2023 Ventura Inspiration Guide

Page 1

INSPIRATION GUIDE

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! vta.cool/marriott

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. holidayinnexpress.com/venturaca

Holiday
Inn Express & Suites Ventura Harbor Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort Down by the Water WALK TO THE HARBOR FROM THESE TWO HOTELS.

California’s Seaside Lifestyle

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 beachwear 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

SOAK UP THE SUN AND FUN AT VENTURA HARBOR VILLAGE.
eGÖ @venturaharbor

Sunshine and Good Vibes

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.

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

2
VENTURA COUNTY COAST IS AN OASIS OF FUN.
e G Ê @venturacountycoast Ö @visitvccoast
Channel Islands National Park Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard Camarillo Premium Outlets

Inspiration Guide 68

THE VIEW

8 Where to Stay

Check in, unpack, and unwind, it’s vacation time.

10 You Are Here

Get the lay of the land with a map of Ventura.

12 Welcome to Ventura Discover the city’s unique vibe, block by block.

14 Downtown Shop, eat, and stroll Ventura’s easily walkable Downtown.

24 Ventura Harbor Village

Waterfront dining and shopping await in the Village.

THE VIBE

32 Surf History

Discover Ventura’s rad surfing history.

34 A Greener Future

Learn about the area’s sustainability efforts.

38 Sand, Sun, and Surf

A roundup of Ventura’s best beaches.

42 Play in Paradise Hiking, biking, surfing, and more.

48 Channel Islands

The ultimate guide to Channel Islands National Park.

54 Made in Ventura Meet the makers and artisans crafting unique goods.

32 The history of CA surfing begins in Ventura!

57 Arts & Culture

The city is alive with vibrant colors and music.

62 Where to Eat Best bets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

68 Where to Drink

Sip your way through the drink scene.

THE VISIT

76 Living Here

Ready to make a move?

78 Getting Here

However you arrive, getting to Ventura is easy.

79 Calendar

Check out some annual events.

80 Last Look

The best way to wrap up your road trip.

54 Buy a reusable water bottle at the Visitor Center!

Pup-friendly inin Ventura

ON THE COVER

Featuring a vintage drive along Ventura’s coastline, our cover was created by Axana Zasorina. See more of Axana’s work on Instagram @axana.illustration

VisitVenturaCA.com 3 contents

A Very Warm Welcome

There isn’t just one way to describe Ventura. Sure, we have a celebrated surf culture, spectacular beaches, a buzzy Downtown scene, and idyllic harbor setting, but Ventura is so much more — and it’s evident in our vibrant community.

Our community is reflected in Visit Ventura’s brandmark, an ambigram that can be read two different ways. (Flip to the front cover of this magazine — do you see it, too?) This design is a reminder that our different perspectives make us an authentic, welcoming, and inclusive group. We’re a community of environmental activists, creative makers, aspiring athletes, and all-around good neighbors.

Together, we share and enjoy the simple yet special pleasures Ventura has to offer, and we invite everyone to experience these joys, too.

Welcome to Ventura! We’re so glad you’re here.

The Secret Is Out

It’s my pleasure to welcome you to Ventura, a city that opens its arms to all. This is a sentiment I have experienced firsthand, having moved to Ventura over 14 years ago. As soon as I set down roots I couldn’t help but wonder: What took me so long?!

Well, the secret is out on all the wonderful things Ventura has to offer. With our great dining scene, quiet beaches, and friendly locals, I wouldn’t be surprised if you too ask yourself the same question.

For me, a perfect day in Ventura starts with a morning visit to the Ventura Botanical Gardens (p. 21), followed by a quiet afternoon at the beach in Pierpont (p. 38), and finishing with a bike ride at sunset. And of course, dinner somewhere on Main Street and an adult beverage to complete the night (p. 62).

I count myself lucky to call this piece of paradise home and can’t wait for you to experience Ventura.

101 S. California Street, Ventura, CA 93001 805.641.1400 info@VisitVenturaCA.com

PRESIDENT & CEO Marlyss Munguia Auster

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Michele Gilmour

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Mike Laan

VISITOR CENTER MANAGER Michele Foster

OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Terie Nernberg

COMMUNICATIONS & PR COORDINATOR Julie Madsen

VISITOR SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE Aubrey Zambrano

VISITOR SERVICES ASSISTANT Lesa Jensen

PUBLISHED BY

CONTEN T STUDIO

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

MANAGING EDITOR Lauren Bonney

DESIGN DIRECTOR Deanne O’Connor

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Emma Probasco

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Mary-Clifton Everette

CUSTOM CONTENT EDITOR Callie Young Fromson

DESIGNER Lynn Gianiny

COPY EDITOR Leslie Dinaberg

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Olivia Olsen

EDITORIAL INTERN McKenna Hutton

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.

4 welcome
Reforesting MonthlyThrough

MEET THE TEAMTag, We’re It!

Follow us on your favorite social channels @visitventura for the latest happenings, inspiration, and more. And don’t forget to tag #VisitVentura during your stay.

GeÊÐúwk @visitventura

Where to Find Us

Visit Us

For the inside scoop on things to do in Ventura, talk to a pro at our Downtown Visitor Center.

Need directions? Looking for things to do during your trip? 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

Looking for a gift or want something special just for you? Get the goods at our online store.

If you forgot to get a lovely memento of your stay, head to our virtual shop at Shop.VisitVenturaCA.com and have your Ventura memories sent right to your door.

TRAVEL WELL

your part to keep Ventura’s vibe. Respect local business protocols; pack it in, pack it out when visiting our beautiful beaches and trails; pick up after your pooch; and don't forget your reusable water bottles and shopping bags. Happy venturing!

VisitVenturaCA.com 5 TOP: CHRIS MEUGNIOT connect
visitventura Downtown Ventura 2,691 likes TAG US! #VISITVENTURA Online or in person, we’d love to see you!
K EEP VEN T U RA CLEA N
Do
What is something a first-time visitor absolutely must do?
“Head to Ventura Harbor, stroll the promenade, get out on the water, then enjoy seaside eats.” –Marlyss “Try one of the local breweries Downtown. Most have outdoor seating and serve food.” –Mike “Bike the Ventura-to-Ojai paved path, then watch the surfers and kitesurfers at Surfers Point.” –Terie
“Walk down the Ventura Pier and reenact the Paul Dano-Steve Carell scene from Little Miss Sunshine. At the end of the Pier, enjoy endless ocean views.” –Aubrey
“Ventura has a dynamic music and arts scene. See who’s playing at any of our live music venues.” –Lesa
“Hike at Ventura Botanical Gardens to see a diverse mix of plants, plus one of the best coastline views.” –Michele G. “On Saturday mornings, grab a coffee, stroll Main Street near the Mission, and delight in the Downtown farmers’ market.” –Michele F. “Enjoy live music and fish and chips at Ventura Harbor Village. Across the street, end your day with a sunset stroll at Harbor Cove Beach.” Julie

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. Dine on fresh seafood, steaks, and other local fare at Moofish Café, then head to Aqua Beachfront Bar, where cocktails meet sunset for a dreamy seaside evening.

6
cpventura.com e @crowneplazaventura e @crowneplazaventurabeachwedding G @crowneplazaventurabeach

the view

VisitVenturaCA.com
STAY AWHILE: 8 | MAP: 10 | NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE: 12 Downtown: 14 • Midtown: 19 • The Avenue: 20 • Hillside: 21 South Seaward-Pierpont: 22 • Ventura Harbor Village: 24 7 SUZANNE OLAYBAL Your pathway to making memories

BRING THE PUP!

Your dog would enjoy a beach road trip! Choose a pet-friendly hotel like Crowne Plaza, Ventura Beach Marriott, and Four Points by Sheraton.

Stay Awhile

Affordable accommodations within walking distance of Downtown and the beach? That’s what we call a win-win!

After cruising Ventura Highway, it’s time to pull over, check in, and relax. Ventura has several affordable, convenient options.

Walk to the beach from Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, Ventura Beach Marriott, and Comfort Inn & Suites Ventura Beach, or enjoy ocean views at the historic Pierpont Inn. And at Ventura Harbor Village, waterfront hotels Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ventura Harbor and Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort are an easy stroll from shops and restaurants.

But if you want to be in the heart of it all, consider booking a hotel Downtown where you can park your car and forget about it. Downtown options include Best Western Plus Inn of Ven tura, Clocktower Inn Ventura, and Amanzi Hotel. And for something totally different, sleep in a restored vintage Airstream trailer at Waypoint Ventura

Take advantage of Ventura’s reasonable room rates — often half the price of other Southern California destinations — and extend your trip an extra night. You’ll be glad you did. Find more details at VisitVenturaCA.com/stay

Amanzi Hotel

8 accommodations
With its perfect location, this chic hotel is ideal for your Ventura vacay! Amanzi, Ascend Hotel Collection is a short walk to the beach, Ventura Pier, and the many dining, shopping, and entertainment offerings for all in Downtown. Surfers Point, Ventura Fairgrounds, and the Harbor are a short drive from this boutique hotel featuring renovated accommodations, hot breakfast daily, and bites and drinks in the evening Thursday through Saturday.
vta.cool/amanzi | G @amanzihotelventura | e @vchotel
Dogs are welcome at Waypoint Ventura.
AWAYLANDS

Comfort Inn and Suites Ventura Beach

GET RESTED, SET, GO.

With a great location and complimentary amenities, Comfort Inn and Suites Ventura Beach has everything you need for your Ventura getaway. The hotel is located one block from beautiful San Buenaventura State Beach, and a short five-minute drive to Ventura Pier and Ventura Harbor. Comfort Inn’s guest rooms and family suites are equipped with microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker, and hot breakfast and parking are included in your stay. Take a short drive to historic Downtown Ventura, Mission Basilica San Buenaventura, and Ventura County Fairgrounds. Take an adventurous excursion to Channel Islands or enjoy golf and wine tasting in nearby Ojai. Enjoy endless hikes along the beach trails and watch the gorgeous sunsets.

vta.cool/choicehotels

VisitVenturaCA.com
Ventura Pier
10
LUCIE RICE

around

VisitVenturaCA.com 11 getting

to know Ventura’s inviting local culture and eclectic vibe handcrafted spirits to thrift store finds,

12 Get

one neighborhood at a time. From kid-friendly beaches to there’s so much to do in this town.

VisitVenturaCA.com 13
Stroll along Ventura Pier for views of the ocean and Topatopa Mountains. By Martha-Page Althaus LUCAS DOWARD

Shop and sip your way through Downtown.

Ventura Pier

Built in 1872, this is one of California’s oldest wooden piers.

Stroll to the end for views of Channel Islands National Park and a unique perspec tive of Downtown. At the base of the Pier, stop by MadeWest Brewery for IPAs and ocean views. Refuel at Eric Ericsson’s on the Pier, Beach House Tacos, or Aloha Steakhouse.

Latest & Greatest

Experience two of Downtown’s newest offerings.

THE YARD

This mixed-use devel opment, built using eight-foot tall shipping containers, is where you’ll find Stout Burgers & Beers, Humblemaker Coffee Co., and Iron & Resin (see p. 55 for more).

MODEL CITIZEN

This fresh new space offers an innovative menu with locally sourced ingredients and wines from around the world.

#SHOPLOCAL

Ninety percent of Downtown’s businesses are locally owned.

The best way to get around this part of town is on two feet, so ditch the car and get walking.

At the heart of Downtown is Main Street, a pedestrian-friendly promenade — five palm tree-lined blocks are completely car-free — home to locally owned boutiques, breweries, and restaurants, offering plenty of alfresco dining. From here, it’s only a two-block walk to the beach.

Start in El Jardin Courtyard. This leafy oasis is home to FringeShoppe (local art, handmade jewelry, and ceramics), Palm and Boy (acai bowls and iced lattes), and Kariella (bohemian-inspired hats, boots, and dresses). Elsewhere, other can’t-miss shops include Passport Habits (globally inspired rugs, textiles, and travel goods), Contrast (specialty surfboards and vintage finds), Copperfield’s Gifts and Rarities (stationery and rare books), Findings Market (locally sourced gifts), Folke (mid-century modern home decor), Milk Room (streetwear and sneakers), Great Pacific Iron Works (Patagonia’s first store opened here in 1973), and The Refill Shoppe (bring your own bottles and refill them with lotions, soaps, and more).

Downtown is also known for its stellar thrift stores. Hunt for treasures at Avenue Thrift Store (proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Ventura), C.A.A.N. (all revenue goes to a child abuse and neglect prevention society), and SPARC Second Chance, which benefits a no-kill animal organization in Ventura County. See? There’s truly something for everyone!

The Ventura Pier looks back to Downtown Ventura.

Add these places to your “must-do” list.

VENTURA VISITOR CENTER

On California Street, pop by to chat with friendly local volunteers and shop a well-stocked selection of Venturainspired gifts and goods.

MISSION BASILICA SAN BUENAVENTURA

Take a self-guided tour of this 1782 mission and enjoy a quiet stroll through the gardens, church, and sacred art collection, which includes a Vaticanlicensed marble cast of Michelangelo’s Pieta

14 BYBA SEPIT
TO-DO LIST
Explore

ON THE TOWN

Bring those reusable bags and get ready to fill them up, because Downtown Ventura has some seriously fun shops — no matter what you’re looking for.

neighborhood guide

VisitVenturaCA.com 15
Eric Ericsson’s on the Pier Mission Basilica San Buenaventura The Refill Shoppe Passport Habits

Zero Waste, Big Difference

The Refill Shoppe has been on a mission to reduce single-use plastics and serve the community since it opened in 2010. The eco emporium in Downtown Ventura (a Certified B Corp) offers a variety of good-for-you beauty, bath, and home products, many with custom izable scents, and all sustainably packaged in refillable containers. Be sure to check out their zero-waste Sudscription program!

therefillshoppe.com Ge @therefillshoppe

It’s All Happening in Downtown

Street fairs, music festivals, Wine Walk — 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. An expanded pedestrian walkway immerses you in Downtown’s shopping and dining scene.

downtownventura.org GeÖ @downtownventura

16

Birkenstock Footprints of Ventura

This women-owned store is the go-to for stylish, classic, and su per-comfortable footwear from well-known makers. Celebrating more than 40 years of business in Downtown Ventura.

birkenstockusa.com

G @birkenstock footprints of ventura

Latitudes Gallery

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.

latitudesgallery.com

e @latitudesphoto

G @latitudesgalleryventura

Cheese & Wine Heaven

Along with an expansive cheese counter and well-stocked wine shop, Paradise Pantry Artisan 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 Paradise Pantry Restaurant next door and order a cheese plate, a great meal, a wine flight, and an excellent dessert.

paradisepantry.com

G @paradisepantry

e @paradisepantrymarket

17VisitVenturaCA.com
downtown

American Flags & Cutlery

This specialty shop is the only one of its kind in Ventura County. Discover a curated collection of high-quality knives, utility tools, and accessories for sports and outdoor recreation, cooking, and collect ing, along with a wide variety of U.S., international, and military flags.

americanflagsandcutlery.com

@americanflagsandcutlery

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 influ ence of ancient ancestry. Come check out the workshop located inside the store.

ormacheajewelry.com

@ormacheajewelry

Coastal Skin Care

Take a tranquil escape from today’s hectic pace. Coastal Skin Care’s experienced estheticians and massage therapists offer treatments and high-end products to help you maintain beauty, radiance, and health. It’s relaxation and rejuvenation … with amazing results.

coastalskincare.net

@coastalskincareventura

18
G
e @coastalskincare
G e
eG
downtown

This tight-knit community east of Downtown has vintage shops and markets that feed the area’s creativity.

A MORNING IN MIDTOWN

Wake up with matcha (or a macchiato) from Singing Sun Coffee and head next door to browse the shelves at Timbre Books. Art, music, coffee, and community collide at Caffrodite, a popular neighborhood gathering space. Shop at Laguna Vintage, Lynn’s Consignments, House of Rio, and the Wednesday morning Midtown Ven tura Certified Farmers’ Market. Hungry? Try the vegan sushi from plantbased eatery Sea Ranger, or go for empanadas at Tatiana’s Coffee and Tea Shop (Yelp named them among the country’s best!)

Grassroots Yoga

Grassroots Yoga is committed to creating a welcoming, diverse community while giving five percent of annual revenue back to a local charity. Class offerings include styles that range from gentle, meditative and static, to high intensity, athletic and flowing — all in a calming environment that puts you at ease.

grassrootsyogaventura.com e @grassroots.yoga.vta

guide

Lynn’s Consignments

Find that Ventura vibe with artistically curated vignettes and a new clothing store in the back. This 5,000 square-foot space features a constantly changing inventory from more than 1,000 consignors. Lynn’s Consignments Fun Home Furnishings & Fashions is also an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint stockist. Family owned, and dogs are welcome. Everyone wins when they shop at Lynn’s!

lynnsconsignments.com | lynnsfunfashions.com Ge @lynnsconsignments | Ge @lynnsfunfashions

VisitVenturaCA.com 19
SEPIT (2)
Caffrodite Laguna Vintage Sea Ranger
neighborhood

LOCAL LOVE

Turn to p. 37 to meet Gerardo Gallegos, a community activist making big strides on the Westside.

For tasty tacos, turn to p. 66.

Fancy a mural walk? Turn to p. 57 for details.

SIGHTS

Look around because murals abound along The Avenue. Stroll North Ventura Avenue for bursts of color and creativity, like Pollinators by Lisa Kelly, Tradición Universal by Rolando Siguenza, and Stay Golden by Andrew Rodriguez. Beyond murals, creativity flourishes on The Ave nue. Check out Galería Cooperativa,

a community art gallery, workshop, and studio space in Bell Arts Factory that provides a place where local artists can develop creative solutions to address social injustice.

SIPS

Ventura Spirits produces gin, amaro, brandy, and agave-based spirits made

with local ingredients. Book a tour and tasting, and take home a bottle of your favorite.

EATS

And who can pass up tacos? The Ave nue has some of the best Mexican food around, at places like Pablito’s Taco Truck and Taqueria Cuernavaca.

20 BYBA SEPIT (1)
The city’s Westside neighborhood, more commonly referred to as “The Avenue,” is where you’ll find colorful street murals, tons of taquerÍas, and a healthy dose of Ventura’s visionary (and liquid!) spirit. Taqueria Cuernavaca Bell Arts Factory Pollinators by Lisa Kelly

neighborhood guide

Take a stroll through Ventura Botani cal Gardens. This 107-acre oasis has more than 30,000 plants organized into several distinct areas. The Chilean Gardens is home to a rare Chilean soapbark tree which produces adjuvant,

a chemical compound that impacts immunity and is used in Covid vaccines.

(The more you know!) Ambling on, the Mediterranean Garden has dozens of newly planted olive tree saplings; and at Summit Plateau, soak up the endless

views of Downtown, the Pacific Ocean, and Channel Islands National Park.

Nearby, visit Grant Park to view the charming town below, and beyond is the Pacific Ocean, broken only by the rise of Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands.

VisitVenturaCA.com 21 PHOTO CREDIT
Set in the foothills just beyond City Hall, this neighborhood provides a respite from the buzz of Downtown with its peaceful surrounds and ocean views.
LONG VIEW For panoramic Ventura views, head to Grant Park. There’s no place better to watch a sunset. Ventura Botanical Gardens Grant Park

After a full day of surf, sand, and sun, you’re likely in need of a refreshment and bite to eat. Thankfully, this area has got plenty of local haunts to choose from.

Social Tap serves made-from-scratch comfort food like tri tip sandwiches and beer-battered chicken tenders. (Don’t miss the weekday happy hour!) Street tacos just half a block from the beach? Yes, please. Pierpont Tacos is a favorite for burritos, nachos, breakfast tacos, and more. Dukes Griddle ‘N’ Grill serves exactly what you want after a day on the beach: burgers and cold draft beer. Global flavors are found at The Sushi House (specialty rolls, noodles and fried rice plates, and sake), and Spasso (authentic Italian). On the lighter side, Juice Swell serves coldpressed organic juices made with produce from Ventura County, plus other good-foryou eats like salads, wraps, and smoothies. Take your bottle out side and pose for selfies in front of the surfer mural on the side of the building.

COASTAL CHIC

22 neighborhood guide
It’s all about the beach in this laid-back neighborhood. Where South Seaward Avenue meets the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find a handful of locally loved spots.
Pop into Rowan Boutique for stylish, beach-inspired pieces: breezy dresses, leather sandals, slub tees, and more. Social Tap Bike around South Seaward

Savor the laid-back charm of this slice of Ventura at these favorite spots.

Surf’N Yogurt is the place to go to indulge your sweet tooth. This neighborhood institution serves frozen yogurt with heaps of creative toppings for an irresist ible treat. Snag a table outside or stroll to the beach for a cool time.

Juice Swell offers healthy, organic fruit- and vegeta ble-based refreshments that are as delicious as they are satisfying. Order a freshly blended smoothie and veggie bowl or wrap; Juice Swell also offers veggie based grab-and-go options (perfect for taking to the beach!).

juiceswell.com

e @juiceswell

Enhance your wardrobe with beachy looks at Rowan Boutique. This upscale women’s clothing store carries chic designer styles and accessories with a California aesthetic. Take your time and linger in the store’s welcoming atmosphere. rowanboutique.com

Ge @rowanboutique

VisitVenturaCA.com
Shop, Savor, Explore FIND COOL STYLES AND FLAVORS AT PIERPONT. Juice Swell Surf’N Yogurt Rowan Boutique

Neighborhood guide

24
COURTESY OF BROPHY BROS./KATHY CRUTS (1); BRENDAN DALY (1) Relax and cruise on a boat in the harbor. Take a sunset stroll past boats in the harbor. Enjoy fresh seafood at Brophy Bros. Go for a paddle in a swan boat.

ISLAND GUIDE

Ventura’s waterfront hub is a working harbor, and home to dozens of shops, restaurants, activities, and events.

Admire the boats in the harbor, then head off on your own adventure with a kayak or stand-up paddleboard rental, or on a whale watching or fishing trip. The harbor is the launching point for trips to Channel Islands National Park, but if a day trip to Santa Cruz Island isn’t on

your itinerary, it’s still worth checking out the Channel Islands National Park Visitors Center. Little ones love the tidal pool, and all ages are wowed by the short film,“Treasure in the Sea,” narrated by local resident Kevin Costner. Across the street, Harbor Cove Beach (also

known as “Mother’s Beach”) is perfect for families, with small waves and a large sandy shore.

Back at the Village, enjoy fresh seafood from On the Alley, Brophy Bros., and Andria’s Seafood. And don’t miss the fish tacos on homemade tortillas at Baja Bay Surf N’ Taco. Toast to your day with a glass of Conway Family wine at Deep Sea Tasting Room. Or cool off with a treat from Coastal Cone (get one for your dog, too!).

VisitVenturaCA.com 25 hot list
Turn to p. 48 for the ultimate guide to Channel Islands National Park. Coastal Cone “pupcream” Ventura Harbor Village is a scenic place to shop, eat, and play.

Fresh and Delicious

TACOS BY THE BEACH — WHAT A COMBO!

You’re exploring Harbor Village and worked up an appetite. Next stop? Baja Bay Surf N’ Taco , located just across the street from Surfers Knoll Beach.

This family-owned and operated Mexican eatery is known for its authentic Baja-style menu, and has been serving some of the best fish tacos in Ventura since 1984. Don’t miss their signature gourmet fish tacos — made with the freshest catch and served on handmade tortillas, they’re perfect with an agua fresca or Margarita. (You’ll appre ciate the friendly prices.) Pick up some food for a picnic on the beach, or eat in and savor the friendly atmosphere and Ventura Harbor views.

G @baja bay surf n taco

e @bajabaysurfntaco_

26

Ventura

Barefoot Boutique

This stylish boutique has been

lots

selection of

Vino with a View

The

Village

Top This Chocolate

Treat yourself at the world’s only customizable-on-the-spot choc olate store. Watch as premium milk, white, or dark liquid chocolate gets poured, then topped with your choice of more than 50 sweet (or savory!) toppings. In just a few minutes your confection is ready. Or, customize your bar with a name in chocolate letters and enjoy!

topthischocolate.com

@topthischocolate

27VisitVenturaCA.com
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 @deepseawines
| Ge
curating a California aesthetic since 2013. Find
of options here, like boho-inspired cardigans, comfy-cute basics, and a large
easygoing silk and Italian linen pieces. While you’re at it, pick out a tote perfect for your beach essentials. barefootboutique.shop G @barefootboutiqueventura e @barefootboutique
Harbor

Harbor Classic

Don’t miss this hidden treasure at the end of Spinnaker Drive. Locally owned and operated Harbor Cove Café serves tasty breakfast and lunch options, a full espresso bar, and expertly made cocktails. Sip a refreshing tropical libation while taking in good vibes and waterfront views.

harborcovecafe.net | Ge @harborcovecafe

Ventura Boat Rentals

Swans, ducks, and dragons ... oh my! Daytime rentals (night rentals by appointment), plus electric boats, kayaks, SUPs, and charters. Ventura Boat Rentals is conveniently located in Harbor Village. venturaboatrentals.com

G @ventura boat rentals

Coastal Cone

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!

coastalcone.com | Ge @coastalcone

28

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 more than 40 years running.

andriasseafood.com | Ge @andriasseafoodrestaurant

The Greek

It’s a family affair at The Greek Mediterranean Steak & Seafood The family-owned restaurant is known for its authentic Greek specialties plus prime steak and seafood. Come for a delicious meal and get treated to friendly service, along with beautiful Ventura Harbor views from the patio.

thegreekventura.com G @thegreekventura e @greekventura

29VisitVenturaCA.com
805 Copa Club When clientele of Andres Fernandez’s wine and tapas bar started asking for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, a new concept was born —  805 Bar & Grilled Cheese. Next door, Copa Cubana serves authentic family recipes. At the Copa Bar, sip a cocktail and listen to live music. Ventura Harbor Comedy Club features national and up-and-coming comedians, putting Ventura on the map for stand-up and live entertainment. venturaharborcomedyclub.com | G venturaharborcomedyclub | e 805_copaclub | e vhcomedyclub Ventura Harbor Village

Easy Breezy

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 paradise (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 chocolate-habanero cannoli is a sweet-yet-spicy way to end the evening. From the first sip to the last bite, a meal at Rumfish Y Vino puts you in instant vacay mode.

rumfishyvinoventura.com G e @rumfishyvino

the vibe

SURFING HISTORY: 32 | A GREENER FUTURE: 34 | BEACH DAY: 38

PLAY IN PARADISE: 42 | GUIDE TO THE CHANNEL ISLANDS: 48 | MADE IN VENTURA: 54

ARTS & CULTURE: 57 | THE DINING GUIDE: 62

31
Sunset beach strolls are where connections are made.

like a local

Going Behind the Wave

To me, surfing is more than just paddling out, exerting energy, and frothing out. Surfing provides an inde scribable feeling that captures you mentally, physically, and spiritually. Surfing makes you live in the moment, while constantly learning and adapting to that specific moment in time.

CRUSHIN’ IT

Want to see surfers in action? Head to the beaches, like C Street and Rincon, or learn to hang ten yourself (see p. 43 for more). Or stick around for some friendly competition at the annual Surf Rodeo and Aloha Beach Festival.

Known for its diverse and consistent waves, Ventura’s beaches have long been celebrated as one of the best surfing spots in the world.

LEARN MORE

Catch a Historic Walking Tour Guide at the Ventura Visitor Center, then visit the Museum of Ventura County for more local surf history.

Originating in Hawaii, surfing was first intro duced to California beaches in the early twen tieth century by Hawaii native George Freeth, and made it to the sporting world stage in 1920 thanks to Duke Kahanamoku, aka the “Father of Modern Surfing.”

Since then, surfing has all but become synony mous with the Southern California coast. Ventura became known for its surf showcases, incredible

waves, and friendly, laid-back community.

What was once a coastal road leading out to empty waves, Downtown Ventura’s California Street (known around town as C Street) now hosts countless surfers looking to ride the tides, with some future hopefuls eager for the opportunity to go for gold, thanks to surfing’s inclusion into the 2020 Olympics.

Here’s to perfect days and sweet swells.

32 LEFT: CHRISTIAN BROCK
Surfers have been riding waves in Ventura for decades.

One of the first well-known female American surfers, Mary Monks (aka “Mondo’s Mary”), surfs Ventura’s coast for the first time. Ventura beaches were the legend’s favorite throughout the ’50s and ’60s and are where she set a new standard for surfing.

Ventura’s Surfing History

Hollywood surfer film Gidget is released, introducing surfing into American pop culture. The movie’s success put Ventura’s surf scene on the map with large swaths of surfing newbies wanting a piece of that cool Southern California vibe.

1959 1965 1979 1981

Tom Morey’s Nose Riding Contest, the first professional surfing competition, is held at C Street.

The first Rincon Classic is founded by a crew of local surf ers. Now in its 40th year, the locals-only competition serves as a celebrated community gathering.

Ventura resident, surf legend, and “Father of the Modern Longboard” Steve Walden releases the Magic Model. Its design suits all wave heights and skill levels, making it the blueprint for all-around surf boards and noseriders.

Ventura resident and pro Mary Osborne is the first woman to surf the Silver Dragon, the tallest tidal bore in the world, in Hangzhou, China.

VisitVenturaCA.com 33 LEFT: ALAMY history
1955
2011
Mary Monks surfs a wave in Ventura.

A Greener Future

With its pristine stretch of Pacific Ocean, isolated national park, and naturally diverse areas, Ventura is a spectacular place. Thankfully, Venturans have been doing their part to keep it that way for decades. Learn about the brands and people doing good and making waves in environmental sustainability.

34 CREDIT
Harmon Canyon Preserve

If you need one reason why environmen tal sustainability and ecological preservation is so important, just head to Harmon Canyon Preserve, find your way to a high trail summit, and breathe in the forever view of agricultural fields, inland mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. This special place has been protected from de velopment thanks to the Ventura Land Trust.

“I can think of no greater honor than working to preserve this amazing place we call home for the people and the nature of today and tomor row,” says Melissa Baffa, executive director of the trust. This one statement is Ventura’s ethos, and perhaps soul, in a nutshell.

Sure, there are (thankfully) plenty of towns that care about the environment and the future, but few have such an elevated level of caring as Ventura. The town’s environmental dedication and commitment runs deep and wide, from renowned global players to a one-woman busi ness that adheres to environmentally conscious

details that would make Greta Thunberg proud.

For all Ventura businesses, nonprofits, indi viduals, and the city itself, the aim is selfless and simple: that future generations will know the joy of nature’s beauty and recognize what matters most. Here is a small sampling of Ventura’s creative green efforts.

Patagonia

The granddaddy of so much environmental good calls Ventura home, and the waves of the out door apparel brand’s environmental activism can be felt throughout town and far beyond.

Founded in Ventura in 1973 by Yvon Ch ouinard, Patagonia is a member of 1% for the Planet, a global organization that partners with businesses that pledge to give 1% of their annual revenue to fund environmental organizations, raising millions for worthy causes.

Patagonia’s mission statement is clear if not

No Ifs or Butts

Learn how Surfrider Foundation gives litter a new lease on life in Ventura.

Dedicated to protect ing the area’s oceans and beaches, the Ventura County chap ter of the Surfrider Foundation works to reduce plastic pollution to ensure the health and sustainabil ity of local waters. The Hold On To Your Butt (#HOTYB) program raises awareness around the environ mental impact of cigarette butt litter, and sets up Communi ty Ash Cans to collect cigarette filters before turning them into park benches. Want to learn more and get involved? All are welcome at Surfrider’s monthly meetings, held at Patagonia’s Great Pacific Iron Works shop.

ventura.surfrider.org

VisitVenturaCA.com 35
CLEANER H2O

DO GOODERS

B-Corp Cool

The Ventura brands going above and beyond.

Right: The Refill Shoppe is B Corp-certified.

Did you know Ventura is home to sever al B Corp-certified companies? Becoming a B Corporation is an elective, private cer tification process that requires businesses to meet sky-high social and environ mental standards. In other words, to be a B Corp-certified busi ness is kind of a big deal! In addition to Patagonia (which was the first company in California to become B Corp-certified in 2011) and The Refill Shoppe, Ventura is home to another B Corp business.

It’s estimated that discarded fishing nets make up 10% of plastic in the ocean. Bureo collects discarded nets from coastal communities, recycles the waste, and transforms the materials into usable gear like skateboards, hats, and sunglasses. Stop by the Ventura Visitor Center to shop Bureo merch.

–McKenna Hutton

a little unorthodox: “We’re in business to save our home planet.” And the company really does mean it. (Have you heard the news? Chouinard donated the company’s profits to protect the environment.) Outside of eco-friendly business practices (94% of its current line is made with recycled materials!), as well as paying more than 64,000 employees a liveable wage as a partici pant of the Fair Trade program, the powerhouse B Corp gives back to the environment through local initiatives like the California Institute of Environmental Studies — an organization dedicated to the preservation of marine birds and ecosystems. Not to mention the brand’s Tin Shed Ventures, which invests in startups offering solutions to environmental issues.

Ventura Land Trust

Ventura Land Trust’s 2,123-acre Harmon Canyon Preserve, which opened in June 2020, is Ventu ra’s first large-scale nature preserve. And in July of 2022, VLT raised enough money — including a cool $7.2 million from the State of California —

to see to the permanent conservation of Mariano Rancho Preserve, 1,645 acres of land in the hills north of Ventura. And the trust’s plans don’t stop there. Today, thanks to VLT’s efforts, visitors can enjoy wide open spaces and views for days.

City of Ventura

In 2007, Ventura City Council passed a “Green Initiative” plan which included ways to reduce the environmental impact of the city’s municipal operations, as well as establishing environmental outreach programs. The Green Business Program, for instance, offers free environmental assistance and waste assessments to local businesses, and the Green Schools Program provides free environmen tal presentations to local schools (and free recycle and compost bins, too). Additionally, the city hosts a free gardening series with class topics such as water conservation, gray water recycling, and home composting. And finally, there’s a commu nity composting program where Ventura residents drop compostable items at the town’s Cornucopia Community Garden.

36 PHOTO CREDIT
Below: Patagonia was founded in Ventura in 1973. Bureo skateboard COURTESY
OF PATAGONIA/WOODS WHEATCROFT

Breweries

Even Ventura’s beer scene does environmental good. Topa Topa Brewing Co. participates in 1% for the Planet, having raised some $115,000 since 2015. And Leashless Brewing’s beer is 100% organic, which means none of its ingredients are GMO-based or cultivated with inorganic fertiliz ers and harmful pesticides. Plus the brewery gives its spent grain, yeast, and hops back to local farms to feed livestock and be used for compost. Cheers to that!

The Refill Shoppe

Instead of tossing out that pretty bottle, why not refill it? This was the inspiration for Down town Ventura’s The Refill Shoppe — a B Corp-certified bulk goods store for personal care and home products. Shop owner Michelle Stevens is on a mission to keep plastics out of the ocean by reusing instead of recycling. (Even the store’s bulk buckets get a second life and are given to a painter, then passed on to a drywaller.) In 2016, the tiny Downtown shop was chosen as California’s Small Business of the Year and is also a 1% for the Planet participant.

The Pride of The Avenue

Gerardo Gallegos is working to revitalize Ventura’s Westside neighborhood.

Gerardo Gallegos of Restore Ventura, a nonprofit that engages and equips the community with tools and resources to better the Westside neighborhood, is on a mission to uplift his La Avenida community.

“I grew up in the Westside of Ventura [and I watched] a lot of people I know go down wrong paths,” says Gallegos. “I had this heavy burden to do something to change the trajectory for our local youth.” He got to work.

In 2013, Gallegos start ed building community gardens that would not only beautify existing unused spaces, but act as an inexpensive and healthy food source for residents.

“The gardens educated people on super foods [like kale and Swiss chard],” he says. “Those types of food aren’t available here, and might be too expensive to buy at the store, but cost only cents to grow.”

What happened next was a chain reaction that Gal legos refers to as an “ebb and flow response to meeting community needs.” After the urban gardens, Gallegos launched the Kids Garden Brigade, an after-school program (relaunching soon) that teaches kids to grow healthy foods. Then he started an ornamental tree ini tiative, planting along The Avenue’s main thoroughfare, and a fruit tree project, encouraging residents to plant fruit trees in their yards as a way to have a fresh food source and to catalyze conversation.

“The goal was to promote a [fruit-sharing] co-op, to get people talking, to be neighborly,” he says. “Neigh borhoods become safer when people care more.”

COMING SOON!

He started the mural project, inviting local mural ists to beautify bare walls. And, if that wasn’t enough, he runs Avenida Surf Club, giving free surf lessons for underserved kids who “pay” for their lessons with community service and a quick beach cleanup. Accord ing to Gallegos, this quick task “connects kids to the ocean and makes them good stewards of our environment — because what happens in our neighborhood happens in the ocean,” a sentiment that carries through every single one of Restore’s projects.

“We want to create a healthier community by growing our own food, caring for others, and just being good stewards with a sense of pride in our community.” –Lauren Bonney

VisitVenturaCA.com 37 sustainability GERARDO GALLEGOS
Topa Topa Brewing Co. The Restore Ventura Community Orchard and Botanical Gardens (aka “The Crown Jewel”), a communal edible landscape, is coming soon to Downtown.
“There are plenty of towns that care about the environ ment, but few have such an el evated level of caring as Ventura.”

Located on a beautiful stretch of prime Pacific coastline, with 300 sunny days a year and daytime temperatures averaging 70 degrees, Ventura is a beach lover’s paradise. You can do it all on Ventura’s beaches. Swim and surf, kayak and kiteboard, or simply sit on the sand and watch the waves roll in. Here’s your guide to Ventura’s beaches.

PHOTO CREDIT
hot list → Find more beach info at VisitVenturaCA.com/beaches-and-surfing
Written by Martha-Page Althaus & McKenna Hutton
38
VisitVenturaCA.com 39

My favorite familyfriendly beach is Solimar and my favorite surfing beach is C Street. Soli mar is amazing because it has free parking, easy access down to the sand, and usually some really fun waves for the kids. It’s a very familyfriendly vibe. C Street is an iconic surfbreak. I love that it has a good west swell and an even better southern swell. No matter the season, you’re sure to get some surf.

like a local Dogs Welcome

Faria Beach Park, Surfers Point, Marina Park, and Harbor Cove Beach allow leashed pups on the sand. Vta.cool/ dogfriendly has a list of dog-friendly parks, leash laws, and more info for your beach day with man’s best friend.

FOR PUPS: MARINA PARK

With a large grassy area, sand volleyball court, and a pirate ship-themed playground, this 15-acre pet-friendly spot is perfect for families. Launch kayaks or paddleboards from the fishing dock. Leashed dogs are welcome.

connect to other beaches via several bike paths. And on the weekends, don’t miss The Jolly Oyster Shuck Shack where you can shuck your own oysters, and pair them with a cheese board, ceviche, and glass of local vino.

FOR CAMPING: EMMA WOOD STATE BEACH

You can’t pitch a tent directly on the beach, but Emma Wood is a prime spot for self-contained RVs and trailers. This beach is also popular for surfing, dolphin spotting, and surf fishing — bass, corbina, and halibut are common catches.

FOR SURFING: RINCON BEACH

When the Beach Boys include Rincon in their song “Surfin’ Safari,” you know it’s legit. This sto ried stretch in northern Ventura County is known as “Queen of the Coast” for its classic California point break. Rincon’s massive waves are acclaimed by surfers the world over. But unless you really know what you’re doing, leave this one for the experts — and have fun watching!

FOR AN EPIC BEACH DAY: SAN BUENAVENTURA STATE BEACH PARK

Anchored by Ventura Pier, this wheelchair-acces sible beach has ample parking, picnic tables and grills, and restrooms and showers. Play volleyball then rent bikes from Wheel Fun Rentals and

FOR FAMILIES: HARBOR COVE BEACH

Nicknamed “Mother’s Beach” for its protec tive breakwater, which provides small, calm waves, Harbor Cove is right across the street from Ventura Harbor Village. After a day at the beach, stroll over to Coastal Cone for one of the West Coast’s largest selection of ice-cream

40
FROM
TOP
CHIP “CHIPPER BRO” BELL, founder of Surfclass.com (A member of 1% for the Planet!)
Faria Beach Park Marina Park

flavors. Then check out the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center where little ones can explore the tidal pool and other exhibits.

FOR SUNSETS: PIERPONT BEACH

At the end of Seaward Avenue, Pierpont is

the place to watch the sun cast its last rays over the Pacific Ocean. From here, it’s an easy walk to Seaward’s laid-back bars and restaurants. Grab a beer at Social Tap or burgers at Duke’s Griddle ’N’ Grill.

FOR SPECTATORS: SURFERS POINT BEACH

To the west of Ventura Pier, running parallel with the promenade, Surfers Point is a favor ite 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.

FOR BEGINNER SURFERS:

MONDOS BEACH

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. There’s limited free parking off the Pacific Coast Highway. Tip: Get here early in the morning to find a spot.

WATER WORKS

beach guide Vitamin Sea

There are a ton of health benefits to spending time at the beach!

Not only does walking barefoot on the beach nat urally exfoliate your feet, but it also helps strength en your ankles, legs, and glutes.

Ever wondered why you feel so good after a beach day? Well, that’s because being near moving water produces mood-boosting negative ions. Plus, run ning your toes through the sand creates a ground ing effect, which boosts your immune system and relieves stress. Not to mention that sunny days by the sea help your body process plenty of vitamin D. Bottom line? Get yourself to a Ventura beach, stat!

Beach Day Essentials

Whether you want a picnic at the beach or some new sandals, these locally owned shops have you covered.

From rash guards to bikinis, Ventura Swimwear has the perfect suit, while Tiki Girl, Rowan Boutique, and Barefoot Boutique have all things beachwear, including cover-ups, cute hats, and breezy dresses. Birkenstock Footprints of Ventura is well-stocked with comfy-casual sandals. And for the ultimate picnic, Paradise Pantry Market offers elevated provisions.

VisitVenturaCA.com 41
Mondos Beach Emma Wood State Beach
A trek into the hills, a 10-foot wave, or a leisurely promenade pedal there are so many ways to play in Ventura.
42

Surf

Watch the surfers along Ventura’s coast, and we guarantee that you’ll be tempted to paddle out. But first, get to know Ventura’s waves.

CATCH A WAVE

If you’re a “grom” (surfer slang for a beginner), Mondos Beach has small and dependable waves that form in an assortment of swell condi tions. It’s popular with the longboard crowd and a good place to develop your skills.

C Street and Surfers Point, which feature

Paddling Out

Q: How long have you been surfing?

A: I started surfing when I was six years old with Ven tura Makos Surf Camp, and was taught to surf by Jeff Bel zer and Christian Brock. I have been surfing for 10 years, but did not start competing seriously until I was in middle school.

a series of breaks that extend for more than a half-mile, is another option for newbies but also boasts waves of high enough quality that, in 1965, served as the location of one of the nation’s first professional surfing competitions, the California Street Classic.

Emma Wood State Beach can go off during west swells, creating a double overhead that many consider Ventura’s best big wave. Then again, size isn’t everything: Just up the coast, Rincon Beach has a longstanding rep utation as the “Queen of the Coast,” thanks to near-perfect rights that draw the area’s leading surfers to this classic point break for winter’s annual Rincon Classic (only locals can partici pate, but anyone can watch!). Or stick around for Ventura’s Surf Rodeo (July) and Aloha Beach Festival (September) for celebrity surfer sightings.

SURF’S UP

Learn to Hang Ten

With a little guid ance and practice, you’ll be up on a board in no time.

If you want to get in on the action but need a little instruc tion, consider book ing a lesson with a local surf pro. With the help of instruc tors from Mary Os borne Surf Camp, Ventura Makos Surf Camp, and Chipper Bro Bell’s Surfclass. com, you won’t be a grom for long.

Local Biz Spotlight

Q: Besides surfing, what’s your favorite thing to do in Ventura?

A: I always love a good beach day with friends. Plus, the fun special events like Surf Rodeo and the Ventura Fair.

Q: What makes Ventura’s surf culture so unique?

A: Ventura’s surf culture has a very close-knit com munity of all ages. I pretty much see the same people out in the water every day at my local spots.

Q: Any advice for people interested in learning how to surf?

A: Have patience, don’t give up, and study surfer etiquette if you’re learning in a crowd. Surfing can be frustrating because it takes a lot of practice. But the more you surf, the better you’ll get. –Lauren Bonney

Totally Tubular

If you forgot to strap your board to the top of your car before heading out, rent or buy one from Walden Surfboards or Ventura Surf Shop And if you need a place to stash your board before heading into town, consider a drop-in day pass (and maybe a rinse) at Traveler Surf Club & Coastal Outpost

VisitVenturaCA.com 43
BOTTOM: CHRIS GRANT
outdoors
Surfers of all levels are welcome here. Four questions for Jessie Engel, aspiring young surfer and 2022 Surf Rodeo division winner.
LOCAL LUMINARY

like a local Girl on the Run

Meet Sadie Engelhardt, cross country’s rising star.

Sadie Engelhardt likes to run. A lot. The Ventura High School student clocks in roughly 35 miles a week. And while her impressive routine might sound daunting to most, for the rising cross country star, “endurance training and fitness has always been a thing for me,” she says. Engelhardt has been setting state and na tional records, racking up such accolades as becoming the California State Champion and All-Time Record holder in the 1600 meter at the 2022 Arcadia Invita tional. Needless to say, this young lady is going places — and fast. When she’s not winning or setting new race times, you can often find her training with her team around town. “We run a lot Downtown and along the promenade,” she says of her favorite place to run. And her least favorite?

“Harmon Canyon,” she laughs. Those hills! –L.B.

Hike

Green with winter rains and gold in summer, these tranquil hills are etched by canyons and have long ridgelines with sweeping views that stretch from craggy inland peaks to the Channel Islands.

And thanks to the Ventura Land Trust, more and more of the local landscape is now protected: The trust recently acquired the Mariano Rancho Preserve, a 1,645-acre parcel that will open to the public following the completion of a planning process.

GEAR CHECK

Find everything you need for every type of adventure at Patagonia or Real Cheap Sports. And for you trail runners, check out Mile 26

INTO THE HILLS

With more than 2,000 protected acres, Harmon Canyon Preserve is Ventu ra’s best bet to connect with nature. The preserve is home to a remarkable assortment of

wildlife — coyotes, bobcats, and even black bears have all been spotted here — and the web of trails gives hikers (and mountain bikers) plenty of op tions for exploring oak woodlands and grasslands brightened in spring by wildflowers. For a grand, 7.2-mile round-trip tour of the preserve, follow Harmon Canyon Road, then veer right onto Long Canyon Road to reach the Goldenberg Overlook.

TOP OF TOWN

Steps away from Main Street, you can climb to the definitive local view at the Ventura Botanical Gardens. The two-mile round trip switch backs up the hill to a panorama that encompasses Downtown, the beach, and long stretches of coast. Along the route, you’ll also get to see the gardens’ collection of plants from Mediterranean climate zones around the world.

44
FROM LEFT: SADIE ENGELHARDT; TANA HAYES
Much more than just a scenic backdrop, the hills behind Ventura let hikers escape into nature just a few minutes from the heart of town.
Ventura Botanical Gardens

Skateboard

Grind your way into Ventura’s skate culture. Since it became an Olympic sport in 2020, skateboarding is now downright respectable.

A longtime hot spot for this California-born sport, Ventura is home to the Skate One board factory and pro skateboarders like brothers Jake and Mike Anderson, Frankie Hill, and X Games gold medalist Curren Caples.

You’re bound to see the next generation of Ventura pros catching air around town and at local skate parks.

See skaters in action in Ventura.

In fact, Caples grew up learning at Avenue Skatepark (also known as Westpark Skatepark), where you can test your skills in the bowl, along the ledge, and on the flat rail. Hobert and Pacific View skateparks are two other spots for the grinding set. (Fun fact: Parts of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video games feature Skate Street, a now-defunct indoor Ventura skatepark.)

WOOF WOOF

Call of the Wild (Sort of)

Ventura offers several places for your pets to play — as long as they’re safely leashed, of course.

Enjoy a day on the beach at Marina Park and Surfers Point or explore endless hills, canyons, and streams at Harmon Canyon Pre serve. And for families, Arroyo Verde and Camino Real parks have playgrounds and sports fields where everyone can play, dogs included.

–McKenna Hutton

Rad & Ready

Every skater needs a board, and Ventura’s got plenty. Whether you’re a first-timer or X Games pro, you can’t go wrong with the premier line of products from Ventura legend and e-commerce brand Powell-Peralta If you forgot your board at home or it needs a tune-up, find all the decks and gear you need at local faves Five Points Skate/Snowboard, Revolution Board Company, and BlackHole Skateshop

VisitVenturaCA.com 45 BYBA SEPIT
Local Biz Spotlight
outdoors

Bike

Whether you want a gentle ocean front ride or to put your pedal to the metal, cyclists of all abilities will find routes suited to their skills.

CRUISING THE COAST

Easy rides don’t get any more satisfying than the California Coastal Trail, a four-mile beach front route. Head out on this trail and you’ll be treated to views of the Channel Islands National Park and surfers catching waves at famed C Street and Surfers Point, before riding past such natural areas as Ventura River Estuary wetlands and stretches of coastal dunes. Along the way, detour for a stroll on historic Ventura Pier. Or savor the freshest raw, grilled, and fried oysters at San Buenaventura State Beach’s The Jolly Oyster Shuck Shack, open every weekend.

RIDING THE RAIL TRAIL

Northeast of Ventura, Ojai sits at an elevation of 745 feet, but the 16.5-mile Ventura River Parkway Trail makes the climb from Ventura a breeze. This designated National Recreation Trail, a combination of the Ventura River and Ojai Valley Trails, follows a former Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way. Because trains could only travel on gradual inclines, the ascent is modest as you gaze out on the surrounding hills. But if you need a break, refresh in shady Foster Park. And remem ber, it’s all downhill back to Ventura!

THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING

Local Biz Spotlight

Need a Bike?

Rentals are available at Ventura Beach

E-Bike, Ventura Bike Depot , and Wheel Fun Rentals.

Explore Ventura’s rugged high country on the Sul phur Mountain Trail, a car-free route that rewards mountain bikers with spectacular views of Ojai Valley and the dis tant Pacific Ocean. Wide and not especially techni cal, the trail has switch backs that ease the climb through oak woodlands and along the rolling hills before the ride tops out at an elevation of around 2,400 feet. The 11-mile dirt-and-gravel road is accessible off Highway 33 and can be combined with paved roads for a loop into Ojai.

BIKE CHECK

If you’re coming to town via Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, bring your bicycle for free. Just remember to reserve a spot.

46
Bike around Downtown. Hit the trails at Harmon Canyon Preserve.

Wheel Fun Rentals

Providing a full range of bike and beach rentals including e-bikes, beach cruisers, the flagship four-wheel Surrey, kids’ bikes, go-kart inspired specialty cycles, kids’ attachments, boogie boards, beach chairs, umbrellas, and more! Wheel Fun Rentals has seven area locations and all you need for fun in the sun in Ventura.

vta.cool/wheelfunrentals

@wheelfunrentalsofficial | Ö @wheelfunrentals

Ventura Bike Depot

For all things cycling, head to Ventura Bike Depot. Owner and cycling enthusiast Shelley Sund and her expert staff can set you up with the perfect bike, along with loads of parts and accessories to customize your ride. Voted the No.1 bike store in Ventura County, the shop offers performance and recreation bicycles from top brands. You’ll also find e-bike rentals, service, repairs, and cycling tours.

venturabikedepot.com Ge @venturabikedepot

Pierpont Racquet Club

With a prime oceanside location, Pierpont Racquet Club offers recreation and wellness for members and guests of all ages. Take advantage of the Club’s ten tennis courts, five pickleball courts, racquetball court, and league play. Swim year-round in the heated indoor and outdoor pool. Group fitness, personal trainers, health and wellness programs, and networking and social events round out the offerings.

pierpontrc.com | G e @pierpontracquetclub

47VisitVenturaCA.com
eG
outdoors
48 Views from Santa Cruz Island

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE

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.

By Martha-Page Althaus and Lauren Bonney
BRENDAN BANNISTER VisitVenturaCA.com 49

like a local

What Are the Channel Islands?

Savvy Sailor

The Channel Islands are an amazing space and are accessible for people of all levels of adventuring, from overnight backpacking trails to guided sea cave kayaking tours — and everything in between! There is something for everyone, which makes the islands such a special and welcoming place to explore.

Trip tip:

If you decide to kayak around the island with Channel Islands Adven ture Company, be pre pared to get wet! While no one intends to go for a swim during their paddle, things happen. Your guide and lifejacket are there to help.

Nicknamed “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 San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara islands, each with its own unique history (native Chumash communi ties lived on the three northernmost islands for 13,000 years!) and

biodiversity. Santa Cruz Island is the largest, and it’s the perfect place for exploring. From enormous sea caves, dense kelp forests, and crystal-clear tide pools to unspoiled beaches, meandering hiking trails, and magnificent vistas, a day trip to Santa Cruz Island should not be missed. And as one of the few, offthe-grid experiences left nowadays, we promise you won’t mind the lack of cell service one bit. Here’s how to explore the island.

It’s about an hourlong trip from Ventura Harbor to Santa Cruz Island. Whether you’re a regular ol’ boat captain or still finding your sea legs, some times boats make you a bit woozy. Follow these three tips for smooth sailing.

1 Purchase seasick bands and ginger chews at Island Packers Cruises’ ticket office.

2 Line up early for the boat to ensure a good seat. We recommend the outer upper or lower decks at the back of the boat. Hello, fresh air!

3

Stay in your seat and stare out at the horizon. Don’t walk around or go into any interior spaces on the boat.

Trip tip: Keep your eyes peeled during the crossing. You might spot pods of dolphins, and, if you’re lucky, humpback, blue, and gray whales.

PLAN AHEAD

Since the island is rela tively isolated with limited daily access, you’ll have to reserve boat passage in advance. Contact Island Packers Cruises (islandpackers.com) for tickets.

REQUIRED READING

50 TOP: WILL ADAMS
For a dose of history and context — plus a really good story — Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins is a work of historical fiction based on the true story of an indigenous woman who lived alone for 18 years on the Channel Islands. Take a guided sea cave kayak tour on Santa Cruz Island.

Santa Barbara Channel

Santa Cruz Island’s offshore locale means you can’t grab provisions once you leave Ventura Harbor. Here are some things to consider prior to departure.

Fuel Up

Head to any of these purveyors and grab your lunch to go before your Channel Islands ferry ride.

Grab an Italian sandwich or salads from Peirano’s (open Tues.-Sun.) the day before 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. Order online or call ahead.

Known for its seafood specials, Ventura Harbor’s Boatyard Pub (open 8 a.m-9 p.m.; Wed.-Mon.) offers its menu to-go. A sandwich or breakfast burrito makes an easy island lunch.

IN THE BAG

Pack Like a Pro

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

Light, warm layers that are easy to peel off and pack away.

Appropriate shoes for hiking; flat shoes with rubber soles should suf fice, but leave the flip-flops at home.

A change of clothes if you’re doing any sort of water play or kayaking.

Sunscreen, sun screen, sunscreen!

Even on cloudy days you’ll need it.

Plenty of bottled water and some thing to eat. There are no food stands or restaurants on the island, so bring lunch with you.

A separate trash bag. (There are no trash cans on the island.)

A device with a camera. Trust us, you’re going to want to snap those pics.

VisitVenturaCA.com 51 channel islands BRENDAN BANNISTER
Anacapa Islands Santa Barbara Island Santa Rosa Island Santa Cruz Island AnacapaPassageChinese Harbor SantaCruzPassage San Miguel Passage SANTA BARBARA VENTURA OXNARD
MONTECITO
Wilson Rock Richardson Rock San Miguel Island Know Before You Go
SET UP
CAMP Fancy an overnighter? Santa Cruz Island has a 31-site campground tucked into a valley shaded by towering eucalyptus trees. Campsites fill up fast, so book your stay early. Ferry to Santa Cruz Island

You Are Here

For stunning vistas, lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails.

Animal Sightings

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. You might see an orange-crowned warbler, Peregrine falcon, or island scrub jay — an endemic species to the national park. And if you’re really lucky, the islands have been known to host the rare brown booby (Yep, that’s its real 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 spotted on the islands, often wandering around looking to steal snacks from unsuspect ing visitors. (Don’t worry, they’re harmless!)

Trekking Around

Hiking the eastern side of Santa Cruz Island is a breeze. With loads of trails just a short walk from the dock, all you have to decide is which path to traverse. There are only a few shady trails on the island. Don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and water.

Easy: A flat, half-mile stroll from Scorpion Anchorage is Scorpion Ranch — a settlement dating to the late 1800s that features a black smith shop, old farm tools, and visitors center.

Moderate: For sweeping ocean vistas and blue as far

as the eye can see, the twomile Cavern Point Loop is not to be missed. A great spot for whale watching, 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 con tinue 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. Despite its name, 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 for the entire hike, leading all the way to the beach at Smugglers Cove. There are no water refill stations, so make sure to bring enough water with you.

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

CAN’T KELP MYSELF

Did you know? Roughly onethird of Southern California’s kelp forests are found within Channel Islands National Park! Thanks to the combo of both cold and warm ocean waters, kelp and seaweed thrive and support a diverse array of sea life. You might see sea lions, sunflower stars, harbor seals, Garibaldi damselfish, spiny lobsters, and more.

52
SPOTTED!
Hiking on Santa Cruz Island offers endless Pacific Ocean views.

Island Time

Learn

Whether you’re here for an

the

spend

want some

are lots of ways to enjoy Santa

more information on the

Channel Islands Adventure Company

VisitVenturaCA.com 53
PHOTO: DOUG MANGUM PHOTO: ROBERT SCHWEMMER
Discover Channel Islands National Park 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, camping, or whale watching trip. Create your
Channel Islands
National Park adventure! islandpackers.com | G @islandpackerstours | e @islandpackers
Experience sea caves on a world-class guided kayaking tour at Scorpion Anchorage with Channel Islands Adventure Company Watch for whales, dolphins, and endemic species of the islands. Choose from several trips for a variety of skill levels. Don’t miss out on this bucket-list adventure! islandkayaking.com e @islandkayaking G @ciadventure channel islands
more about how to
your time on Channel Islands National Park.
aquatic adventure or just
disconnected R&R, there
Cruz. Go to vta.cool/cinp for
history and activities available at
national park.
Pedestrian-friendly Main Street is closed to vehicular traffic. It’s a shopper’s dream! Whether you’re shopping for tasty delights or artistic finds, locally made treasures abound in Ventura.
made in ventura 54

“Made in Ventura” is more than a saying — it’s the start to dozens of incredible stories, from the alche mist blending together ultraluxe organic beauty products, to the coffee-loving brothers brewing up the perfect cup of joe, or the roadie-turned-master artisan craft ing one-of-a-kind guitars. Become a part of the story and take home a piece of Ventura.

SIPS & SWEETS

With its cozy atmosphere, friendly baristas, and in-house roasts, Prospect Coffee Roasters is a caffeine lover’s paradise. Start your morning with a delicious espresso or nitro cold brew, or take home a bag of some freshly roasted beans. For something with more of a kick, book a tasting at Ventura Spirits and take home a tipple (see p. 70 for more). Be Willy Wonka for a day at Top This Chocolate, where you can indulge in one of owner Shana Elson’s creations or build your own dream chocolate bar — choose from a variety of chocolates, shapes, and more than 50 toppings.

GETTING ARTSY

Make a statement with a piece from Bell Arts Factory’s First Fridays. Multi-discipline pieces are on display, and get a peek into a working artist studio. For pottery with pizzazz, Ventura County Potters’ Guild features a mix of intricately designed ceramic sculptures, bowls, and much more. And for an axe worthy of a rock star, Ven tura Guitar Company is the place to go. From top-of-the-line hardware to glow-in-the-dark skull knobs, owner Jackson Herrera — who has helped

Ventura Spirits

UNIQUE FINDS

Shops with Heart

Quality craftsmanship shines at these two local spots.

shopping continued on 56

Iron & Resin is the result of some friends looking to create purpose fully crafted goods and provisions meant to last for years to come. The beautifully curated shop in Downtown Ventura carries well-made, quality wares, like waxed canvas jackets, short-sleeve button downs, and hoodies that are designed to last, and even has a “Repair or Replace Guarantee,” offer ing to fix or replace anything from the shop that might have worn out prematurely. Inspired by the wild, horse-riding, rancho California of yesteryear, Salt Ranch sells handmade and -shaped custom hats. Along with its leather goods, home wares, and appar el, the Midtown shop celebrates the west’s heritage with quality items designed to stand the test of time.

(Tip: Book a cus tom hat-shaping experience online.)

VisitVenturaCA.com 55 TOP: AWAYLANDS
Prospect Coffee Roasters

like a local Confections Queen

Meet chocolatier Sophia Smith-Grunder.

Seven years ago, Ventura native Sophia Smith-Grunder found herself working an unfulfilling restaurant job. So, when her mom, Jennifer, took online courses for chocolate making, “I was like, ‘Can I join you? That sounds way more fun.’”

Today, the mom-and-daughter duo are the brilliant creators of delicious works of art at Ex Voto Chocolates and Confections. With an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, they spin single-origin choco late into hundreds of nut butter cups; golden Buddha-shaped chocolates; delectable, hand-painted bonbons; and the best-selling salted caramel almond “turtles.”

“[The turtles are] my favorite confection to make,” SmithGrunder says. “Chewy, crunchy, melty, sweet, and salty, they’re insanely satisfying.”

The Midtown shop also serves a medley of ice cream flavors (lemon blueberry, pumpkin gingersnap) that can be topped with cookies, caramel and fudge sauces, and marshmallow crème — all made in house. Smith-Grunder credits Ventura locals for cultivating a com munity that sparks creativity, allowing people like herself to pursue their dreams. “I truly love living in Ventura,” she says. “This is my forever home.”

build guitars for Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses), John Rzeznik (Goo Goo Dolls), and many others — showcases an attention to detail, resulting in master pieces that look as good as they sound.

GLOW UP

GET THE GOODS

Treat yourself to some well-deserved TLC at Reves de Sabine, a self-care sanctuary of all-natural, smallbatch beauty products lovingly produced by self-proclaimed “French alchemist,” Sabine Dodane. Refresh your body and mind with a self-care kit. Looking to update your look?

Findings Market has something for you with an inventory that includes a little bit of everything — clothing, hot sauces, home décor — all made and curated by local artisans.

MAKING WAVES

Shred in style with a high-performance board from Roberts Surfboards Creator of the popular White Diamond surfboard, the store’s boards have been used by some of the sport’s top pros, including Ventura native Dane Reynolds and Jordy Smith. Or carve up the waves with a board carved by a legend — Steve Walden (aka the “Father of the Modern Longboard”) of Walden

Surfboards

Carry the ocean with you wherever you go with the one-of-a-kind accessories from Betty Belts. Using sea glass and “surfite” (recycled surfboard resin), owner Donna von Hoesslin and her team of designers infuse their collection of rings, bracelets, necklaces, and more with the spirit of the sea.

56 TOP: SOPHIA SMITH-GRUNDER shopping
Stop into Visit Ventura’s Downtown Visitor Center to find even more locally made goods. Pick up creative coasters from the Ventura Visitor Center. Ex Voto Chocolates and Confections Steve Walden of Walden Surfboards

art

COLORWORKS

Art Alfresco

If you think Ventura’s galleries and classes are colorful, wait until you see the city’s public murals.

Ventura’s artsy side is vis ible outside gallery walls, too. For years, local artists have made their mark on building walls, offering vi brant pops of color all over town. The best way to see them is on foot — happy exploring!

Start your mural walk on Main Street to find pieces such as China Alley Memorial mural, by Qi Pang Guo and Song Yun, which depicts scenes of Chinese settlers in the 1880s. Under the Figueroa Street underpass, the Tortilla Flats mural by MB Hanrahan and Moses Mora commemorates the first culturally diverse neigh borhood in Ventura. Don’t miss Andrew Rodriguez’s Good Vibes Seaside mural in Ventura Harbor Village or Gordon K. Grant’s depiction of Agriculture and Industries of Ventura near the San Buenaven tura post office. In the Pierpont neighborhood on S. Seaward Avenue, find a new surf-inspired mural by Cynthia Polk.

CATCH THE WAVE

The WAV (Working Artists Ventura), a pioneering arts community, hosts more than 100 different kinds of artists, and it’s right here in Ventura! Plus, The WAV Theater Gallery provides free venue space for perfor mances, art openings, classes, and more.

VisitVenturaCA.com 57 PHOTO CREDIT
From murals to galleries to music venues, creativity is all around.
By McKenna Hutton
Capton Pura Avenida mural is on Ventura Avenue at Wall Street. (Turn to p.58 for more on this piece.)

LOCAL LUMINARY

The Art of Community

Meet Cynthia Polk, the creative muralist and tattoo artist building community through art, one project at a time.

Whether it’s a flashy “ripped skin” tattoo of a biomechanical arm or a blackand-white mural of a flexing Arnold Schwarzenegger looming over a gym’s dumbbell rack, this Ventura resident’s art work celebrates the big and bold.

“Art is life-changing for me,” says Polk.

“It’s such a good outlet for so many things in my life. I love sharing that and seeing how it affects people.”

Polk’s biggest achievement (literally) is Pura Avenida, a 600-foot-long mural running along Ventura Avenue and Wall Street that celebrates in stunning fashion the history, nature, culture, and people of Ventura’s Westside (see the mural on p.57). Spearheading the design, Polk worked with dozens of local artists and

community members to realize the massive project.

“Every day while we were painting it, I would step back from the wall and look at a line of artists coming together to make this happen,” says Polk. “Even people who didn’t think of themselves as artistic came away from that project with a new label: artist.”

For Polk, the mural epitomizes the unique sense of community and collaboration among Ventura’s artists.

“Everybody here is so encouraging. If you need something, somebody has it. If you need help, somebody’s there to give it,” she says. “We build each other up.”

58 CYNTHIA POLK
–Casey Cantrell
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 AMARTERASU 654 E. Main St.; Artist: Chris Saunders/@chrissaundersart; Magdalena Noriega/ @_.the.adventurist._ WESTSIDE WONDERS 330 W. Park Row Ave.; Artist: Andrew Rodriguez/ @fischerrman; Andrew Rodriguez VENTURA HISTORIC MURAL Mission San Buenaventura, 211 E. Main St.; Artist: Michael O’Kelly; Ceramicist: Juan Martin Aguirre/@jeojessi6

Eclectic Energy

Art is a treasured part of Ventura’s culture. There are so many ways to experience the city’s vibrant art scene.

The nonprofit collective Bell Arts Factory’s Galería Cooperativa, for example, features diverse local artists’ work and sup ports multicultural arts program ming in local schools. See artists at work during First Friday open studios, or sign up for a class.

Stop by Latitudes Gallery for local photography of Ventura’s most scenic spots. For art and ce ramics classes of all levels, peruse the full calendar of events at Vita Art Center. Or book a class with Red Brick Art to explore your artistic side in watercolor and mosaic classes — no experience required!

If you’re a fan of contempo rary art, H Gallery + Studios features works from around the world and is dedicated to fostering up-and-coming creatives. And for you history buffs, the Museum of Ventura County celebrates the region’s past through more than 30,000 works of art and historical artifacts. Check out the museum’s lineup of events for a fun family outing.

Setting the Stage

Live musical and theatrical performances are at the heart of Ventura. Whether it’s jazz, alternative, or a Tony Award-winning musical, find what’s music to your ears here.

On Ventura’s Main Street, the Rubicon Theatre Company features regional productions — like recent renditions of In The Heights and Ain’t Misbehavin’ — that captivate audiences with a love for musical theater. Tap your toes and sing along with shows you know by heart.

The Majestic Ventura Theater hosts all

genres of music from visiting artists. This 1920s Mission-style building in the heart of Downtown has great acoustics — there’s not a bad seat in the house at this 1,200-seat venue! (Bonus: There’s plenty of easy nearby parking options, too.) Check the calendar to see who’s playing.

Winchesters Grill & Saloon brings live music to its restaurant Downtown. There’s also Open Mic nights, plus a variety of performances from blues and country to rock and jazz.

If you’re looking for a nightclub experience, Downtown’s Star Lounge showcases a rotation of visiting performers and DJs. Be sure to join nightly karaoke sessions to test your own singing chops. And if you love jazz, The Grape has it. The house of jazz and spirits showcases A-list musicians alongside a full drink menu.

like a local

The creative community in Ventura is special in the same way that Ventura is special: There’s a real sense of community here. For Vita Art Center, that friendly Ventura vibe permeates into our gal leries, art classes, and ceramic studio. You’ll find artists, students, and community mem bers all connecting through art.

Local Biz Spotlight

Tune In

Live music is a weekly event in Ventura! Stop by The Cave Thurs day through Sunday, or check out Music Under the Stars at Olivas Adobe Historical Park, featuring live performances from guest artists during the summer. And visit Ventura Music Hall for local and touring acts.

VisitVenturaCA.com 59
TOP: COURTESY OF MUSEUM OF VENTURA COUNTY. RIGHT: MARY PEREZ Ventura Music Hall
art
Museum of Ventura County

Mission Basilica San Buenaventura

Preserving a Legacy

The

60 art
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.
Visit reaganlibrary.com to learn about special exhibitions, including “An American
Christmas Story” (through January 2023) and Auschwitz (2023).
reaganlibrary.com | eú @reaganfoundation | GÖ @ronaldreagan
Founded in 1782, the Old Mission is the last of nine missions founded by Saint Junipero Serra. Today, Mission Basilica San Buenaventura is an oasis in the historic district and remains an active Catholic parish. Lovely gardens, a museum and gift shop, and sacred works of 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

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 are making art and history accessible for the community.

“Chromatic: The Museum in Six Colors” delves into the signficance of commonplace objects in the permanent collection. “All That Glitters Is Not Gold” tells the story of Prohibition in Ventura County. (Both exhibits run through August 2023.) The Chumash Village in the Children’s Garden is an immersive, all-ages exploration of Chumash history and culture.

Highlights at the free Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula include an interactive farmers market and edible garden. The Albinger Archeological Museum in Downtown Ventu ra, along with programs, special events, and virtual exhibits, round out the museum’s extensive community offerings. Check the website for upcoming events and admission.

venturamuseum.org GeÊ @museumofventuracounty Ö @museumventuraco

VisitVenturaCA.com
Albinger Archeological Museum

Dining Guide

From fresh seafood to inventive cocktails, you could quite literally nosh and sip on deliciousness all day. Meet the restaurants, chefs, and mixologists who are shaking up Ventura’s culinary scene. 62 Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust By Martha-Page Althaus, Lauren Bonney, and Megan Murai

WHAT ARE YOU CRAVING?

Down for a beer crawl (p. 68)? Or perhaps you’d prefer to snack your way along the taco trail (p.66)? Whatever you’re in the mood for, Ventura is serving it up.

Fluid State Beer Garden

Local Biz Spotlight

Break Your Fast

Rise and shine and bring your appetite. No matter when you start your day, these breakfast and lunch options hit the spot.

The Kids Table

While there are lots of places to eat that are family-friendly in Ventura, here are a few standouts.

After spending the day at the beach, walk up South Seaward Avenue to Duke’s Griddle ’N’ Grill for a meal that will satisfy the whole family. From tacos to burgers and fries, Duke’s has plenty of finger foods. Plus, there are arcade games to keep little ones entertained.

Give your children an expe rience at Busy Bee Cafe, a 1950s-style diner and soda fountain that dishes up classics like cheeseburgers, hot dogs, hot fudge sundaes, and pie à la mode (mmm, à la mode). And if your kid loves breakfast food, good news: Busy Bee serves it all day.

For those families with di etary preferences, Nature’s Grill and Juice Bar has kid-approved vegan and vegetarian meals like bean and cheese burritos and peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

Sharing space with Ventura Harbor’s popular Coastal Cone, The Parlor offers crowd-pleasing favorites like grilled cheese sandos, chicken tenders, and root beer floats.

For a warm, inviting place to start the day, head to Immigrant Son Caffé. Go big and order the breakfast lasagna with béchamel marinara, salty prosciutto, and a fried egg topper. Or check out Paradise Pantry — its Sunday breakfast won’t disappoint (Did someone say,“breakfast bruschetta”?). To dine alfresco, consider the long-running Midtown staple Pete’s Breakfast House, which serves breakfast all day. Try the famous pancake roll stuffed with yogurt and house-made granola.

For lighter fare, Frontside Cafe’s Aus tralian-inspired dishes — acai bowls, housemade granola, and avocado toast — should do the trick. Palm and Boy Coffee and

Acai in Downtown’s El Jardin Courtyard whips up tasty acai bowls and espresso drinks out of an impossibly cute storefront. South Seaward’s Juice Swell offers sweet or sa vory toasts, salads, and inventive watermelon “pizzas” (a sliced watermelon round topped with Greek yogurt, fruit, almonds, and mint) alongside its fresh-pressed juices. (Tip: Pose for selfies in front of the mural just outside Juice Swell’s front door!)

Looking for a caffeinated kick to get you going? Grab a cup of joe (or cappuccino, or latte) from Humblemaker Coffee Co., Singing Sun Coffee, or Prospect Coffee Roasters.

64
Paradise Pantry Immigrant Son Caffé Humblemaker Coffee Co.

dining guide: bites

Catch of the Day

There’s

of

in Ventura.

Here on the weekend? Then The Jolly Oyster Shuck Shack is an absolute must. Head to San Buenaventura State Beach Park for shuck-your-own oysters over looking the Pacific Ocean, or sample from the prepared menu. At Brophy Bros., come for the clam chowder (or the fried calamari, or the fish and chips) and stay for the views of Ventura Harbor. Also at the Harbor, Andria’s Seafood Restaurant and Market is a family-owned spot that serves seafood any way you like it — deep fried, charbroiled, sauteed — and has excellent fish and chips. At the base of Ventura Pier, enjoy Pacific Ocean views at Eric Ericsson’s on the Pier

Downtown, sit on the pergola-covered patio at Rumfish y Vino and indulge in Central Amer ican-inspired flavors with conch fritters, ceviche, and yellowtail tacos. Tip: Don’t miss the daily happy hour! And Spencer Makenzie’s dishes up fan-favorite fish tacos — served grilled or tempura-style, topped with cabbage, cilantro, bell pep pers, and a signature sauce.

like a local From Belize with Love

Meet Pamela Solomon, restaurateur and owner of Rumfish y Vino.

Most people might not return from their honeymoon as the owners of a restaurant, unless you’re self-proclaimed “food and beverage couple” Pamela Solo mon and her husband, John. After seeing a space available in the beach town of Placencia, Belize, the fresh newlyweds jumped at the chance to see their dream of running a restau rant come to fruition, opening Rumfish y Vino — a Central American cuisine-inspired “gastro-bar.”

In 2016, the couple returned stateside and opened a second Rumfish in Downtown Ventura, using local, seasonal ingredients and impossibly fresh seafood in its upscale, yet approachable, menu.

“The cool thing about Rumfish is you can have multiple experi ences,” says Solomon. “It can be casual, with some conch fritters and a rum punch, or a bit fancier with a beautiful bottle of wine and the halibut special.”

And while she checks in on the Belize location every so often, Solomon is happily at home in Ventura, enjoying walks along the water from C Street to Ventura Pier, shopping with her daughter at Betty Belts, or enjoy ing a drink from Palermo Coffee (“I’ve got the whole restaurant addicted!” she laughs) any day of the week. –L.B.

VisitVenturaCA.com 65
RIGHT: PAMELA
SOLOMON
no shortage
fresh seafood
STILL HUNGRY? For more dining options, head to vta.cool/restaurants for an extra serving of deliciousness.
Spencer Makenzie Rumfish y Vino

TIME

Ventura’s Taco District

If you love Mexican cuisine, then you’re in luck.

Located along The Avenue, Ventura’s Taco District is loaded with eateries that each specialize in something delicious. And the best part is that almost all of these authentic spots are within walking distance of each other. So lace up those sneakers and remember, you don’t have to be hungry to eat a taco. Here’s where to go — and what to order — from south to north.

FOR THE BEST QUESARITO (ON THE SECRET MENU): El Taco de Jerez

FOR THE BEST FISH TACOS: El Jarocho Seafood

FOR THE BEST BIRRIA: Pablito’s Taco Truck

FOR THE BEST CARNE ASADA: Taqueria Cuernavaca

FOR THE BEST BREAKFAST BURRITO: Maggie’s On the Avenue

FOR THE BEST TORTA: Lalo’s Fast Food

¡UNA MAS!

Sweet Tooth

Go ahead, treat yourself.

Sweets cravings are easily satisfied in Ventura Harbor Village: Customize your own bar at Top This Chocolate, find cupcakes in every flavor at Sugar Lab Bake Shop, or cool off with the wildly imaginative ice cream offer ings at Coastal Cone

In Midtown, the hand-paint ed bonbons at Ex Voto Chocolates are almost too pretty to eat — almost! Downtown at Missy’s Cupcake Creations, cases are stocked with fresh-baked pastries, vegan desserts, and, yes, plenty of cupcakes. Or, indulge with a scoop of gelato at Palermo Coffee.

66 TOP: BYBA SEPIT (2)
Coastal Cone Sugar Lab Bake Shop Palermo Coffee From fajitas and flautas to tacos and tostadas, check out Yolanda’s Mexican Cafe or Casa de Soria Pablito’s Taco Truck Pablito’s Taco Truck

FRESH FOODS

Market Day

Find fruit, veggies, and more at these farmers’ markets.

Get ready to fill those reusable bags at Sat urday’s Downtown Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market . It’s a feast for all senses — the freshest local pro duce, artisan bakery items, flowers, hon ey, and more. Over at the Harbor, the Sat urday Fisherman’s Market showcases what local commer cial fishermen have pulled in.

Where the Locals Go

While you’ll be treated like a local anywhere you go, here are some standout haunts.

Just a few steps from the sand, Duke’s Griddle ’N’ Grill is exactly what you want after a day on the beach — burgers, sandwiches, hotdogs, and cold beer.

For Mexican, head to the family owned La Parrilla for all your favorites. Or order seafood and steaks just steps from Ventura Pier at Aloha Steakhouse. Tip: Come before sunset and sit on the outdoor patio.

Taking a cue from its name, Himalaya serves cuisine from India, Tibet, and Nepal, with many vegan and vegetarian op tions. For live music, outdoor dining, and happy hour specials Tuesday through Friday, grab a table at Downtown favorite Winchesters Grill & Saloon

Really hungry? Follow your nose to Marshall’s Boda cious BBQ for tri-tip, ribs, barbecue chicken, pulled-pork sandwiches and all the sides — potato salad, mac and cheese, and more.

For more casual fare that still packs a punch, grab a table outside at Fluid State Beer Garden. Order the sourdough pizza and a local brew, and people watch on Main Street. And for some of the best Thai food around, head to Rice by Mama where you’ll find all the classics, plus house specials like mango curry. Satisfy your sushi cravings at (where else?)

I Love Sushi for classic rolls, plus some creative spins on the tried-and-true.

Yolanda’s Mexican Cafe

Yolanda’s Mexican Cafe celebrates 40 years of serving authentic Mexican dishes in a fun, friendly atmosphere. Don’t miss tasty drinks and appetizer specials during happy hour every Monday through Friday from 3–6 p.m. (bar and patio areas only). Yolanda’s has four locations in Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, and Simi Valley.

yolandasmexicancafe.com

@yolandasmexicancafe

VisitVenturaCA.com 67
e G
Winchesters Grill & Saloon Aloha Steakhouse Rice by Mama Visit the farmers’ market.
dining guide: bites

PoochFriendly Patios

Whatever you’re in the mood for, dine alfresco with Fido in tow. Here are a few popular places for pups and their humans.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for four-legged friends, too! Located in a restored 1920s bungalow, the charm ing Cafe Nouveau is a perfect spot for breakfast. Dine on the plant-filled patio and let your dog find a sun spot for a morning nap.

After splashing around with your pup at Harbor Cove Beach, head to Harbor Cove Café for a stunning view of the Topatopa Moun tains over a breakfast burrito, mahi mahi sandwich, or tropical drink. Also at Ventura Harbor Village, The Parlor has a “Paw-lor” menu just for canines.

And for a meal of your dog's own, check out Barrelhouse 101. While you enjoy burgers and draft beers, your pet can chow down on grilled chicken or burger patties designed just for him.

–McKenna Hutton

Ventura’s craft beer scene got its start in 2000 when Anacapa Brewing Company opened its doors and be gan pouring thirst-quenching pints of ale and lager. Since then, Ventura has put itself on the map as a top desti nation for the craft brew connoisseur with several breweries slinging fresh pints around town. Here are a few favorites worth a pint — or two.

TOPA TOPA BREWING CO.

Located between the beach and Main Street, the original Topa Topa Brewing Co.’s small-but-mighty taproom is the perfect spot to grab a pint. Their headquarters, just off 101, also has a tasting room.

Drink: Chief Peak IPA, a piney hop-forward beer with a great tropical finish.

VENTURA COAST BREWING COMPANY

In the heart of Downtown, Ventura Coast Brew ing Company has a diverse menu with a beer for everyone, especially with the “Tap 9” —

68
Everything! Downtown Ventura is home to several craft breweries, and they’re nearly all within walking distance. We’ll raise a glass to that. By Megan Murai
DOGGIE BAG Topa Topa Brewing Co.

a weekly rotating beer released each Thursday.

Drink: Black Hop Down American stout with notes of cacao, brown sugar, and candied orange.

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 Ventura’s famous point break. Sip at the second location on Dolan Street, too.

Drink: Ventura Light lager for a crisp, refreshing brew.

SEAWARD BREWING

Founded in 2019, Seaward Brewing is named after Sea ward Avenue — the stretch of road that runs from Mid town to the Pacific Ocean.

Drink: Cali Calling is a well-balanced West Coast double IPA that uses Mosaic, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops.

LEASHLESS BREWING

This certified organic, sustain ability-minded brewery offers live music on the weekends, 10+ beers on tap, and Gio’s Tacos & Burritos food truck on-site.

Drink: Cheater 5 Pilsner is gluten-reduced, but big on flavor.

POSEIDON BREWING CO.

Poseidon Brewing Co. 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.

Drink: Grapefruit IPA has fresh grapefruit zest.

TRANSMISSION BREWING

If you have a hankering for a slice of pizza paired with a pint, Transmission has you covered. Located on the other side of the 101, this industrial spot shares a space with Toppers Pizza Place.

Drink: Downshift, a German-style pilsner.

RINCON BREWERY

A Central Coast staple, Rincon sources local ingredients and specializes in quality, elevated bar food.

Drink: Rincon IPA, with lemon zest and wildflower aromas.

Topa Topa Brewing Co., E. Thompson Blvd.

MadeWest Brewing Company, Ventura Pier

NS W E 101

Ventura Coast Brewing Company, S. Oak St.

Leashless Brewing, E. Thompson Blvd.

MadeWest Brewing Company, Donlon St. Transmission Brewing, E. Front St.

Seaward Brewing, Goodyear Ave.

Topa Topa Brewing Co., Colt St.

Rincon Brewery, Telegraph Rd.

Topa Topa Brewing Co.

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

topatopa.beer e G @topatopabrewingco

VisitVenturaCA.com 69
FROM TOP: VENTURA COUNTY COAST; COURTESY OF POSEIDON BREWING CO./KRISTIN MANSKY Poseidon Brewing Co. Seaward Brewing Poseidon Brewing Co., Olivas Park Dr. dining guide: beer

like a local Distilled to Perfection

Meet Anthony Caspary, head distiller and co-founder of Ventura Spirits Co.

“What’s different about us is we’ve been able to possibly take more risks than other distilleries in our position when it comes to ingredients and the resulting spirits,” says Anthony Caspary, co-founder and head distiller at Ventura Spirits Co.

In an industry dominated by grain-based spirits, like whiskey, Caspary made a conscientious choice to use locally grown produce, crafting distinctive spirits that celebrate the terroir of the Central Coast and a unique taste of Ventura. So all the foraged native botanicals in the flagship Wilder Gin, plus the citrus-tinged aperitifs and straw berry- and prickly pear-infused brandies use ingredients from local growers or the surrounding landscape.

“In a place like Ventura, agri culture is everywhere,” he says. “It’s something that’s celebrat ed, and being immersed in it is important to be a part of it.” Another big agricultural player is California-grown agave — an ex citing investment in the Ventura Spirits portfolio that Caspary is eager to introduce to the com munity. Taste the agave-based spirits and the rest of the brand’s lineup when you book an experience at the North Ventura Avenue tasting room. (Tip: The strawberry brandy is Caspary’s current favorite.) –L.B.

LOCAL LUMINARY

Shaken & Stirred

Q: What is your favorite drink at Cocktail Trust?

A: Hands down the Regal Bobby. It’s the perfect representation of Italian amaro meets West Coast California.

Q: What’s a drink that tastes like or reminds you of Ventura?

A: The Order of the Phoenix is 100% a Ventura cocktail with a Bank of Italy twist. Tequila and mezcal (perfect on a sunny day) are combined with local strawberries and bright citrus. A splash of amaro lends depth and bitterness.

THE BANK OF ITALY COCKTAIL TRUST

Located inside the historic Bank of Italy building, this aptly Italian drinks-themed lounge blends clas sic recipes with Central Coast flair with drinks like the Regal Bobby, featuring amaro, vermouth, and grapefruit. It’s bitter, tangy, and oh so refreshing.

THE CAVE

This intimate restaurant located inside The Ventura Wine Compa ny offers 40 wines by the glass, a frequently changing small-plates menu, and a calendar full of fun events like wine and cheese pairings. The adjacent wine shop has the region’s largest selection of fine wines.

Q: What do you like to drink in your free time?

A: I enjoy a cold beer when I’m off the clock. I can be found at one of our many local brew eries: Ventura Coast Brewing Company, Trans mission, and Topa Topa to name a few.

Q: Where do you go for a late-night bite?

A: Late night for me means 2 or 3 a.m. so it’s gotta be Jack in the Box. I regret nothing.

Q: Any insider tips for experiencing Ventura?

A: The Botanical Gardens is a must-see! Also, bring [or rent] a bicycle! It’s the best way to get around and see the town. –L.B.

70 FROM TOP: TRENT STEVENS;
ROB TRAN
These bars and lounges overflow with creativity and ambience.
Ventiki Five questions with Rob Tran, bar manager and vibe maker at Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust.

DEEP SEA 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.

VENTIKI

Find an island oasis in the heart of Downtown. Don’t miss the Happy Hour specials on Monday through Friday afternoons. But really, anytime is a good time to sip a Mai Tai or Rum Punch and nibble Kalua pork sliders.

ROCKS & DRAMS

The vibe here is cozy-chic, and the cocktails are delicious. Try the strawberry-watermelon spritz, a refreshing spin on a classic.

ALOHA STEAKHOUSE

Escape to the tropics with a Mai Tai, margarita, or the Kuai Love — coconut vodka, muddled strawberries, lemon juice, and agave nectar.

Bombay Bar & Grill

VisitVenturaCA.com 71
PHOTO CREDIT
For great food, craft cocktails, and nightlife vibes, head to one of
Ventura’s
hottest spots.
Bombay Bar & Grill entertains with daily food and drink specials.
Weekends are lit with live music and DJs. Sunday, it’s your NFL Sunday Ticket headquarters,
kicking
off
with brunch and bottomless mimosas.
bombayventura.com | G e @bombaybarandgrill
Rocks & Drams
dining guide: sips + bites

Café Zack

This hidden gem tucked away in Midtown

Cervantes,

The Perfect Pairings

Paradise Pantry serves the neighbor hood as 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 takeout. Don’t miss shopping next door in the Paradise Pantry Artisan Market

paradisepantry.com

72 dining guide
is
one of Ventura’s most beloved dining destinations. Featuring the culinary artistry of executive chef
Salome
along with an extensive wine list hand-picked
by proprietor Hector Gomez, Cafe Zack offers something for everyone.
Enjoy the ambience of the indoor dining room or join your friends for an unforgettable
alfresco meal on the beautiful patio.
Reservations recommended. cafezack.com | G @cafe-zack-restaurant | e @cafezack
G @paradisepantry e @paradisepantrymarket

Vino in Ventura

YOUR ONE-STOP SHOP FOR WINE AND DINING IS FULL OF SURPRISES.

Welcome to Ventura Wine Co., a retail wine shop and restaurant and a hidden gem for wine lovers. Shop the showroom’s selection of more than 1,000 local, domestic, and international wines, sparkling wines and Champagne, and beer, all competitively priced. Have a question or need a recommendation? The personalized service by the staff is unmatched.

After shopping for wine, venture a little further and discover The Cave. Here you’ll receive a warm welcome and the chance to try up to 40 wines available by the glass or bottle, along with a changing menu of small plates, salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, entrees, and house-made desserts. For a private event, The Barrel Room offers a cozy and unique space.

thecaveventura.com

Ge @thecaveventura

VisitVenturaCA.com
73

Dinner and a View

FINE DINING AND OCEAN VIEWS ON TAP AT ALOHA STEAKHOUSE

As Ventura’s only beachfront steak house, 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 sea food. 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.

e
G
74

the visit

LIFESTYLE: 76 | GETTING HERE: 78 | EVENTS: 79 | LAST LOOK: 80 HOGUE PHOTO
75VisitVenturaCA.com
Channel Islands National Park

It’s a common scene for many longtime 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 relocate
That Ventura Lifestyle Work hard, play well — it’s the Ventura way. Take It Home Our favorite local shops for a piece of Ventura — no matter where you live. SHOP LOCAL 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 Every day is a good day in Ventura.

Selling Ventura County to the World

THE FRED EVANS TEAM IS THE FIRST NAME IN VENTURA COUNTY REAL ESTATE.

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, 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
7152ridgecrestcourt.com 5543kailasstreet.com 77

Getting Here

Whether you prefer planes, trains, or automobiles, getting to Ventura is easy.

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 Ven tura 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, beach es, 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 Coun ty Airporter, from all three airports. Whether you’re driving your own car or using a rental, Ventura is an easy-to-nav igate city with ample parking. So buckle up and head out on the open road.

78 JOSIAH ROE getting here
“Ventura Highway, in the sunshine, where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than moonshine. You’re gonna go, I know … “—America Now Playing Every great adventure deserves an equally awesome playlist. Load up your device with some California beach classics — some are even by Ventura County natives. 1. Ventura Highway America 2. Playinwitme KYLE (feat. Kehlani) 3. Summertime Soul KYLE 4. Mr. Pinstripe Suit Big Bad Voodoo Daddy 5. Make It Better Anderson .Paak (feat. Smokey Robinson) 6. Surfin’ U.S.A. Beach Boys 7. California Soul Marlena Shaw 8. California Dreamin’ The Mamas & The Papas 9. Going to California Led Zeppelin 10. Hotel California Eagles 11. Only the Ocean Jack Johnson 12. Octopus’s Garden The Beatles 13. Island In The Sun Weezer 14. Soak Up the Sun Sheryl Crow 15. California Gurls Katy Perry (feat. Snoop Dogg) 16. Knee Deep Zac Brown Band (feat. Jimmy Buffett) 17. Surf City Jan & Dean 18. Sea and Sand The Who 19. Californication Red Hot Chili Peppers 20. Queen of California John Mayer 21. Beyond the Sea Bobby Darin 22. At the Beach The Avett Brothers ROAD TUNES

2023 Calendar of Events

Be sure to check out VisitVenturaCA.com/events for the latest information.

FEBRUARY

Ventura Marathon venturamarathon.com

MARCH

Mermaid Month venturaharborvillage. com

St. Patrick’s Day Parade venturastpatricksday parade.com

APRIL Spring Wine Walk springwinewalk.com

MAY California Strawberry Festival castrawberryfestival.org Ventura Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Festival surfbeerfest.com/ ventura

Mountains to Beach Marathon mountains2beach marathon.com

JUNE Ventura Harbor Pirate Day venturaharborvillage. com

JULY

4th of July Street Fair & PushemPullem Parade cityofventura.ca.gov

Ventura Music Festival venturamusicfestival.org Surf Rodeo surfrodeo.org

Tequila & Taco Music Festival tequilaandtacomusic festival.com

AUGUST

Ventura County Fair venturacountyfair.org Ventura Music Festival venturamusicfestival.org

The Throw Down Cornhole Tournament thethrowdowncornhole tournament.com

Ventura Land Trust Wild & Scenic Film Festival venturalandtrust.org

SEPTEMBER

Aloha Beach Festival alohabeachfestival.us

Ventura Art & Street Painting Festival venturaartfestival.com Boots & Brews Country Music Festival bootsandbrews.com

OCTOBER

Ventura Harvest Festival harvestfestival.com Seaside Highland Games seasidehighlandgames. org

Pier Under the Stars pierintothefuture.org

Surf n’ Suds Beer Festival surfbeerfest.com Artwalk Ventura artwalkventura.org Howl-o-ween Dog Costume Contest venturaharborvillage. com Downtown Costume Contest & Trick-orTreat downtownventura.org

NOVEMBER

Ventura County Farm Day venturacountyfarmday. com

DECEMBER

Holiday Tree Lighting downtownventura.org

Winter Wine Walk venturawinterwinewalk. com

Ventura Harbor Holiday Parade of Lights venturaharborvillage. com

Ventura Harbor Winter Wonderland venturaharvborvillage. com

VisitVenturaCA.com 79 PHOTO CREDIT events
Tequila & Taco Music Festival

LAST STOP

Before heading out of town, stop in to the Downtown Visitor Center to take home a piece of Ventura.

Last Look

Perhaps there's no better way to take in Ventura’s beauty than with a cruise along Ventura Highway. Just picture it: The top down, wind in your hair, and uninterrupted views of the sea. There really is no better place to be than right here in Ventura. Travel well, friends.

80 last look CREDIT

Charming Coastal Connection

EXPLORE AND RELAX IN THE PEACEFUL ENERGY OF VENTURA BEACH MARRIOTT.

Empower the mind with Ventura Beach Marriott’s fresh modern 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 nature — and with family and friends.

marriottventurabeach.com

G @ventura beach marriott

e @venturabeachmarriott

Ö @vbmarriott