Obscura Society LA: A Touch of Vintage Venice - Atlas Obscura
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Venice, California

Obscura Society LA: A Touch of Vintage Venice

Come spend the day with Charlie Chaplin, Jim Morrison, Abbot Kinney, and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the "Coney Island of the Pacific"

109 years ago, Venice, or as it was known in the early 20th century "Venice of America," was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbott Kinney as a seaside resort town on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean.

While the city has gone through many changes over the last century, it's remained one thing: A uniquely Californian town with movie star glamour and a seedy bootlegging underbelly where poets listen to the waves while watching Muscle Beach bodybuilders dead lift three times their weight.  

Join Obscura Society LA & Vintage Venice Reel to Reel Tours as we walk through this beautiful beachside city and learn about the past, present, and future of Venice. You'll spend the day with Charlie Chaplin, Jim Morrison and Arnold Schwarzenegger, not to mention Jonathan Kaplan, our tour guide. Besides being a 19-year Venice resident and historian, he's also created, led, and consulted on tours for the LA Conservancy & LA Historic Theatre Foundation. 

Our walking tour will cover long-forgotten roller coasters, Jim Morrison's summer of '65,  since-demolished piers & bathhouses, the "Slum by the Sea" years, Abbot Kinney's vision, Charlie Chaplin's mustache, Graffiti Pit, Muscle Beach, and much more.

Named Los Angeles Magazine's "Best Walking Tour of 2012",  the tour will show all of Venice today and everything that was there before. 

Notes for this adventure:

- We begin and end in front of the historic (and closed) Venice Post Office on the Traffic Circle at the intersection of Main Street and Windward Avenue. The address isn’t visible, but it’s the only building on the Circle under construction.

- You may be able find free all-day street parking on the sidestreets leading from the Traffic Circle (Venice Way, Grand, Windward, Market) If not, there’s a pay lot across the Circle and two more a block away at the corner of Venice Way and Pacific.

- Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and sun protection, and feel free to bring a light snack and a drink.

- Please be aware that there are no toilets at the beginning of the tour, and the first one is about an hour into it.