Ventura Travel Guide

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Ventura has some of the best surfing in Southern California, especially Surfer's Point at Ventura County Fairgrounds. Downtown Ventura is home to the Mission San Buenaventura, museums, galleries, dining, and shopping. Primary areas of activity include California Street and Main Street between Ventura Avenue and Fir Street. Located in downtown is the historic Ortega Adobe, home to the Ortega family, now famous for their chile products. Numerous thrift stores contrast with high-end shops and restaurants. Downtown Ventura is also home to the Ventura's ornate city hall building with its signature statue of Junipero Serra. Downtown now features numerous restaurants, wine bars and the internationally acclaimed Rubicon Theatre Company. For shopping and nightlife, downtown is the place to go. Ventura Avenue is also a major point of interest that attracts tourists; although it is infamous for the Ventura Avenue Gang, the biggest criminal organization in Ventura.

A 4,300-square-foot (400 m2) Ventura Visitors Center is located at 101 S. California Street, in downtown and features exhibits on the Heritage Valley, Channel Islands National park, local arts scene and maps and guide books on the area.

One of the most recognizable land marks in Ventura is a site known as two trees – These are two lone trees that stand on a hill and can be seen from most of Ventura.

In Plaza Park (Chestnut and Santa Clara Streets, downtown), one of the nation’s largest Moreton Bay Fig Trees is marked with an historic plaque. Across the street is the main post office with WPA murals on its interior walls.

The Ventura Harbor is home to fishing industry, seafood restaurants and a shopping village at Ventura Harbor Village; it is famous for shops such as The Glass Touch and restaurants such as Milano's and World Famous Hicees BBQ. Home to two of Ventura Counties favorite blues bands, the legendary Blue Stew and the offspring of that group, Baby Sister. The Channel Islands National Park Headquarters is also located in this harbor, and boats to the Channel Islands depart from there daily.

Pierpont Bay (Pierpont) is the residential neighborhood along the one mile stretch between the Ventura Harbor and San Buenaventura State Beach. Reclaimed marshland was subdivided in 1925 with sluggish sporadic development through years of economic depression, wars, and two coastal floods (in 1937 and 1962). Formerly a hodge-podge of mostly rentals, weekend cottages and vacant lots, each of California's real estate booms brought surges of development and renovation and now Pierpont is mostly owner-occupied with an equal number of large, high-quality homes and older modest beach cottages. A lack of planning has left Pierpont with an apparent identity crisis, with widely varying architectural styles, a poorly implemented commercial area along Seaward Avenue, a noticeable lack of city maintenance, even next to multi-million dollar homes, and continuous conflicts regarding regulation of the neighborhood's public beach areas. Conflicts are likely to increase in the near future, with plans for high-density development along already-crowded streets, and with State officials beginning to exercise authority along beaches that have been mostly self-regulated for the last eighty years.

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, and Smokey Robinson.

The Derby Club at the Ventura County Fairgrounds offers Horse Racing Live via Satellite, and full service bars and restaurants.

The Ventura County Fairgrounds is also the home of Ventura Raceway, "The best little dirt track in America.”

The Vans Warped Tour also stops yearly at the Ventura County Fairgrounds with line ups including bands such as Yellowcard, Pepper and Avenged Sevenfold.

The Olivas Adobe, one of the early California Rancho 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 coast. Living history reenactments, demonstrations of Rancho life, and wonderful ghost stories abound. A summer music series of performances held in the old home's courtyard feature an eclectic assortment of artists from blues to jazz to country.

Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner had a law practice and did much of his early writing in Downtown Ventura.

Many films including Swordfish, Little Miss Sunshine, Chinatown, Erin Brockovich, The Aviator, and The Rock were partly filmed in Ventura.

Downtown Ventura also hosts the Majestic Ventura Theater, a beautiful early century theatre, which is situated about two blocks away from city hall. It serves as a venue for concerts. The theater has seen many bands such as The Doors, Van Halen, X, Paramore, She Wants Revenge, Pennywise, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lamb of God, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, Fugazi, Incubus, Tom Petty, America, They Might Be Giants, and Modest Mouse, as well as local artists such as Stink Palm, Bruce Kimmell, Gregory Hillman, Lithonia Lightning, Encoma, Gendarme Disarm and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

The headquarters for Patagonia is located downtown, and there is an organic clothing retailer on Main Street called Korazon Organics and the eco-designer Stewart+Brown has their factory just a few blocks from the ocean.

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventura,_California

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