My Neighborhood: Venice Beach, California

SoCal native Beth Karlin considers Venice Beach “a paradise” for those who love being outdoors. She should know since she’s one of them. Karlin, a research psychologist, is the founder of See Change Institute, a locally based behavioral science research consultancy that focuses on environmental and social justice programs. “We work with government, foundations, and nonprofits to engage people to do good in the world,” she explains. Karlin can think of nowhere better to do all that good than California’s famously bohemian beachfront city. “Wander around, keep your phone in your pocket and your eyes open, and you will find things that are beautiful,” she advises.

—by Lisa Rosen


Karlin has been visiting Flake (513 Rose Ave.,310.396.2333) for breakfast since opening day. “They’re the Cheers of breakfast spots. You walk in and it has this really neighborly vibe. I usually get an acai bowl because it’s a legitimate way of eating ice cream for breakfast.”


Venice Beach Boardwalk

Karlin grew up in Southern California and has been visiting the Venice Boardwalk since high school. “I thought after living there 14 years I would get bored, but I haven’t yet. Walking down the boardwalk, taking in the sights and the vendors, seeing tourists intermingling with natives, hearing the vibrancy of the conversations, the street buskers and the performers—I truly love it.”


Hotel Erwin

“Gjusta (320 Sunset Ave., 310.314.032 0) is a wonderland of food, with a gorgeous mismatched outdoor dining area. They have at least four different pizzas every day, a smoked fish bar with three different types of lox, bialys—which are impossible to find outside of New York—and one of the best falafels in L.A.” Pro tip: “When you walk in, grab a number. “Another one of my favorite places is Chulita (533 Rose Ave., 424.252.9886). They have an amazing mescal bar and great seasonal cocktails. It’s got a friendly atmosphere and is well decorated. The sweet potato taquitos are amazing. They also make their own homemade corn tortillas and cassava flour tortillas, which are out of this world. “Just before sunset, go to the rooftop of the Hotel Erwin (1697 Pacific Ave., 310.452.1111) for an amazing view and a cocktail” while you watch the sun sink into the ocean. “If it’s a cold evening, they have blankets you can put on your lap.”



Aviator Nation

“Abbott Kinney Boulevard is the perfect place to window shop. Aviator Nation (1224 Abbot Kinney Blvd., 310.396.910 0) has retro clothing, with ’80s-inspired sweatshirts, T-shirts, and jogging pants. I also love Mystic Journey Bookstore (1624 Abbot Kinney Blvd., 310.399.7070), a combination bookstore and mystical gift shop.”

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