If you’re sick of the bustle and metropolitan chaos of Los Angeles, and you’re in the mood for some quality, local food and shopping, you need to check out Ventura, CA. Set on the coast just over an hour north of LA, and known for its quirky, local shops, Ventura is the perfect city for people who love to shop for local goods at places like clothing boutiques, antique stores, farmers markets, art galleries and surf shops. So, when you’re not at the beach or enjoying one of the town’s many seafront restaurants, you can easily spend the whole day shopping. Here are a few local spots in Ventura you should be sure to check out.
1. Calico Cat Bookshop
Located on East Main St., in the heart of Ventura and walking distance from the beach, the Calico Cat Bookshop is a small, independent bookshop that has been a staple of downtown Ventura since 1975. Its owners pride themselves on their collection of quality, used and rare books, and have a wide range of signed first editions and collectible books for the true literary enthusiasts.
2. Walden Surfboards
The second you set foot in Ventura, you’re immediately struck by the city’s beachy vibe. Surf shops like Walden Surfboards really help set the tone, and beach lovers and surfers alike will feel right at home here. Founder Steve Walden is known as the “father of the modern longboard” (Walden still holds the record for the longest noseride in competition history with a 25.5-second ride), and you can pick up one of his iconic longboards here before hiting Ventura’s local surf.
3. Antique & Vintage Stove Shop
You might not have come to Ventura looking for a stove, but you may find yourself leaving with one. Located in the heart of Ventura, the Antique and Vintage Stove Shop specializes in the sale, service, and restoration of classic American stoves. Their restored, vintage stoves range from the 1920s to the 1960s. Even if you’re not in the market to buy, why not spend an hour admiring some antique craftsmanship?
4. Seniors Craft Shoppe
If you’re looking for some truly locally-made wares, you have to check out the Seniors Craft Shoppe; they stock one-of-a-kind items handcrafted by local senior citizens. The shop first opened thirty years ago in the same downtown location and is owned by a non-profit organization.
5. Ventura County Potters’ Guild Gallery
For unique ceramics, look no further than the Potters’ Guild Gallery, located in the Ventura Harbor Village, where you’ll find sculptural and functional ceramics made by local artists. The guild is a non-profit formed to advocate art in the community, and give local potters a forum for sharing their experiences.
6. Channel Islands Distillery
Craft beer abounds in Ventura, but if rum is your poison of choice, look no further than the Channel Island Distillery, which recently opened a tasting room in Ventura’s Prohibition-era “Rum Row.” In addition to their signature dark spirit, the distillery also pours silver rum, an agave spirit, a whiskey, a vodka and an immature brandy.
No need to travel all the way to Marrakesh — you can browse exotic spices from around the world right here in Ventura. At SpiceTopia (not to be confused with the Spice Girls’ Spice World), browse fragrant spices and loose teas, along with marmalades, vinegars and hot sauces – many of which are available for tasting at the store.