Welcome to Ventura, California! Whether you’re visiting from out of town or you’re a local looking for new adventures, there are plenty of fun things to do in this beautiful coastal city. As a local myself, I’ve compiled a guide to help you navigate the top attractions and hidden gems in Ventura. From exploring the beaches to hiking in the surrounding hills, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, let’s dive in!
Explore the Beaches
Ventura is known for its beautiful beaches, each offering a different experience. Whether you are looking for a quiet escape or an action-packed adventure, Ventura’s beaches have something for everyone.
|San Buenaventura State Beach
|Swimming, fishing, picnicking, beach volleyball
|Beach House Fish, Ventura Pierpont Inn
|Emma Wood State Beach
|Camping, fishing, surfing, windsurfing
|The Deck at the Ventura Harbor
|Kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, bird watching
|The Waterside Restaurant and Wine Bar
For a more unique experience, head to Rincon Point Beach, which has a reputation as one of the best surfing spots in California. You can also explore the tide pools at Leo Carrillo State Park Beach or take a scenic walk along the Oxnard Beach Park.
No visit to Ventura’s beaches is complete without trying some of the beachside restaurants. From fresh seafood to casual beach eats, you can find a variety of dining options to choose from.
Whether you want to relax and soak up the sun or try out some thrilling water activities, Ventura’s beaches are the perfect destination.
Discover Downtown Ventura
If you’re in the mood for some shopping or dining, look no further than Downtown Ventura. This area boasts a variety of shops, restaurants, and cultural events, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening.
Take a stroll down Main Street and explore the many unique shops and boutiques. From vintage clothing to handmade jewelry, there’s something for everyone in Downtown Ventura. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, ranging from casual cafes to fine dining establishments.
For a taste of local culture, check out one of the many events held in Downtown Ventura throughout the year. The First Friday ArtWalk is a popular event that takes place on the first Friday of every month, showcasing local artists and musicians. The Ventura Music Festival is another must-see event, featuring world-class classical and jazz performances.
Looking to catch a movie? The Century Downtown 10 movie theater is conveniently located on Main Street, showing the latest Hollywood releases.
No matter what your interests may be, Downtown Ventura has something to offer. So take a walk, grab a bite to eat, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of this charming California town.
Hike in the Surrounding Hills
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a challenge, the hills surrounding Ventura offer an array of hiking trails just waiting to be explored. The scenic trails are perfect for both beginners and experienced hikers to enjoy Ventura’s natural beauty.
A great option for beginners is the Harmon Canyon Trail. This scenic trail is a 3.1-mile round trip with a gradual incline and breathtaking views. Experienced hikers may prefer the Ojai Valley Trail, a challenging 9.3-mile trail that offers stunning views of Ventura’s hills.
|Harmon Canyon Trail
|Ojai Valley Trail
Aside from hiking, there are many other outdoor activities available in the hills surrounding Ventura, including camping, rock climbing, and horseback riding. If you’re looking for an adventure, head out to these hills for an unforgettable experience.
Visit the Ventura Harbor Village
If you’re looking for a fun waterfront destination in Ventura, the Ventura Harbor Village is a must-visit. With its scenic views and a wide range of activities and dining options, it’s the perfect place to spend a day or two with family or friends.
The Ventura Harbor Village boasts a variety of seafood restaurants, from casual fish and chips spots to upscale establishments. Grab a bite to eat at Andria’s Seafood, Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant, or The Greek Mediterranean Steak & Seafood. All offer great views of the harbor and an extensive menu of seafood dishes.
For those looking to get out on the water, the Ventura Harbor Village has plenty of options. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Ventura Boat Rentals and explore the harbor at your own pace. Or, take a whale watching tour with Island Packers and spot some of the majestic sea creatures that call the waters off the Ventura coast home.
If you’re interested in shopping, be sure to check out the various stores in the Ventura Harbor Village. From surf shops to gift stores, there’s something for everyone. You can also browse the local art galleries and pick up a unique piece of artwork to take home as a souvenir.
Overall, Ventura Harbor Village provides visitors with a little bit of everything, from delicious seafood to water activities and shopping. Plan a visit to this charming destination during your trip to Ventura.
Enjoy Local Craft Breweries
For beer enthusiasts, Ventura is the perfect destination to enjoy local craft breweries. With an increasing number of breweries, there is a wide variety of beer options to choose from.
One highly recommended brewery is Topa Topa Brewing Company, located in the trendy East End of downtown Ventura. Their taproom offers a cozy ambiance, where visitors can enjoy their delicious craft beers inside or on the patio. Another popular option is Poseidon Brewing Company, situated in an industrial park just a short drive from downtown. Known for their unique flavors and creative brews, visitors can choose from a wide range of beers, including IPAs and stouts.
Travelers looking for a taste of history can visit Anacapa Brewing Company, located in a historic brick building in the heart of downtown Ventura. Their brewpub offers an extensive menu of craft beers, alongside delicious pub food. For those looking to learn more about the craft of beer-making, Institution Ale Co. provides visitors with a brewery tour, where they can learn about the brewing process and taste some of their award-winning beers.
Whether you prefer hoppy IPAs or smooth stouts, Ventura’s local craft breweries have something to offer for every beer lover. Don’t forget to enjoy your favorite brew with some delicious bites, such as pretzels, charcuterie boards, or tacos, that are often available at the taprooms.
Expand Your Knowledge at a Museum
If you’re looking to delve into the cultural attractions of Ventura, visiting one of its museums is the perfect place to start. With plenty of educational activities on offer, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The Museum of Ventura County provides an in-depth look into the history and art of the area, showcasing exhibits on everything from Chumash Indian art to contemporary California art. Meanwhile, the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center offers a chance to learn about the unique ecosystem of the Channel Islands and the historical significance of the area.
If you’re interested in art, the Carnegie Art Museum features works by local and national artists, ranging from modern abstract pieces to classical oil paintings. For those interested in natural history, the Ventura County Maritime Museum provides an interesting look into the maritime history of California.
No matter which museum you choose to visit, there’s always something new to discover and expand your knowledge of Ventura’s rich cultural heritage.
Take a Day Trip to Santa Barbara
If you’re looking to explore beyond Ventura, consider taking a day trip to nearby Santa Barbara. Located just an hour south of Ventura, Santa Barbara offers a variety of attractions to check out.
One of the most popular attractions in Santa Barbara is the Santa Barbara Zoo. With over 146 species of animals, including elephants, giraffes, and gorillas, there’s something for everyone to see. For art lovers, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is a must-visit, featuring a collection of over 27,000 works of art.
If you’re a wine enthusiast, you’ll be pleased to know that Santa Barbara is home to over 200 wineries. Take a break from sightseeing and enjoy a wine tasting at one of the many vineyards in the area. Some popular options include the Santa Barbara Winery and the Brander Vineyard.
There are a few ways to get from Ventura to Santa Barbara. If you have a car, you can drive along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway and enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean. Alternatively, you can take the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train from the Ventura station, which takes about an hour and has several daily departures.
Overall, taking a day trip to Santa Barbara is a great way to experience more of what the Central Coast has to offer. With nearby attractions and plenty of wine tastings, it’s a perfect addition to your Ventura itinerary.
Are you planning a trip to Ventura, California? Here are some frequently asked questions and travel tips to help you make the most of your visit:
When is the best time to visit Ventura?
The best time to visit Ventura is during the spring or fall months when the weather is mild and pleasant. Summer can be hot and crowded, while winter can be rainy and chilly.
What are the top things to do in Ventura on a budget?
There are plenty of fun things to do in Ventura that won’t break the bank. You can explore the beaches, hike in the hills, or visit the Ventura Harbor Village. The museums in the area also offer free admission days throughout the year.
What are some must-try restaurants in Ventura?
There are plenty of great restaurants to choose from in Ventura, but some must-try options include Lure Fish House for seafood, Taqueria Tepatitlan for Mexican food, and Spencer Makenzie’s Fish Company for fish tacos.
Is it easy to get around Ventura without a car?
While having a car makes it easier to explore Ventura and the surrounding areas, it is still possible to get around without one. Ventura has a walkable downtown area, and there are bike rental options available for those who want to explore further.
Are there any cultural events or festivals in Ventura?
Yes, there are several cultural events and festivals that take place throughout the year in Ventura. Some popular events include the Ventura County Fair, the Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival, and the Ventura Music Festival.
What are some nearby attractions to visit on a day trip from Ventura?
If you want to take a day trip from Ventura, consider visiting Santa Barbara. It’s just a short drive away and offers plenty of attractions, including the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. You can also go wine tasting in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley.