Gone are the days when Los Angeles’ only exports were dazzling Hollywood pictures or sun-soaked tourist spots. The tech boom has moved swiftly through town, putting a stake in the ground (or sand) as the new Silicon Valley by fostering innovation and acting as a benefactor to a new vibrancy on the coast.
Silicon Beach distinguishes itself right off the boardwalk: Snapchat offices border Ocean Front Walk in Venice, giving employees a chance to dip their toes in the Pacific Ocean on a lunch break. Over 500 tech companies like Google, SpaceX, Tinder, GoFundMe, Riot Games, Netflix, Hulu, and Facebook have fueled a massive swell of prosperity: Silicon beach leads the latest surge in home growth in Los Angeles.
The tech scene has brought a renaissance to the city, infusing it with smarts, friendliness and variety. We took a closer look at some of the fixtures that make this burgeoning enclave the best place to not only work hard, but play hard.
Bohemian, laid back vibes transition like the nearby waves as the tech boom introduces innovation and creativity to the city. Due to this shift, those who call the West Side home are lucky to indulge in a new array of alluring beach activities and hot spots.
A Hidden Gem
While LA might have a reputation for lacking erudition, Small World Books has stood out for over 42 years as the brains and heart behind the city. The book shop has served the beach with a varied selection, including LA writers, poetry, and a deluge of material for researching screenwriters. For those wanting in on the Venice action, its Sidewalk Café Bar is ideal for people watching, live music, and a mellow dinner by the ocean.
Stroll or Bike
The charms of working within Silicon Beach are evident through its multitude of hidden gems and ability to get around without a vehicle. Even locals love to stroll the boardwalk (and check out the infamous Muscle Beach), or opt for a guided tour with Mojo Maps Expedition Co or Vintage Reel to Reel Tours.
Venice was founded in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney as a beachfront resort town, and his name remains dominant on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, an iconic street that delights fans of eclectic boutiques like Bazar and curated gems from the Tortoise General Store.
The famous Canal Historic district (a canal system also designed by the famed Abbot Kinney), is an ode to the city in Italy by the same name, brimming with charming homes, bridges and kayaks.
Those who want to feel the breeze in their hair can hop along with Legends Historic Bike Tours, or tour solo and rent through Ride! Venice or Jay’s Rentals. The stunning murals along the beachfront are a must-see, and those up for a longer ride can venture through the 8.5 Mile Bike Path from the Santa Monica Pier down to Venice.
Sand and Surf
No guide to Silicon Beach could be complete without spending some time in the water learning the state sport of surfing or cruising along on a paddleboard. Surfing can be maddeningly difficult but infinitely more fun with caring, knowledgeable instruction, and the Aloha Brothers, Go Surf LA, and South Cal Surf fit the bill.
For those wanting activities with unrivaled views, pool, yoga, beach volleyball and more, the iconic Annenberg Community Beach House, once a part of a Hearst estate, sits right on the beach. This spot is proudly invested in its community, so no membership required.
Taking a Time Out
Located within the elegant Shutters on the Beach on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, ONE the Spa is a cozy, nautical-inspired (think portholes in the treatment rooms and a shell-adorned quiet room) 7,000-square-foot beachfront oasis in the heart of sunny Santa Monica. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #shuttersonthebeach #shuttersonthebeachhotel #santamonica @visitcalifornia @visitsantamonica #visitsantamonica #santamonicabeach #usatravel #destinationspa #spasofamerica #spamarketing #discoveramerica #california
Sometimes a long week at the office requires some time to unwind, even if that office is just off the sand. The perfect getaways to melt away unwanted stress lie right off the beach at the Spa Le Merigot or One Spa, each offering customized treatments and luxurious ambiance.
The beach is dotted with spots sure to please any appetite, from fresh seafood to the perfect cup of joe. Surfers, yogis and tech entrepreneurs can be seen relishing the distinct and appetizing cuisine at the various dining musts in this eclectic guide.
While the thought of beachy Santa Monica fills the mind with fish tacos and hot dogs, this upscale and elegant French restaurant certainly bucks the trend. The cozy French eatery, led by chef Josiah Citrin (also of Charcoal Venice fame), entices discerning diners who are willing to splurge, and frankly, experience culinary magic. Wine snobs take note: this decadent menu is accompanied by an exceptional wine list sure to please any palette at 60 pages long.
In a city drenched in kale chips and green juices, Felix Trattoria manages to make carbs acceptable. Widely known as the “best pasta in LA,” chef Evan Funke takes over Abbot Kinney to provide fresh gnocchi, rigatoni, pappardelle, and more within a friendly trattoria. Guests are assured of the fresh food preparation with an ability to view the pasta-making process—sometimes even more buzzed about among locals than the delicious cuisine.
This all-day café is a great find for those wanting to immerse themselves in the bohemian vibes of Venice. For almost 40 years, this neighborhood staple and its Farmer’s Market feasts, iconic bakery, and outdoor spaces lend a perfect backdrop for soft ocean breezes and endless sunshine. Be sure to make a reservation to enjoy the patio. For those open to festive gatherings and meeting new friends, communal tables have their own free-spirited charm.
Coffee and Cocktails
The West Side boasts infinite options for fantastic cuisine, but a simple early morning mocha or after-work spritz defines the Silicon Beach culture.
Locals maintain that a stop at Schulzie’s, serving a memorable bread pudding (108 flavors) with Blue Bottle Coffee, is perfect after a beach workout or surf session. Menotti’s Coffee Stop is also a favorite, preserving the Venice old-school vibe and serving up vegan and organic options alongside sweet baked treats.
Natives cap off a day of hard work with a stop at Firestone Walker Brewing Company, or Santa Monica Brew Works for a taste of beach-inspired brews. Those looking for fashionable ambiance grab drinks at the Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop Lounge, where sundown is a daily celebration.
Silicon Beach is optimal for those looking for a more relaxed, picturesque home close to the beach but not far from the mountains. While some opt for a quick commute from Venice or Santa Monica, some homebuyers are hopping in their Teslas to settle down in nearby Brentwood, Beverly Hills or Bel Air. We listed some charming properties below for those up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Beverly Hills, California
6 Bedrooms | 4 Bathrooms
Tucked behind private gates sits this dramatic Spanish exuding with lush landscaping and tranquil fountains. Expansive entertaining spaces, gourmet kitchen, spacious butler’s pantry and separate breakfast room. Bedrooms consist of staff quarters, two secondary bedroom suites with balconies, and a grand master suite. The property is complete with a wine cellar and tasting room, meditation bungalow and a separate guest suite.
6 Bedrooms | 6 Bathrooms, 2 Half Bathrooms
Privately set off Stone Canyon Rd, luxury exists amid open sunny skies, lush gardens and a splendid resort Pool. Dramatic Entry features a sky-ceiling & staircase, and the dining room opens to huge garden Courtyard with mature shade trees, dining terrace & fireplace hearth. Luxe highlights include: Movie Theatre, Wine Bar Lounge, Guest House and unforgettable outdoor settings.
5 Bedrooms | 5 Bathrooms
Brand new modern-architectural property designed by Mario Romano with ultra-modern finishes in a prime location. Creative space with an open floor plan and plenty of space for entertaining with outdoor theatre, fireplace, pool & spa in the backyard. Seamless finishes throughout and custom design create a pristine trophy property.
4 Bedrooms | 3 Bathrooms
This sophisticated residence on Venice Walk street features rooftop deck with 360~ views. The sun-drenched first level has an open floor plan, with the kitchen, dining, and living areas illuminated by a wall of sliding glass pocket doors. Exceptional finishes, such as honed statuary marble island, white oak and walnut cabinetry throughout, white oak floors, Italian plumbing fixtures, fire pit, bubbling fountain, and high-end appliances.
Santa Monica, California
3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
This happy home introduces the indoor/outdoor living with a pergola covered courtyard leading to the cantina doors opening to the home. Stunning kitchen with custom features. The 3rd bedroom has been customized with 3 fully retractable obscure glass inset wood doors to provide privacy when used as a bedroom (en suite), or open up entirely to create additional living space. Magical rear gardens with custom lighting, outdoor private dining areas, a 5-seat jacuzzi, and fire pit.