Ventura mixes old charm with new modern facilities to blend a rich and wonderful background to living. Ventura, still officially called San Buenaventura, was founded in 1782 by Fray Junipero Serra with the establishment of his mission .
Along Main Street you will find fabulous food, excellent shopping from amazing thrift stores to upscale boutiques, a movie theater, coffee shops, and other attractions.
Turn the corner at Main Street and head up Ventura Avenue and you are on the Westside . The Westside is an up and coming area of Ventura with a rich cultural history. Contact the Westside Community Council  for current information.
Note the iron bells every few miles on the 101 freeway. They are markers of the Camino Real, the route of Father Serra.
Ventura is located 68 miles north of LAX on Highway 101. Amtrak service is available at the Ventura station, and nearby Oxnard sports both a cruise ship port and an airport with connecting flights to LAX. Santa Barbara Airport can be a good alternative to LAX or Oxnard with flights to LAX, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix as well as other destinations and it is only about 10-15 minutes away down the breath-taking 101. Camarillo Airport is a dominant general aviation hub, though Oxnard and Santa Barbara take their share as well.
San Buenaventura Mission, 211 E. Main St, . Museum M-F 10am-5pm, Sa 9am-5pm, Su 10am-4pm, except for major holidays. Church services, funerals, and weddings are still performed at the mission today. An original well stands in the back of the church, and a school for children is attached to the side. The Old Mission welcomes visitors daily from sunrise until sunset. The mission sits on Main Street in the heart of old town Ventura. Museum: $2.
Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main St, . Tu-Su 11am-5pm. Collections include Chumash and other native American artefacts. $4.
Bell Arts Factory, 432 N. Ventura Avenue, . Created out of a historic mattress factory showroom in the Westside of Ventura. There are free children's programs that enhance young lives through the arts and provide a cultural revitalization of the Westside. There are also many talented resident artists in studios creating beautiful paintings, jewelry, sculptures, weavings, photographs and ceramics.
Ventura Hot Glass Studio, 777 N. Olive Street, 805-643-1848, . Formerly named LA Hot Glass, Artists John Gerletti and Suzi Perret have a unique studio open to the public featuring their handblown art glass. Pop in during the afternoons and you might catch them in the act of blowing glass. Individual pieces are showcased for sale with prices ranging from $50 to $400.
Olivas Adobe. A 160-year-old adobe-style house with historical ties. The Adobe is rumored to be haunted. Tours are available.
California Street crosses Main St where you can stand on the corner, look up and see the old county courthouse and jail, which is now city hall. The Perry Mason show used to be filmed there. If you turn around and head towards the ocean you'll come across more shops, and even a haunted hotel. Keep going to the ocean and check out the surfers next to the pier every morning.
Being a beach town, Ventura has developed the downtown beach area into a wonderful promenade that makes it's way along the beach, from "Surfer's Point" past the pier all the way down to the southern end of San Buenaventura State Beach . It makes for a nice jog, bike ride, roller-blading path or just a leisurely stroll to watch the sunset.
Surfing - You can visit spitcast  to get the latest surf forecast.
Rubicon Theatre Company. The only regional professional live theatre in Ventura County. It is located at 1006 E. Main Street. (805)667-2900. Rubicon Theatre Company in its ten year history has been the host to many stars of screen and stage including Susan Clark, Jack Lemmon, Ted Neeley, John Ritter, Linda Purl, Bruce Weitz, Stephanie Zimbalist, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. www.rubicontheatre.org
International Book City - in mid 2006, Ventura declared itself an International Book City. The city is home to more independent bookstores than any other city in Ventura County; two publishing houses; and Perry Mason, the famous fictional lawyer created in the 1930s by writer Erle Stanley Gardner, who lived and worked here.
E.P. Foster Library, 651 E. Main St. (Near the corner of Chestnut and Main St.), ☎ 805 648-2715, . The E.P. Foster library has 24 public computers and features an extensive collection of "how to" art books. Ventura is also an art community and the library hosts permanent and rotating art collections by local artists. Families will enjoy visiting the second floor which is being transformed into a Children and Teen library.
The Pacific View Mall and surrounding area (located about 3-5 miles southeast of old town Ventura, toward Oxnard) tends to be the shopping hub for the locals while tourists will appreciate the kitsch and variety of Old Town. Still, serious shopaholics are better off in Camarillo at the Camarillo Premium Outlets or in Thousand Oaks at The Oaks.
Ventura has a hidden gem in the music/alternative mecca known as Salzer's which is on Victoria near Oxnard and Montalvo. The store is split into two factions: Music and Video which oddly enough are located in separate buildings on either side of Victoria.
Korazon Organics at the end of Main Street located at 671 East Main street - one block from the movie theater. They have organic clothing made from sustainable fibers such as soy, cotton, bamboo, and hemp. It is a wonderful store and very unique. (805) 652-0899
Heirloom Antiques (On Main St) - Offers an extensive collection of imported European antique furniture. Some really unusual pieces can be found at great prices. The owners are super nice, not too knowledgable on history/antiques, but they have a great appreciation of beautiful woodwork. The owner personally goes to Europe and buys the pieces at auction. Some stunning antique church furniture can usually be found there, which the legality is a little questionable since many European countries explicity forbid the sale/exportation of church furniture (which is commonplace knowledge in Europe but unknown in America).
Thrift Stores! Main street (near California street intersection) has a great selection of thrift and antique stores. Many really great finds can be found if you are willing to look through some junk.
Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura, CA, ☎ 805-667-2900. One of the best theaters on the west coast. For over ten years, The Rubicon Theatre Company has enriched the city of Ventura with world-class performances as well as community enrichment. Truly, one of the most amazing experiences you will have while in California.
All American Sitters, ☎ +1 805 628-3200, . Provides professional babysitters to residential and hotel customers through out all of Ventura County. The sitters are TB tested as well as certified in CPR & first aid, and background checked. The sitters show up in full uniform and bring a bag full of developmentally appropriate activities to engage the children.
Winchesters Bar and Grill at the other end of old town. They have a large beer selection, and fabulous food! Quite a pickup joint, second only to Table 13.
Busy Bee Cafe. This campy 1950s style diner on Main has become a Ventura landmark. Pop in for a root beer float, raspberry-lime rickey, hot fudge sundae or one of many classic American food favorites.
Johnny's On the Westside, at 176 N. Ventura Ave., just around the corner from Main Street. A Mexican food institution in Ventura. Try their famous shredded beef burritos prepared "three way"--meaning with beans, rice, and cheese!
Tony's Pizza This is the best little pizza shack in town. It's perfect after surfing or hanging out at the beach. Also, the guy there will talk to you like he's known you for years. The pizza is thin crust style, and is very good.
"'Toppers Pizza'" The best local pizza restaurant in town. Great for the family. Voted the best pizza two years consecutively by Ventura County Readers Poll. Big televisions and great salad bar.
Taj Cafe, 574 E Main St, ☎ (805) 652-1521. One of the best Indian restaurants in Ventura. Dinner will set you back about 20 dollars a person.
Trufflehound's Fine Chocolates (Trufflehound's), 607 E Main St # E (next to the library), ☎ (805) 648-5870, . Sunday – 12:30 PM to 5:00 PM, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Friday & Saturday – 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.. Ventura's best Fine chocolate shop. Delicious loose and boxed truffles and other chocolates are priced by weight.
San Souci is the local dive where young and old alike go.
Billy O's Restaurant & Saloon located on E Main street is an irish dive bar and venue with pool table and regular shows and DJ nights, mainly attracts a younger local crowd.
Best Western Inn of Ventura, 708 E Thompson Boulevard, (805) 648-3101, Fax: (805) 648-4019, .
Holiday Inn, 450 E Harbor Blvd, (805) 648-7731, . Sits right on the beach, towering above old town. It's a fabulous view of both Ventura's city charm, and her beautiful ocean shores
Motel 6 Ventura Beach, 2145 East Harbor Boulevard, (805) 643-5100, Fax: (805) 643-4519, .
Vagabond Inn Ventura, 756 E Thompson Blvd, (805) 648-5371,  Check-in: 3:00 PM. Check-out: 12:00 PM. Vagabond Inn Ventura offers pet friendly rooms, complimentary continental breakfast, family suites, safes, cable TV, heated swimming pool, spa, free WiFi, and other services.
As with the route into this fine beach city, there are a number of options when it is time to leave. Southbound Highway 101 and Highway 1 are both great options if you are headed south to another destination or to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Northbound Highway 101 will take you up to Santa Barbara and on through San Luis Obispo on the way to San Franciso. To head east, just jump on Highway 126 which winds it's way out to the small towns of Santa Paula and Fillmore on the way to Six Flags Magic Mountain.
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