I had a really good day today, the plan was to spend part of the day exploring Venice and Santa Monica which are both situated in the western part of LA. You all know by now that I really enjoy taking tours so there was no exception in this case. I came across an interesting Venice and Santa Monica tour that had been posted on Airbnb and I quickly signed up for it because it seemed interesting and to make matters even better, it was a one on one tour so no large group involved.
The starting point of the tour was in Venice and since I am currently staying in Hollywood, I had to get an Uber and I would say the ride took about 40 minutes with minimal traffic. I met up with the guide who turned out to be so cool and within a short period of time we were talking and laughing like old friends. There are some people that you immediately click with and such was the case with the guide whom i'll call Taj. We made our first stop at Venice beach where we got to people watch and stroll along the boardwalk as Taj gave me interesting tidbits about the area. I was informed that the boardwalk would normally be so crowded but with covid the crowds were much less than they normally are. I thought it was still lively and to be honest with you, having less crowds of people just made it easier to social distance.
After strolling along the boardwalk we made a detour to go check out the Venice canals which are arched pedestrian bridges that mimic the canals in Venice, Italy. The area where these canals are situated is residential and pretty quiet compared to the nearby boardwalk. There are small paths around the canals where you can take a nice leisurely walk as you pass some interesting houses. I say interesting houses because each house in the area is totally different from the next so you get to see interesting features.
Next stop after the canals was the Abbot Kinney Boulevard which is a mile long road lined with cute boutiques, restaurants and shops. Unfortunately due to the pandemic a lot of shops and restaurants were closed but it still made for a nice stroll. I learned that pre-covid the road would be closed off once a week to vehicles and it would become accessible to pedestrians only so this would encourage social gatherings and activities. PS: this boulevard is named after the founder of Venice, Abbot Kinney.
We did quite a bit of walking as Taj showed me cool places to hang out and basically gave me the rundown of the neighborhood. Before I knew it we were back at the boardwalk as it turns out we had somehow made a loop. It was now time to explore Santa Monica. Santa Monica and Venice are basically next door neighbors so we were able to walk along the boardwalk in Venice until we got to the Santa Monica beach and pier. Once again I was informed that the area would normally be packed with people but I am glad it wasn't, It was still lively and I actually enjoyed the vibe.
After hanging out at the pier it was time to head to the next stop which was the 3rd Street promenade in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. It's basically a pedestrian pathway filled with shops and restaurants. At this point it had started getting dark but the decorative lights along the promenade made it look so pretty. We walked around, entered a few shops to window shop then it was time to call it a day.
That's it folks! not only did I get to enjoy a fun tour on such a beautiful day but I ended up with a new friend. Taj and I exchanged numbers with the promise to keep in touch and I even got invited to a potential "Bollywood" wedding so watch this space.
Random Thoughts of the Day:
A car is highly necessary to get around LA, I could have rented one but I just don't feel comfortable driving in cities that I am not familiar with. The Uber rides do add up but to be honest with you I think the cost of renting versus using Uber might just have tied in this case.
Speaking of Uber rides, is it just me or did Uber slash their rates? I used to use Lyft a lot because it was cheaper but now I see Uber rates appear way more cheaper. Not complaining though!
I really liked Venice's vibe and had I known how cool it is, I would have probably chosen to stay there as opposed to Hollywood.
The sun was out and bright in Venice and Santa Monica so a sunscreen is advisable, I should have followed my own advise.
The soles of my feet are killing me! Isn't it funny how you can be on your feet the whole day then the moment you sit down for a while and then get up that's when fatigue hits you. When I got off my ride back to the hostel that's when I realized how much we had walked. I swear my feet were aching so bad as I ungraciously limped to my room. I need a good long foot massage.