2022 Ventura Inspiration Guide

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Down by the Water

WALK TO THE HARBOR FROM THESE TWO HOTELS HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES VENTURA HARBOR It’s a 10-minute walk to Ventura Harbor Village from the recently remodeled Holiday Inn Express Ventura Harbor. Guest rooms offer all the comforts of home — flat-screen TV, microwave/fridge, and free Wi-Fi. Start with breakfast on the outdoor patio before strolling over to the Harbor for a day on the water. Harbor Harbor holidayinnexpress.com/venturaca FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON VENTURA HARBOR RESORT Next door, Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort is also a quick stroll from the Harbor, and most rooms have balconies with water views. We know how strenuous it can be to kayak and paddleboard the Harbor — relax by the hotel’s pool or soak those tired muscles in the hot tub. A meal at Alexander’s Restaurant is an excellent way to kick off your day or unwind after your Ventura explorations. Cheers to an unforgettable Harbor stay! marriott.com/oxrfp

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ventura Harbor

Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort


Ventura Harbor Village is the premier way to relax, shop, and dine in California coastal style. No doubt, the Harbor’s main draw is the waterfront. Walk the promenade linking the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center and Harbor Village. Along the way, enjoy strolling on the beach, catching some rays and watching surfers. Maybe rent a kayak, SUP, or swan pedal boat, or take a cruise to see seals, dolphins, and whales. Heading to the Channel Islands? This is your starting and ending point. Back on dry land, browse the Ventura Harbor Village boutiques for coastal-inspired goods, from home décor and beach wear to locally made art. If you’re craving fresh seafood, you’re in the right place, from clam chowder to fish ’n’ chips. Or opt for a variety of cuisines at waterside restaurants. Grab a seaside sweet or treat yourself to a pampering service along the seashore. If you’re after ocean air, sunshine, and one-of-a-kind seaside vibes, Ventura Harbor Village’s live music, year-round entertainment, and Insta-worthy backdrops has it all. And when the clock strikes five, there’s no better place to be than on a waterfront patio, drink in hand, watching the sun set over the boats. venturaharborvillage.com e G Ö venturaharbor VisitVenturaCA.com


Port Hueneme


Craving sunshine, good food, and good times? Look no further! Whether you’re an outdoor lover, looking to have fun with family, or an avid shopper and foodie, Ventura County Coast has it all. Full of surf-town vibes and small-town charm, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, and Port Hueneme each offer classic Southern California experiences without breaking the bank. After catching some waves and tasting award-winning craft beer in Ventura, cruise through Oxnard’s happening Channel Islands Harbor, sunbathe on Port Hueneme’s uncrowded beaches, and go on a luxury shopping spree in Camarillo.

Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard

Make sure to immerse yourself in the local culture at a unique event or inspiring museum exhibit before eating your way through Ventura County Coast’s uniquely delicious dining scene. Then catch a boat to the Channel Islands National Park for unforgettable scenery, wildlife, outdoor activities, and more. You’re going to love it here. Find your vibe and plan your getaway at venturacountycoast.com. e G venturacountycoast Ö visitvccoast




Inspiration Guide 70 Where to find the best cocktails in town!


8 Where to Stay

Check in, unpack, and unwind, it’s vacation time. 12 Road Trip There’s something for everyone in this coastal town. 16 History Past meets present. 18 Welcome to the Neighborhood Discover the city’s unique vibe block by block. 20 Downtown Shop, eat, and stroll Ventura’s easily walkable downtown. 30 Ventura Harbor Village Waterfront dining and shopping await in the Village.

50 Island Time

The ultimate guide to Channel Islands National Park. 57 Art All Around The city is alive with color and sound. 63 What’s On Tap Sip your way through the local craft brew scene. 66 Where to Eat Best bets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


76 Living Here



38 Beach Day

A roundup of Ventura’s best beaches. 41 Choose Your Adventure Hiking, biking, skateboarding, surfing, and more. 46 Inside the Barrel Meet the surfers who kickstarted Ventura’s surf culture. VisitVenturaCA.com

Ready to make a move? Check out the housing market. 78 Getting Here However you arrive, getting to Ventura is easy. 79 Calendar Check out the city’s top events. 80 Last Stop Visit this stop before you go. ON THE COVER Our cover, featuring all things Ventura, was created by Lucie Rice. See more of Rice’s whimsical creations at eluciericeillustration.


Find your beach!



Welcome to Ventura

We’re known for lots of things: incredible beaches, epic surfing, rich history, dock-to-table seafood, craft brews. But above all else, Ventura is a welcoming place. Our laid-back beach community opens its arms to everyone to play on our shores, to feel the sun on your face, and let the Pacific breezes recharge you. Ventura is an unpretentious place. Ventura doesn’t judge who you are, where you’re from, what you look like, or what you believe. Ventura is an authentic place. A majority of our shops and restaurants are owned by people who call this place home. Ventura is a respectful place, and we ask for your respect, too. We can’t wait to see you here soon, THE VISIT VENTURA TEAM



MARLYSS MUNGUIA AUSTER President & CEO, Visit Ventura e @visitventura


PUBLISHERS Martha-Page Althaus + Nicole Bordges marthapage@wanderlustcontentstudio.com nicole@wanderlustcontentstudio.com EDITOR Lauren Bonney

¡Hola! Welcome to Ventura!

As a Ventura native, I’m thrilled for you to experience the spirit of Ventura. I was born and raised on the Westside of Ventura, an area I encourage you to explore on your next adventure. For a taste of authentic Ventura, explore this neighborhood and try some of the amazing tacos! The spirit of Ventura can also be found in our thriving Downtown, home to locally owned boutiques, galleries, bars, and restaurants. I love that I can go from exploring the hills behind City Hall at the Botanical Gardens, down to the beach in just minutes. Speaking of City Hall, don’t miss the opportunity to view its Municipal Art Collection. Above all else, the spirit of Ventura is found in respecting and being kind to each other. Our beach town culture embodies this. Plus, we’re a boat ride away from Channel Islands National Park. Check out the visitor tips for this awe-inspiring land on p. 50. In Ventura, you’ll find a laid-back vibe, friendly people, and beauty all around. Happy exploring! Gracias,

DESIGN DIRECTOR Deanne O’Connor CUSTOM CONTENT EDITOR Callie Young Fromson COPY EDITOR Leslie Dinaberg EDITORIAL INTERN Genevieve Smith BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Casey Carroll GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jennifer Brazil 11812 San Vicente Blvd., Ste. 200 Los Angeles, CA 90049 WanderlustContentStudio.com @WanderlustContentStudio Visit Ventura and Wanderlust Content Studio have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of information presented in the guide, but assume no responsibility for errors, changes, or omissions. Printed in USA. Refo re

SOFIA RUBALCAVA Mayor, City of Ventura 4

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“Hike beneath blue Channel Island skies.” –Marlyss Munguia Auster

“Cruise along the beach.” –Cheryl Shallanberger

“You can’t beat the view.” –Michele Gilmour

“Ventura is a visual dream, so bring your camera.” –Mike Laan

“Soak up the sun.” –Ken McAlpine

“Head to the surf in style.” –Briana Diamond

For the inside scoop on the best things to do in Ventura, talk to a pro at our Visitor Center. Whether you need directions, are looking for things to do during your trip, or want to bring home a locally-made gift, pop into the shop at 101 S. California St. to discover all the city has to offer.

Shop & Ship Whether you’re looking for a gift or want something special just for you, get the goods at our online store.

HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON! “Love our walkable Downtown.” –Michele Foster

If you forgot to snag a sweet souvenir or memento during your stay, never fear. Head to our virtual shop at Shop.VisitVenturaCA.com and have your Ventura memories sent right to your door.

visitventura Ventura Pier

let’s get social Follow us on your favorite social channels @visitventura for the latest happenings, inspiration, and more. (Psst: Don’t forget to tag #VisitVentura during your stay.)




GeÐúwk @visitventura



Do your part to keep Ventura’s vibe: Respect local business V C EN TURA protocols; pack it in, pack it out when visiting our beautiful beaches and trails; and don't forget your reusable water bottles and shopping bags. Happy venturing!

“We have your Ventura smiles!” –Aubrey Zambrano





Beachy Dreams

GO FROM SUITE TO SAND AT CROWNE PLAZA VENTURA, THE AREA’S ONLY BEACHFRONT HOTEL Ventura is an ocean lover’s dream. Where better to live the dream than the Crowne Plaza Ventura? Here, you’re steps away from the beach and the Ventura Pier, putting the California coastline within reach. Every room has a balcony, so you can catch the sunrise and sunset over the water. But there’s so much more than just the beach. A two-block stroll and you’re in historic Downtown Ventura, with its cool shops and restaurants. The water is irresistible, and so is a surfing lesson in front of the hotel. Stay for tasty Mexican food and margaritas at La Cosecha Modern Cocina, then head to Aqua Beachfront Bar, where sunset plus cocktails is just dreamy. cpventura.com e crowneplazaventura e crowneplazaventurabeachwedding G crowneplazaventurabeach 6

Find more accomodations info at VisitVenturaCA.com/stay

the view WHER E TO S TAY : 8 | ROA D T R I P: 12 | HI S TORY : 16 WELCO M E TO T HE NEI GHB OR HOOD : 1 8 D owntown: 20 • Midtown: 2 6 • So u th Se aw a rd-Pi erp o n t : 2 7 • Th e Aven u e: 2 8


H i llsi de: 2 9 • H a rb o r: 30



accommodations Unpack your suitcase and explore Ventura.

Where to Stay Whatever your budget, Ventura has plenty of comfortable accommodations for a fun and worry-free stay. From oceanfront properties to funky throwback trailers to hotels with history, check-in, unpack, and get ready to vacation the Ventura way. Walk to the beach from Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, Ventura Beach Marriott, and Comfort Inn & Suites Ventura Beach. Enjoy ocean views at the historic Pierpont Inn. At Ventura Harbor Village, two waterfront hotels are an easy stroll from shops and restaurants: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ventura Harbor and Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort.

Booking a hotel downtown means you can park your car and forget about it. Downtown options include Vagabond Inn, Amanzi Hotel, Best Western Plus Inn of Ventura, and Clocktower Inn Ventura. For something totally different, sleep in a restored vintage Airstream trailer at Waypoint Ventura. Take advantage of Ventura’s reasonable room rates — oftentimes half the price of other Southern California destinations — and extend your trip an extra night. You’ll be glad you did.

A Warm Welcome Located in the heart of Downtown and within walking distance to the beach, the historic Clocktower Inn Ventura offers some of the warmest hospitality in town. Comfortable and inviting guestrooms, delicious on-site dining, and exceptional guest service make it a charming retreat that perfectly complements your Ventura visit. clocktowerinn.com | e clocktowerinnventura | G clocktowerventura 8


A variety of options within walking distance of Downtown and the beach — that’s what we call a win-win!

Comfort Inn and Suites Ventura Beach GET RESTED, SET, GO

Comfort and convenience are the best amenities, and you’ll find both at Comfort Inn and Suites Ventura Beach. Among the perks? Free parking, free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, and guest laundry facility. A variety of guest rooms are available, including family suites. All rooms are equipped with refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and flat-screen TV. If you’re here on business travel, you won’t miss a beat, thanks to the business center. Comfort Inn and Suites Ventura Beach has a perfect location within walking distance to the beautiful San Buenaventura State Beach, and it’s just a seven-minute drive to Ventura Harbor, Pier, Downtown, and Ventura County Fairgrounds.

San Buenaventura State Beach






hot list


GET ROAD-TRIP READY! Scan the code with your smartphone for classic tunes and more inspiration.

Road-trippin’ to Ventura Head Outdoors

• Play at Marina Park or Harbor Cove Beach, p. 39 • Wander Ventura Botanical Gardens, p. 29 • Learn at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center, p. 30 • Shop, eat, and sip at Ventura Harbor Village, p. 30

• • • •


Hike Harmon Canyon, p. 42 Take surf lessons, p. 45 Explore Channel Islands National Park, p. 50 Camp out at Emma Wood State Beach, p. 39


Find Culture

Taste along the Taco Trail, p. 28 Grab a pint, p. 63 Sip at Ventura Spirits, p. 70 Eat like a local, p. 67


• Discover at the Museum of Ventura County, p.16

• Go for a mural walk Downtown and along The Avenue, p. 58 • Hunt for thrifted treasures, p. 21 • Tune in at local music venues, p. 58 • See what’s playing at Rubicon Theatre, p. 62



Bring the Family


Whether you’re on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip or looking for a proper beach vacay, Ventura is for you.

road trip


“Ventura Highway, in the sunshine Where the days are longer The nights are stronger Than moonshine You're gonna go, I know … ”— America






LIV Sotheby’s International Realty agent Jeffrey Belzer hanging ten in Ventura


hot list

It can be hard to leave Ventura after a weekend getaway. But what if you don’t have to? LIV Sotheby’s International Realty is part of the trusted Sotheby’s International Realty brand, with unmatched exposure opportunities and a network of professionals that connect buyers and sellers both locally and around the world.


With two offices in Ventura County, LIV Sotheby’s International Realty is better equipped than ever to service the needs of clients in Ventura and beyond.


For those who seek exceptional service with their real estate investments, there is only LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. livsothebysrealtyca.com e G LIVSothebysRealtyCa



Back in Time

Everywhere you look, Ventura’s rich history lives on.

Written by Genevieve Smith


The San Buenaventura Mission, circa 1884.

Petra, a Chumash basketbasket maker maker.

“City of Good Fortune”

The Chumash settlers were the first known inhabitants of Ventura. For thousands of years, this community used resources from the land and sea, and their territory spanned over 7,000 square miles of California. Chumash history has been passed down through stories for generations, and their rich culture continues to influence Ventura.


RANCHING ROOTS After being granted thousands of acres by the Mexican government in 1841, Don Raymundo Olivas and Felipe Lorenzana established Rancho San Miguel. This land was quickly transformed into one of the most magnificent haciendas in the region and became a cattle ranching empire that lasted for decades. After sustaining resources for the California Gold Rush, the adobe-style building was gifted to the city of Ventura and was renamed Olivas Adobe Historical Park. Today, it’s a museum that educates visitors on the city’s vital ranching history.



The San Buenaventura Mission was founded in 1782 by Franciscan priest Junipero Serra. This Spanish mission was California’s ninth, and the last founded by Serra. It was named after Italian Saint Bonaventure, giving Ventura the nickname “city of good fortune.” Today, it remains the soul of the city and signals the beginning of Ventura’s remarkable growth; it was recently designated a minor basilica by the Vatican.

18 72 Citrus harvesters.


Ventura Pier.

A Beloved Icon

Originally built in 1872, Ventura Pier still represents a thriving sense of community. In the years following its opening, the Pier grew alongside the city, becoming an iconic symbol of the area. Despite facing fires, shipwrecks, and other disasters, it has remained one of the oldest and longest wooden piers in California. Today, Ventura Pier is a gathering space, and a stroll down its wooden walkway offers picture-perfect views of Downtown and Channel Islands National Park.

Vitamin C Ventura sits between two flourishing zones, the Ventura River and Santa Clara River, providing rich soil for citrus produce. It was here that local farmers around the city first formed the world’s largest citrus production organization, still known today as “Sunkist.”


WORKING WATERFRONT Ventura Harbor was built in the early 1960s to support the city’s booming fishing industry, particularly for tuna, halibut, and lobster. For over 60 years, the harbor has been a symbol of strength and support to the community and still operates as a working harbor, and is also home to one of the country’s most prominent fish and squid industries. Harbor tours, cruises, and the Channel Islands National Park Visitors Center make it an easy way to enjoy a great day on the water. (Turn to p. 30 for more.)




Mary Monks rides the waves.


Ventura is home to some of surfing’s most legendary Pick up a Historic wave riders. The first professional surfing contest took Walking Tour Guide place at the end of California Street in 1965. Ventura at the Downtown legend Mary Monks (aka “Mondos Mary”) was among Ventura Visitor the most iconic of the city’s surfers, and one of the first Center, then visit the women recognized for the sport. Ventura’s beaches Museum of were her favorites throughout the 50s and 60s, and it Ventura County. was here that she set a new standard for surfing. With Mary paving the way one wave at a time, Ventura continues to welcome some of the best surfers in the world.


neighborhood guide

Welcome to the Neighborhood Known for its storied surf scene, inviting local culture, and artsy vibes, Ventura is an eclectic, bohemian paradise. And while you may be tempted to drop your bags and dash to the beach, take time to explore all this area has to offer. Get to know Ventura’s unique vibe block by block. From kid-friendly beaches to handcrafted spirits to thrift store finds, there’s so much to do in town.


Written by Marissa Wu


Sunny days abound in Ventura.




History, nature, and culture collide in the heart of the city. The Ventura Pier looks back to Downtown Ventura.


Can’t Miss Spots VENTURA PIER Constructed in 1872, this is one of California’s oldest wooden piers. Take a stroll at sunset for stunning views of Pierpont Bay and the Channel Islands.


troll the palm tree-lined streets of Downtown for a taste of history and art. Stumble upon historic buildings peppered between contemporary structures, and discover a thriving collection of locally-owned shops, restaurants, and bars.

#DYK? 20

90 percent of Downtown businesses are locally-owned!

MUSEUM OF VENTURA COUNTY Explore exhibits on agriculture and archeology. The research library is stocked with artifacts dating back to the Chumash era; plus, check out a full calendar of events and programming for all ages. MISSION BASILICA SAN BUENAVENTURA Founded in 1782, the mission is a rich piece of city history. Take a self-guided or docent-led tour, explore the church, garden, grotto, and view a replica of Michaelangelo’s Pietà.

VENTURA VISITOR CENTER Stop in, get your bearings, and snag a few made-in-Ventura gifts before taking off on your adventure. Go online to visitventuraca.com for even more adventure ideas.

Turn to p. 22 for more information on things to do, see, and eat Downtown.

neighborhood guide GIVING BACK

Hearts of Gold Get the goods and support a good cause.


AVENUE THRIFT STORE You name it and you can probably find it at Avenue Thrift Store. To date, the shop has donated more than $50,000 annually to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Ventura. It’s all about the thrill of the hunt.

Treasure Hunt

Home to more than a dozen thrift stores, Ventura is the top destination for shoppers looking for hidden gems at discount prices. By Casey Cantrell ONE-STOP SHOPS Vintage records, old-school figurines, antique kitchenware, retro fashion, stylish home decor — Coalition Thrift Store is a thrift shopper’s paradise. Featuring one of the biggest inventories in town, the downtown store adds new stock daily, so there’s always something new to discover. And for even more cool finds, check out Lynn's Consignments Fun Home Furnishings to decorate your home with hand-selected pieces. SEASIDE FINDS Getting ready for your next ocean adventure? Then head over to Mike’s Consignment Marine Supply to score high-quality gear that won’t break the bank. A favorite of local sailors, this Ventura Harbor store boasts a warehouse with a massive, constantly-updated inventory of boating equipment. From jib sails, engine parts, and propellers to a vintage line thrower, Mike’s Consignment is sure to have what you need to set sail. VisitVenturaCA.com

FOR THE KIDDOS Little Bird Kids Consignment & Gifts is big on cuteness and quality, offering used wares that never feel like hand-me-downs. Find the perfect gifts for the little ones in your life with Little Bird’s curated, “gently loved” selection of stylish kids clothing (sizes 10 and smaller), shoes, toys, books, and more.

Bookstore Bonanza Check out these shops for your next read. Family-owned BANK OF BOOKS has provided unique reads for 17+ years. ABEDNEGO BOOK SHOPPE offers a trade credit program for its impressive collection of books. Founded in 1975, CALICO CAT BOOKSHOP has everything from rare first-edition copies to just-released paperbacks. Newcomer TIMBRE BOOKS sells a well-curated collection of bookstore finds.

THE ARC FOUNDATION THRIFT STORE Makeover your closet with vintage and contemporary clothing and accessories, or peruse one of the better selections of books you’ll find at a thrift shop. All proceeds go to The Arc of Ventura County, which supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. C.A.A.N. THRIFT STORE One of the largest and longest-running thrift shops in Ventura, the family-owned C.A.A.N. pairs shopping with feel-good vibes, donating all of its profits to support victims of child abuse. SPARC SECOND CHANCE STORE The all-volunteer store offers a mix of everything, from antique furniture to modern fashion, at some of the best bargain prices around. Best of all, 95% of proceeds go to the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center — a no-kill shelter in Ventura County. 21

It’s All Happening in Downtown Street fairs, music festivals, ArtWalk — there’s something for everyone in Downtown Ventura. With so many locally owned shops, you’ll find everything from upscale boutiques to surf shops, record stores, and vintage and antique shops. A new pedestrian walkway immerses you in Downtown’s shopping and dining scene. downtownventura.org G e Ö downtownventura

Ormachea Jewelry Stunning, one-of-a-kind handcrafted custom jewelry made by the Ormachea family in Downtown Ventura for 30 years. From rings and pendants to bracelets and earrings, husband and wife team Hugo and Bertha Ormachea blend the aesthetics of contemporary design with the timeless influence of ancient ancestry. Come check out the workshop located inside the store. ormacheajewelry.com G e ormacheajewelry



Bank of Books This beloved indie bookstore (voted no. 1 in Ventura County for 17 years running) is its own destination. Peruse an eclectic offering of new, used, and rare books. They’ll even ship books to all parts of the world. bookshop.org/shop/bankofbooks G e bankofbooks

Birkenstock Footprints of Ventura This women-owned store is the go-to for stylish, classic, and super-comfortable footwear from well-known makers. Celebrating over 40 years of business in Downtown Ventura. birkenstockusa.com G birkenstock footprints of ventura

Cheese & Wine Heaven Along with an expansive cheese counter and well-stocked wine shop, Paradise Pantry Market carries a curated selection of local and international food specialties — cheese, salami, olives, wines, craft beers, jams, chocolates, and more. Let the experts behind the counter guide you on pairing wine and cheese, and ask about grab and go and custom gifts. Worked up a hunger while shopping? Head to the Paradise Pantry Restaurant next door and order a cheese plate, a great meal, a wine flight, and the best dessert. paradisepantry.com e paradisepantrymarket G paradise-pantry



Coastal Skin Care

Findings Market

Take a tranquil escape from today’s hectic pace. Experienced estheticians and massage therapists offer treatments and products to help you maintain beauty, radiance, and health. It’s rejuvenation…with amazing results.

This multifaceted platform supports the movement of shopping small by featuring local businesses and creatives. The storefront and seasonal street fairs include a curated collection of emerging artists and brands from Ventura, Ojai, Santa Barbara, and beyond. The marketplace and events also serve to bring together the community and showcase local talent.

coastalskincare.net G coastalskincareventura e coastalskincare

findingsmarket.co e findingsmarket


Latitudes Gallery

From their family to yours. Shop for Ecuadorian Panama hats, hammocks, Arabica coffee, and other eco-friendly goods.

Create the space you dream of with art that inspires, nurtures, and connects. Latitudes Gallery showcases exquisite and captivating imagery from local photographers Stephanie Hogue and Steve Munch. Find artwork that fills your soul.

ecugreen.com G e ecugreenjewelry

latitudesgallery.com e latitudesphoto G latitudesgalleryventura


American Flags and Cutlery Offering specialized knives plus American and military flags. americanflagsandcutlery.com e G americanflagsandcutlery


Global Chic In the exquisitely curated shop Passport Habits, owner Michelle Ramirez’s passion for travel and all things global shines in finely crafted homewares, textiles, and jewelry. Browse the selection of beautiful Moroccan rugs and other elegant home decor, chic Spanish sandals, stylish clothes, and meaningful gifts. passporthabits.com G e passporthabits

Greysen Jewelry

Three Shops, One Stop

Each one-of-a-kind piece is handcrafted by Kristi Greysen-Bates with semiprecious gemstones. Custom idea? Let Kristi help bring your custom design to life.

Meet Kristi, Patricia, and Debbie. This women-owned, three-shop collaborative supports local artists and provides LGBTQ+ affirming space. Their welcoming vibe will put a smile on your face. And yes, bring your dog!

greysenjewelry.com e greysenjewelry G greysencompany

Fiddle & Fern

Plum Gifts

Find the perfect plant baby and accessories for your space in this peaceful little shop. With so many plant varieties, you’ll have fun deciding what to pick out.

Fun gifts, Ventura goods, locally made jewelry and ceramics, seasonal items, and an expansive baby shop, all curated by Debbie.

fiddleandfern.net e G fiddleandfern.vta VisitVenturaCA.com

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Where the locals go to unwind, wine, and dine.


LAGUNA VINTAGE At Laguna Vintage you’ll find jam-packed shelves overflowing with designer pieces, oddities, and home decor. With patience, you’ll walk away with the perfect outfit or gotta-have find.


his tight-knit community has whimsical vintage shops, cozy cafes, and art markets that feed the area’s creativity.


Snag a few retro pieces to add to your wardrobe. @laguna vintage1978

Enjoy live music at Caffrodite.

CAFFRODITE COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE This nonprofit venue is completely volunteerrun (it pays in coffee and pastries!). As a community collective, Caffrodite brings neighbors together in the spirit of imagination, creativity, and diversity. The collective's cafe is open on Saturdays, when you can sip on your cappuccino while listening to live music. It also hosts a monthly Maker’s Market selling locally made wares.

Grassroots Yoga

Lynn’s Consignments & Fun Home Furnishings

Classes range from gentle to energetic, putting you at ease. Plus, they give five percent of annual revenue back to a local charity.

Find that Ventura vibe with artistically curated vignettes. This 5,000 squarefoot spot features a constantly changing inventory from more than 1,000 consignors. It’s also an authorized Annie Sloan chalk paint stockist. Dogs are welcome! Everybody wins when they shop at Lynn’s.

grassrootsyogaventura.com e grassroots.yoga.vta

lynnsconsignments.com Ge lynnsconsignments


superbuzzy Discover a wonderland of beautiful fabrics, yarns, embroidery supplies, and other fiber-related notions. superbuzzy.com e Ð superbuzzy23 G superbuzzy


Can’t Miss Spots

neighborhood guide

Great food and ambiance at Social Tap.

South SeawardPierpont

Kick back, relax, and reset with beach time, water play, local sips, and so much more.



uit up! This is the place for surfing, splashing, and sunbathing. Check out the lively social scene and one of the city’s most iconic watering holes.

Can’t Miss Spots THE SUSHI HOUSE With spicy seafood udon, creative rolls, and fresh oysters on the menu, this local joint is a must-stop for lunch or dinner after a long day by the ocean. MARINA PARK Fifteen acres of beachfront make Marina Park a great place for all things ocean: fishing, swimming, sailing, kayaking, and more. SURF ’N’ YOGURT This well-loved little shack serves frozen yogurt in practically every flavor. Pro tip: Fro-yo is best enjoyed under blue skies and palm trees — plus, it’s only a short stroll from the beach.


SOCIAL TAP Creative cocktails and local craft beer make Social Tap the place to be for a casual night out. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, and the tap list is always fresh. VisitVenturaCA.com


The Avenue

Chock-full of art, spirits, and tacos — what more could you want?

Sip at Ventura Spirits.



rtsy types and creatives appreciate The Avenue’s visionary spirit, and foodies come hungry. The area is rife with artist studios and public art — not to mention some of the best tacos around.

TACO TIME Make sure to follow @taco_district for all things related to West Ventura and Mexican food. 28

Can’t Miss Spots TACO TRAIL It’s Taco Town in this neighborhood, with spots like the highly-praised Cuernavaca Taqueria, killer seafood and fish tacos at El Jarocho Seafood, and authentic bites at Johnny’s Mexican Food.

KIDS GARDEN BRIGADE This after-school program works to mentor neighborhood youth through gardening classes and activities. Fruit trees, chickens, veggie plots, and more are cultivated at this garden.

VENTURA SPIRITS Utilizing local ingredients, amaro, gin, and agave-based spirits are distilled, aged, and bottled here. Stop by the rad tasting room for a tour before snagging a bottle (or two) of this distillery’s elixirs to sip on later.

COLORFUL MURALS Look around because murals abound along The Avenue, and many are within walking distance. Stroll North Ventura Avenue for fantastic pops of color and beautiful creations like muralist Lisa Kelly’s “Pollinators.”

BELL ARTS FACTORY Located in the West Ventura Arts District, the Bell Arts Factory building is home to more than 30 studios. See the artists at work during public viewings every first Friday, or sign up for a class, and peruse ongoing exhibits.

RETRO ARCHITECTURE Design buffs will appreciate buildings that provide a crash-course in architectural history, from quirky post-war facades to the Simpson Tract Historic District, one of the city’s oldest areas.

THERE'S MORE! To take in all the art and public murals The Avenue and Ventura has to offer, see p. 58. And if you need all the tacos in your life, turn to p. 69 for even more ways to taste around town.

neighborhood guide Just above Downtown, see Ventura in a new way at the Ventura Botanical Gardens.


Garden walks, sweeping vistas, and more — go ahead and be above it all.



et in the foothills just behind City Hall, this area provides views for days and a respite from the buzz of the city. Whether you ascend in a short drive or casual stroll, see a different side of Ventura.


Can’t Miss Spots VENTURA BOTANICAL GARDENS Ventura Botanical Gardens is a delight for the senses. Within this 109-acre wonderland find a welcome respite in the Chilean Garden and amongst olive-tree saplings in the Mediterranean Garden. Old-growth eucalyptus trees provide cool shade, perfect for an afternoon’s rest. Serra Cross in the Hillside neighborhood.

GRANT PARK A quick drive up from Downtown gets you to Grant Park. Pose for selfies in front of Serra Cross, or sit in quiet reflection as you take in the expansive coastal views. 29

neighborhood guide

Ventura Harbor

Where you’ll find waterfront fun, the catch of the day, and national park voyages. Ventura Harbor.


Can’t Miss Spots CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK VISITOR CENTER Stop here before heading out to the Channel Islands National Park for fun, interactive exhibits that are perfect for littles; plus, information, presentations, and a film on each of the park’s unique islands.


pend the day at some of the city’s best beaches, enjoy waterfront dining, or head out to explore Channel Islands National Park.


While you're there, snap a pic of Ventura Harbor's gorgeous sunsets. @kdoleson


PADDLE OUT Get out on the water in a swan pedal boat with Ventura Boat Rentals & Harbor Cruises. Rent Kayaks, electric boats, and stand-up paddleboards, or charter a private sunset cocktail cruise around the Harbor.

FRESH LOOKS, FRESH CATCH Start or end your day browsing the boutiques, galleries, and other shops at this waterfront plaza. Ventura Harbor Village offers plenty of fresh seafood. Don’t miss the brand new On The Alley restaurant. For more dining options, turn to p. 66 SURFER’S KNOLL BEACH A popular spot to catch some waves, Surfer’s Knoll is a picturesque place to sunbathe, build sandcastles, and break in that new surfboard.

Friendly Favorite

GENUINE, LOCAL, AND CASUAL AT BROPHY BROS. This lively and popular casual family restaurant at the Harbor offers fresh seafood and signature cocktails with fun, friendly service. The prime upstairs location allows diners on the patio to enjoy beautiful afternoons and unbelievable sunsets, with arguably some of the best views in town. And this year, Brophy Bros. is proud to open On The Alley (OTA) — a Santa Barbara favorite — on the lower deck patios. OTA will serve a fresh counter-service menu that’s perfect for a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with dine-in and takeout available. brophybrosventura.com e brophys_vta G brophybros



That’s Entertainment!

IT’S MORE THAN JUST COMEDY AT VENTURA HARBOR COMEDY CLUB This hot spot for all things entertainment is a must-visit during your Ventura experience. A staple in the Harbor for over 40 years, the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club’s owner Andres Fernandez has undertaken several expansions since 2007. In 2020, he diversified the space with even more entertainment. The Blue Room Lounge hosts live jazz, open mic nights, karaoke, and private events. The comedy stage offers live music, dinner events, and exotic performers. After 9, the disco ball drops and the nightclub doors open. Sunday Brunch showcases drag, jazz, blues, and Cuban music. venturaharborcomedyclub.com G venturaharborcomedy e vhcomedyclub

805 Bar and Grilled Cheese The Copa Cubana When clientele of Andres Fernandez’s wine and tapas bar started asking for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, a new concept — 805 Bar and Grilled Cheese — was born. The handcrafted interior, built by Fernandez, sets the stage for a cozy Harbor experience loved by locals and tourists alike. It’s not a bar and grill, it is a bar and grilled cheese! Next door, Fernandez’s Copa Cubana serves authentic, handed-down family recipes with a creative spin. (Try the Cuban Chinese Fried Rice What?! — a fusion of platanos, cabbage, rice, and egg with Cuban and Chinese spices.) At the Copa Bar, sip a cocktail and listen to live salsa, jazz, blues, and Cuban music by local performers. You can’t go wrong at what’s probably the only bar and grilled cheese and Cuban restaurant in the world. 805copa.com G thecopacubana | e Ö the805bar 32

ventura harbor village

Barefoot Boutique This stylish boutique has been curating a California aesthetic since 2013. Find lots of options here, like boho-inspired cardigans, comfy-cute basics, and a large selection of easygoing silk and Italian linen pieces. While you’re at it, pick out a tote perfect for your beach essentials.

The Ultimate Escape Rooms

barefootboutique.shop G barefootboutiqueventura e barefootboutique

Uncover clues, solve puzzles, and race against the clock to make your way out of a mysterious wizard’s lair or spooky attic. The Ultimate Escape Rooms combines live action entertainment, teamwork, and thinking outside the box (or room!) for a super-fun birthday party, date night, family outing, or team-building event. theultimateescaperooms.com G e theultimateescaperoomsventura

Vino with a View The new Deep Sea Wine Tasting Room offers a memorable wine experience for visitors and locals. Siblings John, Gillian, and Tom Conway have created a relaxed, hip vibe in the picturesque Ventura Harbor. Handcrafted Deep Sea and Conway wines can be enjoyed by the glass, bottle, or in one of the Signature or Reserve Tasting Flights. Indoor seating is available, while the outdoor patio overlooking the Harbor is an excellent spot to enjoy a glass of wine. conwayfamilywines.com | e deepseawineventura | G deep sea tasting room ventura VisitVenturaCA.com


Leo’s Fuel & Bait Derecktor Ventura Your Ventura boat service experts. Derecktor Ventura delivers premium maintenance and repairs to get your vessel back on the water or stored away safely.

Pick up cold beverages, ice, snacks, and of course, fuel and bait for a perfect day on the water. Located right next to the Harbor’s public launch ramp. e leosfuel

derecktorventura.com e derecktorventura

Andria’s Seafood Restaurant and Market Andria’s offers the freshest seafood available, prepared to order any way you like (think grilled, fried, baked, or broiled). Start with a bowl of homemade clam chowder, then try the charbroiled halibut or fish and chips. See why Andria’s is considered a local “Reader’s Choice” top pick for 30 years running. andriasseafood.com Ge andriasseafoodrestaurant 34

Water’s Edge Restaurant & Bar There’s no place like Water’s Edge Restaurant for beautifully prepared food and stellar Ventura Harbor views. Sit on the outdoor patio and take in the scenery while savoring dishes like chorizo crab cakes or the charcuterie board, along with fine cocktails. Enjoy Sunday brunch in the elegant dining room or outdoors, with bottomless mimosas and endless views. watersedgeventura.com e watersedge_ventura | G watersedgerestaurantbar

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Ventura Swimwear

Ventura Boat Rentals

This popular shop in Ventura Harbor Village is where locals go for on-trend bikinis, flattering one-piece suits, super chic cover-ups, and board shorts. Don’t forget to pick up a stylish hat, sunglasses, and a roomy tote for your day on the beach!

Swans, ducks, and dragons...oh my! Daytime rentals (night rentals by appointment), plus electric boats, kayaks, SUPs, and charters.

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Coastal Cone

Mermaid Gallery

If you like ice cream, you’ll love Coastal Cone’s imaginative and delicious creations. Choose from the biggest variety of flavors on the West Coast, along with signature soft serve cones that are almost too cute to eat. Plus waffle cones, oversize sundaes, and delightful fish-shaped cones to make all your ice cream dreams come true. And those Ventura Harbor views? Sweet!

This gallery/studio/gift shop showcases the work of artist Tina O’Brien. Be charmed by whimsical mermaids, sea creatures, and poetic oil paintings capturing Ventura Beach. Cards, prints, and originals are on view and available for purchase.

coastalcone.com G e coastalcone VisitVenturaCA.com

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Olivas Links

Fine Fairways

PLAY TWO GREAT COURSES IN VENTURA In Ventura, we love golf! The city boasts two 18-hole courses with varying landscapes that will both challenge the best golfers and entertain the novice. Buenaventura is a fun, old-school golf layout with narrow, tree-lined fairways and undulating greens. Olivas Links, named one of the best municipal courses in the country, is a links-style course that treats you to a contending but cooling ocean breeze. Can’t choose? Play both! Buenaventura and Olivas Links are within miles of each other, making 36 in a day attainable. Pro tip: finish the day at Buenaventura for a post-round beverage and pastrami torpedo on the patio. olivaslinks.com e olivaslinks G olivaslinksgolfcourse buenaventuragolf.com e buenaventuragolf G buenaventuragolfcourse





Channel Islands National Park. VisitVenturaCA.com


hot list

Get ready to soak up some sun.


beach guide

Your guide to Ventura’s coastline. Written by Martha-Page Althaus

ith a long expanse of prime Pacific coastline, Ventura is a classic Southern California beach town. You can do it all on Ventura’s beaches — surf, swim, kayak, kitesurf, paddleboard, and more — or simply sit on the sand and watch the waves roll in. No matter which beach you choose, feel recharged with cool sea breezes and ocean views. Here are Ventura’s top beaches for surf, sand, sun, and fun.


beach volleyball match, then rent bikes from Wheel Fun Rentals and connect to other beaches via numerous bike paths. Refuel and enjoy fresh seafood at The Jolly Oyster Shuck Shack (here on the weekends). Good to know: Plenty of parking; picnic tables and grills; restrooms and showers; wheelchair accessible.


While you can’t pitch a tent directly on the beach, it’s a prime beachfront spot for self-contained RVs and trailers. Emma Wood is also popular for surfing, fishing, dolphin spotting, and bird watching. At the edge of the beach, the Ventura River Estuary attracts red-tailed hawks and great blue herons.

With a large grassy area and a pirate ship-themed playground, this 15-acre, pet-friendly spot is perfect for kids with energy to burn (and parents who need a break). And if you fancy some waterplay, launch kayaks or paddleboards from the fishing dock.

Good to know: Restrooms (no showers); no electricity or water hook-ups for campers.

Good to know: Leashed dogs welcome; picnic tables and grills; restrooms (no showers).

This storied stretch in northern Ventura County is known as “Queen of the Coast” for its classic California point break. As such, Rincon is popular among surfers. Unless you really know what you’re doing, leave this one for the experts and have fun watching.

BEST ALL-AROUND: SAN BUENAVENTURA STATE BEACH PARK Anchored by Ventura Pier, this two-mile stretch of sand is the place for an epic beach day. Play a


Good to know: Picnic tables; restrooms and showers.

AT THE PIER / SEE: Stroll to the end of Ventura Pier at San Buenaventura State Beach Park for the best, unobstructed views of the ocean. (Peep the Channel Islands National Park in the distance!) EAT & DRINK: Beach House Fish, Beach House Tacos, MadeWest Brewing Company, and Aloha Steakhouse. VisitVenturaCA.com


beach guide BEACH PREP

Beach Day Essentials

Join the family fun at Pierpont Beach.

Whether you need a new suit or a midday pick-me-up, these locally owned shops have you covered. VENTURA SWIMWEAR for the perfect suit, from rash guards to bikinis. BAREFOOT BOUTIQUE for cover-ups, stylish hats, and easy, breezy dresses. PARADISE PANTRY for elevated picnic provisions. BIRKENSTOCK FOOTPRINTS OF VENTURA for comfy-casual sandals.




This beach is nicknamed “Mother’s Beach” for its protective breakwater, which provides small, calm waves. It’s directly across the street from Ventura Harbor Village, making this an easy before-lunch spot. After the beach, stroll over to the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center and check out the exhibits. Snow-capped mountains overlooking Ventura Harbor.

Good to know: Lifeguards; showers and restrooms; plenty of free parking; leashed dogs welcome.


To the west of Ventura Pier, running parallel with the promenade, Surfer’s Point is a favorite among surfers and kiteboarders for its long waves and favorable winds. Even if you’re not up in the air, it’s plenty of fun to watch. Good to know: Leashed dogs welcome; lawn with picnic tables and grills; restrooms and showers.

BEST FOR BEGINNERS: MONDOS BEACH At the end of Seaward Avenue, this quiet beach is a great place to watch the sun cast its last rays over the Pacific. Then, stroll to Seaward’s laid-back bars and restaurants. Good to know: Restrooms; showers; free parking; within walking distance to restaurants. Spot whales year-round in Ventura Harbor.


FIND MORE on South Seaward-Pierpont on P. 27.

With a low-key vibe and consistently small, soft waves, Mondos is a great place for kiddos or beginner surfers. It’s also a popular launch for stand-up paddleboarding. Good to know: There are no facilities here. Limited free parking is available off the Pacific Coast Highway; get here early in the morning to find a spot.




Whether you enjoy a sweat-inducing hike or casual beachfront pedal, explore Ventura in all its natural glory.


Written by Ken McAlpine



entura is a wonderland for outdoor play and adventure. World-class surfing; bike rides that showcase deer and dolphins; hiking trails that rise to heavenly, windcaressed silence. Oh, right, and the weather. Ventura has some 270 sunny days a year and daytime temps average 70 degrees year-round. (That’s not a typo!) Get ready to feel the pounding of your heart in a playground like no other.

Gaze out from the Botanical Gardens.


Heart-pumping hikes or casual strolls, Ventura is packed with trails ripe for exploring.


Thanks to the efforts of the Ventura Land Trust, Ventura’s outdoor playground now reaches new heights with the opening of Harmon Canyon Preserve. The 2,100 acres of gnarled oaks, downy grasses, and wind-kissed vistas is a pastoral heaven made for play and soul-healing solitude. Hike in Harmon Canyon.

From the crest of some trails, take in stunning vistas of distant mountain ranges and offshore islands. All of this is just a 10-minute drive from Downtown Ventura. Despite its proximity to town, Harmon Canyon is a wild place. You’re likely to see soaring red-tailed hawks, and, if you’re lucky, you might glimpse great horned owls, gray foxes, mule deer, and bobcats.


You could spend weeks exploring Harmon Canyon alone, but you would be remiss to ignore Ventura’s other gems. There’s no better way to get a lay of the land than with a walk through Ventura Botanical Gardens. Just behind City Hall, the Gardens rise along the hillside and have well-groomed trails with ocean views. From your vantage point, gaze upon the toy town buildings of Ventura


below before looking out to the Channel Islands, rising out of the Pacific. The Gardens also offer a lovely wander among some 160-plus plant species from different Mediterranean climate zones, including a small pine and eucalyptus forest. But hiking doesn’t have to be any kind of exercise in observation at all. Ventura has plenty of beaches where you can walk along the Pacific’s edge as the waves thunder and the world falls away. So take a leisurely walk and feel the sand beneath your toes, because sometimes, that’s really all you need.

Find everything you need for every type of adventure at Real Cheap Sports. Located less than two blocks from Patagonia’s downtown Ventura headquarters, this outlet store offers quality products at discounted prices. 42




PAVED PATHS Just away from town, you’ll find road rides and mountain bike trails to challenge every kind of rider. Road cyclists love the Lake Casitas Loop, which begins in Ventura, heads through Ventura Canyon, then circles around the north shore of Lake Casitas before making a steep climb up over Casitas Pass. Your reward? A swooping 2,000-foot descent to the Pacific Ocean. Another fun option, the paved Ojai Valley Trail heads inland from Ventura, all the way to the picturesque town of Ojai. It’s 15 miles one-way (with lovely views of the Los Padres Mountains) with a slight uphill grade, offering what amounts to a long downhill ride back to Ventura.

RUGGED TERRAIN On the mountain bike front — and also just outside of town — Sulphur Mountain Trail offers a long gradual climb and breathtaking views of the Ojai Valley. And all you mountain bikers, don’t forget the aforementioned Harmon Canyon with its ever-expanding bike VisitVenturaCA.com

Getting around on two wheels has never been so fun.

Bike along the promenade.

trails. Trail #103 winds upward until the world becomes wind and sky, with distant views of the Channel Islands and the Santa Monica Mountains.

SANDY PEDALS If you’re with the kids (they’re a great excuse for taking an easy, scenic ride), there’s no better ride than the promenade along the beach. There’s plenty to see, including surfers at Surfer’s Point and a playground at the foot of the Ventura Pier where little ones can run around.


BRING YOUR BIKE: If you’re coming to town via Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, bring your bike for free! Don’t forget to reserve a spot. RENT YOUR BIKE: Ventura Bike Depot offers rentals of all types — electric, cruisers, kids bikes, and more.


One of the beauties of biking is the wellearned excuse to eat.

ALONG THE PROMENADE, head south onto Pierpont Boulevard for frozen yogurt at Surf ’N’ Yogurt. Need to carbo load the night before? Look no further than long-time local Italian favorite, Cafe Fiore. Local cyclists have a pre-ride ritual that begins at Cafe du Suro, a coffee shop that

serves ride-fueling, espresso and French baked goods. And if you ride up to Ojai, grab artisan sammies and salads from Paradise Pantry before you go. Toast your ride when you’re done at Aloha Steakhouse on the Pier where you can watch the sunset. (See p. 63 for more ways to say “Cheers!”)



Ventura skate legend Curren Caples.

H IDD E N IN P LAIN SI G HT Even in the face of mainstream acceptance, skateboarding in Ventura remains an electric, improvisational, sometimes illegal, purely for the love of it underground activity. Today’s skaters do things you have to look three times to believe — skating along building walls, leaping massive staircases — and in Ventura, they often do them out of sight. Yes, there are skateparks here: Hobert Skatepark on the east end of town, Avenue Skatepark (also known as Westpark Skatepark) on the west side of town, and the small Pacific View Skatepark are all gathering spots for swooping, grinding fun. But Ventura’s skaters also improvise, and you might see them anywhere and everywhere.

ALL IN THE DETAILS Every skater needs a board, and Ventura's got plenty.

BOARD DESIGN Cool tricks deserve cool designs. Check out some killer board art from Skate One, Five Points, and Revolution.


Ventura possesses numerous skating claims to fame. Skate One, the outgrowth of the renowned Powell-Peralta brand, is based in Ventura. Parts of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video games feature Skate Street, an indoor Ventura skatepark that’s now defunct. 44

FOR THE PROS One of the world’s premier line of skateboarding products comes from Ventura. Skate One has served skaters of all levels, from first-timers to X Game athletes, since 1976.


Revolution Board Company has it all — boards, wheels, grip tape, helmets, and more — and Five Points Skate/Snowboards shop is another local staple, keeping Ventura’s skaters well stocked.


The surf’s always up along the beautiful sandy shores of Ventura. can give surfing a go. All you have to do is paddle out and find your wave. FIND YOUR WAVE First and foremost, Ventura is a surf town. Always has been, always will be. Why? Because Ventura is home to some of the best and most consistent surf on the planet. And the good news is, anyone

EASY: Mondos Beach is a great spot for beginners, with gentle breaking waves that unfold like soft ribbons. INTERMEDIATE: California Street — better known as C Street — is a great spot for the



But skateboarding for real takes place beneath the talented and gravity-defying feet of Ventura skate legends like Frankie Hill, brothers Mike and Jake Anderson, and Curren Caples. The young Caples epitomizes Ventura’s skate lifestyle. He started at 4 years old, pretty much because he couldn’t stop himself, and hasn’t stopped since. He grew up skating at Westpark Skatepark, and in 2010 he was the youngest athlete to compete in that year’s X Games, where he showcased an effortless, fluid style, performing maneuvers that would give the crew of Jackass hives. But he’s equally apt to show up on a Ventura street corner, having just as much fun.


Grind, carve, and flip your way into Ventura’s skate culture.

outdoors moderate to advanced surfer, and is known for its long rides on perfectly shaped waves. Big winter swells turn C Street into an adrenaline-inducing playground. ADVANCED: Just to the north, Emma Wood State Beach serves up wedgy peaks with quick drops and short, fast rides. Ten minutes further north, there’s Rincon Beach. Rincon’s perfect point break waves peel for so long your legs burn. The catch? Everyone knows this. Don’t paddle out here unless you know what you’re doing.

a celebrity guest at Ventura’s Aloha Beach Festival, and surfing champion Kelly Slater has shown up at Ventura’s Surf Rodeo, a storied local celebration. Musician (and avid surfer) Jack Johnson even took time out to play music for the crowd.


Book a lesson with a local surf pro.

SURFER SIGHTINGS You never know who you’ll see in the water. Some of the best surfers in the world, including Dane Reynolds, Sage Erickson, and Eithan Osborne, have called Ventura home. Gidget has been

WANT TO GET IN ON THE FUN? Looking for a good surf instructor in Ventura is like looking for a dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet. From Mary Osborne Surf Camp to Ventura Makos Surf Camp, you can’t go wrong.

Wheel Fun Rentals Offering a full range of bike and beach rentals, from beach cruisers and kids’ bikes to four-wheel surreys, go-kart inspired specialty cycles, kids’ attachments, boogie boards, beach chairs, umbrellas, and more! Wheel Fun Rentals has eight area locations and everything you need for fun in the sun in Ventura. wheelfunrentals.com/ventura-county e G wheelfunrentalsofficial Ö wheelfunrentals

Grab a board and go.

Ventura Bike Depot GET THE GEAR

At Walden Surfboards, Steve Walden (aka the Father of the Modern Longboard) hand-shapes boards from his downtown Ventura shop. An institution in the local surfing community since 1961, Ventura Surf Shop has new and used custom boards, wetsuits, and rentals. Ventura’s location of Traveler Surf Club & Coastal Outpost offers drop-in day passes for board storage, lockers, showers, dry storage, and more. VisitVenturaCA.com

This full-service bike shop offers rentals, repairs, and all the gear for a great ride. Choose from road, mountain, or electric assist bicycles for your leisurely beachside cruise or more adventurous spin. venturabikedepot.com e venturabikedepot G Ö vtabikedepot



hot list


hot list

The best surfer is the one having the most fun. And in Ventura, there’s lots of fun to be had.


Written by Ken McAlpine



Pro surfer Dane Reynolds carves it up.

urfers don’t go on and on. “It’s been a great life in a great town,” says local legendary surfboard shaper Steve Walden of Walden Surfboards (aka the Father of the Modern Longboard). Mary Osborne, Ventura native, professional surfer, surf instructor, and environmental champion, is equally succinct: “There’s no place like home,” she says. After their declarations, both Walden and Osborne sit quietly before a smile comes to their faces, long and slow, like dawn spreading itself over waves marching to shore like sequined queens. Ventura has played a big, though quietly understated, role in California’s surfing story. And in this coastal town, some things have changed while some have not. California Street — better known locally as C Street — may be Ventura’s signature surf spot; a peeling point break that, when the waves are good, rivals some of the best surf spots in the world. The legendary Frank Sentes — surfer, raconteur, and philosopher — remembered a C Street far different from the C Street of today, with cars filling the ocean-edge parking lot and surfers filling the water. Sentes surfed C Street in the early 1960s. 48

“You’d walk down to California Street, and there was nothing there,” Sentes recalled. “There was no promenade, just this little two-lane road that went along the coast. You’d get down to the water and just see those empty waves …” Sentes is no longer with us but his laugh still rings across the water, because the best surfer is the one having the most fun. BLAST FROM THE PAST Bill “Blinky” Hubina owns Ventura Surf Shop. He remembers a nomadic time when California surfers — boards strapped atop the car — drove along the coast looking for waves.

“There was no promenade, just this little two-lane road that went along the coast. You’d get down to the water and just see those empty waves …” – Frank Sentes


Surfing has been described as so many things. A lifestyle. An obsession. A former underground culture that’s long gone mainstream. But in the end, it all boils down to one simple thing: a real-life magic carpet ride. And Ventura offers so many spots to hop on that magic carpet.



When it comes to the variety and consistency of waves, few places on the globe rival Ventura.

Surfing legend Steve Walden in his Ventura board shop.


“Surfing in the ’60s, there were only so many spots where people went,” says Hubina. “We surfed Doheny, Dana Point, Swamis, Trestles, Malibu, Hermosa Beach, Rincon, and California Street.” Hubina wears the same contented smile as Walden and Osborne before adding, “But I always had a favorite.” This is possibly why, in 1965, many of the world’s best surfers came to C Street to compete in Tom Morey’s Nose Riding Contest. One of the first professional surf contests held in California, Morey’s contest drew surfing legends like Mickey Munoz, David Nuuhiwa, and The Endless Summer star Robert August. RIDING THE WAVE Ventura’s surf history has been shaped by so many. Some are current surf idols. Dane Reynolds, Eithan Osborne, and Sage Erickson have all called Ventura home. Others are surfers you’ve never heard of but you’d be lucky to know, because their joy is contagious. But the surfers — and they wouldn’t have it any other way — take a far-and-away backseat to the

The waves at C Street.

watery stage. When it comes to the variety and consistency of waves, few places on the globe rival Ventura. There are waves soft as down, and waves that will kick your teeth in. This writer was fortunate to share a friendship with the late local surfing legend Jack Cantrell. Cantrell, like any right-minded surfer, surfed into his eighties, starting his passion in the 1950s when things were very, very different. Remembering those early days, he would simply chuckle and shake his head. “My God,” he said. “I had to look for somebody to surf with.” Change comes to everything. But some of the very special things remain changeless. Yes, there are a lot more surfers in the water these days. But what hasn’t altered is the feeling of a wave rising, paddling and swinging to your feet, wave and heart surging as the world falls away. “There aren’t words,” states Chip “Chipper Bro” Bell. Bell is a Ventura surfing icon for numerous reasons. But perhaps the number one reason is his sheer love for surfing and his ability to spread that love — often in booming fashion. Bell teaches surfing lessons, and many a Ventura surfer has heard the legend’s happy shouts riding across the waves as he hoots his beginners into swells. And as they stand, a mile-wide smile spreads across their faces, their arms flapping about. And when they finally fall, you see them, still with that smile, scrambling back onto the board for another go. Because really, it’s just about fun, Catch a swell as are all the best in Ventura. things in life.


Ventura-based Bureo is on a mission to protect our oceans and eliminate fishing net pollution. Through its innovative process, Bureo (pronounced “boo-ray-o”) collects discarded VisitVenturaCA.com

fishing nets from South American coastal communities, recycles them, and transforms the materials into wearable gear like sunglasses, skateboards, and hats.


The Local Wave Meet the newest faces of surfing, Sage Erickson and Eithan Osborne. By Genevieve Smith

SAGE ERICKSON, 31, is a fearless world champion surfer born and raised in Southern California. She started competing professionally at the age of 14 and has won two U.S. Open titles. Erickson now lives in Ventura and continues to enjoy surfing its challenging waves.

EITHAN OSBORNE is a young Ventura native who spent his childhood surfing local beaches. At just 21, he has competed in surfing competitions around the world with growing fame. Osborne recommends surfing at Emma Wood State Beach, his favorite place in Ventura to ride the waves. 49

Channel Islands National Park is one of the few national parks with built-in capacity limits. It's easy to find your own space here.


channel islands

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Ventura Harbor is the stunning Channel Islands National Park. Discover one of the country’s least explored national parks for an unplugged adventure. WRITTEN BY MARTHA-PAGE ALTHAUS AND LAUREN BONNEY




Since Santa Cruz Island is isolated with limited access — only a few ferries transport visitors daily — reserve boat passage well in advance. Contact Island Packers Cruises for tickets (see p. 56). 52


Richardson Rock



Wilson Rock








Chinese Harbor

San Miguel Passage

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Rosa Island

An ac ap aP as sa ge

San Miguel Island Anacapa Islands

Santa Barbara Island

SAVVY SAILOR: It’s roughly an hour-long boat ride from Ventura Harbor to Santa Cruz Island. Follow these tips to prevent sea sickness. Purchase seasick bands and ginger chews at Island Packers Cruises’ office, just in case. Line up early to ensure a good seat. We recommend the outer upper or lower decks at the back of the boat. Stay in your seat and stare out at the horizon. Don’t walk around or go into any interior spaces on the boat.

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icknamed “the Galápagos of North America,” Channel Islands National Park is made up of five islands that are home to 2,000 plant and animal species — 150 of which are found nowhere else in the world. From north to south lie the isles of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara, each with its own unique history and biodiversity. Santa Cruz Island is the largest and the perfect place for disconnected exploring. From enormous sea caves and crystal-clear tide pools to unspoiled beaches and trails, a day trip to Santa Cruz should not be missed. And as one of the few off-the-grid experiences left nowadays, we promise you won’t mind the lack of cell service one bit. Here’s how you can maximize your day on Santa Cruz Island.

Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales during the crossing.

Disembark at Scorpion Anchorage.

channel islands

Before You Go Make sure to bring these things!



There’s a fine line between overpacking and making sure you’re well prepared. Bring a backpack that has enough space to hold the following:

It’s undeniable: When exploring Santa Cruz Island all day, you’re going to get hungry. So if you are fresh out of PB&J makings, head to any of these purveyors and grab your lunch to go.

• Light, warm layers that are easy to peel off and pack away. • Appropriate shoes for hiking; flat shoes with rubber soles. Leave the heels at home. • A change of clothes for after kayaking or water play.


• Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Even on cloudy days you’ll need it. Island fox.


From unique bird species to curious four-legged critters, plenty of creatures call the island home. Thanks to its isolation, Santa Cruz Island is home to 34 unique animal and bird species found nowhere else on earth. On any given day, you might see a bald eagle, orange-crowned warbler, Peregrine falcon, or island scrub jay — a species endemic to the national park. And if you’re really lucky, VisitVenturaCA.com

the islands have been known to host the rare brown booby. (Yep, that's its actual name.) Back on land, you can’t miss the island fox. Roughly the size of a small house cat, the fox is the main mammal seen on the islands, often wandering around looking to steal snacks from unsuspecting visitors.

• Bottled water and something to eat. There are no restaurants on the island, so bring lunch with you. • A separate trash bag. There are no trash cans on the island, either. • A device with a camera. Trust us, you’re going to want to snap those pics.


• Vons deli (open 7 a.m.-9 p.m.) on Harbor Boulevard can put together a box lunch prior to your departure. Call or go online to place your order, and schedule a pickup for the morning of your trip. • Harbor Cove Cafe (open 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.) in Ventura Harbor puts together Lunch Boxes — which include a sandwich, chips, apple, water, and a cookie — for island explorers. Order online or call ahead. • Ventura Harbor’s Boatyard Pub is known for its seafood specials, (open 7:30 a.m-9 p.m.), but also offers its menu to-go. A sandwich or breakfast burrito makes an easy island lunch.

If you forgot your bag at home, check out the well-stocked backpack wall at Real Cheap Sports in Downtown Ventura.


channel islands STAY A WHILE Fancy an overnighter? Santa Cruz Island has a 31-site campground tucked into a valley shaded by towering eucalyptus trees. But just like ferry rides, campsites fill up fast, so book your stay early.

Kayak around Santa Cruz Island.

Paddling Out

Book a guided sea kayak tour with Channel Islands Adventure Company for a chance to explore the craggy coastline like never before. From one of the largest and deepest sea caves in the world to narrow chutes just wide enough for one kayak, sea caving is a must while you’re on the island. We chatted with Channel Islands Adventure Company’s Will Adams for some tips on your next adventure.


Read your itinerary and pack smart. Your Channel Islands Adventure Company booking confirmation will include a ton of important guidance on visiting the islands and kayaking sea caves, including what to bring and wear.


Have any questions? Call (805) 884-9283 to speak with the team. The friendly staff is available from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week, and are always happy to provide suggestions and answer any questions that you have about your Channel Islands sea cave kayak trip.


Don’t just bring sunscreen — use it! And reapply hourly regardless of the weather.



Santa Cruz Island has a series of sea caves that are ripe for exploration.


On the eastern side of Santa Cruz Island, pick the path that’s right for you. With loads of trails just a short walk from the dock, all you have to decide is which path to traverse. There are few shady trails on the island, so don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and water.

EASY: A flat, half-mile stroll from

Scorpion Anchorage is Scorpion

Get up close to kelp forests while kayaking. e islandkayaking; @donofhern

Ranch — a settlement dating to the late 1800s that features a blacksmith shop, old farm tools, and visitor center.

MODERATE: For sweeping ocean vistas and blue as far as the eye can see, the two-mile Cavern Point Loop is not to be missed. A great spot for whale watching,

CAN’T KELP MYSELF Did you know that roughly one third of Southern California’s kelp forests are found within the Channel Islands National Park? It’s true! Thanks to the combo of both cold and warm ocean waters, kelp and seaweed thrive here and support an abundant, diverse array of sea life. You might glimpse sea otters, sunflower stars, harbor seals, and more.

as well as views of Santa Cruz’s neighbors to the north and south, this loop trail is breathtaking. To avoid a steep climb, hike clockwise from the campground (near site #22) before looping back to the beach. Or continue west along the North Bluff Trail for two miles out to Potato Harbor. Another trail offering coastal views, Potato Harbor ends rather abruptly at a sheer drop off. There is no beach access, so leave the fishing poles and snorkels behind.

STRENUOUS: For an epic all-day trek, head southwest towards Smugglers Cove. The 7.5-mile round trip trail follows Smugglers Road the entire way, leading down to the beach at Smugglers Cove. There are no water refill stations here, so bring enough water.

HOT TIP Grab a free National Park Service map of the Channel Islands at the Island Packers office prior to your trip.

channel islands Hike Santa Cruz for sweeping views.



channel islands

On the Boat Island Packers is the authorized concessioner for transportation to Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel Islands. Arrange for your day trip, half-day wildlife cruise, kayaking, or whale watching trip. Create your Channel Islands National Park adventure! islandpackers.com

Amazing Aquatic Adventures Complete your trip to Channel Islands National Park by booking a kayak or snorkel tour with Channel Islands Adventure Company. Experience the rush of maneuvering through craggy sea caves then look down in wonder as you paddle over kelp forests, home to some of the world’s most dense populations of marine life. Bonus: Friendly, knowledgeable tour guides lead every step of the way. islandkayaking.com e islandkayaking G ciadventure


hot list

Find creativity at every turn in Ventura.


Written by Jessie Ammons Rumbley

Local artist Evan Mendel (@awonderfulmistake) poses with his mural “California Dreaming,” located at 470 E. Thompson Blvd.



Murals and More Artists have flocked to Ventura for decades — creative thinkers who find inspiration in the friendly vibe, scenery, and easygoing aesthetic. But don’t take our word for it, see for yourself.

PALETTES & PICS Beyond murals, art lovers of every kind will get their fix, from photography to painting to community classes. A well-rounded tour of the arts should include the Vita Art Center, Museum of Ventura County, Bell Arts Factory, H Gallery, Stoneworks Studios and Gallery, Latitudes Gallery, and Red Brick Art, to name a few. RHYTHM & TUNES If music is more your jam, Ventura’s live music scene is alive and well. On any given night, you might discover a talented rookie or take in a seasoned star. Check out Ventura Harbor Comedy Club, Bombay Bar and Grill, Grapes & Hops With a Twist, Star Lounge, and Winchesters Grill & Saloon, or catch a concert at The Majestic Ventura Theater. VENTURA’S MURALS Take a stroll (or spin, or drive) around town and you can’t help but notice that there is art around every corner — literally. Murals big and small show that this is a city of beautiful discoveries. From funky to inspiring, Ventura’s street art reflects both the town’s past and future. Case in point: The illustrated history of Ventura in front of the San Buenaventura Mission by artist Michael O’Kelly, the China Alley Memorial mural by Qi Pang and Guo Song Yun, and the Tortilla Flats Mural by MB Hanrahan and Moses Mora all celebrate the city’s melting-pot foundations. And that’s not all. More murals show up everyday with artists using unique canvases such as electric boxes, bus stops, and bike racks. Don’t miss the side of the U.S. Post Office on E. Santa Clara Street, the tiled creations at Ventura Harbor Village, and vibrant scenes along Ventura Avenue. There’s no shortage of joyful, thoughtful, and unconventional displays of the spirit of Ventura. 58

STAG MANDALA 828 E. Main St.; Artist: Chris Saunders/@chrissaundersart

AMARTERASU 654 E. Main St.; Artist: Chris Saunders/@chrissaundersart; Magdalana Noriega/@_.the.adventurist._

POLLINATOR SERIES: BUMBLE BEES, BUTTERFLIES 29 W. Mission St.; Artist: Lisa Kelly/@lisakellymurals; Lisa Kelly

WESTSIDE WONDERS, 330 W. Park Row Ave.; Artist: Andrew Rodriguez/@fischerrman; Andrew Rodriguez

AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIES OF VENTURA San Buenaventura Post Office, 675 E. Santa Clara St.; Artist: Gordon K. Grant


IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT THEM Rincon Brewery Ventura, 4100 Telegraph Rd.; Artist:Ruben Rojas/@rubenrojas

HAVANA TO VENTURA W. Main Street, between Ventura Avenue and S. Olive Street; Artists: Pablo Pulido and MB Hanrahan; @mbhuniverse

STAMP CO. MURAL 1754 E. Main St.; Artist: Evan Mendel/@awonderfulmistake; fresh_world_press


Meet the Artist

Ventura-based artist Andrew Rodriguez has made his mark with murals all over town.

On getting back to basics: “I start with a pencil and piece of paper to get a basic sketch out. It’s very much a process from there. When I get to the painting stage, that’s when I’m in my element and I feel my best.” VENTURA HISTORIC MURAL; Mission San Buenaventura, 211 E. Main St.; Artist: Michael O’Kelly; Ceramicist: Juan Aguirre/@jeojessi6

On inspiration: “I find inspiration in the surf, the landscape, the people, and the culture of Ventura." On his favorite view: “If you’re driving into Ventura on Harbor Boulevard toward Midtown, it’s beautiful. During sunset, it’s especially incredible. The colors that we live amongst every day are pretty amazing.” On tacos: “I love the Mexican food here. Ventura has some of the best tacos around.”

GOOD VIBES Ventura Harbor Village; Artist: Andrew Rodriguez/@fischerrman; Roland Stone VisitVenturaCA.com

TRADICION UNIVERSAL OR OAXACA TO VENTURA 407 N. Ventura Ave.; Artist: MB Hanrahan/@mbhuniverse; MB Hanrahan

On creative mantras: “I aspire to bring the light and share joy through my artwork. But I also always say, ‘Don’t take life too seriously.’” See Rodriguez’s latest designs: e @fischerrman 59


Sacred Space Mission Basilica San Buenaventura offers an oasis in the historic district with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. Founded in 1782, the Old Mission is the last of nine missions founded by St. Junipero Serra. Today, the church remains an active Catholic parish. Lovely gardens, a museum and gift shop, and sacred art, including a statue of Michelangelo’s Pietà endorsed by the Vatican, evoke reflection and serenity. Open daily for tours; check website for Mass schedule. sanbuenaventuramission.org | G sanbuenaventuramission

Preserving a Legacy The Reagan Library offers a fascinating look at President Reagan and pivotal moments in American history. Tour an actual Air Force One plane and a Marine One helicopter, and marvel at an F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter and Abrams M1 battle tank at the Peace through Strength Pavilion. The Nancy Reagan Centennial Celebration (through July 2022) honors the First Lady, and a special WWII exhibit runs February through August 2022. reaganlibrary.com | e ú reaganfoundation | G Ö ronaldreagan 60

Past Meets Present

CELEBRATING THE HISTORY, ART, AND CULTURE OF VENTURA COUNTY The Museum of Ventura County has a longstanding tradition of preserving the past for the sake of the future. Several new exhibits continue making art and history accessible for the community. The “Arte Para la Gente” retrospective features the works of Chicana artist Margaret Garcia. Don’t miss the “Echoes of a Recent History” sculpture and garden installation in Ventura, the Dios de los Muertos altars in Ventura and Santa Paula, and the Chumash Village in the Children’s Garden. Highlights at the Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula include an interactive farmers market and edible garden, while the “Tomols to Trains” exhibit explores how towns and cities have evolved. The Albinger Archeological Museum in downtown Ventura, along with programs, special events, and virtual exhibits, round out the museum’s extensive community offerings. venturamuseum.org G e museumofventuracounty Ö museumventuraco





For two decades, Ventura’s premiere professional theatre company has become an international destination for arts lovers. Acclaimed artists from all over the world have graced the Rubicon Theatre Company stage, including Tony, Olivier, Oscar, and Ariel Award winners. And because of Ventura’s proximity to Hollywood, visitors may also see actors from television and film who love the theatre’s commitment to world-class artistry and small-town hospitality. The intimate 180-seat venue puts you close to the action in a former historic church built in the 1920s, notable for its blend of Mission Revival and Moorish architecture accented by exquisite works by contemporary California artists. Rubicon offers a diverse program of comedies, dramas, and musicals, including world premieres. Four Rubicon productions have transferred to New York in recent years. Rubicon has won the New York Drama Desk Award, the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for Sustained Excellence, the NAACP, and numerous Ovation Awards. rubicontheatre.org | G e Ö rubicontheatre 62

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Downtown Ventura is home to several craft breweries, and they’re nearly all within walking distance. We’ll raise a glass to that. Written by Megan Murai

Beer at Topa Topa Brewing Co. VisitVenturaCA.com


Enjoy a brew with an ocean view at MadeWest Brewing on the Ventura Pier.

Topa Topa Brewing Co., E. Thompson Blvd. MadeWest Brewing Company/ Ventura Pier 101




MadeWest Brewing Company, Donlon St. Seaward Brewing, Goodyear Ave. Topa Topa Brewing Co., Colt St. Poseidon Brewing Company, Olivas Park Dr.

Fancy a Beer Crawl? Topa Topa and MadeWest Brewing both have secondary taprooms (on Colt and Donlon Streets) that, when combined with Seaward and Poseidon Brewing, make for a convenient brew loop just east of Downtown. Cheers! 64

TOPA TOPA BREWING CO. Perfectly located between the beach and the buzz of Main Street, the original Topa Topa Brewing Co.’s small-but-mighty taproom has a great outdoor space, and is the perfect spot to grab a pint. Known for its dedication to the environment as a 1% for the Planet business and support of the local outdoor-loving community, Topa Topa is a trailblazer in the local craft brew scene.

outdoor bar, lots of picnic table seating, and rotating food trucks, it’s a great spot to grab a bite and a flight. Try this: Notes of brown sugar, cacao, and candied orange shine in the Black Hop Down American stout.

Try this: Chief Peak IPA — a piney, hop-forward beer with a great tropical finish. VENTURA COAST BREWING COMPANY In the heart of downtown, stroll into the welcoming and spacious Ventura Coast Brewery. The diverse menu has a beer for everyone, especially with the “Tap 9” — a weekly rotating beer released each Thursday. With a newly built

Poseidon Brewing Company.

WHAT’S BREWING IN VENTURA? BEER NEWS & OTHER TIPS • Stay tuned for the open ing of Bright Spark Brew ery, coming Spring 2022. • Anacapa Brewing's light and hoppy Pier pont IPA is a fan-favorite. • Not sure what to order? Ask your beer- tender.


got its start in 2000 when Anacapa Brewing Company opened its doors and began pouring thirst-quenching pints of ale and lager. Since then, Ventura has put itself on the map as a top destination for the craft brew connoisseur with eight (and counting!) breweries slinging fresh pints around town.


Beer Talk

Meet Jack Dyer, co-founder and CEO of Topa Topa Brewing Co. It’s 4 p.m. on Friday in Ventura. Where should we be? JACK DYER: On our downtown patio on Thompson Street. Fridays on the patio always feel like a celebration of

Ventura, and how lucky we are to live in such a rad place! How did you choose Ventura for Topa Topa’s HQ? JD: We started our company in Ventura at our downtown location on Thompson. Despite our growth, it will always feel like home. When our production needs outpaced the capabilities

MADEWEST BREWING COMPANY This oceanfront taproom, located on Ventura Pier, is an ideal setting to sip all-around tasty beers with a bird’s-eye view of beachgoers and surfers at the city's iconic point break. Try this: The aptly named Ventura Light lager, plus tacos from nearby Beach House Fish, is a crisp combo.


TRANSMISSION BREWING If you have a hankering for a cheesy slice of pizza paired with a pint, Transmission Brewing has you covered. Located on the other side of the 101, this modern, industrial spot shares a space with Toppers Pizza Place. Try this: A favorite among Transmission’s crew, Downshift is a German-style pilsner that’s light and crisp.

of our original location on Thompson, we were thrilled to find a new home on Colt Street for our expanded production facility. Fun fact: This new facility was the former distribution warehouse for Patagonia, our good friends and company inspiration. What’s your go-to beer? JD: Chief Peak. I’m

SEAWARD BREWING Seaward Brewing is one of the newest breweries in town and is worth a visit. Founded by a local Venturan in 2019, the taproom is named after Seaward Avenue — the stretch of road that runs from Midtown to the Pacific — and plays up those SoCal vibes.

obsessed with this beer. It’s a bright, fresh, West Coast IPA with notes of tropical, dank, and citrus. Is there a spirit of community among Ventura’s brewers? JD: The beer scene in Ventura is incredible, and many of the breweries in town are some of our closest friends. Brewers are

POSEIDON BREWING COMPANY Poseidon Brewing Company is a forerunner of craft breweries in Ventura and the brewery continues to turn out excellent beers. The tasting room, known as “Davy Jones Locker,” is a cozy and fun ode to its nautical theme (think

constantly sharing ideas and challenging one another to get better, leading to more great beer in our region. Every brewer would say more good beer is a good thing!

old diving helmets above the bar and a map of where to find sea monsters out on the water). Try this: The Grapefruit IPA is made with fresh grapefruit zest from a nearby farm in Santa Paula.

Try this: Cali Calling is a well-balanced West Coast double IPA that uses Mosaic, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops for a huge tropical aroma. LEASHLESS BREWING This certified-organic spot offers live music on weekends, more than 10 beers on tap (some of which are glutenreduced), and Gio’s Tacos & Burritos food truck on-site. Try this: The Belgian-style Cheater 5 Pilsner may be low on gluten, but it's big on flavor.

Topa Topa Brewing Co. Enjoy good vibes and great beer at our headquarters and beer garden on Colt Street, or at our downtown taproom and patio on Thompson Street, just steps from the iconic C Street surf. Check out our website and social media feeds for food truck schedules, events, live music, and more! topatopa.beer e G topatopabrewingco



hot list

YOUR WAY From just-shucked oysters to gardenfresh cocktails (and everything in between), here’s where to eat in Ventura. Written by Martha-Page Althaus

Jolly Oyster Shuck Shack.


hot list




The Jolly Oyster Shuck Shack.



BRUNCHIN’ & LUNCHIN’ IMMIGRANT SON CAFFÉ A warm, inviting place to start the day. Go big: The breakfast lasagna is made with a béchamel marinara, salty prosciutto, and topped with a fried egg. immigrant-son.com PARADISE PANTRY The Sunday breakfast is a local fave (hello, breakfast bruschetta!), but any day is a good day for Paradise Pantry’s fresh sandwiches and salads. paradisepantry.com CAFÉ NOUVEAU Sit on the patio of this renovated 1920s bungalow, and fuel up for the day with huevos rancheros or specialty pancakes, like a stack of macadamia and toasted coconut flapjacks with homemade vanilla-caramel syrup. cafenouveau.net HARVEST CAFE Smoothies, protein-packed bowls, vegan waffles, house-made nut butter toast, and more — everything on this vegetarian menu is made with organic, locally grown ingredients. harvestcafeventura.com PETE’S BREAKFAST HOUSE This long-running Midtown staple serves breakfast all day, with lunch service starting at 11 a.m. Try the famous pancake roll with yogurt and granola. petesbreakfasthouse.com PEIRANO’S This Italian gourmet market is a great option for graband-go lunch. Pick up a few sandwiches or salads for a beach picnic. peiranosmarket.com

Immigrant Son Caffé.

Rumfish y Vino.

FRESH CATCH THE JOLLY OYSTER SHUCK SHACK Here on the weekend? The Jolly Oyster is an absolute must. Head to San Buenaventura State Beach Park for shuck-your-own oysters overlooking the Pacific. There’s also a prepared menu — grilled oysters served Jolly-style (with white wine, parmesan, and thyme), fried oyster tacos, and ceviches. thejollyoyster.com BROPHY BROS. Come for the clam chowder (or the fried calamari, or the fish and chips, or the crab cakes), stay for the views of Ventura Harbor. brophybrosventura.com RUMFISH Y VINO The fresh flavors of Belize, minus the flight. Sit on the pergola-covered patio and indulge in fresh seafood, Central American-style: conch fritters, yellowtail tacos, Peruvian ceviche, sea bass with lobster-coconut sauce and plantains. Tip: Don’t miss the daily happy hour! rumfishyvinoventura.com ANDRIA’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT AND MARKET This family-owned spot in Ventura Harbor Village serves seafood any way you like it — deep fried, charbroiled, sauteed — plus excellent fish and chips. andriasseafood.com

Fiesta Time Salsa, flautas, and tortas — oh, my!

For all your authentic Mexican favorites, from fajitas to tacos to tostadas, check out Yolanda’s Mexican Cafe (yolandas mexicancafe.com) or Casa de Soria (casadesoria.com). For street tacos and tortas, grab a quick bite at Cuernavaca Taqueria (cuernava ca-taqueria.com). And in the heart of downtown, Limón y Sal (limonysal ventura.com) serves shareable platters of Mexican food alongside equally huge margaritas. Did someone say, “tacos”? Turn to p. 28.


SPENCER MAKENZIE’S This fast-casual spot has some of the best fish tacos around. They’re served grilled or tempura-style, topped with cabbage, cilantro, bell peppers, and a signature sauce. Order two! spencermakenzies.com WATER’S EDGE Enjoy water views from every table — you’re likely to spot the boat that your fresh catch came in on. watersedgeventura.com VisitVenturaCA.com


Salud to good times in Ventura. @yolandas mexicancafe 69


LOCAL FAVES DUKE’S GRIDDLE ’N’ GRILL Just a few steps from the sand, Duke’s is exactly what you want after a day on the beach — burgers, sandwiches, hotdogs, and cold beer. bitchinburgers.com

Fresh veggies, seafood, and more.

Get ready to fill those reusable bags at Saturday’s downtown Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market (vccfm. org). It’s a feast for all senses with fresh local produce, baked goods, flowers, honey, and more. Over at the Harbor, the Saturday Fisherman’s Market (venturaharbor.com) showcases what local commercial fishermen have pulled in. Expect to see halibut, ahi, squid, and prawn.

FLUID STATE BEER GARDEN Grab a table outside, order the seriously inventive sourdough pizza and a local brew, and people watch on Main Street. fluidstatebeer.com RICE BY MAMA Some of the best Thai food around is served at this family-owned downtown spot. You’ll find all the classics, plus house specials like mango curry. ricebymamaventura.com WINCHESTERS GRILL & SALOON Live music, outdoor dining, and happy hour specials Tuesday to Friday make this a downtown favorite. winchestersgrill.com CORRALES MEXICAN FOOD Corrales is a family-owned and -operated Ventura institution that’s been serving its legendary burritos since 1974. Try the breakfast burrito (served all day). facebook.com/corrales2go ALOHA STEAKHOUSE Seafood and steaks just steps from Ventura Pier. Tip: Come before sunset and sit on the outdoor patio. alohasteakhouse.com



CHEERS ROCKS & DRAMS The vibe here is decidedly cozy-chic, and the cocktails, made with locally-sourced ingredients, are ridiculously good. Try the strawberry-watermelon spritz, a refreshing spin on a classic. rocksanddrams.com BANK OF ITALY COCKTAIL TRUST Italy meets SoCal in a historic Downtown former bank building. Sip an Italian-inspired cocktail, like a negroni or spritz, which pairs well with flavorful dishes like meatballs and stuffed mushrooms. bankofitalycocktails.com DEEP SEA WINERY TASTING ROOM A glass of crisp rosé always pairs well with a Harbor view. This new spot in Ventura Harbor Village pours Conway Family Wines, sourced from nearby Santa Barbara County vineyards. conwayfamilywines.com GRAPES & HOPS WITH A TWIST Located on the site of Ventura’s first bar, speakeasy vibes abound at Grapes & Hops with a Twist. Sip a French 75, nibble a cheese plate, and be transported back to another time. grapesandhops.org

Go ahead, treat yourself.

Satisfy those cravings in Ventura Harbor Village: Customize your own bar at Top This Chocolate (topthischocolate.com), find cupcakes in every flavor at Sugar Lab Bake Shop (sugarlabbakeshop.com), or cool off with a fishzookie cone of ice cream at Coastal Cone (coastalcone.com). In Midtown, the ice cream and hand-painted bonbons at Ex Voto Chocolates are almost too pretty to eat. (exvotochocolates.com). At Missy’s Cupcake Creations, cases are stocked with fresh-baked pastries and vegan desserts. Step back into the 1950s at Busy Bee Cafe for malts and milkshakes (busybee.cafe), or indulge with a scoop of gelato at Palermo (palermocoffee.com).

Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust.

VENTURA SPIRITS Inspired by and distilled with local ingredients from the Central Coast, Ventura Spirits’ Wilder gin, limoncello, and prickly pear brandy are staples in any well-stocked bar. Book a distillery tour and tasting, and take home a bottle (or two) to keep the Ventura-inspired cocktails flowing. Tip: Try the canned cocktails, like the Angeleno Spritz, for an instant dose of summer. venturaspirits.com Ex Voto Chocolates.


Market Day

Get your Thai food fix at Rice By Mama.




Yolanda’s Mexican Cafe

Winchesters Grill & Saloon

Savor authentic Mexican dishes and a fun, festive atmosphere at Yolanda’s Mexican Cafe’s four locations in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, and Simi Valley. Sample tasty drinks and appetizer specials during happy hour every Monday through Friday from 3–6 p.m. (bar and patio areas only).

Good food, good drinks, good times! Winchesters Grill & Saloon is known for hearty burgers, steaks, and salads. Find 40 beers on tap plus top-shelf whiskeys and craft cocktails. Enjoy a meal, live music, and happy hour on the covered outdoor patios.

yolandasmexicancafe.com e G yolandasmexicancafe

winchestersgrill.com G e winchestersgrill | Ö winchestersgril

The Perfect Pairings Paradise Pantry serves the neighborhood a great restaurant, an acclaimed cheese counter, and a remarkable wine shop. Co-owner and Chef Kelly Briglio uses the bounty of the Central Coast to create menus that delight every palate and pair well with co-owner Tina Thayer’s curated wine list. Begin with a cheese plate and end with a satisfying dessert. Dine on the patio or inside, or order take-out. Don’t miss shopping next door in the Paradise Pantry Artisan Market. paradisepantry.com e paradisepantrymarket G paradise pantry


Dinner and a View

FINE DINING AND OCEAN VIEWS ON TAP AT ALOHA STEAKHOUSE As Ventura’s only beachfront steakhouse, Aloha Steakhouse is a must when visiting. It’s located just a few yards from the ocean and Ventura Pier. Inside, the Aloha vibes continue. Teak wooden chandeliers and local ocean artwork fill the space, and there’s no bad seat anywhere — you can see the ocean from the entire restaurant. Every item on the menu is made from scratch, down to the hand-cut steaks and seafood. Try the seared ahi with ginger-soy butter or make a big impression with the table-side seared filet. Time your reservation to sunset and snag a table on one of the outdoor patios. It’s a spectacular way to finish a day in Ventura. alohasteakhouse.com e alohasteakhouse G aloha.steakhouse



Vacay Vibes

IT’S WHAT YOU’LL FIND AT RUMFISH Y VINO Local restaurateurs John and Pam Solomon opened the original Rumfish Y Vino in Belize, but Ventura’s relaxed beach vibe made it a natural spot to open a second location. A meal here is like a getaway to a tropical island (without the flight!). Sit outside on the charming patio under a canopy of lemon trees and twinkling lights. The menu sources fresh, sustainable ingredients from around Ventura County in Central American-inspired dishes. Start with Peruvian ceviche and plantain chips; signature entrees include Creole seabass and Caribbean fish stew. For dessert, the chocolatehabanero cannoli is a sweet-yet-spicy way to end the evening. From the first sip to the last bite, a meal at Rumfish puts you in instant vacay mode. rumfishyvinoventura.com e rumfishyvino G rumfish y vino


the visit LIVING HERE : 76 | GET T I NG H ER E : 7 8 | C A L ENDA R : 7 9 | L A S T S TOP: 8 0

Unwind in Ventura. VisitVenturaCA.com


relocate The early bird catches the wave.

Work hard, play well — it's the Ventura way. It’s a common scene for many long-time Ventura visitors. That last sunset over the ocean on the last night of vacation leaves you thinking, “I could live here.” Inspired by the city’s laid-back vibe, pristine beaches, lively Downtown, and variety of real estate, many have made a permanent move to the area. Here, it’s easy to strike the right balance between work and play. Imagine waking up with a walk on the sand or an early-morning surf sesh, then heading back to your home office to start the work day. When the clock strikes five, a quick jaunt puts you in the middle of a walkable Downtown with dozens of locally owned breweries and restaurants. Now that’s the good life. 76

Take It Home Our favorite local shops for a piece of Ventura — no matter where you live.

PLUM GIFT BOUTIQUE shopplumgifts.com ECUGREEN ecugreen.com PASSPORT HABITS passporthabits.com

FINDINGS MARKET findingsmarket.co FIDDLE & FERN fiddleandfern.net VENTURA VISITOR CENTER visitventuraca.com


That Ventura Lifestyle




The Fred Evans Team has helped more than 3,000 clients buy or sell properties in Ventura County since 1985. Fred Evans attributes this success to the group’s high ethical standards, referrals from previous satisfied clients, and exceptional listings marketing and promotion. As co-founder of RE/MAX Gold Coast, Fred Evans was recently honored with the Luminary of Distinction award from RE/MAX corporate. This exclusive award represents the highest level of achievement in all of RE/MAX. The Fred Evans Team of licensed professionals includes sales associates Tori Pearson, Maggie Bird, Paul Collins, Judy Asberry (Spanish-speaking transaction coordinator and agent), and Editha Colitti (office manager and agent). For buyers or sellers, The Fred Evans Team is the right choice. Contact the professional team for all your real estate needs at fred@fredevans.com. Learn more about Fred Evans and see current listings at fredevans.com. G FredEvansTeam | Ö fredevansrealty DRE# 00893591 VisitVenturaCA.com



travel tips ROAD TUNES

Road trips guarantee good memories.

Now Playing Every great adventure deserves an equally awesome playlist. Load up your device with a few tracks from musical Ventura County natives, as well as some beach classics.

12. Octopus’s Garden The Beatles

2. Playinwitme KYLE (feat. Kehlani)

13. Island In The Sun Weezer

3. Summertime Soul KYLE

14. Soak Up the Sun Sheryl Crow

4. Mr. Pinstripe Suit Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

15. California Gurls Katy Perry (feat. Snoop Dogg)

5. Make It Better Anderson .Paak (feat. Smokey Robinson)

16. Knee Deep Zac Brown Band (feat. Jimmy Buffett)

6. Surfin’ U.S.A. Beach Boys

17. Surf City Jan & Dean

7. California Soul Marlena Shaw

18. Sea and Sand The Who

8. California Dreamin’ The Mamas & The Papas

19. Californication Red Hot Chili Peppers

9. Going to California Led Zeppelin

20. Queen of California John Mayer

10. Hotel California Eagles

21. Beyond the Sea Bobby Darin

11. Only the Ocean Jack Johnson

22. At the Beach The Avett Brothers


Getting Here Whether you prefer planes, trains, or automobiles, getting to Ventura is easy. So what are you waiting for? FLY Ventura is a straight shot from three airports. Just 60 miles south, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a popular gateway for nonstop flights. Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) is a small, compact facility and is a great launch point roughly 70 miles south of Ventura along US-101. Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) is 30 miles north via California’s iconic Highway 1. RIDE Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner is a great way to get to town. Connecting cities from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, the train conveniently stops right downtown. (It also has a station at

Burbank airport, an easy connection for travelers.) And since Ventura is fantastically walkable, with hotels, restaurants, theaters, beaches, and historic sites within a 10-block radius of downtown, when you arrive you’re pretty much all set. DRIVE Ventura is the perfect place for an overnight stop on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip. If you’re flying in, rent a car for the duration of your trip, or book a seat with a shuttle service, such as Roadrunner, Smart Shuttle, and Ventura County Airporter, from all three airports. Whether you’re driving your own car or using a rental, Ventura is an easy-to-navigate city with ample parking.


1. Ventura Highway America

events Tequila & Taco Music Festival.

2022 CALENDAR OF EVENTS Event dates are subject to change. Be sure to check out VisitVenturaCA.com/events for the latest information and additional offerings. FEBRUARY • Tall Ships Visit Ventura Harbor

venturaharborvillage.com • Ventura Marathon

JUNE • Ventura Harbor Pirate Day

• Downtown Costume Contest & Trick-or-Treat





• 4th of July Street Fair

• Ventura County Farm Day

• St. Patrick’s Day Parade




• Surf Rodeo

venturamarathon.com MARCH • Mermaid Month


APRIL • Spring Wine Walk

springwinewalk.com MAY • Mom’s Day Run

vhl.org/mdr • California Strawberry Festival




• Tequila & Taco Music Festival

• Holiday Tree Lighting



AUGUST • Ventura County Fair

venturacountyfair.org • The Throw Down Cornhole Tournament


• Winter Wine Walk

venturawinterwinewalk.com • Ventura Harbor Holiday Parade of Lights venturaharborvillage.com • Ventura Harbor Winter Wonderland venturaharborvillage.com

SEPTEMBER • Aloha Beach Festival

alohabeachfestival.us • Artwalk Ventura

artwalkventura.org • Boots & Brews Country Music Festival

bootsandbrews.com OCTOBER • Ventura Harvest Festival

harvestfestival.com • Ventura Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Festival

• Pier Under the Stars



• Mountains to Beach Marathon

• Howl-o-ween Dog Costume Contest




An Org We

Dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans and beaches, Surfrider Foundation works to reduce plastic pollution to ensure the health and sustainability of our waters. The Hold On To Your Butt (#HOTYB) program raises awareness around the environmental impact of cigarette butt litter, and sets up Community Ash Cans to collect cigarette butts, before turning them into park benches. 79

last stop

Perhaps there's no better place that highlights Ventura's vibe quite like Tony’s Pizzaria. Family owned and operated since 1959, this laid-back surfer joint is a must-stop following a day in the water. (Psst: Go for a slice of the Hawaiian.) 80


Last Stop


Charming Coastal Connection

A RECENT RENOVATION ELEVATES THE PEACEFUL ENERGY OF VENTURA BEACH MARRIOTT Empower the mind with Ventura Beach Marriott’s fresh new spaces, inspiring décor, and thoughtful amenities. A contemporary complement to Ventura’s small-town vibe, the hotel fosters a natural Central Coast immersion, with limitless ways to explore all that Ventura has to offer. After a day at the beach or exploring Downtown, grab a bite to eat in the hotel’s restaurant, The Channel, featuring a fresh, seasonal menu and locally crafted beer, wine, and spirits. Here, along a 10-mile stretch of shimmering Pacific coast, discover the perfect place to escape, reflect, and connect. With technology. With nature. With family and friends. marriottventurabeach.com Ö vbmarriott G ventura beach marriott e venturabeachmarriott