Venice Beach, Santa Monica + Downtown LA





After 2 straight days at Disneyland, we took a much needed break and hit up some “trendy” parts of LA.  The problem with driving in LA is that you don’t get to see a whole lot of it.  You basically drive from freeway to freeway to freeway.  After experiencing this, I have a new found understanding of the skit “The Californians” that aired on SNL the last 2 seasons.  
We decided to head to Venice.  We stopped off at Abbey Kinney which is a super trendy shopping area.  It was full of all things hipsters and I LOVED it!!!  This street is home to the first ever flagship store of TOMS.  It is all made from reclaimed wood and was the neatest, coolest store I have ever been in.  They sell shoes and sunglasses and a few tops.  They also have a little cafe and an open concept in the back that opens into a green space and you can sit there and drink coffee and bring your dog.  I bought the most fabulous pair of camo toms.  I then went into a store called Heavenly Couture where every single thing in the store is $16.  I bought a few items.  I wish that store existed here!!  
After the shopping, we headed over to Venice Beach to have some fun in the sun and sand.  It was definitely an interesting place.  It was home to some of the most beautiful homes I have ever seen yet it smelled heavily like urine almost everywhere. 
This was the largest beach I have EVER seen!!  You literally had to walk miles from the sidewalk to get to the water.  I was exhausted after walking in all of this sand!!
A skate board park in the middle of the road near the beach
Lots of little shops line Venice Beach.  Lots of junk but thankfully they had towels since I forgot ours in Calgary!
We spent the rest of the morning here and then  headed to the Barnyard for lunch.  It was a crazy cool restaurant that I know many of my friends would enjoy if it were here in Calgary.  I had my second best meal here of the entire trip.  It was fabulous.  Check it out if you are ever in the area.
After lunch we headed to Santa Monica where we stopped at Kitson.  This is a very cool, trendy but very expensive store.  I bought 2 shirts and some EOS lipgloss.  I wanted to buy Finley a matching shirt to one of mine but I couldn’t bring myself to buy her a $68 shirt.  Call me crazy…hahah
We actually got to drive part of the Route 66 when driving to LA from Arizona.  It was kinda cool to get to the absolute end of it.  Now if only one day we get to the beginning of it in Chicago.
It was a very beautiful area and no urine smell!!!!  Bonus!
Watching the birds swoop into the water and grab fish for lunch.  Finley was enthralled by this and it was almost impossible to get her to leave.
The famous ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier.  We didn’t go to the rides since we had just done 2 days at Disney and still had one more to go.
We then headed further into downtown LA to go to the MOCA. When we got there we found out it was free after 5pm so we spent a little bit exploring the area before going in.  This saved us $25!!
The musuem was a little disappointing.  We love museums and try to go to any that we come across in our travels.  Only one side was open as they were taking down an exhibit.  While there were some cool pieces it was underwhelming.  Good thing we got in for free!!
The Disney Concert Hall – super cool building.  All the trucks were there for a food and wine show.  As we were leaving there were lots of cameras and a red carpet and people standing around waiting.  I googled it when we got back to the hotel and Gordon Ramsay wasn’t there so I am sure I didn’t miss much ;)
We had supper at a fire hall turned into a restaurant Engine 8 or something like that.  It was really good. As we were leaving I noticed the sign on the door beside it.  I wondered to myself if this was the lawyer made famous by the OJ Simpson trial many years ago.  Greg was certain it was.  I haven’t googled to find out either way!
I actually had no idea that this even existed.  I knew there was the one in Edmonton that I have seen numerous times but not this.  THere were some other statues too that I am assuming were basketball players.

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