Venice Beach and it’s famous boardwalk is well known around the world for its funky and offbeat vibe. But, beneath all the weird stores selling incense and other goodies, are little known facts that most people don’t know about Venice. Test your knowledge and read this list if you want the inside track on what’s Venice Beach is really all about.
1.) Oil oil oil! Did you know that Venice used to be the scene of over 450 oil wells which operated throughout the area you now buy incense and ride your bike around? The first oil wells were constructed in the 1920’s and pumped the good stuff until the 70’s. Built to be more of an amusement area, Venice hit hard times during the Depression and hit oil just in time to keep it alive. By 1931, the Venice oil field was the 4th most efficient oil field in California.
2.) Venice used to be its own independent city: Venice was actually its own independent city in 1905 until it merged with Los Angeles in 1926.
3.) Abbot Kinney isn’t just a street name: In fact, Abbot Kinney had a lot to do with Venice. A tobacco millionaire by trade, Abbot Kinney bought up a bunch of land that’s now known as Venice. Building a resort town called “Ocean Park,” Kinney also built the seaside resort town of Venice named “Venice of America” to recreate the appearance and feel of Italy’s Venice. You know those canals we have all come to love? You can thank Abbot Kinney for that. In fact, there used to be many more canals, but many of them have since been filled in to make room for roads and homes. Once the automobile took over, the canals were viewed as outdated.
4.) It’s pretty popular! Venice Beach is actually the 2nd-largest tourist attraction behind Disneyland. That means A LOT of tourists come and visit the quirky shops along the boardwalk.
5.) Lights. Camera. Action! Venice Beach has been the prime location for over 60 movies over the years. Since 1910, the popular tourist attraction has been the backdrop of films like “Speed” (1994) starring Keanu Reeves, and many more. “LA Story” (1994), as well as “White Men Can’t Jump” (1992) are some other notable films. The first, in 1910 was “short shot.”
6.) The water is actually pretty clean: Although Venice Beach to most gives off a grungier feel, Heal The Bay actually gives Venice an “outstanding” rating in water quality.
7.) License needed: You wouldn’t think it, but to be a Venice Beach boardwalk vendor, you actually need a license. Even those weird and strange artists and performers too. We’re pretty sure though that there are some exceptions.