We’ve been loving your submissions for our My City project – and we’re overwhelmed by how fantastic all of your picks are. We are trying to go through them as fast as we can – but we remind you that including photos and links (and a little bit about yourself) makes our lives a bit easier! That said, we’re learning more about some of our favorite cities that we could have ever imagined, and we’re looking forward to sharing as many as possible with you.
Today’s city comes to us via Ariela Anelli, of Venice Beach, California. She argues that there’s more than glitz and glamour to her town, and we think her picks demonstrate that extremely well.
Still haven’t sent in your own city suggestions? Easy enough. Just complete our list of fill-in-the-blank questions then copy and paste the list into an email, fill in your
answers (as many as you like), and send your responses to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org.
Venice Beach is My City
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is the small, privately owned French Market on Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach for a spinach quiche, with organic salad, french bread, and a cappuccino.
When I crave pizza I always go to Abbots Pizza, where I can get any kind of pizza I’d like, but I always get the salad pizza with Abbots special dressing.
For complete quiet, I can drive 15 minutes down the Pacific Coast Highway to Lake Shrine,
at Malibu’s Self Realization Fellowship Center. In the midst of the
L.A. craziness, I can sit by a lake and watch swans, turtles, and
birds, as well as people-watch, as they quietly move about the lake for
precisely the same reason I am there–to stop for just a moment and
If you come to my city, get your picture taken with someone on Venice Beach Boardwalk
who strikes you as “unusual”: a man dressed as a tree who is 15 feet
tall, or a man wearing a turban who roller-skates while playing his
mandolin (he is famous in Venice for this), or a man painted in silver
who is as still as a statue. The choices are endless.
If you have to order one thing off the menu from La Cabana Mexican Restaurant it has to be the chicken tacos. I’ve never experienced such heaven in my mouth.
One Life on Main Street is my one-stop shop for great healthy organic foods, produce, smoothies, and juices.
Locals know to skip Lincoln Blvd. and check out back roads instead to avoid unwanted traffic.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped I ride my bike instead of drive.
For a huge splurge I go to Burke Williams for a massage and facial.
Photo ops in my city include Venice Beach, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the best vantage points are nearly anywhere you are standing.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be Marisa Tomei. Pretty, unique, quirky, vulnerable, and not from around here.
The most random thing about my city is that you can be eating breakfast with a friend and then Arnold Schwarzenegger will take the table beside you, and this would seem somewhat normal.
My city has the most 30 – 45 year old single men.
My city has the most colorfully & artistically-inclined hair stylists who are women.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves a bike ride to the beach followed by a game of beach volleyball with some friends, followed up by a large beer and large pretzel at On the Waterfront Cafe on the Venice Board Walk.
My city’s best museum is The Getty–the view alone is breathtaking.
My favorite jogging/walking route is the bike path from Marina del Rey to the Santa Monica Pier along the ocean.
For live music, check out The Brigg on Tuesday nights when a live group of musicians, brass and instrumental, gather together and jam for a night of jazz/funk.
is the spot for late-night eats. They stay open till 3 a.m. and have
the best homemade corn tortillas, which you can see being made by a
“senorita” standing over a brick fire place.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read LA Weekly.
can tell a lot about my city from how people wear sandals in
conjunction with scarves and a puffy coat, or UGG boots with a skirt.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they know where the large 30 foot ballerina clown attached to a building is.
In the spring you should partake in the Urban Iditarod if you are a college student or like to party.
the summer you should take advantage of the free Twilight Series
concerts at the Pier in Santa Monica. Hundreds of people gather
together and either stand on the pier, or sit with their toes in the
sand as they picnic and enjoy the music.
In the fall you should go to the Halloween Parade on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood.
In the winter you should be thankful it’s still 70 outside.
A hidden gem in my city is the raw food market which is in a hidden parking lot off Rose Ave. every Wednesday and Saturday.
For a great breakfast joint try The Rose Cafe.
Don’t miss the annual Festival of the Chariots in August.
Just outside my city, you can visit wine country in Santa Barbara.
The best way to see my city is by bicycle or car.
If my city were a pet it would be a dog, no doubt. A golden retriever.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live the countryside of England in a small cottage.
The best book about my city is Venice, CA: Art and Architecture in A Maverick Community, by Michael Webb and Juergen Nogai
When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is Hotel California by The Eagles.
have kids, you won’t want to miss the Farmer’s Market in neighboring Santa Monica, where there is unlimited tasty food such as
omelets, sausages, and crepes. And for children there are pony rides, as well as live music for all ages.
My city should be featured on
your cover or wesite because Los Angeles isn’t only about glitz,
glamour, and the Hollywood lifestyle. The west side of Los Angeles is
also a very different scene, one that is about 500 people having a
glass of wine on the beach as the sun goes down as music plays from
the pier, while candles and tiki torches surround you. It’s about
lower, middle, and upper-class people living next door to one another
who all share a similar appreciation for art, good weather, and the
Thanks to Ariela for sharing her picks. Share your own by getting our fill-in-the-blank list and emailing it to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org!
Photos: Ariela Anelli