open their doors a few days early for us – no such luck!

See and Do (and Shop!)

Forget the beach – Abbot Kinney is the place to be in Venice! The street is jam-packed with great shops, salons, restaurants, galleries, etc. My personal favorite was Bountiful (pictured below). Their website does not do the store justice at all – if I had an endless supply of cash I think I would’ve bought everything in the store!

Just across the street I also fell in love with Floral Art and Tumbleweed & Dandelion. Everywhere I turned I was inspired – amazing stuff , so creative!

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Two other great things to do/see: the Venice Canals and First Fridays. Many people forget that Venice was designed to be a replica of Venice, Italy. The city originally had canals everywhere which were mostly filled after the invention of the car. Now there are just a few square blocks of the canals left and they are worth a visit. It’s hard to imagine such a place still exists and most people don’t even know its there! We brought our coffee and walked around for a few hours. The homes and gardens are amazing!

The second thing you should check out if you’re in town at the right time is First Fridays, a cool event sponsored by the Venice Chamber of Commerce. On the first Friday of each month all the stores and galleries open their doors, live music is performed on the street and everyone comes out to hang. I didn’t get a chance to check it out, but I’m planning to on my next trip.

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