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Exploring the Heart of Venice Beach: Windward Avenue

Homage to Starry Night by Cronk (1990) in Venice I Photo by Kevin McShane

Between 1904 and 1929, main street, windward avenue, and grand avenue were all canals. Instead of cars rumbling around these Venice thoroughfares, gondolas were quietly gliding people around town.


The hub of Venice's original canal network and the base of its once thriving business district, Windward Avenue today boasts a number of fascinating markers and homages to its past as Venice of America.

Windward Circle, once serving both as the heart of Abbot Kinney's Venice and as kind of canal traffic circle, is surrounded by distinct structures that reflect the area's rich heritage. Replicated pulleys gracing the facade of Ace Market Place represent the pulleys used to dig the original canals. On the other side of the circle sits the Windward Circle Art Building, a semi-reconstruction of the grand old Antler's Hotel that inhabited the same space. If you head south on Windward Ave., you will find yourself before Venice's original colonnaded buildings and the old site of the 1904 Venice Beach House. In this area, make sure to grab a bite to eat at Danny's Deli and enjoy the lively murals that grace the inside of this historic space.

Begin at Windward Ave. and Pacific Ave.

Transit: From the Spring/1st stop in Downtown LA take the 733 Bus towards Santa Monica. Disembark at Main/Grand and walk about 2 minutes north until you reach Windward Ave.

Car: From the 10 Freeway West exit for 4th/5th St. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for 4th St. Turn left onto 4th St., then take the 3rd right onto Pico Blvd. Turn left onto Nielson Way and go about 2 miles as it continues onto Pacific Ave. Drive until you reach Windward Ave.

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