Oxnard Versus Ventura

Which Is Nicer Oxnard or Ventura?

Choose Oxnard if you prefer a less touristy and crowded coastal area. The beaches are dog friendly and better for long walks.

Ventura wins with more arts and entertainment. This includes an arts district, historic downtown and thriving pedestrian mall. You'll find better surf spots, hiking and biking trails.

Video Oxnard Versus Ventura

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    Map Ventura County

    Oxnard (population just over 200,000) and Ventura (population just over 100,000) are located on the coast of Western Ventura county.

    Ventura is located near the intersection of three major highways, making it a better option for commuting to Santa Barbara, Ojai or Los Angeles. Most of Ventura is also much closer to the beaches and ocean.

    The western section of Oxnard is further off the beaten path with less traffic and a sleepier feel. Eastern Oxnard is much busier and has better access to Highway 101.

    Cost of Living

    Both Oxnard and Ventura are considerably cheaper than nearby Santa Barbara and LA when looking at home prices. 

    However, both cities are still considerably more expensive than most of the U.S. It’s still California and coastal living. 

    Food, utilities and transportation costs are similar in both Oxnard and Ventura. However, Oxnard has a higher sales tax rate.....which is 9.25%, while Ventura is 7.75%.  Many Oxnard residents travel to shop in Ventura because of this.

    The average entry-level home in Ventura is around $750,000 and the average entry-level home in Oxnard is $650,000, with  pockets in both that are slightly lower.

    The perfect combination of coastline, mountains and an historic, and thriving downtown make Ventura one of the best small cities in the country.
    The perfect combination of coastline, mountains and an historic, and thriving downtown make Ventura one of the best small cities in the country.

    In the lifestyle competition, it does appear that Ventura has it all, which is one of the reasons Patagonia has their headquarters here. 

    • The downtown with all that entertainment and shopping is right next to the ocean, beaches, pier and boardwalk.
    • The downtown is just 5 minutes to the Westside (arts district), museums and historical sites.
    • Ventura is located at the base of the mountains so there’s lots of hiking nearby. 
    • There's also a theater, comedy club, more live music options, wine tasting, farmers markets and a botanical garden. 

    Oxnard has classes, concerts and plays over at the Performing Arts center, the Elite Theater, or performances and traditional music, dance and drama at the Cultural arts center.

    There's tons more to do as long as it doesn't get too late including:

    • A comedy club, winery, museums, car shows and an arts walk near the beach.
    • Salsa festival, Multicultural, Jazz and Tamale festivals.
    • There is overall not much nightlife in Oxnard.


    Both Oxnard and Ventura  have a diversity of homes and neighborhoods.

    Map Ventura Nieghborhoods

    Map of Ventura Neighborhoods
    • The East side of Ventura has a more suburban feel with larger homes and lots as well as strawberry fields and orchards.
    • The Westside has an arts district, historic homes and a lot of restaurants.
    • The Historic Downtown is right next the beach with lots of locally owned shops and a fantastic pedestrian walking mall.
    • The Midtown and College neighborhoods have a dense suburban feel close to the community college, chain stores, the hospital, and the mall.
    • The Hillside has high-end homes with panoramic views of the ocean and city. 
    • The Pierpont neighborhood has high-end dock and beach homes.

    Map Oxnard Neighborhoods

    Map of Oxnard, California Neighborhoods

    Oxnard has a diversity of neighborhoods and homes and two main sections of town (A and B).

    A) Oxnard has a smaller town feel as you get closer to the beach and ocean (southwest- orange). These neighborhoods are mixed in with large tracts of agricultural land as well. They include:

    Oxnard's Magical Canals

    The Canals Area in Oxnard is an amazing place to live with high end condos and dock homes. It’s also a fantastic area for walking, paddle boarding, kayaking, nature watching and boating. You can rent a guided Venetian gondola for a tour.
    The Canals Area in Oxnard is an amazing place to live with high end condos and dock homes. It’s also a fantastic area for walking, paddle boarding, kayaking, nature watching and boating. You can rent a guided Venetian gondola for a tour.

    The canals area (located in the Channel Islands neighborhood (orange)), is a big win for Oxnard including:

    B)  The central, north and eastern sections of Oxnard have more urban and densely populated neighborhoods with farms, commercial and industrial areas mixed in. These include:

      • The historic downtown neighborhood (central).
      • Newer Neighborhoods like Riverpark and Wagon Wheel which are close to the Collection Shopping area and Highway 101. (del Norte and southbank).
      • Large sections of suburban style neighborhoods with tract homes ranging from the 1950's to 2000's.


    The weather in both Oxnard and Ventura will make you smile, even in the Winter. The average temp is in the mid 50’s to mid 70’s throughout the year. 
    The weather in both Oxnard and Ventura will make you smile, even in the Winter. The average temp is in the mid 50’s to mid 70’s throughout the year. 

    5 Star Harbors

    Both Ventura and Oxnard have 5 star Harbors including:

    • Sea life (including dolphins, sea lions, seals, guided fishing/whale watching) and Channel Islands tours.
    • Live music, restaurants, shopping, festivals, art galleries, entertainment and a variety of boat rentals.
    • A protected swim beach, great for swimming (Harbor Cove Beach-Ventura, Kiddie Swim Beach-Oxnard). 

    Oxnard’s Channel Islands Harbor 

    • It's larger, (built on 310 acres of land and water) with about 2100 boat slips.
    • Scarlett Belle paddlewheel riverboat and Maritime History Museum.
    • The Mystic Whaler, a non profit schooner and educational center for kids.
    • Connects to an extensive and much larger CANALS AREA we like to call the "Venice of California."

    One CON for Oxnard's Harbor is that currently The Fisherman’s Wharf shopping area is run down....with a variety of local stores, dilapidated buildings and also the Elite Theater.

    The city is considering a new commercial development to be built here called Strawberry Village. They are saying it will be like Knots Berry Farm.


    Beaches and Ocean

    Both Oxnard and Ventura have excellent water recreation including:

    • Classic and fantastic California beaches.
    • Large, grassy beach parks right on the ocean with volleyball, barbecue, yoga and daily outdoor exercise classes (Oxnard Beach Park and Marina Park-Ventura).
    • A cooler water temperature between the mid 50’s to 70 degrees. Most of the year people swim and surf in wetsuits.
    • Handicap access to the beach (boardwalk in Ventura, boardwalk at Oxnard Shores Beach).

    VENTURA WINS if you want:

    • A better variety of surf spots from beginner to more avanced like: Rincon Beach, Mondos (beginners/SUP) and Surfers Point. 
    • Hip hangouts right on the beach and ocean. Includes restaurants along the boardwalk in the Surfers Point area and a fantastic Pier with eating, fishing and a brewery.

    OXNARD WINS if you want:

    • 11 miles of wider, more secluded beaches.
    • More free parking areas, street parking and easier access to the beaches and ocean.
    • More accessibility to bring your dog and walk on the beach.

    Oxnard is further from the 101 so it does not get as many tourists. It’s a more easy-going place to soak in the beauty of the Pacific and views of the Channel Islands. In spots you might even feel like you are on your own private resort.

    All three beaches in Oxnard are dog friendly with some time restrictions. So our lab mutt dog friends definitely choose Oxnard!!


    PROS- Both downtowns have eclectic boutiques, thrift stores, antique shops, restaurants, bars, historical sites, museums and a weekly farmers market. 

    Ventura wins for better shopping in the downtown because of their outdoor pedestrian mall and plenty of parking (See video on pedestrian mall below).

    • It's a more relaxed and beautiful environment to browse the fun shops, street performers.
    • It's dog friendly, with some shop owners even setting out water bowls.
    • There's outdoor patio seating for restaurants, bars and entertainment.......without the hassle of traffic. And there's lots of available parking.
    • The mall has security that moves the homeless out of the area.

    Oxnard's downtown (with the energy of a modern urban center) has more homeless, looks more unkept, has lots of traffic and limited parking.

    Oxnard's downtown has First Thursday Food Truck night at the plaza. Downtown is the “heart of the city” where they have many concerts, festivals and holiday celebrations happening year round. 

    Oxnard wins for best overall shopping experience with the Collection Shopping Center..... very popular for both Oxnard and Ventura residents! There is a wide variety of chain stores including REI, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Target and lots more.

    Ventura Traffic

    Ventura is mid-way between Santa Barbra and L.A. off of Highway 101

    The easy access supports Ventura's thriving tourist economy.  La and Santa Barbara residents have been moving here because of the more affordable real estate and fantastic location.

    CONS- Ventura has more local traffic than Oxnard because:

    • There’s lots of new condos being built in the downtown with commercial areas on the main floor. This also will create more parking problems.
    • Traffic from tourism increases from festivals, weekends and during the summer months. 
    • It lies at the intersection of three major highways. (101 to cities north and south, 126 to Santa Clarita and 33 to Ojai.)

    When we went to the Aloha Festival, the traffic was so busy it was difficult to cross several major streets.........the traffic jams went further than the eye could see.  However, our drive back to Oxnard was easy, as it is not a tourist destination like Ventura.

    Oxnard Traffic

    Most of Oxnard is further off of the 101 and some of the ramps and streets into Oxnard are lined with agriculture and mountain views. Oxnard also has an Amtrak station in the downtown area for people to use to travel to Santa Barbra and LA.

    Cars tend to speed down Victoria and Harbor roads and there are accidents sometimes involving a pedestrian or bicyclist. The residents are asking for more police to patrol these areas. 

    Check out our other in depth articles and video on Living in Oxnard, CA and Living in Ventura, CA.

    Click Here....Living in Oxnard Pros and Cons. 

    Click here.....Living in Ventura Pros and Cons.

    Drugs, Crime, Graffiti

    For crime statistics for each city, check out Neighborhood Scout.


    Check out greatschools.org for more information on schools in each city.

    Both Oxnard and Ventura also each have a 2 year community college. Both colleges are well thought out, give incredible support to students and are extremely affordable. Students can attend an entire semester credit for around $100. 


    Ventura wins if you want warmer temperatures. Ventura gets hotter as you move away from the beach and up in altitude. In the Summer, the temperature can go higher almost 10 degrees as you move from the beach to the Eastside or up the hillside.

    Oxnard just feels noticeably colder especially as you get closer to the beach. It can be windier than Ventura in the Winter and Spring. We’ve heard lots of other locals and neighbors agree with us on this.

    We hope you found this helpful! Which would you choose, Oxnard or Ventura?  We'd also love to hear about any other topics you would like us to cover. Please comment below.

    Real Estate Agents Keziah Aaliyah and Bart Potter

    Hi there, we are Bart and Keziah

    When helping our customers buy and sell real estate — it’s all about using our experience, effective communication and teamwork to simplify the process and get the best results for you.

    Give us a call/text/email.  Let’s have a short talk. Absolutely no pressure. Let's figure out if we will be a good fit to work together.

    Real Estate Agents Keziah Aaliyah and Bart Potter
    Real Estate Agents Keziah Aaliyah and Bart Potter

    "When we looked at homes together, they took us out into local grocery stores and parks, and Keziah sparked conversations to introduce us to the locals and neighbors. This allowed us to ask questions about the area that could not be answered on a home-buying app or even by other realtors. We were getting honest responses from the actual people who lived there. That feedback was very valuable and helpful!" --Amanda Gurrola (google, Jan 2024)

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