a narrow pedestrian alleyway lined with trees in Venice, LA, known as a walk street Next time you find yourself in Venice Beach, California, here’s a set of urban curiosities with an interesting history to discover. Officially known as the Venice Beach Walk Streets, they make a peaceful detour away from the crowds on the world-famous Venice Beach boardwalk.

I discovered them by chance on my last trip to California to research places to eat, drink, shop, stay and things to do in my hometown of Brighton’s twin city, Santa Monica. I highly recommend adding the Venice Beach Walk Streets to your list of alternative things to do in Venice Beach, California. Let’s explore.

narrow pedestrian street lined with picket fences

Short history of the Venice Walk Streets

The Venice Walk Streets were built in the early 1900s by a wealthy tobacco tycoon, Abbot Kinney. They were part of his plan to create his version of Venice in Italy – complete with a canal district you can visit today – in southern California. This explains why some of the neighbourhood’s streets have Italian names like Marco Place, Amoroso Place and Venezia Avenue, to name a few.

In the 1920s, when people moved in, performers on the Venice Beach boardwalk and workers on Venice Pier could afford to live in them. According to this Los Angeles Times article, these enclaves hide some of the most expensive homes in Los Angeles, owned by the likes of Oscar-winning actress, Julia Roberts, at one point.

a blue single-story house surrounded by a white picket fence in Venice, LA

a house surrounded by giant succulent plants in Venice, California

Some of the single-story homes look similar to those originally built, give or take a few minor tweaks, while others have been redeveloped several stories high. It’s fun to stroll past quietly and sneak a peak into the beautifully landscaped gardens, choosing your favourites and imagining what it would be like to live in one. But remember, these are people’s homes, so don’t go wild. Snoop surreptitiously.

a two story house surrounded by trees along a street in Venice, Californiaa brown house along a hidden street in venice beach

a modern three story house in Venice Beach, California

Where to find the Venice Beach Walk Streets

There are four walk streets to discover in total – Crescent Place, Amoroso Place, Marco Place and Nowita Place. You’ll find them sandwiched between Lincoln Boulevard and Shell Avenue, a 15-minute walk inland from Venice Beach, and moments from the high-end shops, cafes and restaurants on Abbot Kinney Boulevard and the Venice Canal District.

Here’s a handy map of where to find them, including a suggested walking route, which will take about 30 minutes. I recommend starting from Abbot Kinney Boulevard and heading north from Crescent Place. If you’re short on time, make like Heather from the LA Sessions and follow Nowita Place south from Lincoln Avenue.

sidewalk in venice california

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