By Alec Zbornak
As the gondola calmly makes its way across the serene waterway, ripples rhythmically fill the space. The cloudless sky is the same crystal blue tint as the water below, and the sun warms the summer air.
Despite popular belief, one does not need to travel to Venice, Italy, to experience this gorgeous site, for Venice, California, hosts a similar attraction. Twisting through the beautiful cityscape, these winding waterways are known as the Venice Canals.
Modeled after the original Italian landmark, California’s rendition makes for an amazing place to spend an afternoon. Visitors flock to gaze at the stunning rivers, located on Canal Street, walking distance from Venice Beach.
Lining the canal walkways is a landscape of lush vegetation and tall palm trees that sway in the coastal breeze. White picket bridges arch over the canal, connecting the adjacent paths and creating a picturesque backdrop perfect for photos.
Encapsulating the scenery is a community of architecturally unique and impressive houses, each one a different style. From English cottages to Spanish style homes to modernistic mansions, the diversity of the waterfront community makes for an intriguing and visually stimulating walk that will leave you feeling as if you’ve traveled around the world.
Though swimming in the canals is banned, non-motorized boating is acceptable; in fact, many houses along the waterways have their own boats attached to miniature docks.
Feeling hungry after your leisurely stroll down the breathtaking canals? Then you’re in luck. The surrounding community includes various delicious eateries and cafes, including James’ Beach and the Canal Club.
If you’re one to enjoy a dinner and a view, I recommend trying the Siamese Garden Thai restaurant, which rests right on the canal, making for a one-of-a-kind eating experience.
If, after all of this, you are still craving some aquatic fun, you can walk over to Venice Beach within minutes and enjoy the warm sand, crashing waves and beautiful sunset.