Ventura – the people’s neighborhood – is traditionally Palo Alto’s most affordable area. Here you’ll find a diverse mix of homeowners and apartment dwellers. Palo Alto’s historic African American community calls Ventura home, as do members of Palo Alto’s thriving trades and artist colonies. Today, Ventura is experiencing an influx of new families and new pressures from continuing development of the California Avenue Business District, all as a result of the changing demographics of Palo Alto.
This is a truly eclectic community, and not just ethnically. Ventura is unlike any other area in Palo Alto with kids riding along the bike path, houses of individual styles and families of varying cultures on every street. Residents of Ventura feel this is a real world community focused on family and daily life in contrast to wealthier areas of Palo Alto where business development and jobs are the focal point.
Situated between Oregon Expressway, Alma Street, West Meadow Drive and El Camino Real, Ventura is a convenient walking distance to the California Avenue business district, the Caltrain station and Palo Alto’s/Santa Clara County’s public transit services. For movie buffs, the Palo Alto Square movie complex is nearby on El Camino. Another benefit to living in Ventura is its adjacency to the new bike boulevard, a bike-commuting route running along Park Boulevard.
Architecture in Ventura ranges from 1930’s Spanish and English Revival homes to simple cottages. Recent new construction and renovations contribute to anintriguingblending of vintage versus newly designed homes. Residents chose to move to Ventura not only because of affordability, but because the neighborhood is diverse ethnically, as well as socio-economically. Here’s quite a mixture of people getting along, partying together, raising kids together
Ventura is a neighborhood where neighbors actually interact with each other – an annual highlight for residents is the community block party. Many here are long term residents, too, moving in with young families and now staying on into empty-nester years. While neighbors do come and go, there is a devoted core of people who are happy where they are after raising their family in Ventura. Nevertheless, a new concern among long-term residents is that Venture is a focal point for “house flippers” who are buyinghomes only to renovate and resell them. Of course, this also means that new families may be in a better position to find a home that really fits their needs.
LOCATION: bounded by Oregon Expressway, Alma Street, West Meadow Drive and El Camino Real
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: venturapaloalto.org
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 5, 600 Arastradero Road
LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 3700 Middlefield Road
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Barron Park Elementary School, Terman Middle School, Gunn and Palo Alto High Schools
SHOPPING: California Avenue; Charleston Center; El Camino Real
PARKS: Boulware Park; Ventura Community Center
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