Ventura Guide

©appalachianviews РCan Stock Photo Inc.

Getting There:

By Air
Nearest Airport is Santa Barbara, and there are no good flights for morning arrival, so why fly?

By Car

From San Diego
About 190 miles, but can take anywhere from 3.5 to 5.5 hours depending on traffic

From Orange County
Only about 110 miles from Newport Beach, but can take up to 4 hours to arrive at 9:00 am

From Los Angeles area
Just under 70 miles from downtown LA, can take over 2 hours at rush hours

From Santa Barbara
About 35 miles, an easy drive.

By Train
Use the Amtrak web site to find the fare from your choice of location. You can buy tickets online there, and have them emailed to you. You can load the emailed ticket to your phone and display it onscreen for the conductor.

Check ahead of time about overnight parking, it is OK at some stations, but not all. It is OK in the long term lot at the Solana Beach train station, that is where I leave my car when I go on Amtrak. There is usually plenty of space early in the morning.

From the North
Hardly worth it from Santa Barbara. From SLO, you could catch a train at 6:55 and get to Ventura at 10:10. From further north, it is one train a day, the Coast Starlight, and change to the Surfliner in Santa Barbara, getting into Ventura at 7:37 pm.

From San Diego
It is about 5 hours from San Diego by train. The earliest train would get you to Ventura at 11:09 am, which might work if the hearing is scheduled late enough in the day. Going up the day before, the options are:
6:06 am – 11:09 am, 9:18 am – 2:19 pm, or 11:57 am – 4:57 pm.

From Orange County
The same options as from San Diego. For the morning train, some stops are: Oceanside 7:03, San Juan Capistrano 7:36, Irvine 7:54, Santa Ana 8:05, and Union Station 8:57.

From Union Station
There is one additional early train available from Union Station. It leaves at 7:35 am and gets to Ventura at 9:35 am, which is early enough to attend the hearing, even if it is near that start of the day.

See more information and timetables at:

Getting Home Again
See the timetables for train options. The hearing may run late, so you might want to stay over.
Southbound trains leave at: 7:29 am, 10:04 am, 2:41 pm, 4:49 pm, and 7:37 pm.

Getting around in Ventura
The hearings will be at Ventura City Hall.
© Can Stock Photo / BackyardProduct

The downtown area is compact and walkable. It is just over a half-mile from the Amtrak station to City Hall. There are lots of restaurants and two hotels within walking distance of City Hall. This link has several maps of the downtown area showing parking lots, restaurants, and even a floor plan of City Hall.

The Trolley (not a real trolley) runs from 11 am to 11 pm, not much help getting to the hearings in the morning, but may be helpful getting around later on. The Trolley stops at a number of the beach hotels that are not within walking distance of downtown.

Gold Coast Transit Bus routes 6 and 16 serve downtown and may be useful.

There are a couple of cab companies, but they cover a very large area, and can be slow to show up.
Yellow Cab 805-437-7977
Gold Coast 805-444-6969
Ventura Taxi 805-366-9424

Where to stay, play, dine, and drink.
The Tourism Bureau has lots of information at, or download the Inspiration Guide.

There is lots to see and do in the area.

Check out the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center.

Surfline says the locals are not too friendly, but the winter surfing is good.

My three favorite restaurants are the Cafe Fiore, the Lure, and the (now closed) Watermark. There are many other options in all price ranges.

There are two places to stay within short walking distance of City Hall, and some more options within a mile, if you are up for walking a mile in the morning (I am not).