Old Town Camarillo
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Although Old Town Camarillo is right by the freeway, it's a cute area. The city has done a good job revitalizing the area. There are sculptures and pots of flowers everywhere, a giant clock, fancy streetlights, and wide sidewalks. Although many of the stores are still of the tacky, strip-mall variety, some really cool cafes are appearing. The best of all these is Panini Place, a great little European sandwich shop with a classy interior, amazingly yummy paninis and good prices. The owners are from Colombia and Chile, and they obviously have a lot of style. Sit on the chairs by the windows or on the red couch and take in the nice ambience. There is gelato and little pastries as well. Your panini sandwich comes with a little fruit salad too. Try the veggie panini- it was so good! Another cool-looking spot is Element Coffee, where professors and students from the nearby Cal State University can be found hanging out. A popular Italian/Spanish restaurant in a beautiful building is Enoteca Toscana. There is a Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.
St. Mary Magdalen Church and Dizdar Park
Driving into Old Town Camarillo is a delight, as you approach the Spanish bell tower. Also towering above you is the amazing St. Mary Magdalen Church, built in 1914. Talk a walk through Old Town toward the church. You will pass Dizdar Park, a grassy area with nice trees, a statue of Adolfo Camarillo riding his horse, an outdated playground, and lovely views of the church. When you come to the church, walk inside and see the stained glass, and also check out the Spanish fountain, palms, and mountain views in the side courtyard. Another lovely building with gorgeous Spanish details is the one now owned by the Evangelical Free Church, at the 2300 block of Ventura Blvd. It dates back to 1891.
A Little History
Old Town Camarillo dates back to the 1910s. Camarillo was a packing town built beside the Southern Pacific railroad depot and some nut and grain warehouses. St Mary Magdalen Church was designed to be the centerpiece (the architect, Albert C. Martin, also designed beautiful Ventura City Hall). The area was being abandoned after the freeway was built right beside it in the 1950s and suburbia unfolded in Camarillo, along with boring yet convenient shopping areas. It's great that the city has decided to revitalize this important area and make a cool place for students of the Cal State University to hang out!
If this is to be a truly successful old town revitalization it still needs one more thing- appeal for families with young children (a new unusual playground structure in Dizdar Park, icecream or toy stores along the main strip, little fountains that are fun to see etc).
Places to See Nearby
Camarillo Ranch House, where Adolfo Camarillo lived, is one of the nicest Victorian houses I've seen- it's well worth visiting and you can learn more about the area from the great tour guides. Valle Lindo Park is a large park filled with redwoods, bridges, winding paths, and play equipment- a pleasant place for a walk or to stop with your kids.
Photo GalleryClick on photo to see large version
Old Town Camarillo is the strip of Ventura Blvd that runs parallel to Highway 101 between Oak St and Mary Magdalene Church, from the 2000 to the 2500 block of Ventura Blvd.
From Highway 101 northbound, exit at HIghway 34/Lewis Rd. Keep left at the fork, following the signs for Daily Dr. Turn left on Daily Dr and then left on Arneill Rd. Arneill Rd takes you directly into Old Town Camarillo and this is a pretty way to enter the old town, straight towards the bell tower. Turn right or left on Ventura Blvd and park anywhere along the road.
From Highway 101 southbound, exit at Highway 34/Lewis Rd. Turn right on Ventura Blvd and park anywhere along the road.
Panini Place, 2145 Ventura Blvd, call (805) 484-6529.
Element Coffee,2364 Ventura Blvd, call (805) 482-0036.
Enoteca Toscana Wine Bistro, 2088 Ventura Blvd, call (805) 445-1433.
St. Mary Magdalen Church, 2534 Ventura Blvd, call (805) 484-0532.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating:
|A must see down Palm ave. just off of the main drag are the vintage and antique shops.|
|Thanks, old town roots! I changed the date.|
old town roots
|The 101 freeway wasn\'t build in the 1960\'s it was the 1950\'s|
|Element Coffee- free wifi!|