30 Things You Need To Know About Ventura Before You Move ThereLocated along the stunning Southern California coastline and full of adventure, history and excellent surf breaks, life is just more beautiful in this seaside city.
1. Ventura Loves Itself A Pissy Pelican
Source: Flickr user crawfish headA Pissy Pelican Ale, that is. No town is complete without a brewpub--yes, even if they're located right on one of California's most gorgeous stretches of coastline. The folks at Anacapa Brewing Co. understand this best, and keep local beer lovers happy with pints and growlers of freshly brewed and wittily named beers.
2. Ventura Is A Good Place To Boogie Down Or Rock Out
Source: WikimediaWith shows ranging from Punk to Reggae, there's no need to let your inner rockstar lie dormant with the Majestic Ventura Theatre nearby. For a small venue, the Ventura Theatre brings in big talent for affordable prices, meaning you can save gas money on a big trip to venues in LA or Santa Barbara, and instead stroll right into downtown. It's also worth it to check out some of the local bars, like The Tavern, Café Fiore or the Bombay Bar and Grill, which open their doors to local talent on a nightly basis.
3. The Weather Here Is Juuuust Right
Source: Flickr user angeloangeloA place fit for Goldilocks herself, you'll never tough out a scorcher or need your wool socks in Ventura. The weather is mild pretty much year round, offering a comfortable climate with an added dose of sunshine, that's perfect for a visit to the Ventura farmer's market, or to grab a beer on the patio at 805 Bar & Grilled Cheese in the Ventura harbor.
4. Keep An Eye Out For Gentle Giants
Source: Flickr user NOAA's National Ocean ServiceWhen the graceful grey whale makes its annual migration from Mexico's warm waters to the Arctic seas, Ventura is one of the best locations for whale watching in the country. Boats and whale watching tours with the ever-popular Island Packers leave daily during the peak season to head out their sea in hopes of running into a migrating pod, though with the right timing, it's not uncommon to spot them right off the shore.
5. Hey Brah! Ventura Is A Great Place To Hang Ten
Source: Flickr user puliarfYou'll find some of California's best surf breaks in Ventura County. A local favorite is the infamous C-Street, where you can find consistent, but smaller waves breaking pretty much year round. It's just a short drive to famous breaks like Rincon and Silverstrand that fall just outside of Ventura city limits, meaning if there's swell, there's also someplace to surf.
6. Treat Your Belly Right With A Breakfast From Corrales
Source: Flickr user Mike SaechangEspecially after an early morning surf sesh, there's nothing better than a huge, meaty breakfast burrito, and no better place to score one than at Corrales. Though perhaps it's more appropriate to call these brunch burritos, since one order is likely to cover two delicious meals.
7. Feast Your Eyes On Scenic Ventura
Source: Flickr user ..._wink_...Obnoxious seabirds, early morning fog, and the chilling ocean breeze can make living oceanside a bit of a battle at times, though there's one perk that just never gets old--the view. Take in some of the best ocean views that Ventura has to offer at the Serra Cross Park, where sweeping 360 degree views serve as a constant reminder that life by the beach is best.
8. Ventura Is A City Of Tree Huggers
Source: Flickr user ..._wink_...Ah, the tale of two trees. These historic Big Blue Gum Eucalyptus trees are the last that remain of a 13-tree grove planted in 1898 by Joseph Sexton and Owen Marron. Soon after planting the grove, a brushfire took out all but five of the trees, three of which were cut down by vandals. These days, only one of the two trees is from the original grove, but the trees still stand as a berloved Ventura landmark.
9. Learn To Spike it Like A Pro--Or At Least Watch Some Pros Spike It
Source: Flickr user C1ssouAVP Champion, Olympic gold medalist and Ventura local, Phil Dalhausser, can often be spotted tossing a volleyball around on the courts at San Buenaventura State Beach. Even if you aren't one the world's greatest beach volleyball players, the courts make a great place to waste away an afternoon.
10. We Have The Most Beautiful Beaches In America
Source: Flickr user hermitsmooresBeaches in Ventura aren't just white stretches of sand dotted with bright umbrellas and sunbathers. Try Emma Wood State Beach, or any of the other local state beaches, to find great birdwatching, camping, surfing--there's even a few, like Harbor Cove Beach, where Fido can tag along.
11. Snag Some Scrumptious Seafood, Seaside
Source: cliffhouseinn.comWith its enviable outdoor patio, the Shoals Restaurant at the Cliff House Inn is one of Ventura's best places to grab lunch. Besides the unparalleled ocean views and misty sea breeze, it tastes like Shoals prepares their Pan Seared Scallops with a magic wand, plus their Fresh Cheese Enchiladas offer plenty of swoon over, for those who'd rather look at the ocean then catch their lunch in it. Whether coming for the seafood or coming for the view, Shoals has what you're looking for.
12. Do Your Mouth A Huge Favor And Grab A Burger From Duke's
Source: Flickr user Pink Sherbert PhotographyAsk someone in Ventura where to go for a bitchin' burger and they'll all point to one place: Duke's Griddle and Grill. Disguised as an old surf shack, Duke's sells beachy favorites like fish n' chips and shrimp tacos, but is a household name because of the amazing burgers.
13. There's Tons Fun N' Stuff, For All Ages, In Ventura
Source: Flickr user Flashy Soup CanAs a long time resident of Ventura, Golf N' Stuff takes me back to my youth with miniature golfing and you know, stuff. The amusement park has go-karts, bumper cars, laser tag, arcade games and all of the snack bar specialties.
14. There's No Place More Jolly
Source: Jolly Oyster via FacebookBring your dog, bring your kids, bring your ice chest of beer! At the Jolly Oyster, an oyster farm located right on San Buenaventura State Beach Park, you can bring the whole family for a lazy day on the beach, shucking oysters and eating clams. It's BYO-E(verything) style, besides the grills and of course, the oysters. In true Ventura fashion, the seafood here is fresh, local and exceedingly jolly.
15. Ventura Is A Hiker's Paradise...
Source: Flickr user Snap ManWhen inspiration strikes, there are miles of hiking trails that weave through and around Arroyo Verde Park, making the ideal escape for a lengthy walk or run with panoramic ocean views for those who make it to the top. Within the park, picnic sites and BBQ grills are equally plentiful for days when well, there's just no inspiration at all.
16. An Antiquer's Paradise...
Source: Flickr user JoeinSouthernCAWhen Main Street retired from being a tourist hotspot, it became a gold mine for thrift and antique store aficionados. These days, there's almost a shocking number of vintage stores in the area, selling everything from retro jewelry to furniture. You'll find treasure chests like Times Remembered or Coalition Thrift near the intersection of Main St. and California.
17. A Bookworm's Paradise...
Source: Flickr user Joe ShlabotnikIn 2006, the owner of Bank of Books, Clarey Rudd, declared Ventura "International Book City," as his sales of secondhand books reached over 85 countries. Local bookworms and bibliophiles rejoice, you're officially on the literary map.
18. And A Farmer's Paradise, Too
Source: Flickr user Edward HeadingtonVentura has a long history in agriculture, one that began with livestock, moved to lima beans (really?), and is now dependent on strawberries as its main cash crop. Much of the land in Ventura is still dedicated to farmers and their bounty, typically growing citrus, avocados, strawberries or celery. The farmer's market comes to Ventura on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but produce stands like A & F Country Market or Aguila Produce offer homegrown goodness daily.
19. Looking For Some Buenaventura? You've Come To The Right Place
Source: Flickr user Damian GadalPopularly known as Ventura, Father Junípero Serra originally named the city San Buenaventura, or "good fortune," back in 1782. Since then, Ventura has been featured on various "Happiest City" lists, been called a model community and noted for years for its high quality living.
20. There's History At The Heart Of The City
Source: Flickr user ccharmonFather Junipero Serra strikes again. Founded in 1782, the Mission San Buenaventura was the ninth California mission to be built, and as with all of the 21 Alta California missions, is a great place to slip back in time for an afternoon of some of the state's richest history. This particular mission rings in history a little differently, as it's the only mission with bells made from wood. You can visit anytime from sunrise to sunset, opting for a solo venture or family tour. The mission has it's own small museum, plus there's the neighboring Museum of Ventura County, which goes even deeper into Ventura history with stories of the original Ventura natives, the Chumash.
21. Shh--We're Trying To Sleep Around Here!
Source: Flickr user rockmixerIf you're looking for a wet 'n' wild weekend, you should probably keep heading north to Santa Barbara, or really commit and trek south to Los Angeles. Ventura has its fair share of dive bars and local watering holes, like Billy O's or Social Tap, but it isn't exactly the place for a long night of bright lights and bottle service.
22. Kick Off An Über Scenic Road Trip
Source: Flickr user Loco SteveThere's hardly an experience that feels more Californian than cruising down the iconic Highway 101, wedged between the coastal mountains and the great expanse of the Pacific. Windows down, salty sea breeze blowing through your hair, watching the waves peel back through your rear view mirror. Your only worry here, will be trying to keep your eyes on the road.
23. Ventura Has A Very Spicy History
Source: cityofventura.netVentura's historic Ortega adobe is a proud token of the first Spanish/Mexican immigrants, now transformed into a charming little museum. An obvious appeal to history buffs, there's the added attraction for fans of America's favorite, Ortega Green Chilies, which were founded by Emilio Carlos Ortega in the kitchen of this very adobe.
24. It Has An Oily History, Too
Source: Flickr user Marianne muegenburg cothernFrom the world's first oil tanker catastrophe in the 1880s, to a bustling oil economy in the 1920s, many parts of Ventura's history are just a tad bit...oily. These days, you'll still see oil rigs off the coast and are likely to leave the beach with oil stains on your feet.
25. You Can Enjoy A Private Island Getaway
Source: Flickr user Gregory "Slobirdr" SmithOK, maybe not entirely private, but the Channel Islands are the one of the least-visited National Parks in the entire nation, despite being one of the most stunning and ecologically rich. The park's Visitor Center is located right in the Ventura Harbor, giving locals prime access to all the beauty the park has to offer.
26. Stick Your Stakes In The Sand
Source: Flickr user AudreyLeighCOVentura has plenty of RV campsites along the beach, plus places like Hobson Beach Park, that offer tent camping just feet away from the sand. It's true that the sites fill up quickly on sun-drenched weekends and holidays, but then again, who could resist a moonlit campfire with the sand between your toes?
27. You're Sure To Have A "Wheel" Good Time
Source: Flickr user ..._wink_...Ventura is chock-full of trails and bike paths, including a delightful 15-mile paved path to Ojai. It's only slightly uphill, meaning a downhill coast after a well-deserved lunch in one of Ojai's many cafés is all that awaits before arriving back home.
28. Ventura Takes Pizza To A Whole New Level
Source: Toppers Pizza via FacebookSure, Ventura folks have met Papa Murphy, but he doesn't have their hearts. Ventura locals already have a favorite pizza place, and it's a lot more imaginative than the ol' cheese and pepperoni rundown. Whether you're looking for a classic slice, or something quirky like a mac 'n cheese, taco, or tater-tot pizza, Topper's is the place for pizza in Ventura.
29. Those Aren't Beach Bums, They're Artists
Source: ArtWalk Ventura via FacebookThe town may be sleepy and sandy, but there's still a thriving community of artists and art-lovers. Home to tons of art galleries, Ventura puts its creative streak on parade every year at the annual ArtWalk. From music and dance to crafts and paintings, you can easily build a whole day around Ventura's cultural arts scene.
30. It's Easy To Be Eco-Minded Here
Source: Flickr user Nicolas.boullosaOne of the world's most environmentally conscious major outdoor clothing producers, Patagonia, has its headquarters in sunny Ventura. Appealing to climbers, surfers and adventurers alike, it makes sense for a company like Patagonia to take root in a place like Ventura. You're probably already aware of the company's awesome gear, which only gets cooler when you consider their active dedication to environmental activism, having given over $55 million to more than 1,000 organizations and campaigning for corporate responsibility. What a neighbor.