The wildest west meets the Pacific Coast in the wondrous town of Venice Beach. Long touted as the land of outcasts, artists and tattooed free spirits, this legendary town is undergoing a renaissance. Tech tycoons, surfers, celebrities and tourists meet on its streets, everyone looking for the next culinary experience, holistic juice haven, real estate steal and barrel wave. A perfect day in Venice seems easy to find. Rise early as the locals do, jump on your bike and peddle to the beach for sun salutations, join a free Tai Chi class or hit up the Bikram studio for a sweat session.

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EAT: Juice shops are a plenty in Venice Beach and my two favorites are Kreation on Abbey Kinney and Moon juice on Rose Ave. Décor inspired by a herb shed with sprouted greens and faux grass, Kreation offers a healthy dining experience and juices & elixirs that promise to cure an array of ailments. Moon juice is a Venice staple and has a cult following that dream about their offerings such as the spirit elixir, turmeric cayenne shots & almond milk with strawberry and colloidal silver. Arguably one of Venice’s culinary giants is Gjelina’s on Abbey Kinney, which is an advocate for fresh ingredients & jolly green vegetables. The menu changes daily but always features fantastic greens, vegetables, light pizzas and an array of worthy dishes. A dinner reservation can be tricky so instead opt for lunch in the courtyard. Indulge with a glass of Sancerre, grilled fava bean & mint salad, & finish off with a butterscotch pot for a decent dessert. Feed is another spot worth mentioning for a late night bite.  Enjoy Gjusta bakery for a casual coffee and a smoked fish sandwich with glorious greens. Superba Snack Bar dishes up the best brunch with the Short Rib Eggs Benedict with Avocado Hollandaise.   Off the beaten path is Another Kind of Sunrise.  This hideaway serves the best Paleo Granola Acai Bowls along with Bulletproof Brew made from ghee & coconut oil. Guess the golden rules of the Venice culinary scene are; Never create a meal in Venice that isn’t a conversation starter and all things green are cherished. PLAY: Venice embraces its electric culture with t-shirts that read, keep Venice weird. An afternoon stroll in Venice can entice one to buy street art and photograph the famous graffiti walls that color the city.  You can always find a vintage shop to stop in as well to see yesteryears relics. Venice Vintage Paradise is a well-curated collection of interesting odds & ends at reasonable prices. An impressive collection of globes, leather goods, colorful Mayan inspired prints and retro furniture will keep you browsing for hours. DNA boutique has been voted the best retail outlet by Los Angeles Magazine and it’s easy to see why. It houses an ecletic mix of cheerful clothes and accessories and is the spot to pick up a statement piece at a great price. Pop into Mystic Journey Bookstore to meet a spiritual healer for a numerology reading or pen your mantra with a henna tattoo. Stroll down to the beach to watch the drum circle, A venice tradition. Old, young and people of all sorts unite and sway to the rhymth of the drum with no judgement. Something you have to experience to believe! Anything goes in this city of free spirited souls.  

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STAY: While Venice lacks hotels it makes up for it with a collection of interesting & unique Airbnb options. Generally a friendly and accepting city, home sharing options fit into the inviting spirit of Venice. An invitation to try your hand at surfing or join a backyard bbq, the airbnb model is a good fit for this vibrant & colorful coastal town. If you desire your own space, vacation rentals are available at VRBO and more traditional hotels such as the Huntley hotel in Santa Monica is a nearby option.   A few days in Venice can lift the spirit, awaken your inner weirdness & expand your context of what a visit to Los Angeles could mean. From the weird and the wacky to the totally abstract, turn your face to the sun, nod your head in greeting & sway to the magical melody of Venice Beach.   Happy Travels! For more hospitality & travel tales & tips be sure to follow Cecile on Twitter @CecileRaubs and Facebook and Instagram and Google+