I practically picked Venice Beach out of a hat when I was pondering where to stay in Southern California. On one hand, I wanted to visit part of my family and my friends in the Los Angeles area, but I had a great desire to be by the water and not have to drive a car for the first week of my trip. I asked a few people about the area, but most thought I should choose Santa Monica instead because for them Venice Beach was crazy and a bit weird. Fortunately, they were unable to persuade me to change my mind. I knew virtually nothing about Venice Beach and was eager to discover it for myself.