I live in Mar Vista, a city adjacent to Venice Beach. Mar Vista is a laid back and sleepy little town. That was what attracted me to it, it's like a town in the country except this is not the country, it's the westside. There's no fancy shops in Mar Vista so I'm in Venice beach and Santa Monica a lot. Venice, a cute seaside community, a place of contrast, a place full of tiny million dollar cottages and homeless shacks, cute antique shops and kitschy souvenir stalls. The regulars on the beach boardwalk are an odd bunch, welfare receiving 'poets' dot the boardwalk with their 'art' denouncing the government and anyone else in authority, muscular men training in an outdoor gym, they don't call it muscle beach for nothing. It is a fun place.
Further inland is Abbott Kinney street, a short stretch of thoroughfare where the fancy shops are, where the famous 'Bountiful' antique shop is. It's a great place to furnish your house if you are into the shabby chic style, which I am. The prices are way off my budget but it is nice just to go in and browse and come away with ideas. Ideas are free and affordable.
I love to walk and meander through the little streets of cute seaside cottages. Someone is always working on their cottage and sometimes I ask permission from the workmen to go in and look at the new stainless steel kitchen or the perfect white bathrooms they are putting in. It is also a place to dream in.