Venice Beach For An Afternoon in the Sun (Los Angeles Weekend Trip – part 1)

Los Angeles Weekend Trip – part 1

I go on day trips from San Diego to Los Angeles or Orange County all the time. It’s usually less than 2 hours away and makes for a nice little getaway and often good food (Asian food). I recently drove up to Los Angeles with my boyfriend (BH) for a special weekend trip. We started the weekend early to drive to San Clemente then Venice Beach for an afternoon in the sun and then to downtown Los Angeles for the rest of the weekend.

The Rainbow Sandals Factory

326 Calle de Los Molinos
San Clemente, CA 92672

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What do you think when you hear someone say “The Rainbow (Sandals) Factory”? Well, I’m referring to Rainbow Sandals. I first heard about these sandals when I was in college years ago. As a Southern California native, we wear sandals a lot thanks to our nice weather and of course the many beaches along Southern California.

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On our way to Los Angeles from San Diego we made a quick stop in San Clemente where Rainbow Sandals are manufactured. Although The Rainbow Factory store is not where the sandals are actually manufactured (they’re manufactured just down the street), you can get a really good deal on Rainbow Sandals. That’s where I got all 3 pairs of Rainbow Sandals and a new pair for BH. His very first pair of Rainbow Sandals! He was so excited that he decided to start breaking into them immediately.

It’s definitely a lot cheaper to buy here then to buy at other retail stores.

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I asked the sales clerk how long it will take to break into them. He told me “if you wear them all the time, about a week. good luck!” Here is where I need to apologize. BH struggled to break into them. He’s not used to of wearing sandals and we did a lot of walking in Venice, CA.

Venice Canals

It was another hour drive from San Clemente to Venice Beach. We parked in 1 of several official beach parking lots and then left the beach to the Venice Canals just a couple blocks near the southern end of Venice Beach.

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The Venice Canals was built in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney to create the “Venice of America.” The Venice Canals are now a small grid of canals with some beautiful homes long the banks. (source)

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When we arrived we walked down a ramp leading directly to the Venice Canals. That was when I pulled out my camera and BH his cell phone. Neither of us really knew what to expect when we arrived.

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It was a quite Friday morning, we were the only ones there when we arrived. It was not sunny California (yet), but the overcast created some beautiful reflections in the canals. I think I can just sit there and enjoy this scene, though I’m sure these houses along the canals are not cheap.

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We spent some time wandering along the narrow sidewalks at the many bridges that cross the canal ways. We enjoyed walking along the narrow sidewalks though i can’t imagine what it would be like on a busy weekend with those narrow sidewalks.

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Each house has it’s own little dock across the sidewalk and most have little boats on their dock. I actually though it was so cute to see that each dock seems to be built and designed to match the house it belongs to.  I personally don’t think of Venice, Italy (I’ve never been) or the Venice Canals at the Venetian Hotel in Vegas, there something very Californian to me.

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Abbot Kinney Blvd: Gjelina and Salt & Straw

After wandering the Venice Canals, we walked about 0.7 miles (15-20 minutes) to Abbot Kinney Blvd for lunch at Gjelina and ice cream at Salt & Straw.

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Named after the guy that developed the Venice Canals this is considered to a major street street lined with restaurants, art galleries, and cute shops.

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As recommended by Sebas, we made our way to Gjelina. I actually almost missed the restaurant. When we walked it, there was not wait and we were given a choice to sit at a high communal table or a small table along the wall. I chose the small table and kind of regretted that but didn’t want to move. My issue was that the booth seats were in horrible condition and very uncomfortable. I was wearing shorts the broken leather seats were digging into my skin. I ended up having to sit on my sweater. BH had a much more comfortable seat in a normal chair.

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Our server recommended that we order 2 vegetables and a pizza. We ordered the Grilled King Oyster Mushroom, Tarragon Butter & Lemon (on the left). And recommended by our server the snap peas which I don’t see on the menu. She recommended it because they were very fresh and in season.

The vegetable were indeed very fresh and yummy, but the plates were tiny.

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The pizza was a thin crust pizza. Our Lamb sausage, confit tomato, rapini, pecorino& asiago pizza was made fresh. It was kind of cute that they served the a little plate of cheese, peppers, and fresh herb (I think it’s oregano) for you to add to your pizza.

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It’s a $$$ restaurant! And BH wasn’t very satisfied with what we got. $10 for  each little plate of vegetable and $16 for our pizza, gratuity was automatically added to our bill, we spent nearly $50 on lunch. I don’t think BH was full. I wasn’t though I only ate 1 slice of pizza, it was good, but I wouldn’t say my favorite.

We skipped dessert from Gjelina, and walked about 1.5 blocks toward the beach to Salt & Straw. This is the California location of the ice cream shop we went to in Portland, OR. 

Venice Beach, CA

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Ok, now that we’ve eaten we headed back to the beach. By then BH was struggling with those new Rainbow Sandals. I offered to call an UBER car, but he insisted that he wanted to break into those Rainbows as fast as possible. It was another 0.7 mile (15-20 minute) walk.

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Venice Beach is quite unique with its lively and colorful boardwalk. Which is quite different from the many quieter beaches that I’m used to of going to in San Diego. There was quite a bit of live music, live performers etc.

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We really wanted to walk along the boardwalk to do a little bit of souvenir shopping but we both got distracted by the colorful Venice Graffiti Walls and trees on the beach.

There were lots of people taking pictures. I want some cool pro pictures like that but I get nervous and I hide kind of hide behind my camera. Thank you BH for being able to capture some pictures of me.

It’s actually legal to paint on these walls (with a permit), of course it wasn’t always legal and was even being torn down at one point.

There were also lots people biking along the boardwalk. My friend told me it’s actually a really easy and fun trip to bike from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Beach. I guess I would do that if we were planning to stay at the beach.

It was really nice to take off our sandals and sink our feet into the sand. We sure did have a nice long walk at the beach.

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160610f Venice Beach _119And then I got tired. I didn’t want to walk back to the boardwalk, instead I wanted to head back to our car to put my camera and purse down (they were getting really heavy). I traded my heavy purse for out beach bag.

We picked out a spot on the sand and sat down on our beach towel for some people watching, snacks, and a nap. We went into the water for a couple minutes, but I think we were both looking forward to the nap.

And then we packed up our stuff and braved the LA traffic (at about 2pm) and headed into downtown Los Angeles to our hotel.



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