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Venice Beach - The Lizard King returns!

What a history; hippy locale of the 60s, junkie-central in the 70s, gun crime in the 80s, and the arrival of the crackheads in the 90s. This is the tour operators' paradise that was Venice Beach, but things are changing down Jim Morrison’s old hangout.

While it certainly isn't St Tropez, 21st-century Venice, or 'Dogtown' as it is also known, has been transformed into a beautiful, eclectic area of the city that, like the East Village in Manhattan, or London's Notting Hill, has taken its quirky, murky past and reinvented it without denying its roots.

As you sip your morning coffee at the airy French Market, the waiter will talk to you, and be actually interested in what you’ve got to say, even though he knows you’re not going to leave him a $20 tip or take him to Hollywood with you.

By day, it’s lolling around the canals and beaches, then, once the eternal California sun descends, it’s on to Abbot Kinney Boulevard for drinks – steer clear of the Intelligentsia Café though, there is no pot of tea worth the $25 they charge!

To soak up the sunset hued cocktails there’s more food styles than New York; Gjelina's Italian joint, Lilly’s for a touch of delicate French cuisine or Abbot’s pizza for, well a $2 slice of the finest.

And if you need to know anymore, check out the excellent movie ‘Dogtown and the Z Boys’ and then head down to Venice skate park, veniceskatepark.

Venice Beach House is a beautifully renovated beach house built in 1911, which offers upmarket bed and breakfast on the beach. venicebeachhouse.

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