Posted: Monday, Jun 22nd, 2020
Ventura: Now, the Loveliest Taste of Europe Beside the Sea
This new world has necessitated so many changes — and here’s a happy one. Five blocks of Ventura’s downtown Main Street — from the San Buenaventura Mission up to Fir Street — are now closed around the clock to motor traffic. Also included in the closure, two blocks of California Street, between Santa Clara and Poli streets. The end result? A walkable, enjoyable, car-free downtown. If that sounds Ventura easy and breezy, it is.
Dubbed “Main Street Moves,” here’s what it means in terms of practicalities. Restaurants offer outdoor seating. Retail stores have moved some of their goods out to the sidewalks so that you might browse blouses in the sunshine. There are tables (with umbrellas) here and there for — lovely — simply lounging and people watching (city workers kindly keep them clean). Often, there’s live (outdoor) music. There are hand sanitation stations and port-o-potties. All of it to allow for the continued safety and comfort of our visitors and residents. It’s easy to be careful when the average year-round temperature is 73 degrees.
And so, on a soft Ventura evening, there is a European feel in the air: strolling couples and families, store owners chatting curbside, children skipping in the street, diners and cocktail enjoyers, raising forks and glasses in the evening light. Makeshift picket fences, white roses, jaunty umbrellas; the sea breeze enjoying the walk too, playfully lifting the corners of linen tablecloths.
Ventura has always prided itself on being walkable, a small town downtown where you can park for free and wander with ease, inhaling the happy din of art galleries, boutique shops, wineries, antique stores, and restaurants and music venues of every taste and chord.
Now, in our Downtown, there is added space to both spread out and amble. And a certain je ne sais quoi that is special precisely because you can’t quite put your finger on it. And you can easily continue to amble beyond the street closures to the fun restaurants and shops that border the closures — longtime Ventura favorites like Bombay Bar & Grill, Capriccio, and our very own Ventura Visitor Center. And there remains, as always, plenty of free parking in the surrounding blocks. Decidedly un-European.
(Special thanks to the talented — and community caring — Mike Love for the video above)
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