Spotlight on Ventura

Welcome to our short blog series spotlighting Ventura County West’s four partner cities.  Kicking it off this month is the most famous – Ventura!  Click below for the lowdown on what to see and do in Ventura, including the best places to stay and insider tips on where to eat and drink.


Things to Do in Ventura

If you’re planning a visit to Ventura, there should be a couple must-sees on your list.  At the top is a trip to the Channel Islands National Park.  No matter the time of year, you can jump on a charter boat with Island Packers and experience an incredible adventure at the 5 exotic islands, nicknamed the “Galapagos of the West.”  The boat trip out of Ventura Harbor can lead to a kayaking sea-cave tour with Channel Islands Outfitters, hiking, snorkeling and many other recreational activities that are fun for the whole family.  Ventura and Oxnard are the only ports to get to these islands and hard-core adventurers can even camp overnight for an epic nature experience.

For the less ambitious visitor, Ventura Harbor Village is an amazing collection of waterfront fun, boutique shopping, dining and sightseeing.  The village offers cool California seaside vibes and retroactively pulls you into a simpler time.  Kids will love riding the vintage carousel and the many offerings of ice cream, grilled cheese and candy shops.  Adults will dig the amazing prices on everything from hats to clothing to jewelry and locally-made arts and crafts.  Don’t forget to hop on an electric Duffy boat, rent a jet ski or ride a paddle-boat around the harbor.  This Ventura treasure is not to be missed.

Where to Eat and Drink in Ventura

So many places to try and just 3 meals a day, it’s impossible to keep up with the many fantastic restaurants, bars, breweries and wine tasting rooms within Ventura.  Along Downtown Ventura’s Main Street, our favorite spots include Paradise Pantry & Market.  In addition to this charmingly-decorated restaurant offering delicious market-driven fare (try the butterscotch pudding), they have an artisan marketplace, cheese shop and wine bar right next-door.  A must-stop for visiting foodies.  If you have a craving for Pad Thai (who doesn’t?) grab a table at Rice by Mama, a favorite with the locals.  Lure Fish House & Oyster Bar offers a taste of Ventura with popular seafood items like ahi ceviche, cioppino and lobster at very fair prices.  Lure is open for lunch, happy hour and dinner starting at 4pm.

Check out Visit Ventura’s official Happy Hour round-up, featuring all the details you need to know when deciding where to drink on any given night.  Local micro-breweries and wineries offer tastings every day.

Where to Stay in Ventura

The creme de la creme to stay while visiting Ventura is the Crowne Plaza Ventura, with a 365 degree view of the ocean and Ventura beach pier that is to die for.  The place fills up during summer, so off-season (NOW) is your best bet for you to score low room rates.  They are making major renovations to the property throughout the year and one of their best new perks is Nom Tequila Grill, their indoor/al fresco eatery right off the boardwalk.  Known for their authentic Mexican cuisine and fabulous happy hour, 5-7pm which can become quite a scene.

If you’re looking for a more boutique place to lay, try The Inn at The Beach or The Victorian Rose Bed & Breakfast.  Both offer great values in Ventura, just steps away from the sand.

Want to learn more about Ventura?  Check out the FAQs on the Visit Ventura site.  They cover weather, surfing, tours, lodging, Channel Islands, whale watching questions and much more – everything you need to know when you visit Ventura.

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