Venice Canals in Venice Beach, Los Angeles California

As someone who loves finding hidden gems in busy places, I couldn’t resist visiting the Venice Canals in Venice Beach, California. If you haven’t been there yet then this is a place you should visit. It’s a quiet neighborhood where small bridges arch over peaceful waterways. This serene area is away from the hectic traffic of Venice but just a few blocks away from the beach and the Pier. It is registered as a Historic Place with beautiful views.

Venice canals in Venice Beach CA
Venice Canals in Venice Beach CA
Venice canals walkway sign
Venice Canals Walkway sign
Venice canals
Venice Canals on the other side of the street
start of the trail at Venice Canals in Venice
Start of the trail at Venice Canals

The History and Structure of the Canals

The Venice Canals were originally built in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney. His dream was to recreate the romantic ambiance of Venice, Italy, here in California. Initially, this ambitious project included several miles of canals and numerous gondolas gliding through. In 1920s, most of the canals were filled in to make room for roads. In 1990s, the Venice Canals received a makeover. This renovation involved draining the canals and fixing up the sidewalks and pedestrian bridges. Today, six canals remain, lined with walking paths and crossed by small bridges.

canoe on Venice canals in Venice beach
Rusty canoe just floating on the Venice Canals

The canals stretch roughly in a rectangular layout with sidewalks and bridges. There are 9 pedestrian bridges in total. This setup adds to the scenic beauty of the area and also makes it a great place for a leisurely stroll or a jog.

The names of the canals are as follows:

  1. Carroll Canal
  2. Linnie Canal
  3. Howland Canal
  4. Sherman Canal
  5. Eastern Canal
  6. Grand Canal
on the bridge in Venice Canals
On the bridge on Venice Canals

Water Management and Wildlife

You might wonder how these canals stay filled in a city like Los Angeles. The water comes from the Pacific Ocean, entering the canals through a series of gates that control the flow and maintain levels. This connection to the ocean also invites a variety of wildlife, particularly birds. On any given day, you can spot ducks, egrets, and occasionally herons, all thriving within this urban oasis.

Venice Canals in Venice CA

What I Like About Venice Canals

Walking through the Venice Canals is always a highlight for me. Unlike the main areas of Venice Beach, you can’t hear the cars here. The canals are like a hidden pocket of silence.

Here’s my video of the Venice Canals:

The walk is incredibly peaceful, and the variety of birds adds a lovely touch of nature to the scenery.

Venice Canals in Los Angeles county
Beautiful small bridges on the Venice Canals

The loop is about 3 miles which takes about an hour to walk. It’s an easy and paved walking trail but narrow and can get crowded. The walkways along the canals run right next to the houses. Dogs are welcomed but have to be on a leash. If you are biking, you have to walk your bike.

i am standing on the bridge at Venice canals
Standing on the bridge at Venice Canals

Each house along the canals is distinctly styled, showcasing a range of architectural styles from modern designs to charming beach cottages. Most of the houses are designed to maximize the view of the canals. You’ll see a lot of homes with large windows and cozy balconies overlooking the water. There are those with elaborate, beautiful gardens and others with simple, low-maintenance fronts.

beautiful Venice Canals

I’ve noticed that no two houses are the same here, which keeps my walks interesting and enjoyable. Many houses have their own little dock where they store kayaks, paddle boats or row boats. Houses along the Venice Canals are quite pricey. As of 2024, they generally range from $3 million to $5 million. The most affordable property on the market as of May 2024 is a compact 800 square feet house priced at $2.2 million.

halloween decorations on the canoe on Venice Canals
Halloween decorations on the canoe

The water seemed like a foot deep and deeper in the middle of the canal. I spotted many ducks enjoying the water or sitting on the docks. Swimming is not allowed in the Venice Canals. These canals are mainly residential and the water isn’t clean enough for swimming.

many different brisges on venice canals
The trail can be crowded with other visitors

There’s a park at the end of the Linnie Canal called a Linnie Canal Park. It’s a quiet spot with a small playground and a couple of swings. It’s a gated tiny park where your toddlers can’t escape. There’s no parking around the park.

Venice canals in Venice beach in Los Angeles

The Venice Canals are located in the Venice district of Los Angeles, California. You can find them nestled between Washington Boulevard and Venice Boulevard, bordered to the east by Strongs Drive and to the west by Ocean Avenue, near the Pacific coast. Keep a lookout for Venice Canals walkway signs.

water is about 1 feet deep at the edges of venice canals
The water is shallow on the side and deeper in the middle

As for parking, it can be a bit tricky since this is a popular area with limited street parking. There’s a paid parking lot right next to the canals. I went there in May, 2024 and it cost $20 to park for the day. However, you have a few other options:

i am standing on the other entrance at Venice Canals
Other entrance at Venice Canals
  1. Street Parking: There is some street parking available around the canals themselves, but be sure to check the signs for any restrictions. The earlier you get there, the better your chances of finding a spot. Read the signs because you’ll be towed away otherwise.
  2. Public Parking Lots: There are public parking lots near Venice Beach. One popular option is the lot at Venice Beach itself, located at the end of Venice Boulevard. It’s a short walk from the beach to the canals.
  3. Metered Parking: You can find metered parking on major streets like Washington Boulevard. Again, it’s good to arrive early, especially on weekends or sunny days, as these spots fill up quickly.

So next time you’re in Venice Beach and find yourself overwhelmed by the crowds, remember that a peaceful retreat is just a short walk away at the Venice Canals. It’s definitely a favorite spot of mine, and I think you’ll enjoy it too!

me on the beach
About the author

Hi, I'm Kat, the adventurous spirit behind TasteCaliforniaTravel, your guide to the hidden wonders of California. Having called California home for the last 15 years, I am thrilled to take you along on my journey and share the adventures that this incredible state has to offer.

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