Set in California’s beautiful Ventura County between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks is recognized as being one of the top places in California to live, work and enjoy life. The city lies against the Santa Monica Mountains, and, with over 15,000 acres of natural publicly owned open space, is full of natural beauty. This has not only inspired a thriving arts community, but has also attracted a large number of outdoor sport and adventure enthusiasts, with the way that the city balances the arts and the outdoors making it quite unique.
Arts: The Civic Arts Plaza
Opened in 1994, the Civic Arts Plaza cost $63.8 million, and is a great source of pride for the city. Inspired by postmodern and modern architecture styles, the building is one of the largest performing arts and entertainment centers between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is here that you can catch everything from a Broadway musical to classic symphonic orchestras to distinguished speakers to live theatre.
Outdoors: Conejo Valley Botanic Garden
The Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is one of Thousand Oak’s hidden gems and consists of 33 acres of natural terrain. With eighteen unique hillside speciality gardens and a hiking trail that follows a meandering stream, this is one of the city’s finest outdoor destinations. The gardens highlight water-conserving plants from California and other Mediterranean climates, with some of the most popular ones including the Butterfly Garden, the Herb Garden, the Rare Fruit Garden, the Australian Garden and California Natives. The garden is maintained by volunteers from the community, which is quite a feat when you take in the number of different plants that it contains.
Arts: Thousand Oaks Community Art Gallery
Opened in 1991, the Thousand Oaks Community Art Gallery showcases exceptional work from acclaimed, professional and emerging artists, each representing a unique style and technique. The gallery also hosts a regular calendar of workshops, special events and artist presentations, making it one of the city’s cultural focal points.
Outdoors: Wildwood Regional Park
Situated in western Thousand Oaks, the Wildwood Regional Park was once home to the Chumash people for over 8000 years, and is now one of the most popular parks in the region. The park offers a wide variety of recreational activities, including hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain climbing and wildlife viewing, with fourteen different nature trails, covering 27 miles in total, to choose from.
Arts: Conejo Arts
Conejo Arts hosts a variety of art and cultural events, focusing on everything from dance to theatre to visual arts. Current and upcoming events include the Pretty People open juried art show, and the Dirt on Tractors exhibition, documenting the major milestones in the evolution of the tractor.
Thousand Oaks is a fantastic city for both the arts and the outdoors, catering to such a diverse range of tastes, from lovers of classical music to fans of New York’s Broadway to nature enthusiasts. The city itself is situated just 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles and 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean, meaning that it is not too far from the action of LA but still enjoys a temperate climate and a gorgeous country setting.