by Fiorella Calderoni
Did you know?
There is no city in California by the name of Ventura. It doesn’t exist. The city’s official name is San Buenaventura which came from Father Junipero Serra, who named the mission town in 1782 after the Italian St. Bonaventure. The shorter ‘Ventura’ has its origins in a decision made by the Southern Pacific Railroad about 100 years ago. It was easier to print Ventura on railroad tickets than San Buenaventura. The city’s name has never been officially changed.
According to the LA Times, Ventura is not alone among California cities that have shortened their names for the sake of brevity. The city of Carmel in Northern California, originally named San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo after the mission Serra founded, also opted for a shorter version. Further south, the city of San Diego was at one time San Diego de Alcala before city fathers changed its name.
Other fun facts:
Founded in 1973, Patagonia is headquartered in downtown Ventura. Next door to HQ, shop in the warehouse-turned-retail flagship.
Join in the “om” – Ventura Pop-Up Yoga hosts classes for all ages and abilities at parks around town. Classes operate on a donation basis (they’ll even provide free rental mats).
Ventura Pier was originally built in 1872; it’s one of the longest wooden piers in California at more than 1,600 feet long.
Sunset Magazine named Ventura one of the four best beach towns on the West Coast.
The last few scenes of indie flick Little Miss Sunshine were filmed in Ventura. The beauty pageant was filmed at Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach (with real-life child beauty pageant contestants), and scenes were also shot on Ventura Pier.
San Buenaventura Mission, founded in 1782, is known as the “mission by the sea.” Take a self-guided tour to see the gardens and restored artifacts.