Posted: Thursday, Jan 18th, 2024

By Visit Ventura

How to Spend a Perfect Day in Downtown Ventura

Ventura is much more than the city you pass by on the iconic Ventura Highway. We’re a small beach town with that old school California charm. Where flip flops are the default footwear, where strangers smile at you as you walk down the street, where you’ll feel like a local even on vacation. A trip to Ventura will remind you of classic California, where you don’t need a reservation and you can find a spot on the sand without problem. 

If you’re planning a beach getaway to Ventura, you can start your trip by exploring our charming Downtown Ventura. Our itinerary will guide you through some of the best experiences that Downtown Ventura has to offer, but you will find your own adventure while you’re in town. Let the ocean breeze and California guide you for the perfect day in Downtown Ventura!

Start the Day in Downtown Ventura: Catch a Ventura Sunrise with a Delicious Breakfast on the Side

surfers point sunrise ventura

Start your day in Downtown Ventura with a front-row seat to one of Ventura’s incredible sunsets where the rhythmic sounds of crashing waves will be the soundtrack of the day. Walk along the Ventura Promenade and spend some moments at Surfers Point to watch some local surfers catch early morning waves. As the sun rises over the horizon, breathe in the fresh ocean air and savor the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

immigrant son food

Afterward, head to Main Street for a hearty breakfast at one of the local cafes. Maybe you’ll head to Immigrant Son Cafe or Cajun Kitchen. With options ranging from classic American diners to charming bistros, there’s something along Main Street that will pique your interest. Need some more help? Here are some of the best breakfast spots in Ventura

Explore Downtown Ventura’s Historical District

San Buenaventura Mission, Grotto Garden

Head to Ventura’s Historic District in the 200 block of Main Street and immerse yourself in Ventura’s rich cultural tapestry with a visit to the Museum of Ventura County. Open Thursday—Sunday, the museum showcases the region’s history, art, and cultural heritage. Wander through the exhibits that highlight Ventura’s evolution, from its Native American roots to its role in California’s agricultural history. 

Your day in Downtown Ventura wouldn’t be complete without visiting another historical landmark in town. Cross the street and explore the state’s ninth and final mission, the San Buenaventura Mission (also known as the Mission by the Sea). Founded in ​​1782, you can walk through history and marvel at the architecture inside. Outside you’ll find a tranquil green space with a beautiful tiled fountain and benches, perfect for a late morning moment of peace and quiet. The mission’s grotto is truly a hidden gem. 

Grab Lunch at Lure Fish House and Shop at Charming Boutiques

Lure Fishhouse
Courtesy of Lure

A trip to Ventura isn’t complete without sampling our fresh seafood offerings for lunch. Refuel at  Lure Fish House and find a spot at their oyster bar. The ocean-inspired ambiance and the coastal flavors of Lure Fish House make it a perfect midday stop.

Shopping in Ventura, Passport Habits

After food, it’s time for some shopping! Passport Habits is the perfect boutique store in Downtown Ventura to find colorful, unique, and stylish items for yourself or a little gift for a loved one back home. Don’t forget to check out Betty Belts for beautiful sea glass rings and jewelry. 

Take a Nature Walk with a View

botanical gardens drone

Walk to new heights through the Ventura Botanical Gardens for a quick nature walk. Just over 2 miles total, you and your crew can take a lowkey stroll through the five different Mediterranean climates that which the plant species represent. Take a moment to take in the views as you go along and snap some pictures. Check their hours and dog days here.

Sips at Ventiki‘s Happy Hour

Ventiki ventura cocktails

Wrap up your perfect day in Ventura at VenTiki Tiki Lounge and Lanai. Enjoy their happy hour specials and snack on their Hawaiian-inspired food. From their spam musubi to the iconic Mai Thai, the lively vibe and unique drinks make Ventiki a must-visit spot for an unforgettable day in Downtown Ventura. 

You’ll just be able to catch the sunset after happy hour— head back to the beach to end where your day began. It’ll be hard to determine which is more beautiful: a Ventura sunrise or a Ventura sunset. 

Mai Tai Ventiki

As the night winds down, take a stroll along Main Street. There’s always plenty to do after hours like free live music, drink specials, or even just people watching. As the night sky darkens and the lights turn on, you can sit back and relax, knowing that you just spent the perfect day in Downtown Ventura. 

Enter to Win: Ventura Highway Giveaway

Want to make this dream a reality? Now is your chance.

Enter to win our Ventura Highway Giveaway for a chance to win a beach getaway to Ventura.

Ventura Highway in the sunshine. Where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than moonshine. Yes, the band “America” described Ventura, California’s charms beautifully. But there’s far more to Ventura’s song. Ventura is California the way you dreamed it. Beach fun. World-class outdoor adventure. Dreamy sunshine warming your face. Plus, magical surprises you’ve never seen. Discover Ventura’s magic. For free! Enter to win our Grand Prize Ventura Highway Giveaway Package

Discover More

Get to know Ventura, and discover the best things to do around the city.

Get Inspired Screenshot 2024-01-17 at 7.47.12 AM

Request an
Inspiration Guide

View the current Ventura Inspiration Guide online. And prepare to be INSPIRED.

Be in the know

Visit Ventura
Monthly Newsletter

Sign up for everything you need to know; from new hikes, to new restaurants, to upcoming festivals, music, and entertainment.

Ventura Partners With