Packed Perfectly has called many places home over the past decade. The original, Asheville, then New York City, Sydney, London, and now we have settled into Venice Beach because of its deep-rooted bohemian spirit, artistic vibes, and proximity to the Pacific ocean. Venice has a strong sense of community, held between the westside patrons and proprietors. It is a melting pot of a variety of free-spirited individuals from those who perform on the boardwalk to those who shop the stylish boutiques on Abbot Kinney – there is no beach town in the world quite like it.
Venice has recently been popularly renamed Silicon Beach, as it is now home to more than 500 tech startups including YouTube, Google, BuzzFeed, and SnapChat. The young professionals who flock here are predominately a mixture of hi-tech and the entertainment industry. The appeal is understandable. Who doesn’t want to wake up and surf before meeting at a luxurious coffee shop or one of the many eateries, then head into the office?
If you are like me, whenever I venture into a new city I like to get my bearings with the best view in town. Head to the High Lounge atop the Hotel Erwin for a quick bite, cocktail, and 360 views.
Originally called “Venice of America,” Venice was founded in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney as a beachfront resort town. Due to his fascination with Venice Italy, Kinney drudged the canals which now is one of Venice’s most affluent neighborhoods – a tight-knit community of several blocks of canals that run between multi-million dollar homes.
No matter what time of year it is, the Venice boardwalk will be bustling with people, mainly tourist strolling down to look at the street vendors then check out the artist and entertainers or gawk at the famous muscle beach. The boardwalk is full of restaurants, shops, outdoor gyms, basketball and paddleboard courts, a skate park, and marijuana doctors. Locals tend to only visit the boardwalk if they are hosting a friend in town, or heading to El Huarique for Peruvian ceviche.
Things to put on your Venice Beach to do list: Walk the beach, go hang out with the lifeguards, swim in the Pacific Ocean, play beach volleyball.
The best surf spot in Venice Beach is 3100 to 2700 Ocean Front Walk.
Named after the founding developer Abbot Kinney this boulevard is breaking dreams of affordable rent these days. It once was full of that hip essence of edginess until thanks to GQ for naming it the happiest street in America in 2012 the store owners braced themselves for rental increases, and larger companies like Adidas moved in.
The street may be more expensive, but it hasn’t lost its vibe, artistic roots, and street murals where you can find swarms of bonding Instagram husbands.
You can fill an entire day from top to bottom on Abbot Kinney. Grab a coffee at Intelligentsia, then shop your way down starting at Principessa, then take your girlfriend jewelry shopping at Sophia Kaman. Afterwards have a lunch at Wabi Sabi then continue to bounce down the street to Mystic Journey for mediation, enjoy more shopping or get a massage at Spa Sophia, and end up at Neighbor for the best cocktails and dinner on the block. If you want to switch up the scene, grab some pasta next door at Felix. For dessert, you will have to wait in line, but those waffle cones at Salt and Straw are worth it.
Another hip street to venture down in Venice is Rose. Amidst the epicenter of Venice’s extreme gentrification by Google’s influence, this street has been gutted to fill in room for luxury apartment complex’s and sophisticated shops and cafes. Now trendy eateries such as Rose cafe and Cafe Gratitude line the street.
Best if you want to jump into the ocean afterward
Great range of classes
More than just an awesome bookshop –
yoga and meditation classes in the back
A beautiful sanctuary on rose featuring workshops, meditation, and yoga
A great community
A funky blend on Venice blvd
Deus Ex Machina
Great space to work from, outdoor garden is best real estate.
The coffee pioneers
A hot spot with a hot price tag on Abbot Kinney
Not just selling shoes anymore, the flagship store has branched out into a cool coffee shop and workspace
Butter coffee. Enough said
Blue Bottle Coffee
Packed in compostable bags, and poured for customers within 48 hours of roasting
Plant Food and Wine
The Grocery Stores
In Venice, Wholefoods has competition with the ethically and sustainably produced foods, wellness and beauty products, and household items that Erewhon brings to the neighborhood.
Abbot Kinney Festival
Now in its 33rd year, the Abbot Kinney Festival takes place along a mile-long stretch of the world-famous Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California, aka the “coolest block in America ” on last Sunday in September.
Every first Friday of the month starting at 5 pm food trucks line down Abbot Kinney for a unique food truck event. Shops are also open late.
If you are in the music industry this is where you network. If you are a true lover of intimate events and music like me- this is where you go to watch them.
The Winston house
started during the summer of 2015 with the mission to support young creatives by giving them couches to sleep on and weekly events to meet like-minded people.In 2016 & 2017, we started to become known for a weekly music series called House Show – and for creating a youth music scene in Venice Beach, California.
From Woodstock to record players, music was an experience that led to real human connection. Now we listen alone and venues have become commercialized, transactional.
Krue is different. We want to make the world a smaller place through lasting music experiences. When people rally around incredible music, anything is possible.
Full of palm trees, surfers, and now Packed Perfectly we hope to see you around Venice Beach!
Heading to a gathering on the canals
Afternoon cocktails at Wabi Sabi
Working from Neighbor