Ventura was founded in 1782 and named after the Italian Saint Bonaventure; the city is known as Ventura, but its actual name is San Benaventura. The city’s nickname means “city of good fortune.” Formally incorporated in 1866, the full-service municipality now serves 109,000 residents within 32 square miles.
Early influences of the Chumash, Spaniards, Europeans, Chinese, and other voyagers created a diverse art, architectural, and cultural heritage that remains today.
Ventura’s impressive outdoor amenities include 32 parks and historic sites, more than 800 acres of open green space, and a state-of-the-art aquatic center. Residents enjoy a variety of options for hikes, biking, kayaking, and more.
Over 12,000 businesses call Ventura home, and employ over 53,000 people. Ventura is the region leader in the healthcare and public administration sectors, and was one of the first to sponsor a business incubator program to foster startups.
Ventura was the first place in the world to produce lima beans outside of Peru, where they are native. In 1920, a baker in Ventura first sold “wheat-less” flours made from local soy and lima beans. The breads and pastries made with this flour were the first “gluten-free” health foods sold.
The Chanel Islands National Park is considered ‘The Galapagos of the North,’ an environmental treasure that is made up of five islands: Santa Cruz, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Anacapa, and Santa Rosa. The islands can be accessed through daily excursions launched from Ventura Harbor. The park is open year-round thanks to Ventura’s pleasant local climate, and offers nearly endless activities. Each island is home to its own unique scenery and experience for outdoor and nature enthusiasts of all types. Area conservation and rehabilitation can mean temporary island closures; closures and hours can be found through the National Park Service https://www.nps.gov/chis/index.htm
Ventura is home to a thriving community of local artists and art-lovers. In addition to the galleries and museums, the city also holds a yearly ArtWalk that is a favorite among locals.