Ventura, officially named San Buenaventura, was founded in 1782 when Saint Junipero Serra established Mission San Buenaventura, the ninth of the California missions. Serra named the mission after the Italian Saint Bonaventure, hence the nickname that Ventura is the “city of good fortune.” Located along the Pacific Ocean between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, the City was incorporated in 1866.
Ventura has a rich history of people who have lived in the area for at least 10,000 years. Influences of the Chumash as well as Spaniards, Europeans, Chinese and early voyagers remain a significant part of the City's diverse art, architecture and cultural heritage.
By the 1860s, Mission San Buenaventura was a thriving hub of orchards and gardens watered by a seven-mile aqueduct and the largest ranching operation in California. The city transformed quickly after the State legislature incorporated "the town of San Buenaventura" on April 2, 1866 and became the County seat in 1873. An oil boom and growth in agricultural operations brought immigrants, wealth, bridges and roadways to the city from 1910 to 1930. Ventura continued to prosper with an eclectic architectural mix of red brick storefronts, terra cotta "Beaux-Arts" buildings, Victorian and Spanish Revival style homes and a magnificent new Ventura County Courthouse built in 1913 (now Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli Street, Ventura, CA 93001.)
Today, the City of Ventura is a full-service municipality serving 109,000 residents within the 32 square mile city limits. Nearly 600 staff members focus on delivering key services to our businesses, residents and visitors to ensure Ventura remains a fiscally stable, economically vibrant, safe, clean and desirable community.
Surfers’ Point, the Ventura Harbor, and historic Downtown are just a few of Ventura’s gems. Locals and visitors enjoy the city’s impressive park system that includes 32 parks and historic sites, more than 800 acres of open green space and a state-of-the-art aquatic center. Ventura is an exciting location for a variety of outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, kayaking, paddle-boarding, sailing, surfing, and more. For the more adventurous, a visit to the Channel Islands National Park departs from the Ventura Harbor and offers a fascinating look at marine and wildlife.
The Washington Post (August 2015) called Ventura County “the absolute most desirable place to live in America” based on the USDA’s natural amenities index ranking of every US county by scenery and climate.
Ventura is home to a diverse mix of more than 12,000 businesses and a robust workforce of more than 53,000. It’s no wonder that progressive businesses like Patagonia, The Trade Desk and Petunia Pickle Bottom are headquartered in Ventura.
The City of Ventura makes economic development a priority and is committed to providing local businesses with the resources they need to thrive and expand here. Ventura is the region’s leader in the healthcare and public administration sectors with three renowned medical institutions and the County’s government center headquartered here.
A growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and a dynamic startup community make Ventura a strategic location to start a business. The City was one of the first to sponsor a business incubator, which has graduated a number of successful companies, including The Trade Desk, MomentFeed, Connexity, and GiddyUp.
Men’s Journal (April 2015) named Ventura one of the Best Places to Live Now and wrote “Start a business, surf on your lunch break, buy your dream home – our guide to the cities and towns where life is good.”
Ventura is known for its thriving cultural scene, award-winning, National Blue Ribbon, California Distinguished Schools, and engaged citizens who actively participate in improving the community.
Sunset Magazine’s (February 2017) article on the “20 best value towns in the West” named Ventura the Southern California winner as the best city to live in and called our community the “Off-ramp to paradise."
In 2015, the Ventura City Council approved the Sister City relationship with Loreto, Mexico, located on the east coast of Baja, California.