Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a palm-lined street full of personality, with loads of unique boutiques selling locally-designed clothes, accessories, gifts, art and furniture.
Yesterday, I had a 15hr layover on my way to Mexico City, so I hired a car for the day to explore Los Angeles. My first stop was to this strip that I kept hearing so much about!
I was beyond impressed. The street was every bit of what I expected, plus so much more. If you love a touch of boho, then you will be in absolute heaven here. Forget corporate chain stores, this place is full of original style. My gypsy heart was in fashion paradise!
It’s not just shopping that Abbot Kinney is amazing for. Almost every corner is home to an organic cafe with scrumptious whole-food menus. While you enjoy your lunch, you’re bound to overhear conversations between budding actors going over their new scripts, or screenwriters discussing new projects. A waitress explained to me how the street is so full of “industry people”, that on nights like that of the Oscar’s, Abbot Kinney restaurants are bare. If you’re looking for a true taste of the Hollywood lifestyle, then this will give you a much more real, behind-the-scenes experience.
I had a delicious lunch at Feed Body & Soul, a sleek restaurant that claims to be “inspired by the belief that eating well can be a daily indulgence” (cheers to that). Their California-style menu offers the freshest, seasonal, sustainable & organic produce and proteins. I had a well-needed green smoothie after my long flight, and a grain and vegetable mixed bowl topped with seared tofu and a roasted pepper sauce. YUM!
The perfect spot for amazing, organic coffee is TOMS (they serve almond and hemp milk coffee – score!). They provide free wifi, so it’s full of artsy people churning away on their Macs. The cafe doubles as a shoe and eyewear store, and is a charitable hub for their beautiful One For One organisation which is all about giving shoes and sight to children in need, around the world. As you could imagine, the vibe here is magnetic. I didn’t want to leave!
The people around here adore their animals, so you’re bound to be greeted by a pet inside some of the stores. I met the wonderful Sunya Currie, who has travelled the far corners of the world in search for magical beads and semi-precious stones that form the exquisite handmade pieces in her collection. She was relaxing on this couch with her gorgeous rescue dog, Lhasu, who looked just like my Harry, which made me a little emotional being so far away from him. So, Sunya and I enjoyed a chat as I rubbed her little princesses belly.
Not only did my eyes and mouth get a feast along Abbot Kinney, but so did my neck and shoulders after an incredible massage by Som at Lamai Thai Massage Therapy. Oh wow… She walked all over my back and gave it every crack it needed after my 14hr flight. Every single touch she made was just perfect. I couldn’t recommend her more. I got a 30 minute massage for just $30… Worth every penny!
I didn’t get a chance to experience this place for myself because I was jumping on another flight to Mexico City, but I’m dying to try Lavish Tan, an organic product based on brown sugar, that originated here (and is now in Melbourne! whoohoo), and has been labeled by Allure Magazine as the “#1 Spray Tan in USA”. So if you’re in need of a little colour while in LA (and not just bronzing up, they also do teeth whitening), then this is your place to go.
In the end, I very surprisingly managed to control myself and not buy an entire new wardrobe. My idea of overpacking to prevent me from overspending has so far worked a treat. My favourite purchase is this quirky pair of earrings made out of banana skin ($15) from Bohemian Exchange, where the owner’s cat proudly lay on the table by the cash register, and where they have one of the most amazing dressing rooms I’ve ever seen.
If you find yourself with a spare few hours in LA, then I highly recommend escaping the airport and heading to Venice, just a 15 minute drive ($40-$50 in a taxi) from LAX.
It’s safe to say that no place along this strip likes to follow a crowd. If you love a little individuality, then you will adore your time spent on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.