Fun things to do in Ventura

  • Olivas Adobe
    Olivas Adobe
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    Figueroa Plaza
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    The Mission Courtyard
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Ventura

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    Mission San Buenaventura

    by Yaqui Updated Sep 10, 2007

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    Founded in 1782 by Fray Junipero Serra on Easter Morning, March 31 and the ninth and last founded during his lifetime, and one of six he personally dedicated. A permanent construction began in 1792, but was not complete till almost 1809 and dedicated on Sept. 9. Services began the very next day.
    The mission survived earthquakes and pirates. It's land and possessions were seized by the Mexican government, but later after the state was part of the union Bishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany petitioned the United States Government to return that part of the Mission holdings comprising the church, clergy residence, cemetery, orchard, and vineyard to the Catholic Church. The request was granted in the form of a Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on May 23, 1862.

    This mission is still a very active catholic church. I was so impressed with how they have kept the interior as it was over two hundred years. The paintings on the walls are all original and so old. Masses are still held here, so be sure not to interrupt a mass during your visit. It has a gift shop and mini museum and a beautiful patio area too.

    MISSION SAN BUENAVENTURA Historical Marker NO. 310

    Hours:
    Mon - Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Closed Major Holidays

    Admission:
    Donation for the Museum and a self-guided tour is $1.00 for adults and 50 cents for children.

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    Ortega Adobe Historic Residence

    by Yaqui Updated Sep 4, 2004

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    Built as a mostest home of Emigdio Ortega and his family in 1857 for over forty years. These modest homes once lined the streets, but this one endured time. The Ortega family is famed for being the one of pioneer families and for discovering the San Francisco Bay. Also receiving one of the first Spanish land grants. Although, not a rich man by far this simple Vaquero built a simple 20 x 40 foot adobe home. Enduring a flood which did destroy one room, he added two others. Ortegas raised eight of thirteen children until he died in 1896. His son Emilio used the home to start a business "Pioneer Ortega Chili". Not soon it was sold to various owners which was used as a home, restaurant, police headquarters, the Ventura boys club and even a speakeasy. In 1921 the City of Ventura bought the property and it remains as a reminder of our past.

    Open 9am - 4pm.

    You can view the inside from the doorway of the building. They don't allow you to go inside except for the small entrances that are barred off to protect the property. They are two door ways on the right side and one in the very back.

    Open Daily
    Admission is free

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    Ventura Harbor Village 34°14.3'N - 119°16.9'W

    by keida84 Updated Mar 6, 2005

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    A beautiful day can be spent at the Ventura Harbor.

    Aside from being an active marina with island tours, fishing charters and day sailing, there are shops, restaurants and an arcade with a carousel.

    There is the Sheraton Four Points Hotel which also has a "boatel" so for those of you who come up on your boat the Sheraton has a place for you to dock.

    There are a wide variety of restaurants: Andrea's Seafood, Frulatti's, The Greek, Alexander's, and a new mexican restaurant called Margarita Villa.

    The arcade is a lot of fun with skee ball, photo booths, and even a carousel. Buy homemade fudge or go to Coastal Cone for a waffle cone filled with ice cream.

    Check the website as events happen throughout the year. The Tall Ships arrive In February, there is a fisherman's market, summer concert series and a boat parade at Christmastime.

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    Beach Umbrella Rental

    by keida84 Written Mar 14, 2005

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    The first time I saw the yellow umbrellas lining the beach I thought, 'has some local artist gone mad?" They seemed out of place on our hometown beach in Ventura, it is something I would expect to see in Santa Barbara, which is the Riviera West. Nevertheless, they were on our beach and despite my misgivings they have been around for a couple of summer seasons.

    Located just south of the Ventura Pier, The Yellow Umbrella Company rents full size beach umbrellas by the hour. They offer food delivery and towel rental services as well.

    I would recommend if you are here during the months in which they offer rentals--usually June through September--then rent in the morning hours when the wind is calm because by afternoon you might have a mouthful of blowing sand with your burger.

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    San Buenaventura City Pier

    by Yaqui Updated Aug 30, 2004

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    This 1,700-foot pier was built in 1872 making it one of California's oldest wooden piers. It underwent an extensive $3.2 million renovation in 1993 to restore it to it's former glory, but not without adding some wonderful features. It now has these wonderful display panels that educate those about currents, tides, local fish, local history, and much more. It has a bait shop, snack bar, benches, restrooms, gift shop and a wonderful seafood restaurant.

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    George Stuart Collections - Ventura Museum

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Once again I will say I feel blessed to see such a wonderful exhibit as this. It travels across the country, but this museum has a portion of his collection continuously on exhibit in the museum's Smith Gallery. Oh my goodness! I can't tell the detail in the faces of these dolls. The customes are excellent. He trives to make them as accurate as he can from drawings, paintings or what is available as far as history provides. "Excellent!"

    Parking:
    There is a free parking lot on the West side of the Museum, which is accessible from both Main and Santa Clara Streets. There is also parking along the street on both Main and Santa Clara Streets.

    Museum Hours:
    10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays.

    Also closed for New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Admission:

    Members Free
    General (18-61) $4.00
    Senior and AAA $3.00
    Children (6-17) $1.00

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    Promenade

    by Yaqui Updated Sep 4, 2004

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    This walk way extends from the pier all the way to surfer's point beach. It has some wonderful areas to sit and watch the ocean and they are some restaurants and shops along the way to enjoy. You'll find many locals strolling with their children and pets. While others bike, skate, walk or jog. There is access from here to the beach and down by the pier is a playground for children. Really neat place.

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    Thrift Shop and Antique Shop Row

    by keida84 Written May 20, 2005

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    One of our favorite things to do in Ventura is to walk the main drag, appropriately named, "Main Street." The area has numerous thrift stores and antique stores with delightful treasures in side.

    I enjoy going through the thrift stores, sometimes one man's junk is another man's great buy.

    Bring comfortable shoes as it is a long walk up and down Main Street.

    Recently I found a neon "Guinness Stout" sign for a friend of mine, Jeff you know who you are. I took a picture and sent it to him. He was over-the-moon happy. My mission is to get that sign for him.

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    Free Wheeling Exhibit - Ventura Museum

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Does any one remember their first bike? Raise your hand! Hmm, I see, many do! I remember for my 8th birthday, my dad took me to K-mart and as always I just followed. I followed him to the bike department and he said, "It's your birthday, pick the bike you want!" I can't tell you how precious that moment that was. I picked of course what was popular. A blue banana seat bike with the high handle bars with the little basket that hanged in front. It is a good thing my mom never watched me much when I rode my bike......lol! See, I think this exhibit will bring back so many memories of those precious yesteryears:-) It is small, yet wonderful! Much to enjoy here!
    Museum Hours:
    10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays.

    Also closed for New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Admission:

    Members Free
    General (18-61) $4.00
    Senior and AAA $3.00
    Children (6-17) $1.00

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    A.J. Comstock Fire Museum

    by Yaqui Updated Sep 4, 2004

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    This is pretty neat how they did this. It is just a little room behind glass so you have to view the exhibit that way, but this way it is open all the time. They do have some wonderful historical firefighting artifacts and some wonderful photo's too. It is right by the huge beautiful fountain across from a wonderful mural that was being painted when we were visiting.

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    MISSION SAN BUENAVENTURA

    by LoriPori Updated Apr 14, 2008

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    Established in 1782, the MISSION SAN BUENAVENTURA was the 9th and last mission founded by Padre Junipero Serra. The Mission was named in honor of Saint Bonaventure.
    The Mission's Bell , which was donated by a long-time parishioner, hangs in the bell tower above the four ancient hand-operated bells.
    Inside the Mission Church, which was quite dark, you can see simple wooden pews, the confessionals, Baptistry in the Serra Chapel, Stations of the Cross paintings, wooden consecration crosses, the main altar and the shrine to the Crucifixion. You may also light one of the candles in the area next to the altar.
    Donation: $2.00

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    MISSION COURTYARD

    by LoriPori Updated Apr 14, 2008

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    The lovely, peaceful and serene MISSION COURTYARD contains a fountain, gardens, Star Pine trees and a shrine to the Blessed Virgin.
    Under Padre Cambron, a seven mile-long aquaduct was constructed to bring Ventura River water to the Mission. With this water, the Mission was able to maintain its flourishing gardens and orchards.
    I really enjoyed this area of the Mission and even saw a teeny hummingbird fluttering near the fountain.

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    Mission San Buenaventura

    by Jim_Eliason Written Sep 1, 2008

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    This was one of the later missions, finished in 1809 and is still an active parish today. The grounds are somewhat limited due to modern Parish buildings but it's still a peaceful oasis in downtown Ventura.

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    The Pier in Ventura

    by spgood301 Updated Aug 29, 2005

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    Like most coastal California towns, Ventura has it's own pier. It's not just a place to park your boat.

    Originally built in 1872, the pier once served steamships and was a vital mode
    of transportation in and out of Ventura. In the early days, getting in and out
    of this harbor town was a challenge. With the advent of the pier and the
    visiting steamships, the areas rich and abundant produce could make it off to
    market. New settlers and their supplies also found it easier to boat in than to
    go over the mountains.

    The current wooden structure is 1958 feet long and is reputed to be the longest
    in California. You will find rows of eager fishermen and women lined up with
    their lines dropped over the rail. There are cleaning stations for those lucky
    in the hunt.

    The pier also sports a high end restaurant, a snack bar and a bait shop.

    The weather along the California coast isn't always great, especially the first part of the day. Still, strolling along the pier in Ventura is quite fun and relaxing, no matter the weather.

    BTW, many thanks to Keida84 for all the historical info on this tip.

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    More history, beneath our feet

    by spgood301 Written Aug 29, 2005

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    It's so easy to forget that human history can be found beneath our feet, if we just dig for it a little. This archaeological site is right next to the Albinger Museum. Human history going back 3500 years has been unearthed and put on display for you, including the foundations to two buildings and the first church, going back to the late 18th century.

    A informative site, right in downtown Ventura. Enter through the Albinger Archaeological Museum.

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    • Archeology

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