What better way to kick off the new year than a long run on the beach?
I mean - why not take advantage of the mild climate that is the envy of all Rose Parade viewers around the world?
That's exactly what we did.
The gorgeous beach, colorful characters and market stalls that line up along the Venice Boardwalk make a perfect backdrop for a run. There's always something slightly off beat going on to keep your mind pleasantly distracted. Plus, with all the pot smoking on the boardwalk, you get the additional perk of a contact high.
Our route starts in front of the Casa del Mar hotel and heads south, past the Venice boardwalk to the Venice Pier. Left on Washington and quick right on Ocean Front Walk. Go down past all the alphabet streets, with their sailing names (Fleet, Galleon, Hurricane, Ironsides, Jib, etc.) to the very end, which is the Marina del Rey channel. Pause to have picture taken to document to the non-believers that you actually got out of bed and exercised, and then turn around and head back to the Casa del Mar.
When you're done, there are many many places to stop and have brunch (without feeling like you have to change your clothes). One is the C&O Trattoria on Washington, which serves mimosas by the pitcher (ideal for sore joints). The Fig Tree Cafe right on the boardwalk, is another great place for brunch. We bypassed the always huge line at The Sidewalk Cafe and made a bee line for the bar, which always seems to have a couple of seats free, has a view of the boardwalk and full menu. Finish up the experience with a walk through the market stalls on the boardwalk, where you can have your chakras read, your nose pierced (I did) and pick up that all-important box of Nag Champa incense - my fave. A perfect way to start the new year, and a great run anytime!