Abbot Kinney, who founded Venice in the early 1900s, would probably be delighted to find that one of Venice’s best-loved streets bears his name. Sort of a seaside Melrose with a Venetian flavor, the mile-long stretch of Abbot Kinney Blvd between Venice Blvd and Main St is full of upscale boutiques, galleries, lofts, and sensational restaurants. Some years back, GQ named it America’s coolest street, and that cachet has only grown since.
We have to admit, we’re a bit conflicted about the success. Rising rents have forced out some long-standing establishments, so although shops like Aviator Nation, Mystic Journey, Salt, and Waraku keep the old Venice vibe alive, their neighbors now include national and international brands like Toms, John Fluevog, Shinola Detroit, and Adidas. And if restaurant quality has skyrocketed thanks to places like Gjelina, the Tasting Kitchen, MTN, Plant Food + Wine, and Salt & Straw, so have prices.
In late September, the Abbot Kinney Festival draws tens of thousands of revelers, and the monthly First Friday street fair bills itself as LA’s premier food-truck gathering, with street foods up and down the boulevard.