Just sixty miles northwest of Los Angeles, you’ll find the casual, seaside neighborhood of El Rio in Oxnard, California where oceanfront recreation, fabulous festivals, sweet strawberries, exceptional weather, and miles of uncrowded beaches await your discovery.
Home to the California Strawberry Festival, and neighbor to the breathtaking Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Oxnard is a welcomed retreat any time of year.
About El Rio Oxnard
Welcome to El Rio Oxnard Located on the beautiful Southern California coast, the City of Oxnard is the largest and most populous city in the County of Ventura. Nestled about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 35 miles south of Santa Barbara, Oxnard prides itself on its rich diversity and culture.
El Rio Oxnard boasts some of the richest agricultural land in California. As well, Oxnard is also a thriving center of commerce, tourism and industry. Resort facilities and a recreational harbor attract and sustain a healthy tourist industry. Access to various points in the City has been recently enhanced by three newly completed interchanges from Highway 101.
In the years since incorporation in 1903 El Rio Oxnard has gone from cattle grazing, to sugar beets and lima beans, to orchards, to more intensive farming with several crops grown in a single year, to servicing the defense industry, and finally transformed itself into a City with a balanced and diverse industrial, housing, and commercial mix.
Local assets include two thriving military bases, a full service deepwater port, master planned industrial parks, prime commercial and retail sites, a regional medical center and hospital, a flourishing community college and all the amenities of an ideal coastal community.
El Rio Oxnard’s 2030 General Plan strikes a balance between the beauty of the City’s agricultural heritage, while continuing to accommodate dynamic changes. As the City’s population grows local government continues to offer many opportunities for our enterprising, forward-thinking business people. Through all the changes, Oxnard continues to remain a business-friendly community.
This City by the Pacific Ocean is an ideal place to raise a family, El Rio Oxnard residents enjoy a spirit of community pride. With its attractive residential areas located among tree lined streets, parks and beaches Oxnard provides a wide variety of housing choices.
El Rio Oxnard /ˈɒksnɑːrd/ is a city in the United States, located along the coast of Southern California. It is the 19th most populous city in California and the most populous in Ventura County. The city lies approximately 30 miles west of the Los Angeles city limits, and is part of the larger Greater Los Angeles area. The population of Oxnard is 203,585 as of the 2012 Financial Report. Oxnard is the most populous city in the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is listed as one of the wealthiest areas in America, with its residents making well above the average national income. In 2013, Oxnard was ranked as one of the safest cities in America with violent crime rates well below the national average.
El Rio Oxnard was incorporated in 1903. It is located at the western edge of the fertile Oxnard Plain, sitting adjacent to an agricultural center of strawberries and lima beans. Oxnard is also a major transportation hub in Southern California, with Amtrak, Union Pacific, Metrolink, Greyhound, and Intercalifornia stopping in Oxnard. Oxnard also has a small regional airport called Oxnard Airport (OXR). Oxnard is also the location of the National Weather Service forecast office that serves the Los Angeles area.
Before the arrival of Europeans, the area that is now El Rio Oxnard was inhabited by Chumash Native Americans. The first European to encounter the area was Portuguese explorer João Rodrigues Cabrilho, who claimed it for Spain in 1542. During the mission period, it was serviced by the Mission San Buenaventura, established in 1782.
Ranching began to take hold among Californio settlers, who lost their regional influence when California became a US state in 1850. At about the same time, the area was settled by American farmers, who cultivated barley and lima beans.
Henry T. Oxnard, founder of today’s Moorhead, Minnesota-based American Crystal Sugar Company who operated a successful sugar beet factory with his three brothers (Benjamin, James, and Robert) in Chino, California, was enticed to build a $2 million factory on the plain inland from Port Hueneme. Shortly after the 1897 beet campaign, a new town emerged, now commemorated on the National Register of Historic Places as the Henry T. Oxnard Historic District. Oxnard intended to name the settlement after the Greek word for “sugar”, zachari, but frustrated by bureaucracy, named it after himself. Given the growth of the town of El Rio Oxnard, in the spring of 1898, a railroad station was built to service the plant, which attracted a population of Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican laborers and enough commerce to merit the designation of a town. Ironically, the Oxnard brothers never lived in their namesake city, and they sold both the Chino and the giant red-brick Oxnard factory with its landmark twin smokestacks in 1899 for nearly $4 million. The Oxnard factory operated from August 19, 1899 until October 26, 1959. Factory operations were interrupted in the Oxnard Strike of 1903.
El Rio Oxnard was incorporated as a California city on June 30, 1903, and the public library was opened in 1907. Prior to and during World War II, the naval bases of Point Mugu and Port Hueneme were established in the area to take advantage of the only major navigable port on California’s coast between the Port of Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay, and the bases in turn encouraged the development of the defense-based aerospace and communications industries.
In the mid-20th century El Rio Oxnard grew and developed the areas outside the downtown with homes, industry, retail, and a new harbor named Channel Islands Harbor. Martin V. (“Bud”) Smith (1916–2001) became the most influential developer in the history of Oxnard during this time. Smith’s first enterprise in 1941 was the Colonial House Restaurant (demolished 1988) and then the Wagon Wheel Junction in 1947, (demolished 2011). He was also involved in the development of the high-rise towers at the Topa Financial Plaza, the Channel Islands Harbor, Casa Sirena Resort, the Esplanade Shopping Mall, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Carriage Square Shopping Center, the Maritime Museum, and many other major hotel, restaurant and retail projects.
El Rio Government
El Rio Oxnard is a full-service city. Incorporated as a general law city in 1903, Oxnard operates under the council-manager form of government. The City Council consists of an elected Mayor holding a two-year term and four council members elected at large for four-year overlapping terms. Also directly elected are the City Clerk and City Treasurer. The City Council appoints the City Manager and City Attorney. The City Manager is responsible for assisting the City Council in its policy-making role, providing information and advice, implementing policy, and managing approved services.
El Rio Oxnard’s downtown, provides a vibrant city center with a growing cultural arts district state-of-the-art cinemas, and over 40 International dining options including the best authentic Mexican from all regions of the country, Mediterranean cuisine, American fare, Chinese, and fresh seafood. Heritage Square offers a unique, quaint scene combined with delightful gardens and fountains – an ideal setting for some of Oxnard’s original homes to be viewed and appreciated. The Carnegie Art Museum, built in 1906 was the City’s first Public Library enriches residents and visitors alike with a host of world class exhibitions.
Where Pacific Coast Highway 1 meets the 101 Freeway 30 miles north of Malibu, Oxnard, gateway to California’s Central Coast and is home to a California Welcome Center. Oxnard Shopping offers a great mix of convenient malls and friendly harbor and downtown specialty stores. In the last several years, El Rio Oxnard has become one of California’s favorite coastal shopping areas. Whether you are looking for exclusive specialty shops or the best in discount shopping, Oxnard and the surrounding areas offer a wide range of choices. Looking for big name stores? Head to the Collection at Riverpark or The Esplanade.
El Rio “Oxnard today is a vibrant and culturally diverse community that celebrates its historical, recreational and environmental assets while planning proactively to create a prosperous, innovative and healthy future for residents, businesses and visitors” – City of Oxnard Community Profile 2013.
We invite you to come and enjoy our beautiful city with a mediterranean-style climate. Whether you plan to visit, to stay, or to explore, there are many opportunities awaiting you here in El Rio Oxnard!
El Rio Location Information – Map
Situated along a beautiful stretch of Pacific coastline, El Rio Oxnard is the largest city in Ventura County. The City is located about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles and 35 miles south of Santa Barbara.
As you enter El Rio Oxnard, the first thing you’re likely to spot is the surrounding farmlands. With its patchwork of crops and orchards nestled along a narrow coastal plain, Oxnard boasts some of the richest agricultural land in California. A mix of climate, rich topsoil, adequate water and a long harvest season provide favorable conditions for such high-value crops as strawberries. Farmers can often grow double, sometimes triple, crops on the same piece of land during a year.
With such fertile lands, it stands to reason that El Rio Oxnard enjoys temperate weather throughout the year. In fact, weather conditions here remain fairly constant:
Average annual high temperature: 73 degrees
Average annual low temperature: 51 degrees
Average annual rainfall: 14.75 inches