Mission San Buenaventura: Visiting the 9th California Mission

Mission San Buenaventura is the 9th of the California Missions to be founded, and it was the last to be established by Father Junípero Serra. As far as missions go, it is definitely on the smaller side, but it makes up for its size in beauty. Located right in the heart of downtown Ventura, this spot has one of the prettier gardens of all the missions. Here is all the information so you can check it out yourself, and you can read my itinerary to visit all of the California missions here.

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  • Cost: $4
  • 30 min to see it
  • Location: 211 E Main St, Ventura, CA 93001
  • Information from my visit in 2016
  • Read more about my visit to all 21 of the California Missions

Getting There

Mission San Buenaventura is located on Main St, which is the popular downtown area in Ventura. Depending on where you get off on the freeway, you will make your way Northeast to Main St, turn left and then go down to the end to where you will see the mission on the right. There is street parking, which was a dollar an hour when I went.

The Mission

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To enter the mission, you need to walk into the store right next door and pay the fee. From there, you walk up the stairs into the small museum before entering the mission.

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The museum has a few unique artifacts that I hadn’t seen at the other missions, such as these cool old wooden bells.

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After exiting the museum, you will be in the courtyard for the mission. The map given to you will direct you as to what you should see while in the area, but it’s pretty easy to see it all since it is not that big.

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The courtyard has been meticulously kept up with tons of colorful flowers and a bubbling fountain; it is beautiful.

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I walked straight into the chapel since that was the main attraction here. The chapel is almost 90% original, so it is pretty awesome to see since many of the mission’s chapels have been recreated.

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The chapel is not as flashy as some of the other ones, especially those that I saw on this section of the drive. I enjoyed that it had a more simple vibe, and it was really beautiful.

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I was the only person there when I went, so I took my time exploring the chapel itself.

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After seeing the chapel, you can head out behind the mission to where the school is currently. There are a few old pieces of the aqueduct back here that are worth seeing before heading back in.

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The courtyard also has a couple of statues dedicated to the priests that have worked here and a statue of Mary.

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There is a lovely bubbling fountain in the middle as well.

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Lastly, there is a statue of Father Junípero Serra, which is a staple of the missions I have visited.

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Also of note, I found it interesting that many of the missions were olive or wine producers, and this one was no different. They have a tiny exhibit dedicated to this. After exploring a little more to photograph the flowers and courtyard, I headed out. This is undoubtedly one of the more beautiful missions but not one that you need that much time to see.

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Do be sure also to see the exterior of the mission as it is gorgeous, and it is easy to forget about it, depending on where you parked.

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All in all, this is a great mission to see if you don’t have a lot of time. I would also recommend heading up to Grant Park, which is a short 5-minute drive from the mission, as you can see the Serra Cross dedicated to Father Junipero Serra up there as well. Also, you can read about all of the California missions here.

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