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Things to do in Ventura

Things to do in  Ventura

Welcome to Ventura

A quaint beach destination with small town feels and plenty of old-school charm, Ventura is nestled along the Central Coast of California, just two hours from Los Angeles. Known as the “city of good fortune,” Ventura offers a variety of cafés, vintage stores, and boutiques—not to mention beach views and plenty of things to do. Unravel the town’s early beginnings by exploring Mission San Buenaventura, marvel over thousands of plants at the Ventura Botanical Gardens, or ride the ferry to the nearby Channel Islands National Park for a whole day of ocean activities.

Top 3 attractions in Ventura

Ventura Botanical Gardens

Ventura Botanical Gardens

Home to more than 30,000 plants and many endangered species, the Ventura Botanical Gardens is divided by the world's five Mediterranean climate zones—Chile, the Cape of South Africa, Southern Australia, the Mediterranean Basin, and California. Lace up and embark on the 2-mile trail that weaves through 107-acres of regional plants.More
Ventura Pier and Promenade

Ventura Pier and Promenade

Surrounded by miles of scenic California coastline, the historic Ventura Pier and Promenade are long-time favorites of this lively beach town. Whether it's munching on a fish taco while strolling the rustic boardwalk, biking along the coastal promenade, or shopping downtown Ventura boutiques, there are many ways to enjoy the area.More
Serra Cross Park

Serra Cross Park

Legend says that the original cross at Serra Cross Park was mounted in 1782 by Spanish missionary Father Junipero Serra as an homage to Mission Basilica San Buenaventura. The original cross is gone, but the park is still considered a holy site. It's also perfect for watching sunsets, gathering with family and pets, and hosting a picnic.More

Top activities in Ventura

All about Ventura

When to visit

Since Ventura is located by the beach, locals and visitors alike look forward to the warmer months of summer to enjoy outdoor activities and casual strolls in sandals and shorts. Summer also sees the majority of Ventura’s most popular events take place, such as the Ventura Music Festival, the Tequila and Taco Music Festival, and the Ventura County Fair.

Getting around

To explore destinations farther away from the city, consider taking the train (Amtrak). Alternatively, if you'd rather view local spots right in town, relying on rideshare apps or renting a car are your best options. Opted for the latter? Always be on the lookout for free parking structures (a commonality in this city). And don’t forget to see if your hotel offers a shuttle service to or from the airport.

Traveler tips

If you’re looking for some quick grab-and-go dining options, consider Angie’s Deli & Mexican Food for hearty breakfast burritos; Peirano’s for Italian-inspired side dishes; and Harbor Mart for the best sandwiches—the Hot Pastrami is a must-try. Alternatively, for dinner and a show, head over to The Six Chow House in Downtown Ventura, a local favorite that offers great food and drinks with country-inspired ambience and live music on the weekends.

A local’s pocket guide to Ventura

Andrea Manokian

A true California citizen who's lived in Ventura for years, Andrea is a writer who understands the local ins and outs of this coastal city.

The first thing you should do in Ventura is...

head over to Ventura Harbor Village for some fun tastings and to see hundreds of boats.

A perfect Saturday in Ventura...

starts with the Downtown Ventura Certified Farmers Market (every Saturday, rain or shine); involves a hearty breakfast at Pete's Breakfast House (a local favorite); and finishes with a bike ride along Ventura State Beach.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

ocean cave kayaking around the Channel Islands. Getting up close and personal with ocean caves is worth the trip.

To discover the "real" Ventura...

explore the Taco District and murals along Ventura Ave. for a lively Mexican experience.

For the best view of the city...

complete the Serra Cross Park hike and see all of Ventura from on high.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking Ventura is a sleepy beach town. There are plenty of ocean activities, restaurants, breweries, and historic destinations to keep you engaged.

People Also Ask

How do I spend a day in Ventura?

The beach town of Ventura is on the Southern California coast between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The beach—where you can fish, swim, paddle, and surf—is a big draw. When downtown, visit lively restaurants, artsy boutiques, and vintage shops. Don't miss Mission San Buenaventura, founded in the late 1700s.

What is Ventura known for?

This small beach town in Southern California, surrounded by agricultural farmland, is known for its beautiful Pacific shoreline. With a local population of farmers and surfers, some consider Ventura to be where cowboy meets the coast. Top attractions include the Ventura Pier, beach, Taco District, and Mission San Buenaventura.

What are the top attractions to visit in Ventura?

Downtown Ventura has many attractions. The most historic is the Mission San Buenaventura, but you can also go treasure hunting at vintage shops, take a bike trail to Ojai, and taste your way through the Taco District. Hit the nearby beach to surf, fish, paddle, or watch the sunset.

How far is downtown Ventura from the beach?

Downtown Ventura is an easy walk (or bike ride) from the beach, making this small town an easily navigable, low stress destination. From the Ventura Pier, it'll take about 10 to 15 minutes to walk the half-mile (.8 kilometers) to the Victorian-era downtown, filled with restaurants, boutiques, and vintage shops.

What is there to do in Ventura at night?

Downtown Ventura is a fun place to be at night, with a lively bar and restaurant scene. Depending on the night, you could hit a comedy club, see a show at the Ventura Theater (a historic theater turned live music venue), or try out one of several escape rooms.

What are the most popular things to do in Ventura with kids?

Ventura is a great spot for kids, especially as it's missing the traffic and crowds of nearby LA. Head to the beach and pier to swim, fish, surf, parasail, paddle, and bodyboard. Also, from the harbor you can catch a whale watching tour or visit Channel Islands National Park.


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