Picture sitting in a classically designed gondola and moving slowly through the architecturally stunning neighborhoods of Venice. Are we talking about Venice, Italy? No, we are referring to Venice, California, and instead of taking a gondola through the canals, we walk at our own paces to soak in the stunning beauty of the Venice Canal Historic District.
Overview of Venice Canal Historic District
Sometime during the second decade of the 20th century, land developer Abbot Kinney came up with the brilliant idea to design and construct the American version of Venice, Italy. His vision included plans to create a cultural Valhalla devoted to promoting the fine arts replete with canals, gondolas, and authentic imported Italian gondoliers. Kinney’s cultural experiment failed to achieve the American version of his Italian dream, but it did produce a blueprint for adding walkways for people to enjoy the intricate canal system he created.
The Canal System
As part of the United States National Register of Historic Places, Venice Canal Historic District encompasses a boundary of Court A on the southern edge, Eastern Court on the eastern edge, Court E on the northern edge, and Strongs Drive spanning the southern edge. Four canals run east to west and two canals move water from north to south. The Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument includes arched bridges that remind visitors of the arched bridges spanning the Venetian counterpart in Italy. Water enters the canals via the sea gates located in the Marina Del Rey breakwater, as well as at the Washington Boulevard entrance.
We suggest our guests start the breathtaking walk at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Washington Boulevard. You cannot miss the “Venice Canals Walkway” sign that greets visitors to the historically significant landmark. Within five minutes, you enter a separate world where the sounds of Venice traffic become a distant memory. You will see numerous canoes, kayaks, and rowboats moored in front of the homes lining the canals.
We recommend taking the first pedestrian walkway you cross to the right. Walk to the other side of the pedestrian walkway and then turn right on the next canal walkway and head straight until you reach the end of the walkway. At this point, you start to feel how real living near a canal is for residents. Pleasantly pungent aromas of rosemary and lavender fill the air. You soak in the stunning architecture by sitting on one of the benches located at the crest of the canal. Numerous species of fish and fowl migrate to the area during the different mating seasons to offer visitors a year round glimpse into the natural canal habitat.
The two-mile long walk is considered accessible to virtually anyone who has the stamina to last about an hour on his or her feet. Visitors are not allowed to ride bicycles or move about on roller blades within the Venice Canal Historic District. Guests of Holiday Inn Burbank reach Venice Canal Historic District by traveling a short distance on Interstate 5 north until hitting US Route 101 heading west. Exit the 405 south and drive about 10 miles until you see the Venice Boulevard exit that heads towards the Pacific Ocean.