Culture & Lifestyle
Ventura, officially named San Buenaventura (aka “the city of good fortune”), is a full-service municipality serving 109,000 residents within 32 square mile city limits. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean to the south and rolling hills to the north, Ventura is grounded in rich history and culture while also home to a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and a dynamic startup community.
It’s no wonder Ventura is considered one of America’s most desirable places to live with its thriving cultural scene, historic downtown, eclectic restaurants, nine microbreweries (and counting!), impressive park system (33 parks!), over 800 acres of open space, and award-winning schools.
There are endless opportunities to connect with nature in Ventura from hiking the beautiful trails of the Ventura Botanical Gardens and Arroyo Verde Park, to surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, fishing from the historic Ventura pier, biking along the Pacific Coast, or visiting the Channel Islands National Park – you name it, we’ve got it covered!
The city of Ventura has managed to retain its laid back, California beach town vibe while simultaneously embracing creativity and innovation. Come check out the city of good fortune and experience for yourself why Ventura is one of California’s most charming coastal communities to work, live and play!
Culture & Recreation
Albinger Archeological Museum – 113 E. Main St, Ventura, CA 93001 / (805) 658-4728
The Albinger Archeological Museum is located next to the Mission San Buenaventura and was once the home to 5 different cultures spanning 3,500 years of history. Learn about the Chumash Indians, Chinese immigrants and others who resided on the site by viewing displays and archaeological digs uncovered in 1974.
Channel Islands National Park – 1901 Spinnaker Dr, Ventura, CA 93001 / Visitor Information: (805) 658-5730 https://www.nps.gov/chis/index.htm
The Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.
Historic Downtown Ventura – 100 – 600 block of E. Main St. https://downtownventura.org/
Ventura’s compact, walkable historic Downtown offers easy access to countless places to dine that will satisfy any craving, an outstanding mix of locally owned boutiques and specialty shops, and clean, green spaces for entertainment and activities.
Mission San Buenaventura – 211 E. Main St., Ventura, CA 93001 / (805) 643-4318 https://www.sanbuenaventuramission.org/
Mission San Buenaventura is a Spanish mission founded by the Franciscans in present-day Ventura. Founded on March 31, 1782, it was the ninth Spanish mission established in California and the last to be established by Father Junípero Serra.
Museum of Ventura County – 100 E. Main St., Ventura, CA 93001 / (805) 653-0323 https://venturamuseum.org/
Founded in 1913, the Museum of Ventura County has been discovering, preserving, interpreting, educating and celebrating ever since. The collections, exhibitions and educational programs are designed to inspire curiosity and conversations about the past and the stories of who we are and what makes us unique.
Olivas Adobe Historical Park – 4200 Olivas Park Drive, Ventura, CA 93001 / (805) 658-4728 https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/648/Olivas-Adobe
Experience the expansive adobe home and courtyard built between 1847-49 by wealthy Don Raymundo Olivas on his 4,700-acre Rancho San Miguel. The Olivas Adobe is Ventura County's only remaining Monterey-style adobe home from the Rancho era. A California Historical Landmark No. 115, the Olivas Adobe was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and celebrates Ventura’s Rancho and Latino heritage through weekend tours, seasonal school educational outreach programs and year-round special events.
Ortega Adobe – 215 W. Main St., Ventura, CA 93001 / (805) 658-4728 https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/640/Ortega-Adobe
The Ortega Adobe is an architectural example of smaller adobe homes that once lined Main Street in sharp contrast to the residences of wealthy landowners nearby. It was within this adobe that Emilio Ortega first began fire-roasting chilis, believed to be the first commercial food operation of its kind in California.
Public Art Program – throughout the City / (805) 658-4759 https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/230/Public-Art-Program
Ventura's Public Art Program was enacted in 1991 and since then has incorporated an artist's vision to capital improvement projects providing visitors and residents alike with a new understanding of urban design in Ventura. The City’s extensive collection has been catalogued online and includes photos of the work, description, artist information and maps so you can view the collection in person: https://map.cityofventura.net/docs/publicart/
San Buenaventura City Hall – 501 Poli St, Ventura, CA 93001 / (805) 654-7800 https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/1098/Ventura-City-Hall
San Buenaventura City Hall is the former Ventura County Courthouse built in 1912-13. This State of California Historical Landmark, listed on the National Register for Historic Places, is noted for its gleaming terra cotta exterior, copper sheathed dome and elegant Italian marble throughout the building.
In 1999, the City established the Municipal Art Acquisition Program to document the history of visual art in Ventura. The eclectic collection, housed on the 1st and 2nd floor of the historic City Hall, encompasses a variety of artistic mediums, including oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings, sculpture, pottery, photography, assemblage art, and collage, to name a few. City Hall and the Municipal Art Collection is open to the public during regular business hours: https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/424/Municipal-Art-Collection-PDF?bidId
Ventura County Fairgrounds & Events Center – 10 W. Harbor Blvd, Ventura, CA 93001 / (805) 648-337 https://www.venturacountyfair.org/
The unique oceanfront property, that includes the Ventura County Fairgrounds, was donated to the county in 1909 by E. P. Foster and the popular Ventura County Fair was held there starting in 1914. The fair, attracting an average of 300,000 visitors to the seaside location each August, is a multi-use community resource hosting year-round events, facility rentals, and the Derby Club that features live-satellite horse racing.
Ventura Harbor – 1583 Spinnaker Dr., Ventura, CA 93001 / (805) 477-0470 https://venturaharbor.com/
The Ventura Port District, an independent special district and home to the Channel Islands National Park Headquarters, includes a 274-acre multiple use recreational and commercial fishing and small craft harbor. The Ventura Harbor is a beautiful seaside destination for residents, visitors, fisherman, and boaters to enjoy.
Ventura Pier – Harbor Blvd (between California St & Sanjon Rd) / (805) 652-4550
Since its original construction in 1872, the Ventura Pier has stood as a symbol of the region’s rich history and natural resources. Once the cornerstone of Ventura County’s agricultural, construction and oil trade, today the Ventura Pier is a favorite attraction for fishing, picnics, sunset strolls and beautiful views of Ventura County’s coastline and the Channel Islands.
In addition, community leaders formed the non-profit ‘Pier Into the Future’ to establish an endowment to preserve and maintain this treasured resource for future generations to enjoy: (805) 804-7735 / www.pierintothefuture.org