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Introduction

Ventura is a city in Ventura County, a region of California's Central Coast. Ventura mixes old charm with new modern facilities to blend a rich and wonderful background to living. Ventura, still officially called San Buenaventura, was founded in 1782 by Fray Junipero Serra with the establishment of his mission. Along Main Street you will find fabulous food, excellent shopping from amazing thrift stores to upscale boutiques, a movie theater, coffee shops, and other attractions. Turn the corner at Main Street and head up Ventura Avenue and you are on the Westside. The Westside is an up-and-coming area of Ventura with a rich cultural history.
Note the iron bells every few miles on the 101 freeway. They are markers of the Camino Real, the route of Father Serra.

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Sights and Activities

  • Mission San Buenaventura, 211 E. Main St (on Main Street in the heart of old town Ventura. Exit US 101 north at California Street.), ☎ +1 805 643-4318, fax: +1 805 643-7831. M-F10am-5PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 10AM-4PM, except for major holidays.. Founded in 1782, it was the ninth and last California mission established by Father Serra. Church services, funerals, and weddings are still performed at the mission today. It was one of the most successfully irrigated of the missions, leading to plentiful orchards and vineyards. An original well stands in the back of the church, and a school for children is attached to the side. The Old Mission welcomes visitors daily from sunrise until sunset. $2.
  • Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main St.. Tu-Su 11AM-5PM. Collections include Chumash and other native American artefacts. $4.
  • Bell Arts Factory, 432 N. Ventura Ave. Created out of a historic mattress factory showroom in the Westside of Ventura. There are free children's programs that enhance young lives through the arts and provide a cultural revitalization of the Westside. There are also many talented resident artists in studios creating beautiful paintings, jewelry, sculptures, weavings, photographs and ceramics.
  • Ventura Hot Glass Studio, 777 N. Olive St, ☎ +1 805 643-1848. Formerly named LA Hot Glass, Artists John Gerletti and Suzi Perret have a unique studio open to the public featuring their handblown art glass. Pop in during the afternoons and you might catch them in the act of blowing glass. Individual pieces are showcased for sale with prices ranging from $50 to $400.
  • Olivas Adobe, Olivas Adobe Historical Parkmore info 4200 Olivas Park Dr, ☎ +1 805 658-4728. A 160-year-old adobe-style house with historical ties. The Adobe is rumored to be haunted. Tours are available.
  • Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli Street #109, ☎ +1 805 654-7800. Ventura's striking neoclassical city hall building overlooks Main street and an array of boutique shops, just blocks from the beach.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

By Plane

Ventura is located 68 miles north of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX IATA) on Highway 101. Nearby Oxnard sports both a cruise ship port and an airport with connecting flights to LAX. Santa Barbara Airport can be a good alternative to LAX or Oxnard with flights to LAX, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix as well as other destinations and it is only about 10–15 minutes away down the breath-taking 101. Camarillo Airport is a dominant general aviation hub, though Oxnard and Santa Barbara take their share as well.

By Train

The Pacific Surfliner operated by Amtrak stops in Ventura, travelling between San Luis Obispo and San Diego.

Metrolink has a commuter service from Los Angeles to East Ventura station, located in the Montalvo neighbourhood.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

  • Gold Coast Transit, ☎ +1 805-487-4222. This bus system provides impressive transportation coverage across the city of Ventura as well as the neighboring cities of Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

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Eat

  • Winchesters Bar and Grill. At the other end of old town. They have a large beer selection, and fabulous food! Quite a pickup joint, second only to Table 13. edit

Busy Bee Cafe. This campy 1950s style diner on Main has become a Ventura landmark. Pop in for a root beer float, raspberry-lime rickey, hot fudge sundae or one of many classic American food favorites.

  • Johnny's. On the Westside, at 176 N. Ventura Ave., just around the corner from Main Street. A Mexican food institution in Ventura. Try their famous shredded beef burritos prepared "three way", meaning with beans, rice, and cheese!
  • Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill, 4960 Telephone Rd, ☎ +1 805-339-9600. Mon-Sun 11AM to 9PM. Good quality, fresh Mexican food.
  • The Sushi House, 1127 S Seaward Ave, ☎ +1 805-643-5550. Small restaurant near the beach that serves up very fresh, tasty sushi.
  • Tony's Pizza. This is the best little pizza shack in town. It's perfect after surfing or hanging out at the beach. Also, the guy there will talk to you like he's known you for years. The pizza is thin crust style, and is very good.
  • Toppers Pizza. The best local pizza restaurant in town. Great for the family. Voted the best pizza two years consecutively by Ventura County Readers Poll. Big televisions and great salad bar.
  • Taj Cafe, 574 E Main St, ☎ +1 805 652-1521. One of the best Indian restaurants in Ventura. Dinner will set you back about 20 dollars a person.
  • Trufflehound's Fine Chocolates (Trufflehound's), 607 E Main St # E (next to the library), ☎ +1 805 648-5870. Sunday – 12:30PM to 5PM, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday – 10AM to 6PM, Friday & Saturday – 10AM to 8PM.. Ventura's best Fine chocolate shop. Delicious loose and boxed truffles and other chocolates are priced by weight.

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Drink

Overall, Ventura is a great place for easy-going party people. Many restaurants have terrific happy hour specials daily with both food and drinks at remarkably low prices. This makes it easy to grab an early meal or make plans with friends. San Souci is the local dive where young and old alike go. The Tavern, which serves both food and drinks, is a great low-key hangout with different kinds of music and fun specialty drinks. The local gay bar has the unlikely name of Paddy's, so don't be fooled into thinking it's an Irish pub. Friendly atmosphere and reasonable prices.

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Sleep

  • Best Western Inn of Ventura, 708 E Thompson Blvd, ☎ +1 805 648-3101, fax: +1 805 648-4019.
  • Holiday Inn, 450 E Harbor Blvd, ☎ +1 805 648-7731. Sits right on the beach, towering above old town. It's a fabulous view of both Ventura's city charm, and her beautiful ocean shores.
  • Motel 6 Ventura Beach, 2145 East Harbor Blvd, ☎ +1 805 643-5100, fax: +1 805 643-4519.
  • Motel 6 Ventura South, 3075 Johnson Dr, ☎ +1 805 650-0080, fax: +1 805 339-0926.
  • Vagabond Inn Ventura, 756 E Thompson Blvd, ☎ +1 805 648-5371. Located in downtown Ventura, walk to the beach and Ventura Pier.
  • Ventura Beach Marriott, 2055 Harbor Blvd, ☎ +1 805 643-6000, fax: +1 805 643-7137.
  • Vagabond Inn Ventura, 756 E. Thompson Blvd., ☎ +1 805 648-5371, fax: +1 805 648-5613. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 8. Last edited at 13:06 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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