Silicon Beach / Venice Beach
Venice and Playa Vista make up Silicon Beach, the Westside region of the Los Angeles metropolitan area that is home to over 500 tech startup companies. Major technology companies have opened offices in the region including Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, BuzzFeed, AOL, EdgeCast Networks, and MySpace. The region is considered the second- or third-largest tech hub in the world, according to various reports. This has had major impacts on the type and availability of office space and on home prices in Santa Monica, Venice, Playa Vista, and Westchester as these areas have become more desirable due to this influx. The effects are also spilling over into Marina del Rey which is attracting tech firms.
Silicon Beach is also home to a number of start-up incubators and accelerators, such as Launchpad LA, Amplify.LA, Science, and StartEngine. Several world-class universities, such as Caltech, University of Southern California (USC), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Claremont Consortium institutions (Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer College), several campuses of the California State University (including Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge (CSUN), and Fullerton), Pepperdine University, Azusa Pacific University, and Loyola Marymount University are situated within the region. RAND Corporation too is a long-standing member of this intellectual community. In the first six months of 2013, start-ups in Silicon Beach raised over $500 million in funding, and there were 94 new start-ups and nine acquisitions.
Venice Beach, which receives millions of visitors a year, has been labeled as “a cultural hub known for its eccentricities” as well as a “global tourist destination.” It’s led many lives, from turn-of-the-century resort, Beat artist colony, hippie paradise and tech hub. It includes the promenade that runs parallel to the beach (also the “Ocean Front Walk” or just “the boardwalk”), Muscle Beach, the handball courts, the paddle tennis courts, Skate Dancing plaza, the numerous beach volleyball courts, the bike trail and the businesses on Ocean Front Walk. The basketball courts in Venice are renowned across the country for their high level of streetball; numerous professional basketball players developed their games or have been recruited on these courts. Today, it’s one of the hottest “new” residential communities in LA. Venice historian Dr. Arnold Springer called it “one of the most unique, exciting and stubborn communities” in LA.
The Neighborhoods of Venice
A string of stunning beachfront properties line the south end of Ocean Front Walk, steps from the sand and just down the way from the Boardwalk. On the charming, short streets behind them are some of Venice’s first early 1900s homes, ranging from fully restored to ready for a renaissance.
While many of the original Venice canals were filled in, a group of six “Short Canals” escaped. Restored in 1993, they’re fronted by homes ranging from turn of the century cottages to large multistory contemporary houses. The canals are the site of Venice’s annual Holiday Boat Parade.
This area, two blocks from the beach north of Venice Boulevard, was once the site of the original Venice of America center and a network of (later filled) canals. Home to many arts and entertainment industry types, it’s been called the “East Village” of Venice, with ‘20s and contemporary homes.
Bounded by California Avenue and Abbot Kinney, Lincoln and Venice Boulevards, this lovely area contains ten blocks of walking streets combined with “drive streets.” It’s the garden district of Venice, where lush landscaping perfectly sets off the charming ‘20s bungalows.
Located just east of the Canals and north of Washington Boulevard, this area was largely developed after WWII. These original late ‘40s-early ‘50s houses share the neighborhood with many newer contemporary and architectural homes.
Set east of Abbot Kinney between Washington and Venice Boulevards, this neighborhood’s southern streets are named after US Presidents. It consists largely of postwar bungalows plus a few stately early 1900s homes. Some studio conversions are appearing near the southern corner.
The most diverse neighborhood in Venice, combining early 1900’s bungalows with ‘60s-‘70s apartments. A number of architectural homes, condos and artist’s studios have recently appeared. Its commercial strip is now home to many tech, design and entertainment firms, including Google.
North of Rose
Rose Avenue is fast becoming Venice’s hot new shopping and dining destination. Homes in the adjoining block-wide strip on the Santa Monica border range from late ‘20s Spanish cottages to postwar duplexes.
East of Lincoln
Stretching from Lincoln Boulevard to Walgrove Avenue, this residential area includes homes dating from the ‘20s to the ‘50s, with a recent rise in new construction. The neighborhood is home to Penmar Park and Golf Course, with tennis, ball fields and a community center.
Find Your Way Around Silicon Beach / Venice Beach