Simi Valley, one of Ventura County’s oldest cities, is not only naturally gorgeous and sprawling but also rich with California history. Surrounded by mountains and dry hills, many outdoor activities are available to the public. This residential, family-friendly town is a clean and quiet alternative to nearby city life.
Just about 45 miles northwest of Los Angeles, visitors can easily spend the day or afternoon in Simi Valley. Head north on the 101 and follow the signs for I-5 north toward Sacramento. Continue north for about three miles and merge onto CA-118 west for about 20 miles. Exit on 1st Street and continue to your destination.
What To Do
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library
40 Presidential Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Price: General admission $21, Seniors (62 +) $18, Youth (11-17) $15, Children (3-10) $6
The sprawling property of the Reagan library not only allows for a beautiful, serene view of Simi Valley, it also serves as a place where the whole family can interact with history. Various technologically interactive sites tell the story of Ronald Reagan, from his birth and early life in Illinois to his young adulthood as a Hollywood actor. Also, much emphasis is put on the historically pivotal events that marked his presidency. A full-sized Air Force One, retired to the Library in 2005, is available for guests to explore inside and out. The aircraft, used by seven presidents, is sure to make memories for all visitors. Included with admission from now until April 2013, all guests will have access to an exhibit of Walt Disney archived memorabilia, from actual costumes worn in Disney films to personal effects from Disney’s life.
Fillmore & Western Railway
351 Santa Clara St.
Fillmore, CA 93015
Price: General admission from $24, Youth (4-12) $14, Children (2-3) $10
From scenic excursions to murder-mystery dinner theater, a ride on the Fillmore Railway is a unique way to escape into a different place and time. Located in Fillmore, California, multiple entertaining train rides through Ventura County orchards are offered for guests of all ages. Affordable family and group packages are available all year long. The Murder Mystery dinner train, a three-caboose freight in which live actors perform, invites passengers to either join in solving themed mysteries or sit back and enjoy the show as they dine on three-course meals with a full bar available.
Simi Valley Town Center
1555 Simi Town Center Way
Simi Valley, CA 93065
With so much history and culture, day trippers may enjoy the opportunity to promenade around Simi Valley’s Town Center. Several retail clothing chains such as Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and The Apple Store are located in the area. The shopping center’s size makes it very walkable and easy to access. Community and seasonal events include live entertainment and food chains such as the Limon Latin Grill and Souplantation are available for those who make the Center their one stop of the day.
Visit a Park
One thing that makes Simi Valley unique is its abundance of city parks. With its beautiful weather and 25 public parks, you never need to miss an opportunity to go hiking, biking or horseback riding in this town. Recreational activities in these parks invite children, teens and adults to enjoy free or very affordable fun. Stargazing parties, drive-in movies, water activities and outdoor theater are only a few of the activities that the district of recreation and parks coordinates.
Where To Eat
Sutter’s Mill Restaurant
3885 Cochran St.
Simi Valley, CA 93063
A visit to this steakhouse complements any trip to historic Simi Valley. Occasional wine and tequila tastings are offered at the bar. The rustic, old west décor remind diners of the era of cowboys and saloons which used to be very prominent in this region of California. A simple menu crafted by the restaurant in the early 20th century has stood the test of time and maintained affordable pricing.
Danielle Farve is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.