With nearly 140,000 residents, Thousand Oaks is Ventura County’s second-largest city.
It’s located about 75 kilometers northwest of downtown Los Angeles and is bordered by Simi Valley, Westlake Village, and Agoura Hills.
Thousand Oaks is ideally situated to offer visitors easy access to some of the state’s most iconic natural and humanmade attractions.
From stunning stretches of Pacific coastline in Ventura and Malibu to LA’s entertainment-related attractions and the high-desert state and national parks just inland, there really is a little something for nearly everybody.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Thousand Oaks, California.
1. Chumash Indian Museum
For countless generations before it was officially settled by pioneers of European descent, Southern California was inhabited by a large population of diverse Native American groups.
The Chumash Indian Center in Thousand Oaks is spread across more than 400 acres within Oakbrook Regional Park. It was established in the mid-‘90s.
In addition to its expansive grounds, natural areas, and archaeological sites, the facility includes a large museum featuring an impressive array of Native American artifacts, like tools, housewares, weapons, and clothes.
Regularly scheduled tours are available for those who’d like to explore with a knowledgeable local docent.
2. Conejo Valley Botanic Garden
Located on West Gainsborough Road in Thousand Oaks, the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden was founded more than 40 years ago and sits atop the city’s highest hill.
Its grounds include nearly 35 acres divided into more than a dozen distinct cultivated areas that include indigenous and non-native plants, trees, and flowers from all over the world.
The garden’s areas are connected by well-marked paths and offer ample seating areas and breathtaking views of the city and surrounding landscape.
The facility’s attractions include butterfly, bird, and Mediterranean gardens, and a dedicated children’s area where little ones can get their hands dirty while learning about gardening, ecology, and sustainability.
3. Conejo Valley Art Museum
California’s spectacular natural landscapes have been inspiring local artists since Native Americans began etching pictographs into rock surfaces thousands of years ago.
Conejo Valley Art Museum was founded more than 40 years ago by a group of local artists and teachers intent on preserving and promoting the area’s art and history.
The museum is located on Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks and features works by local, regional, and national artists on a rotating basis.
Conejo Valley Art Museum also hosts a popular annual event called Thousand Oaks Art Walk, which draws more than 10,000 annual visitors and features food and drink, outdoor exhibits, and live entertainment.
4. Wildwood Regional Park
With nearly 40 million residents, California is the country’s most populous state, but thanks to its massive land area and abundant wide-open spaces, it also features tons of local, state, and national parks.
That means lots of opportunities to experience the great outdoors. For those visiting Thousand Oaks, Wildwood Regional Park is one of the most convenient and popular options.
The park consists of nearly 1,800 acres that were initially set aside for public use in the mid-’60s.
For hikers, walkers, bikers, and horseback riders, the park’s abundant trails are great places to exercise and commune with Mother Nature without leaving city limits.
5. Conejo Players Theater
Southern California is home to more historic theaters than anywhere else in the country due to its long history with the LA-based movie and entertainment industries.
The Conejo Players Theater is located on South Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks and was founded in the late-‘50s.
Though it started off in a rather humble, semi-renovated barn, the Conejo Players Theater now features a state-of-the-art facility that seats nearly 200 visitors.
Throughout the year, the historic venue offers a broad range of performance options, including stand-up comedy, children’s plays, holiday programs, live music, and more.
6. Crown and Anchor
Sure, California is full of amazing scenery, world-class theme parks, and more beautiful people than just about anywhere else on earth, but sometimes all harried visitors want is a cool bar, a cold beer, and a heaped platter of fish and chips.
Enter the Crown and Anchor on Thousand Oaks Boulevard.
It’s one of Ventura County’s most popular English-style pubs, and previous guests from the United Kingdom have commented that it’s about as authentic as you’re likely to find this side of the Atlantic.
Highlights include a big selection of European beers, hearty English fare like shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash, and lots of English Premier League football matches during the season.
7. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Located on Thousand Oaks Boulevard just across from City Hall, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is one of the area’s most renowned performing arts centers.
Though most visitors are more interested in what goes on inside, lovers of architecture are usually impressed with its contemporary design as well.
The facility hosts a wide range of annual events that run the gamut from symphony orchestra performances and traditional dance to exhibits of fine art and live folk music.
The Fred Kavli Theater seats nearly 2,000 spectators and has hosted some big names in entertainment over the years, including the Beach Boys and Liza Minnelli.
8. Boulderdash Indoor Rock Climbing
From north to south and most locales in between, California is home to some of the west coast’s most majestic mountain ranges.
They attract climbers and adventurers from all over the country, but for those with limited time and experience, there’s a more convenient mountaineering option right in downtown Thousand Oaks.
Boulderdash Indoor Rock Climbing features a number of indoor climbing opportunities to suit those of most ages and levels of physical ability. Unlike its natural competitors, it sports cool air-conditioning, clean restrooms, and friendly and patient staff members.
Other amenities include a pro shop, male and female dressing rooms, and free Wi-Fi.
9. Reign of Terror Haunted House
Featuring more than 100 blood-curdling attractions spread over tens of thousands of feet of space, Reign of Terror is one of Southern California’s most terrifying haunted house attractions.
Like lots of the city’s main attractions, it’s located on North Moorpark Drive. Over the years, it has received rave reviews from locals, out of state visitors, and publications like the LA Times.
Not to be confused with its amateurish competitors, Reign of Terror prides itself on its lifelike corpses, narrow pathways, and the gut-wrenching surprises that lurk around every dark and fog-obscured corner.
Check out their website for ticket options and their upcoming schedule.
10. Gardens of the World
Though it’s on the small side compared to other similar attractions, what Gardens of the World lacks in size, it more than makes up for in splendor.
Gardens of the World is located on Thousand Oaks Boulevard across from the aforementioned Civic Arts Plaza. It features nearly five acres of cultivated gardens.
It has been open to the public for nearly two decades and includes demonstration gardens, as well as those inspired by overseas wonders from France, Italy, and Japan.
The facility’s distinct areas are connected by a well-marked loop trail that includes shaded seating areas and descriptions of the beautiful things you’re seeing.
11. California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks
Visitors to Thousand Oaks need not venture outside city limits to experience world-class art and live entertainment.
The California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks is located in the city’s Civic Art Plaza and has been providing art lovers with a valuable community resource since it was founded in 2016.
The items on display include paintings, photography, and sculptures. Throughout the year, it offers musical, dance, and dramatic theater performances as well.
With a focus on contemporary art, the museum’s staff leads regularly scheduled educational programming and hosts other events like lectures and activities aimed at fostering creativity in children.
12. Lazertag Extreme
If you’ve ever wondered what mozzarella sticks, axe throwing, and laser tag have in common, you’ll find out after a few hours at Lazertag Extreme on Country Club Drive in nearby Simi Valley.
One of those places that incorporates lots of fun and exhilarating activities into one unique attraction, it’s open to adults and children 12-years-old and up.
If you’ve never played laser tag or thrown an ax, you’ll get all the safety training you need before diving in. Their popular café is a great place to unwind and replenish expended calories at the end of the experience.
Simi Valley is located about 20 kilometers northeast of Thousand Oaks.
13. Underwood Family Farm
With such an abundance of fresh year-round produce, it’s no wonder there are so many farms in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Though many of them are off-limits to the public, there are more than a few that welcome locals and visitors who relish picking their own produce under the California sun.
Underwood Family Farm is located in Moorpark, about ten kilometers north of Thousand Oaks. It’s one of the area’s most visited U-pick farms.
The farm features designated picking areas and lots of other entertainment options, including guided farm tours and time for kids to interact with some of its cuddly animal residents.
14. Thousand Oaks Certified Farmers’ Market
For first-time visitors in a new city, farmers’ markets are fun and inexpensive places to meet friendly farmers and entrepreneurs and pick up locally made products you won’t find in the big chain stores.
The Thousand Oaks Certified Farmers’ Market is held at The Oaks Shopping Center in town. It features a wide range of products, including seasonal California produce, arts and crafts, fresh baked goods, and health and body products, to name just a few.
Most of what you’ll find was grown and made by Californians, so spending a few bucks is a great way to support hard-working families.
15. Stagecoach Inn Museum
The Stagecoach Inn Museum was established by a local historical society in the mid-’60s to preserve a historical city hotel from impending demolition.
Now, more than 50 years later, the museum is one of the area’s most significant historical and cultural attractions. In addition to its preserved buildings and exhibits, it offers school programs, a lecture series, special events, and docent-led tours.
Over the years, the hotel and outbuildings have been restored to near original condition. They give guests unique insights into the lives of pioneers and local residents dating all the way back to the pioneer days.
The museum is located in Newbury Park, about five kilometers west of Thousand Oaks.