A (Very Cool) Local’s Guide to Venice Beach
Before they'd ever been to California, Jennie Engelhardt and Emily Harrison had a clichéd picture in their minds of Venice Beach’s famously circus-worthy boardwalk (Exhibit A: Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion; Exhibit B: that Gilmore Girls episode when Jess finds his dad.). But once the accessory-designing duo actually moved to the L.A. ‘hood, those stereotypes slipped away, revealing a place with a burgeoning creative scene. "The mix of fashion and anti-fashion—and artists and professionals—was something I didn’t realize existed in," Jennie explains. Below, Jennie shares their five favorite neighborhood hangs (and yes, they’re already working on their rollerblading skills to get between them).
"Blue Star is hands down my favorite place to grab a quick breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Their donuts are the perfect balance of fluffy and chewy with amazing glaze combos like blueberry bourbon basil (plus who doesn’t love alliteration?) and my go-to, rose rosé hibiscus."
"This is where I ate brunch after signing my lease and committing to becoming an Angeleno. Maybe it’s because it shares a first name with one of my most-missed neighborhood spots on the Lower East Side, maybe it’s because they sell small items like the amazing Blackwing pencils, or maybe it’s because the food is just plain good—whatever the reason, I keep coming back."
"For those of us who haven’t even attempted to become a surfer, Poke-Poke makes it easy to at least eat like one. The long lines don’t lie: They have the freshest fish on the boardwalk and the best toppings. Pro tip: If you call in your order and pay over the phone, you don’t have to wait in line."
"If you want to act like a true California Venetian, you have to talk about how you’re sooo, like, over Abbot Kinney. Except for Salt, that is. This tiny boutique houses the best curation of clothing, jewelry, and housewares from designers you won’t find elsewhere. It’s a one-stop shop to simultaneously experience California style and sophistication."
"Duh, I know. But having always lived in places with intense winters, the beach is one of my favorite parts about living in Venice. I love rollerblading (yes, I admit it) up to the Santa Monica Pier and back in the mornings, playing volleyball with friends on the weekends, and having picnic dinners while watching the sun set in the evenings. What drew me here in general is the mix of all different types of people coming together and sharing the same space—and the people-watching is especially incredible at the boardwalk."