Mission San Buenaventura is the namesake for this distinctive settlement founded in 1782. Translated, the name means "City of Good Fortune." How very appropriate!
Enjoy a coffee, pastry or full breakfast in one of downtown Ventura's quaint cafes before you begin your walking tour of the Main Street area. Now, head up California Street toward San Buenaventura City Hall. Both historic and grand, this neoclassical structure overlooks city and sea from its picturesque perch.
It's time to view what first brought Ventura to life. Mission San Buenaventura is noted as Father Serra's last masterpiece with its elegant courtyard, statues of saints and 250-year-old paintings. The mission museum, church sanctuary and peaceful grounds are inviting places through which to wander.
Next, ancient wonders and 3,500 years of history unfold at the nearby Albinger Archaeological Museum where you can view the archaeological digs from a viewing platform up Valdez Alley.
Walk on over to the Ortega Adobe, birthplace of the famous Ortega Green Chilies and the last remaining original adobe of many that once lined Main Street in the 1800s.
Just paces away is the J. Comstock Fire Museum - a tribute to heroic firefighters of ages past. Next, hop over to the Museum of Ventura County. Its distinctive rotating and permanent collections are definitely worth exploring.
On your way to lunch at one of downtown's many cafes, grills or sandwich shops, check out Ventura's eclectic mix of architecture including Victorian, mission-style, Craftsman, Neoclassical, Cape Cod, Mediterranean and more.
Drive out to the Channel Islands National Park Visitors Center at the end of Spinnaker Drive. You'll learn lots from the fascinating displays and exhibits of the magnificent Channel Islands, located just 14 miles offshore. Next, tour the Ventura Keys with Ventura Boat Rentals, or rent a kayak or peddle boat from them and paddle around the marina on your own.
Take in the sunset before dining at one of the waterfront's numerous restaurants. Looking for evening entertainment? Enjoy a night of comedy improv at The Ventura Harbor Comedy Club. Head back downtown where the Rubicon Theatre is known for offering big talent in an intimate setting, while Ventura Improv Company presents a lively mix of drama and improvisational comedy.
Morning & Afternoon:
Pack a picnic lunch for later and hop aboard an Island Packers boat heading out to Anacapa Island or Santa Cruz Island. Here's a chance to enjoy docent-guided walks, hiking, sea cave kayaking, camping, diving and whale watching. Half-day excursions are also available!
Dinner time! Try one of the popular hot spots at Ventura Harbor Village; then after dinner, catch some music or comedy at one of the nearby clubs. Or, how about joining a downtown walking tour for the evening? Gifted storytellers will share local lore touching on Ventura's history, ghosts, heroes and architecture.
Rent a bike, roller blades or a surrey cycle and cruise along Ventura's 13-mile oceanfront Coastal Bikeway. Equipment is available at Ventura Bike Depot. There's also the Ventura River Trail, which runs from downtown Ventura to Ojai.
Picnic at the Grant Park Lookout Point up above the city and absorb the spectacular views of Ventura and the sea. Spend the rest of the afternoon browsing through downtown antique shops, art galleries and boutiques. Perhaps you'll find the perfect item to bring home!
Dinner sounds good, huh? How about a casual, "beachy" experience at one of the hot spots along the Seaward Avenue Beach District? Many of these funky, affordable and delicious cafes are extremely popular with visitors and locals alike!
Don't forget to check with the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau for other activities, events and current goings on!