Posted: Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

By Visit Ventura

Discovering the Best Things to Do Near the Ventura County Fairgrounds

Follow the signs along the iconic 101 freeway to Ventura, California, a beach town where flip flops are the norm, grabbing a fish taco and heading to the beach is a casual Tuesday evening, and playing in the sand until the sunset is the preferred way to end the day. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and green rolling hills, Ventura is a charming coastal city that promises a delightful mix of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and exciting activities. 

For visitors heading to the Ventura County Fairgrounds, there’s no shortage of family-friendly adventures just a short stroll away. Whether you’re visiting for the Ventura County Fair, X Games, or simply exploring, here’s a guide to the top things to do near the Ventura County Fairgrounds that will make your trip unforgettable.

Surfers Point at Seaside Park

Surfing C street/surfers point

They don’t call it the fair with ocean breeze for nothing! Just steps from the fairgrounds is an iconic must-visit spot in Ventura: Surfers Point. Renowned for its excellent and consistent waves, you’ll find a handful of local surfers trying to catch a wave on any given morning, afternoon, or evening. You could spend an entire day watching as the waves come in and out and cheer on the surfers as they shred the waves. Not to mention, the first professional surfing competition was held right at Surfers Point/ C-Street in 1965, making it a hotspot for surfers across the world. 

Ventura Pier and Promenade

Follow the pathway along Surfers Point south to the historic Ventura Pier (the oldest woodest pier in the state of California). Just a 15-minute walk from the Ventura County Fairgrounds, the Ventura Pier offers stunning views of the horizon and Channel Islands National Park on a clear day. Stretching out into the Pacific Ocean, it’s a perfect spot for a leisurely walk, fishing, or simply enjoying the sunset. Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at Eric Ericsson’s or Beach House Tacos for a delicious meal right on the water. Upstairs is MadeWest where you can watch the sunset and sip on a pint. The pier may be closed for weather or construction purposes — make sure to check the City’s website for more information on the status of the Ventura Pier. 

You can also rent bikes from Wheel Fun Rentals to cruise along the Ventura Promenade and feel the ocean breeze through your hair and the warm golden California sunshine on your face. Or, if you want to take it a little slower, go for a stroll along the promenade with your crew, and feel free to make frequent pit stops in the sand along the way. 

Tony’s Pizzaria 

Tony's Pizzeria in Ventura, CA

Heading towards Downtown Ventura, you have to make a stop at Tony’s Pizzaria. A legendary and historic staple, Tony’s has been in business since 1959. Known for handmade and hand-tossed New York-style pizza, it’s the perfect slice after spending the day in the waves.  

San Buenaventura Mission

San Buenaventura Mission drone photo Ventura

As you continue walking up Figueroa Street, you’ll see a beautiful Spanish-style building with a giant pine tree hugging the right side. You’ve made it to the historical block of Downtown Ventura! The San Buenaventura Mission is one of the cornerstone must-see sites in this area of Downtown Ventura. As the ninth and final California mission, it is known as the “Mission by the Sea” and aptly so. Take a self-guided tour through the mission and take a moment to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the mission grotto. Be sure to visit the historic San Buenaventura Mission, founded in 1782, which offers a glimpse into the region’s heritage.

Ventura County Museum

front of ventura county museum

Just across the way from the San Buenaventura Mission and a short walk from the Ventura County Fairgrounds, the Ventura County Museum provides an enriching cultural experience. You never know what interesting exhibit will be on display at the museum — from the history of surfing to a thrilling true crime exhibition, the museum showcases the region’s history, art, and culture. Perfect for the history buffs in your life, check out the Ventura County Museum as a fun thing to do near the Ventura County Fairgrounds. 

Thrifting on Main Street

Thrifting in Ventura Coalition Thrift Store

Ready for a scavenger hunt? You never know what you’ll find in the aisles and racks in one of the many thrift stores on Main Street. Check out Coalition Thrift Store, one of Downtown Ventura’s most popular thrift stores, and Buffalo Exchange where you can find cute and trendy pieces. 

Shop, Eat, and Dine on Main Street in Downtown Ventura

By Josiah Roe

Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Ventura County Fairgrounds are a slew of delicious restaurants and amazing cocktail bars to spend the entire afternoon and evening. Laugh over drinks at Cocktail Trust or dig into an amazing brunch at Cajun Kitchen. Get ready to fill your bags with unique gifts and treasures from boutiques lined along Main Street like Tiki Girl or Plum Gift Boutique. 


Patagonia HQ in Ventura, CA

A little treat that you may not have known: Patagonia was founded in Ventura in 1973, making it one of the oldest businesses in Ventura and perhaps one of the most prominent businesses that were founded in town as well. Lucky for you, you can visit the first ever Patagonia store right here in Ventura, just minutes from the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Stock up on Patagonia gear and make sure to check out this iconic and historic business near the Ventura County Fairgrounds!

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