Ventura Boulevard is one of the primary east–west thoroughfares in the San Fernando Valley, California, United States; as it was originally a part of the El Camino Real (the trail between Spanish missions), Ventura Boulevard is one of the oldest routes in the San Fernando Valley. It was also U.S. Route 101 before the freeway (which it is parallel to for much of Ventura Boulevard's length) was built and it was also signed as Business U.S. Route 101.
Running 18 miles, Ventura Boulevard is the world's longest avenue of contiguous businesses. The Boulevard begins near Calabasas in Woodland Hills at an intersection with Valley Circle Boulevard, passes through Tarzana, Encino, Sherman Oaks, and finally in Studio City (where it intersects with Barham Boulevard) it becomes Cahuenga Boulevard, which then winds through Cahuenga Pass into Hollywood.
It has always been the most concentrated location for mom and pop shops and small businesses in the Valley; nowadays it has pockets of housing, mini-malls, and shops, along with a wide assortment of businesses, schools, and other establishments. Homes south of Ventura are considered to be among the most expensive in Los Angeles County, ranging from $2 million to $50 million and home to numerous celebrities, executives, athletes, and entertainers alike.
Due to natural springs, one of the first inhabited areas of the San Fernando Valley was the land around what is now known as Los Encinos State Historic Park, at the corner of Balboa and Ventura boulevards, which was inhabited by the Tongva Indians possibly for thousands of years. This five acre (2 hm²) park now includes the original nine-room De La Osa Adobe (built in 1849) and a reservoir shaped like a Spanish guitar that collects the spring water.
The Valley's first golf course opened at the corner of Ventura and Coldwater Canyon in 1922 (this is now the site of the Sportsmens Lodge).
Also in 1922, around the area of Canoga Avenue south of Ventura Boulevard, Victor Girard purchased 2,886 acres (12 km²) of land and planted over 120,000 pepper, sycamore, and eucalyptus trees, later resulting in the appropriately named Woodland Hills.
In 1928, just a couple blocks east of Laurel Canyon, Mack Sennett created his 38-acre (15.4 hm²) Keystone Studios, which produced silent movies with stars such as Fatty Arbuckle, W.C. Fields, Stan Laurel, and the Keystone Kops. After talkies, Keystone became Republic Pictures, and then in 1963 CBS Studio Center. Although closed to the public, this complex, which is located only a few blocks away from Ventura Boulevard, probably makes more TV sitcoms than any other studio.
In 2015 the Studio City section of Ventura Boulevard, along with Lankershim Boulevard, was the site of CicLAvia, an event sponsored by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in which major roads are temporarily closed to motorized vehicle traffic and used for recreational human-powered transport.
Ventura Boulevard carries Metro Local line 150 and Metro Rapid line 750.
The Everly Brothers recorded a song called "Ventura Boulevard" on their 1968 album Roots. Ventura Boulevard is mentioned in Tom Petty's song "Free Fallin'" ("All the vampires walkin' through the valley, Move west down Ventura Boulevard..."). The Boulevard is also mentioned in Frank Zappa's "Valley Girl" ("On Ventura, there she goes, she just bought some bitchin' clothes") a song about a valley girl (voiced by his daughter Moon Zappa) who lives in Encino and participates in typical Valley Girl activities such as shopping at The Galleria, not wanting to do the dishes, and getting her toenails professionally pedicured.
Guitarist John 5 made a song entitled "18969 Ventura Blvd."
Ventura Boulevard was also the name of a band from Delhi, India.
In the documentary Living with Michael Jackson, it is revealed that Michael Jackson wrote the song Billie Jean while riding down Ventura Boulevard in his car.
The boulevard is a prominent location in the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Much of the films Crash and Transformers were filmed on the boulevard.
In the Seinfeld episode "The Trip, Part 2", Jerry and George were said to be calling from a pay phone on Ventura Boulevard. In reality, the pay phone shown was on Ventura Place, about one block away.
In the Treehouse of Horror VI episode of The Simpsons, Ventura Boulevard features as the location of the show's first ever live-action scene.
Steve Allen, who lived in Encino, famously joked that "The Valley is the hippest part of town. They even named a boulevard after Charlie Ventura," referring to the renowned jazz saxophonist.
Video game developer Infinity Ward, which developed most of the games in the Call of Duty series, has its headquarters on Ventura Boulevard. The studios can be seen at 15821 Ventura Boulevard, Encino.
The Ventura Business District is the commercial district along and around Ventura Boulevard. Ventura Boulevard and the district run along the northern base of the Santa Monica Mountains, following the former route of the colonial El Camino Real.
Due to the district's extended linear size, it is rare for it to be considered one unified district, instead identified by neighborhoods within—along it.Studio City