Ventura, California
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Ventura, California

San Buenaventura
City of San Buenaventura
San Buenaventura Mission Front View (cropped2).jpg
Father Serra statue (Ventura, California).jpg
Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital (cropped).jpg
The Cross at Grant Park in Ventura, CA.jpg
Bank of Italy (Ventura, California).jpg
Clockwise: Mission San Buenaventura; Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital; historic Bank of Italy building; The Cross at Grant Park; Father Serra statue in front of Ventura City Hall
Official seal of Ventura
Location in Ventura County
Location in Ventura County
Ventura is located in southern California
Location in Southern California
Ventura is located in California
Location in California
Ventura is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 34°16?30?N 119°13?40?W / 34.27500°N 119.22778°W / 34.27500; -119.22778Coordinates: 34°16?30?N 119°13?40?W / 34.27500°N 119.22778°W / 34.27500; -119.22778
CountryUnited States
MissionMarch 31, 1782
IncorporatedApril 2, 1866[1]
Named forSaint Bonaventure
 o MayorSofia Rubalcava[2]
 o City managerAlex McIntyre[3]
 o CA SenateMonique Limón (D)[4]
 o CA AssemblySteve Bennett (D)[4]
 o U.S. Congress[5]CA-24: Salud Carbajal (D)
CA-26: Julia Brownley (D)
 o Total32.29 sq mi (83.63 km2)
 o Land21.89 sq mi (56.68 km2)
 o Water10.41 sq mi (26.95 km2)  32.53%
Elevation36 ft (11 m)
 o Total106,433
 o Estimate 
 o Rank4th in Ventura County
63rd in California
 o Density4,985.42/sq mi (1,924.91/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
ZIP codes[10]
93001-93007, 93009
Area code(s)805
FIPS code06-65042
GNIS feature IDs1667934, 2411779

Ventura, officially San Buenaventura,[11] is the county seat of Ventura County, California, United States. The coastal site, set against undeveloped hills and flanked by two free-flowing rivers, has been inhabited for thousands of years. European explorers encountered a Chumash village, referred to as Shisholop, here while traveling along the Pacific coast.[12] They witnessed the ocean navigation skill of the native people and their use of the abundant local resources from sea and land.[13] In 1782, the eponymous Mission San Buenaventura was founded nearby, where it benefitted from the water of the Ventura River. The town grew around the mission compound and incorporated in 1866. The development of nearby oil fields in the 1920s and the age of automobile travel created a major real estate boom during which many designated landmark buildings were constructed. The mission and these buildings are at the center of a downtown that has become a cultural, retail, and residential district and visitor destination.

Ventura lies between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara along U.S. Route 101, which was one of the original U.S. Routes. The highway is now known as the Ventura Freeway, but the original route through the town has been designated El Camino Real, the commemorative pathway connecting the California missions. During the post-World War II economic expansion, the community grew easterly, building detached single-family homes over the rich agricultural land created by the Santa Clara River at the edge of the Oxnard Plain. The population was 106,433 at the 2010 census, up from 100,916 at the 2000 census, with the median age being 39.[14] Ventura is part of the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA metropolitan area.


Prehistory and indigenous peoples

Archaeological discoveries in the area suggest that humans have populated the region for at least 10,000-12,000 years.[15] Archaeological research demonstrates that the Chumash people have deep roots in central and southern coastal regions of California, and has revealed artifacts from their culture.[13] Shisholop Village, designated Historic Point of Interest #18 by the city at the foot of nearby Figueroa Street, was the site of a Chumash village.[12] The Ventura Chumash were in contact with the Channel Islands Chumash; both mainland and island Chumash utilized large plank-sewn seagoing canoes, called Tomol, with the island people bringing shell bead money, island chert, and sea otter pelts to trade for mainland products like acorns and deer meat.[16][17]

Spanish period (1769-1822)

Mission San Buenaventura was founded by the Spanish in 1782, led by Saint Junípero Serra.
Father Serra statue by John Palo Kangas, commissioned by the WPA in 1935

In 1769, the Spanish Portolà expedition, first recorded European visitors to inland areas of California, came down the Santa Clara River Valley from the previous night's encampment near today's Saticoy and camped near the outlet of the Ventura River on August 14. Fray Juan Crespi, a Franciscan missionary traveling with the expedition, noted that "we saw a regular town, the most populous and best laid-out of all that we had seen on the journey up to the present time."[18] Archaeological records found that the Chumash village they encountered was settled sometime around 1000 A.D.

Junípero Serra, first leader of the Franciscans in California, founded Mission San Buenaventura in 1782 as his ninth and last mission established near the Chumash village as part of Spain's colonization of Alta California.[19] The mission was named for St. Bonaventure, a Thirteenth Century Franciscan saint and a Doctor of the Church. San Miguel Chapel was the first outpost and center of operations while the first Mission San Buenaventura was being constructed. The first mission burned in 1801 and a replacement building of brick and stone was completed in 1809. The bell tower and facade of the new mission was destroyed by an 1812 earthquake.[20][21] The Mission was rebuilt and functions as a parish church. Historic tours of downtown include the mission compound.

Mexican period (1822-1848)

The Mexican secularization act of 1833 was passed twelve years after Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821. Mission land was sold or given away in large grants called ranchos. Rancho Ex-Mission San Buenaventura was a 48,823-acre (197.58 km2) grant that included downtown Ventura. Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado granted Rancho San Miguel to Felipe Lorenzana and Raymundo Olivas whose Olivas Adobe on the banks of the Santa Clara River was the most magnificent hacienda south of Monterey. Fernando Tico also received a Mexican land grant for Ojai and a parcel near the river in downtown Ventura.[22]

Early agricultural development (1848-1919)

July 4 celebration in Ventura, 1874. Parade Marshal is Thomas R. Bard.

California became a territory of the United States in 1848 and the 31st state in the Union in 1850. After the American Civil War, settlers came to the area, buying land from the Mexicans, or simply as squatters. Vast holdings were later acquired by Easterners, including railroad magnate Thomas A. Scott. He was impressed by one of the young employees, Thomas R. Bard, who had been in charge of train supplies to Union troops, and Bard was sent west to handle Scott's property. Not easily accessible, Ventura was not a target of immigrants, and remained quiet and rural. For most of the century following the incorporation of Ventura in 1866, it remained isolated from the rest of the state.

Ventura had a flourishing Chinese settlement in the early 1880s. The largest concentration of activity, known as China Alley, was just across Main Street from the Mission San Buenaventura. China Alley was parallel with Main Street and extended easterly off Figueroa Street between Main and Santa Clara streets.[23] The city council has designated the China Alley Historic Area a Point of Interest in the downtown business district.[24]

Ventura Pier was built in 1872 at a cost of $45,000 and was the longest wooden Pier in California. In 1914 a ship severed the pier. It was rebuilt to a length of 1,700 feet (520 m) by 1917. An active wharf for 64 years, it was reinforced with steel pilings after 420 feet (130 m) of the pier was destroyed by a storm in 1995.[25][26][27][28]

Oil and development boom (1920-1945)

The Union Oil Company was organized with Bard as president in 1890, and had offices in Santa Paula. The large Ventura Oil Field was first drilled in 1919 and at its peak produced 90,000 barrels per day (14,000 m3/d).[29][30] The development of the oil fields in the 1920s, along with the building of better roads to Los Angeles and the affordability of automobiles, enabled a major real estate boom. Contemporary downtown Ventura is defined by extant buildings from this period.[31][32] In this bustling oil boom town Ventura Theatre opened in 1928.[33] During this decade, many other buildings were constructed: the Hobson Brothers Meat Packing Company (1923),[34] the First National Bank of Ventura (1926) (commonly called the Erle Stanley Gardner Building),[35] the Ventura Hotel (1926), the First Baptist Church of Ventura (1926), the Elks Lodge - B. P. 0. E. #1430 (1928),[36] the Mission Theater (1928), the Hotel Washington (1928), the Swift & Company Building (1928), and the Masonic Temple (1929).[31]

Located between the Ventura River and the Santa Clara River, the soil is so fertile that town boosters claimed that citrus grew better here than anywhere else in the state. The citrus farmers joined Sunkist Growers, Incorporated, the world's largest organization of citrus producers. On March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam, 54 mi (87 km) inland, failed catastrophically, creating a flood that took over 600 lives as it flowed down the Santa Clara River to the ocean. The flood reached Montalvo (a settlement that is now a neighborhood of Ventura) about 5:30 a.m., almost two miles (3 km) wide and traveling at a speed of 5 mph (8.0 km/h) per hour.

Postwar years and 1950s boom (1946-present)

Historic neon sign.

From the south, travel by auto was slow and hazardous, until the completion of a four-lane freeway (US Highway 101) over the Conejo Grade in 1959. This route, which was widened and improved by 1969, is known as the Ventura Freeway, which directly links Ventura with the rest of the Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA Combined Statistical Area. Another route, US Highway 101 ALT (now the Pacific Coast Highway) traveled along the coast from Santa Monica via Oxnard, but was not heavily used.

From the north, entrance was by way of a single road along the beach and stagecoach passengers either had to wait until low tide when the horses could cross on the exposed wet sand, or go up the Ventura River Valley and then cross over the mountains to Santa Barbara via Casitas Pass, a long and difficult trip. In 1913, the Rincon Sea Level Road and the Ventura River Bridge opened; motoring tourists no longer had to fear coming through here.[37]

Inland, Ventura was hemmed in by the mountainous country and deep canyons of the Los Padres National Forest. This route became passable with the completion of the Maricopa Highway (U.S. 399, now State Highway 33) in the 1930s, connecting Ventura and Ojai with the San Joaquin Valley.

Ventura continued to grow steadily. In 1920 there were 4,156 people. In 1930 the population had increased to 11,603, by 1950 the population reached 16,643, by 1970 the population was 57,964, and in 1980 the population had increased to 73,774. In the last three decades it has increased to approximately 110,000. To minimize outward growth onto the agricultural land that surrounds the existing community, the city is pursuing a strategy of "in-fill first" with the 2005 General Plan which means growth will focus inward to certain "Districts, Corridors, and Neighborhood Centers" that will become more intensely populated.[38]

Thomas Fire (2017)

Following a late-fall Santa Ana winds event, a fire was sparked about 15 miles (24 km) north of Ventura in Santa Paula, California, at around 6:30 PM on December 4, 2017. Winds had peaked in the overnight hours causing major spreading of the fire over thousands of acres in a short time. Early on December 5 the fire had quickly spread through the western portion of Ventura County causing mass evacuations and power outages. The winds swept into the Ventura area burning through hillside neighborhoods.[39] The fire spread above the downtown area burning several apartment buildings before continuing north along the Rincon coast. Out of the 1,063 structures destroyed, 504 were residences in the city.[40] The Thomas Fire was part of a series of at least four major fires caused by this prolonged wind event. Mass evacuation orders were prompted and US Route 101 was shut down. The fire burned over 281,000 acres (114,000 ha) in total.


Location of Ventura, California

Ventura is located northwest of Los Angeles on the California coast. The western portion of the city stretches north along the Ventura River and is characterized by a narrow valley with steeply sloped areas along both sides. The steep slopes of the Ventura foothills abut the northern portion of the community. Much of the eastern portion is on a relatively flat alluvial coastal plain lying along the western edge of the Oxnard Plain. The Santa Clara River forms the city's southerly boundary with the city limits reaching up to the beginning of the Santa Clara River Valley at the historic community of Saticoy.[41]

Ventura is within a seismically active region like much of California and is crossed by several potentially active fault systems.[42] The Ventura Fault is capable of an 8.0 earthquake and a local tsunami up to 23 feet in height.[43][44][45] According to the United States Census Bureau, Ventura has a total area of 32.1 square miles (83 km2), of which 21.7 square miles (56 km2) is land and 10.4 square miles (27 km2) (32.53%) is water.


Ventura has a Mediterranean climate, typical of most coastal California cities, with the sea breeze off the Pacific Ocean moderating temperatures. It is not uncommon for the city to be affected by Santa Ana winds off the Transverse Ranges on occasion, which increase temperatures dramatically.

Climate data for Ventura, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
Average high °F (°C) 66.5
Average low °F (°C) 44.0
Record low °F (°C) 28
Average rainfall inches (mm) 3.59
Source 1: [46]
Source 2: [47]



The 2010 United States Census[49] reported that Ventura had a population of 106,433. The population density was 3,316.2 people per square mile (1,280.4/km2). The racial makeup of Ventura was 76.6% White, 1.6% African American, 1.2% Native American, 3.4% Asian (0.9% Filipino, 0.6% Chinese, 0.4% Indian, 0.4% Korean, 0.4% Japanese, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.5% Other), 0.2% Pacific Islander, 5.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.8% of the population.

The Census reported that 103,940 people (97.7% of the population) lived in households, 755 (0.7%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 1,738 (1.6%) were institutionalized.

There were 40,438 households, out of which 13,014 (32.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 18,907 (46.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,936 (12.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,153 (5.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,621 (6.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 371 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 10,959 households (27.1%) were made up of individuals, and 4,271 (10.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57. There were 25,996 families (64.3% of all households); the average family size was 3.14.

The population was spread out, with 23,918 people (22.5%) under the age of 18, 9,581 people (9.0%) aged 18 to 24, 28,814 people (27.1%) aged 25 to 44, 29,957 people (28.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 14,163 people (13.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.

There were 42,827 housing units at an average density of 1,334.4 per square mile (515.2/km2), of which 22,600 (55.9%) were owner-occupied, and 17,838 (44.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.3%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.5%. 59,330 people (55.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 44,610 people (41.9%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[50] of 2000, there were 100,916 people, 38,524 households, and 25,233 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,790.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,849.3/km2). There were 39,803 housing units at an average density of 1,889.5 per square mile (729.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.8% White, 1.4% African American, 1.2% Native American, 3.0% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 11.1% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 30.4% of the population.

Ventura City Hall

There were 38,524 households, out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.0% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $52,297, and the other income for a family was $60,466. Males had a median income of $43,828 versus $31,793 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,065. About 6.4% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.


The outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia is based in Ventura.[51] The headquarters of the company are located just west of the downtown area. The eco-designer Stewart+Brown has their factory just a few blocks from the ocean.[] Diaper bag manufacturer Petunia Pickle Bottom was founded here.[52] Research and resource company The Barna Group is located near downtown Ventura.[]

Ventura is a destination for tourists and is popular for people living in southern California. They enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and ambiance with activities such as walking on the beach and other outdoor activities and sports such as kayaking.[53]

Top employers

According to the State of California's Employment Development Department, the America's Labor Market Information System (ALMIS) Employer Database, 2016 1st edition, indicated that the major employers in the city of Ventura are California State University-Channel Islands, Coleman Welding, Community Memorial Health System and Community Memorial Hospital.

According to the city's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[54] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer Number of Employees 2020 Percent of Total City Employment
1 County of Ventura 8,232 15.08%
2 Ventura Unified School District 2,650 4.85%
3 Community Memorial Health System 2,176 3.99%
4 Employer's Depot Inc. 820 1.50%
5 Patagonia Works (Lost Arrow Corp.) 665 1.22%
6 Kaiser Permanente 656 1.20%
7 Ventura County Community College District 653 1.20%
8 City of San Buenaventura 615 1.13%
9 Target 495 0.91%
10 Ventura Superior Court 305 0.56%


In 2009 the City of Ventura created Ventura Ventures Technology Center,[55] a business incubator with a high-tech focus. Ventura Ventures Technology Center was created as an economic engine to develop jobs and companies locally, as well as attract entrepreneurs to the area. The Trade Desk was started in the incubator.[56]


Under the legalization of the sale and distribution of cannabis in California, voters passed Measure I in 2020, which included a general cannabis business tax of up to $10 per square foot of canopy for cultivators, 8% gross receipts for retailers and 4% for all other business types.[57] The council last adopted a resolution allowing a maximum number of cannabis businesses in the city in February 2021. Five retail locations and 10 industrial locations can be approved with 600 feet (180 m) buffers around elementary, middle and high schools.[58] All cannabis businesses are still prohibited.[59] State law says local governments may not prohibit adults from growing, using or transporting marijuana for personal use but they can prohibit companies from growing, testing, and selling cannabis within their jurisdiction by licensing none or only some of these activities. The state requires cities to allow deliveries.[60]

Arts and culture

The Ventura County Fairgrounds is the home of the annual Ventura County Fair, and over the years has hosted such acts as Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Smokey Robinson, All American Rejects, Smash Mouth, and Sugar Ray, as well as the Vans Warped Tour. The Train Station for Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner route is adjacent to the fairgrounds.

The Majestic Ventura Theater is an early 20th-century landmark in the downtown. It has been a venue for concerts such as The Doors, Pearl Jam, Van Halen, X, Ray Charles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, Fugazi, Incubus, Tom Petty, They Might Be Giants, and Johnny Cash, as well as homegrown artists like KYLE, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Army of Freshmen.[61][62]

Sports and recreation

Ventura is famed for the quality and frequency of the surfing conditions at spots such as Surfer's Point near the Ventura County Fairgrounds.[63] The Ventura County Fairgrounds is the home to the Ventura Raceway, "The best little dirt track in America",[64] Ventura is the home to the soccer clubs Ventura County Football Club[65] and Ventura County Fusion, of the USL Premier Development League.


Boat entering Ventura Harbor
  • Arroyo Verde Park
  • Arundell Linear Park
  • Aurora Linear Park
  • Barranca Vista Park
  • Belaire Linear Park
  • Blanche Reynolds Park (Rainbow Bridge)
  • Bristol Bay Linear Park
  • Brock Linear Park
  • Camino Real Park
  • Cemetery Memorial Park
  • Chumash Park
  • County Square Linear Park
  • Eastwood Park
  • Fritz Huntzinger Youth Sports Complex
  • Grant Park[66]
  • Harry Lyon Park
  • Hobart Park
  • Juanamaria Park
  • Junipero Serra Park
  • Kennebec Linear Park
  • Kellogg Park [67]
  • Marina Park
  • Marion Cannon Park
  • Mission Park[68]
  • Montalvo Hill Park
  • Northbank Linear Park
  • Ocean Avenue Park
  • Plaza Park[69]
  • Promenade Park
  • Ralston Village Linear Park
  • Rancho Ventura Linear Park
  • Riverview Linear Park
  • Seaside Park (and Ventura County Fairgrounds)
  • Seaside Wilderness Park
  • San Buenaventura State Beach
  • Thille Park
  • Ventura Community Park
  • Westpark[70]
  • Woodside Linear Park


Ventura had an at-large system of electing council members[71] but changed to seven council districts in 2018 due to threatened legal action based on the California Voting Rights Act.[72] Council members have 4-year terms and their elections are staggered so three or four are up for re-election every two years.[73] The council elects from among its own members a mayor and deputy mayor who serve two-year terms.[74]

Political strength

Ventura city vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2020[75] 63.3% 38,953 34.3% 21,107 2.4% 1,502
2016[76] 58.3% 30,086 34.6% 17,854 7.1% 3,673
2012[77] 56.7% 27,713 40.5% 19,823 2.8% 1,361
2008[78] 60.0% 31,118 38.1% 19,774 2.0% 1,014
2004[79] 52.6% 25,356 45.9% 22,150 1.5% 725
2000[80] 48.7% 21,584 45.4% 20,095 5.9% 2,611
1996[81] 43.3% 18,431 44.2% 18,820 12.6% 5,336
1992[82] 41.1% 18,491 31.4% 14,116 27.5% 12,342
1988[83] 42.0% 16,937 56.8% 22,891 1.3% 508
1984[84] 34.3% 13,330 64.5% 25,073 1.2% 467
1980[85] 32.3% 10,767 56.0% 18,706 11.8% 3,918
1976[86] 47.1% 12,762 51.3% 13,872 1.5% 417
1972[87] 36.1% 9,430 59.9% 15,664 4.0% 1,035


Ventura has four college campuses: Ventura College of Law, Southern California Institute of Law, Santa Barbara Business College and Ventura College. Ventura College of Law is a non-profit law school founded in 1969. Ventura College is a community college, part of the Ventura County Community College District.[88] The Brooks Institute of Photography shut down in 2016 after many years in the community.

Public school students from kindergarten through 12th grade attend schools in the Ventura Unified School District. The district has five high schools: Ventura High in the midtown area, Buena High in east Ventura, Foothill Technology High School, Pacific High School[89] and El Camino High School, an independent study program located on the Ventura College campus. Private schools include St. Bonaventure High School, a Catholic school, Ventura County Christian School, an evangelical Christian school,[90] and Holy Cross School, Sacred Heart, and Our Lady of the Assumption, Roman Catholic schools for grades pre-kindergarten through 8.




There are three branches of the Ventura County Library in the City of Ventura: E.P. Foster Library[91][92] on Main Street, Avenue Library[93] on Ventura Avenue, and Hill Road Library on the east side of the city.[94] Saticoy Library[95] is in the unincorporated area of Saticoy outside the east end of the city of Ventura. H.P. Wright Library[96] was closed on November 30, 2009, due to a shortfall in funding in the Ventura County Library System.[97] All books from the H.P. Wright Library were integrated into the E.P. Foster Library in March 2010.[98] Proponents of an east side library continued to agitate for the re-establishment of a branch to replace the H.P. Wright Library, which came to fruition in 2017 with the opening of Hill Road Library on December 3.[99][94]


The Evelyn and Howard Boroughs Library of Ventura College, dedicated in 2005, serves the students, faculty and staff of the college as well as the general public of Ventura County.[100]


The Research Library of the Museum of Ventura County holds books and archival materials related to the history of the county and surrounding regions. Its holdings are catalogued in the Ventura County Library system and the Central Coast Museum Consortium, and the library is open to the public.[101]

Ventura County Law Library, located in the Ventura County Government Center, makes current legal resources available to judges, lawyers, government officials, and other users.[102]


The major road through Ventura is the Ventura Freeway (U.S. Route 101), connecting the California Central Coast and San Francisco to the north, and Los Angeles to the south. State Route 33, the Ojai Freeway, heads north to Ojai. State Route 126 and State Route 118 head east to Santa Clarita and Simi Valley, respectively.

The East Ventura Station, in the historic Montalvo neighborhood, serves as the western terminus of the Ventura County Line of the Metrolink commuter rail system, which extends to Los Angeles' Union Station. The downtown Ventura Amtrak Station is served by Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner from San Luis Obispo to San Diego.

Local bus service is provided by Gold Coast Transit. Commuter and intercity bus services are provided by VISTA and by MTD to Santa Barbara.

The Downtown - Harbor Trolley began its free service on July 3, 2013. The Trolley makes loops from Downtown to Ventura Harbor.[103]

Water and sewer

Ventura provides water to its residents and some unincorporated areas near the city. Water sources are Lake Casitas, the Ventura River, and groundwater.[104] The water system includes 3 treatment plants, 10 wells, and 27 reservoirs.

Sanitary sewer services are treated at a single plant in 1955.[105] The plant, within a former portion of the estuary of the Santa Clara River, has ponds of treated water that attract birds.[106][107] Some recycled water from the plant is used for landscaping and other non potable uses.[108][109][110]

The Montalvo Community Services District looked at the cost of a new treatment plant in 2014 and considered having the city take over their service area and dissolve the district. The Montalvo Municipal Improvement District had been formed 60 years prior to bringing sewer service to what was then a remote unincorporated area southeast of Ventura. The city of Ventura annexed the last unincorporated portions of Montalvo in 2012[111] and had already begun to provide water to the community before the annexation.[112]

Points of interest

The restored Mission San Buenaventura


Downtown Ventura is home to the Mission San Buenaventura, museums, galleries, dining, and shopping. Located in downtown is the historic Ortega Adobe, once home to the Ortega family known for chili products. Downtown Ventura is home to Ventura's ornate city hall with its statue of Junipero Serra.[113] Downtown includes restaurants, wine bars, breweries, and the Rubicon Theatre Company.

Visitors Center

The 4,300-square-foot (400 m2) Ventura Visitors Center, at 101 South California Street, has exhibits on the Heritage Valley, Channel Islands National Park, the local arts scene, and maps and brochures about the area.

An early-morning fisherman at Ventura Pier, 2008

Two Trees

One of the most recognizable landmarks in Ventura was "Two Trees" - two prominent lone trees on a hilltop, visible from most of Ventura. Access to the hill is private property. Signs at the bottom of the trails and at the trees themselves warn against trespassing.[114]

In early October 2017, one of the trees was destroyed by high winds.[115][116]

Plaza Park

In Plaza Park (Chestnut and Santa Clara streets, downtown) stands a large Moreton Bay fig tree. Across the street, the main post office has murals on interior walls commissioned by the Section of Painting and Sculpture of the U.S. Treasury Department as New Deal art.[117]


Aerial view of Ventura Harbor (2020)

Ventura Harbor has fishing boats, seafood restaurants and a retail center, the Ventura Harbor Village. The Channel Islands National Park Headquarters is also located at the harbor, and boats to the Channel Islands depart from there daily.

The Westside of Ventura is a large subdivision of neighborhoods along Ventura Avenue.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has issued a safe eating advisory for any fish caught in Ventura Harbor to Santa Monica Pier due to elevated levels of mercury and PCBs.[118]

Pierpont Bay

Pierpont Bay (Pierpont) is a residential neighborhood in the one-mile stretch between Ventura Harbor and San Buenaventura State Beach. Reclaimed marshland was subdivided in 1925 and houses were built in fits of development interrupted by years of economic depression, war, and coastal floods (in 1937 and 1962). Long a hodge-podge of rental dwellings, weekend cottages and vacant lots, it was transformed by successive California real estate booms into a fashionable but eclectic mix of newer large homes and older modest beach cottages, now mostly owner-occupied. Pierpont Bay has widely varying architectural styles, a small retail district Seaward Avenue, newer residents' demands for increased municipal maintenance, and continuing disputes about the proper regulation of the neighborhood's public beaches.[119]

The Ventura Fairgrounds during the Ventura County Fair

Olivas Adobe

The Olivas Adobe, one of the early "California Rancho"-styled homes, is operated today as a museum and performing arts venue. Located adjacent to the Olivas Park Golf Course, the home is one of the most visited historic sites on the central Pacific Coast.[] Living history reenactments, demonstrations of Rancho life and wonderful ghost stories are presented. A summer music series of performances held in the courtyard features an eclectic assortment of artists from blues to jazz to country.


A surfer rides sweet wave while doing a turny at Point Mugu during a Ventura surf contest.
  • A J Comstock Fire Museum
  • Albinger Archeological Museum

In popular culture


The movies Swordfish, Little Miss Sunshine and Erin Brockovich were partially filmed in Ventura.[120]

The comedy film The Bet was filmed entirely in the city of Ventura and was written by Ventura residents Chris Jay and Aaron Goldberg, both members of the band Army of Freshmen.


Ventura was fictionalized as 'Madison City' by long-time resident Erle Stanley Gardner in his D.A. series of crime novels featuring Doug Selby, crusading district attorney of a rural California county.

Ventura is the setting for Julie Carobini's 2007 book Chocolate Beach.


The America song "Ventura Highway" was inspired by the feel of the coastal highway running through Ventura, when the songwriter saw the sign to Ventura on a childhood family trip.

Ventura is a course in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2. It was called 'Skatestreet Ventura'.

Notable people

Kevin Costner has received two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Attended Buena High School in Ventura, California. He has described spending his teenage years in different parts of California as his father's career progressed. Costner lived in Ventura, then in Visalia; he attended Mt. Whitney High School and moved to Orange County, where he graduated from Villa Park High School in 1973. He earned a BA in marketing and finance from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) in 1978.

Zachary Levi is an actor known for his role as Shazam in DC's Shazam! and has received critical acclaim for starring as Chuck Bartowski in the series Chuck. He attended Buena High School.

Natasha Halevi is an actress and director known for her work with Fatale Collective and Troma Entertainment. She attended Saint Bonaventure High School. She is married to actor Sean Gunn.

James Ennis III (born 1990) is a Professional Basketball Player for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Frank Churchill is a composer for Disney cartoons who started as a pianist in Ventura.

Theodosia Burr Shepherd (1845-1906) was an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in plant breeding. She was called the "Flower Wizard of California",[121] and "The Pioneer Seed-grower", as she was the first woman in California and possibly in the United States to hybridize flowers.[122][121] Her seed and bulb business, the Theodosia B. Shepherd Company, is considered to be the foundation of the California seed industry and is listed as number 34 in the City of Ventura Historic Landmarks and Districts. She was compared favorably to Luther Burbank.[123]

Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970) created the fictional lawyer Perry Mason, who appeared first in novels and then later in a television series from 1957 to 1966, followed by several "made-for-TV" movies in the 1980s. Gardner himself was a lawyer and did much of his early writing in Downtown Ventura. The First National Bank building at California and Main streets, where Gardner's law office was located, bears his name on a state historical marker and is also identified as the "Erle Stanley Gardner Building" over the front entrance.

Sister cities

See also


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External links

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Music Scenes