When I recently stayed in Venice, I spent my first five days engaging in the usual touristy stuff: visiting the boardwalk, window shopping along Abbot Kinney and dining at Gjelina Takeaway. But sadly, I was clueless about the true gem of Venice until my final day there: the canals.
I had been to Venice a handful of times before but nobody had ever mentioned this beautiful area, tucked away from all the hustle and bustle. Why?! Everyone had assumed I already knew about it. The second I laid eyes on the tiny bridges, colorful houses and narrow pathways surrounding the canals, I was in heaven.
The Venice Canal Historic District originally had manmade canals built by the developer Abbot Kinney to recreate the look of Venice, Italy in Southern California. The area featuring the canals was once about four times larger than it is now but many of the canals were filled in the 1920s to create roads. The rest were mostly abandoned until the early 1990s when renovations started. I am so glad the city finally realized what a treasure this place is!
If you ever find yourself in Venice, skip as much of the tourist traps as possible and head over to this magical pocket for an afternoon walk.
All photos: Shauna Haider