View of a walkable Downtown Ventura featuring easy access to countless boutiques and restaurants.
Neighborhood Guides

Must-Shop Boutiques, Restaurants, and More in Ventura


Beautiful Ventura, California offers a unique mix of eclectic shopping and dining experiences along the sun-drenched California coastline. In honor of Ventura County’s reopening, we’ve highlighted the best shops to visit in the downtown area, including local antique stores and boutique locations, as well as dining, arts and culture, history and more!

Window branding of Patagonia.

Start at the Patagonia headquarters, founded in 1973 in Ventura by Yvon Chouinard. Patagonia is known for their commitment to the environment, setting the example of corporate responsibility, and providing conscientious consumers with stylish threads and gear. Take in the sprawling campus then shop from merchandise in the on-site original store, Great Pacific Iron Works.

After, head straight down Main Street and into the heart of Ventura’s Historic Downtown Cultural District, which overflows with boutiques and antique stores, and restaurants. On your way you’ll encounter the Ventura Botanical Gardens first on your right, along with the Albinger Archaeological Museum, then the Mission San Buenaventura to your left. Just beyond, you’ll see the sparkling fountain and colorful mural in China Alley to the right before plunging into the fun!

Since June 2020, Downtown Ventura businesses have taken over, transforming it into a pandemic-era promenade. There is ample free parking in public lots adjacent to Main Street for those not taking advantage of the Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner.

Woman shopping at a boutique in Ventura.

Thrift Stores and Boutiques

Thrift store shoppers will find sweet deals at stores like the Coalition Thrift Store, Jacqueline Jarrot Treasure Chest, and Buffalo Exchange, a buy and sell paradise. Antique lovers can pass the day scouring the stock at stores like Time’s Remembered, American Vintage, Copperfield’s Gifts and Rarities, B. On Main, and KnJ Antiques, Collectibles, and More.

There are oodles of locally owned shops featuring apparel-styles and gifts ranging from rugged outdoorsy to bohemian chic to cowboy to surf and beach-themed! For high-quality outdoor gear stop by Real Cheap Sports and Iron & Resin.

Into boutique shopping? You can also pick up unique gifts at locally owned boutiques like Passport Habits, Kariella, and Betty Belts, which sells unique, ocean-oriented jewelry and more. Then there is the glorious Sea Things, an enchanting beach-themed gift shop where you’ll find shells, home décor, and more. Ocean lovers will also want to visit Shop Tiki Girl!

Main Street also boasts hand-crafted jewelry at Meadow Clothing & Jewelry, Fox Fine Jewelry, Ormachea Jewelry, and Silver Trends. Or you can create custom lotions and scented soaps at The Refill Shoppe.

Man displaying four tacos from Ventura

Local Dining and Eateries

Now that you’ve worked up a hunger, it’s time to eat! Check out Ventura ale houses like Anacapa Brewing, Barrelhouse 101, Leashless Brewing, Topa Topa Brewing Co., Transmission Brewing, or the Ventura Coast Brewing Company. Treat yourself at the newly opened, family-owned Peirano’s Market Delicatessen. There is also Limón y Sal, Masa Sushi Ventura, Kao Ramen By Mama, Aloha Steakhouse, Spencer Makenzie’s, and VenTiki Tiki Lounge and Lanai, just to name a few!

Or, check out the Taco District, running along the historic Ventura Avenue from Main Street. This popular strip is filled with both rich history and packed tight with 14 delicious, authentic Mexican restaurants all belonging to Mexican immigrants. The fun starts at The Primos Tacos Truck on Main Street and runs up to Maggie’s on the Avenue near Shell Road, all within one mile.

You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the chile verde burrito at Taqueria Tepatitlan, the fish tacos at Taqueria Ventura Doña Raquel, or the carne asada tacos at Cuernavaca Taqueria! All are open right now for to-go orders, and most offer limited patio and bar seating inside.

People visiting Ventura pier at sunset

Explore the Local Area

Looking for more? How about a stroll along the picturesque Ventura pier and promenade up to Surfer’s Point? It’s all within easy walking distance. You can also take a walking tour of the historical sites of Ventura, or check out the impressive murals Downtown has to offer! Weekends at the Ventura Fairgrounds now offer Concerts in Your Car and drive-in movies.

Ventura has so much to offer, it’s hard to do it all in a day. Here’s a list of local hotels in case you decide to spend the night, and a few good Ventura breakfast spots. We recommend Pete’s Pancakes!

Find Your Essex Apartment

Our apartment communities span from San Diego to the Pacific Northwest in some of the most sought-after locations on the West Coast. Choose from bustling city life, quiet comfort in the suburbs, sun and sand at the beach or outdoor adventures and a wide variety of on-site amenities and floor plans that span from studios to townhomes. Whatever your style and budget, we have a community that’s right for you.

Explore our nearly 250 apartments, such as Pinehurst Apartments or Woodside Village in Ventura, and learn more about current leasing or move-in specials.