A mere hour and a half drive from downtown LA, without traffic 😉 Ojai is an old school hippie town with an undeniable charm and slow moving vibe – perfect for a reprieve from city life. A handful of shops, restaurants, hiking trails, and breathtaking sunsets make for the ideal long-weekend destination, where getting off the grid has never been so easy. After a few days (or visits) to Ojai, you will have a good lay of the land and can sit back and enjoy all that Ojai has to offer. One word to the wise for first time visitors: businesses in this village town have their own hours of operation, so make sure to check on these before heading out.
If you’re driving up from LA, stop into Ventura on your way for some surf.
Ojai Rancho Inn: We opted to stay at the Ojai Rancho Inn during our last trip, a converted motel with a modern, hipster vibe. Situated close to town- only a .3 mile bike ride and with free bikes available for guests- the Inn was the perfect location for all of our needs. If you feel like leisurely relaxing around the hotel, a pool, beanbag chairs and bocce ball court will keep you occupied. Other perks: most rooms have an in-room Jacuzzi, which provided a much needed reprieve for achy muscles after our 10 mile hike. Some of the rooms come equipped with a kitchenette, which is great if you intend to buy groceries or bring food some snacks to store.
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa: If you’re celebrating a special occasion or really looking to treat yourself, head to the Spanish-style Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. Situated on a golf course, the sprawling property includes a deluxe spa, multiple pools and restaurants, meaning you never need to leave your lap of luxury.
Airbnb: I’m all about living as the locals do when I travel, and there are a multitude of cute AirBnBs (like this one or this one for a more luxurious retreat at Cois Dara). Airbnbing in Ojai is not always cost effective so it’s worth cross-checking prices against the cost of a hotel room.
I’m also looking forward to checking out the Ojai Vista Farm next time I’m in town 🙂
EAT & DRINK:
Chief’s Peak: Located at the Ojai Rancho Inn, Chief’s Peak beer & wine bar is a great spot for hotel guests or other visitors to stop in for a cozy and casual drink before heading out to dinner or back to their rooms after a long day of activities. The fire is often lit, the vibe is laidback, and everyone’s super friendly.
Beacon Coffee: This is the spot for coffee in Ojai and one of the best parts of waking up here is taking a morning trip to Beacon Coffee. And if coffee isn’t your thing, they offer matcha (amazing with their homemade almond milk). An added perk: pastries for all! Beacon offers plenty of gluten-free and vegan pastry options, as well as (some glutinous) cookies that looked pretty delicious!
Food Harmonics: A relatively new restaurant, Food Harmonics is an all organic, local and gluten-free paleo paradise. I love it for a casual lunch, mid-day snack, or picnic pick-up depot, Food Harmonics has something fresh and delicious for all.
Farmer and the Cook: Come for the vegan Mexican fare, stay for a juice, coffee or pizza (at night), and hit up their grocery store while you’re there! Or just do as we did, and visit this adorable and delicious spot multiple times during your stay in Ojai. If you’re feeling in the mood for mex, I recommend the sopas, taquitos, and farmer’s plate 🙂
Osteria Monte Grappa: One of Ojai’s more upscale dinner destinations, the handmade pasta is reason enough alone to pay a visit. For the gluten-free folk, they offer gluten free pizza options as well as all pastas served on spaghetti squash. Also noteworthy were the fresh salads (the kale salad was delicious) and the fresh, local catch in the Brodettino di Mare.
Ojai Harvest: Highly recommended by a friend for their farm-fresh menu (nearly a given in Ojai), super yummy food and a good spot to get food until midnight (lots of places close on the early side in Ojai esp if you are used to city life). Good healthy-ish spot where you can get your acai bowl, avocado toast, grain bowl or grass-fed burger or chicken sandwich.
Deer Lodge: if you’re looking for some more “active” nightlife or happy hour options, Deer Lodge is your spot. They have a happy hour alongside a long list of beers, and cocktails. We went here for a funky (and packed) New Year’s Eve!
The Jolly Oyster: We haven’t made it to the Jolly Oyster truck yet, but it’s been recommended to us by oyster aficionados as a must-visit for fresh and delicious oysters.
Ojai Vineyard: If a wine tasting is on the agenda for your weekend away, add a visit to Ojai Vineyard to the list. Our recommendation: go on Sunday (late afternoon) and then head next door to for some live music and drinks.
Topa Mountain Winery: another great option for a wine tasting! While Ojai Vineyard is said to boast some better wine options, Topa Mountain Winery brings a fun vibe with their frequent live music.
I’m looking forward to checking out even more spots next time like Nocciola, Azu, and Hip Vegan (sign pictured below – was closed the last 2 times we were in Ojai but reopening soon!).
Tipple & Ramble: This is one of my favorite stops in Ojai! It features a wine bar in front, which is what I stop in for, but inevitable always end up leaving with a few items from the shop. The menu has a curated selection of beer, wine, kombrewcha, cheese, and charcuterie and is a welcome place to slow down for the evening after a hike. Stop in to grab some items for your own picnic under the stars, or stay to enjoy the back patio.
Rainbow Bridge Natural Foods: A high vibe grocery store with a canteen in the front and juice bar/prepared food and sandwich area in the back. Rainbow Bridge will service all your needs, be it stocking up your Airbnb, grabbing to go for a picnic, or fueling up on snacks for the car ride home before you leave Ojai.
Cattywampus Crafts: We didn’t make it to this whimsical arts and crafts store this time around, but it’s top of our shopping list for a future Ojai visit (and right next to Beacon coffee). They also offer classes and workshops in the store (the website has all class listings), so if you’re feeling extra craftsy or want an indoor activity, it’s worth checking out.
In the Field: An artfully curated, upscale lifestyle shop and mecca for household items (and clothing) that run the style gamut from vintage to country to bohemian. Everything in the shop is tasteful, unique and covetable for your own home. Founded by a chic husband and wife duo, the men’s section is equally compelling, so drag your man along to check out the gear and custom surfboards.
Summer Camp: What was once a gas station has since been transformed into one of Ojai’s cutest boutiques for vintage camping gear, succulents galore, custom framing services, and a whole slew of other adorable goods to be found.
deKor & Co.: A cute and quirky furniture, art and interiors boutique that will leave you inspired to redesign your home (or at least one room!). They also have a little tea bar and I picked up some CBD salve to nurse a sore knee.
Meditation Mount: A meditation center open Wednesday through Sunday from 8:30 am to sunset. Come here to further declutter, clear your mind in peace and reconnect with nature and your more spiritual side. If that’s not your thing, it’s still an awesome spot to watch the sunset.
Bike Ride: while you need a car to get to Ojai, if you are staying near town you can pretty much swap your car for a bike as the best means to get around. Some of the hotels/Airbnbs offer bikes for guests, or you can check out The Mob Shop for a rental. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out one of the more hardcore bike paths or just enjoy a day of joy riding around town and stopping along the way.
Hikes: even the most seasoned LA hikers can find new and exciting trails to explore during a hike in Ojai–and there’s something for every skill level/degree of intensity. The Shelf Road Trail is a perfect low intensity hike (approx. 3.5 miles round trip), and we’ve heard it’s a picturesque journey if you time your start to about 45 minutes before sunset. Another beautiful, albeit slightly more difficult trail is Pratt Trail, which goes for 19.6 miles in total.
Ojai Farmer’s Market: I’ve been to my share of farmer’s markets, and this one did not disappoint! In fact, one of the weekend highlights was visiting the Ojai Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning and exploring the limitless fresh produce, locally-made Ayurvedic soaps and oils, and products from some of my favorite purveyors: Lily’s Eggs, Harry’s Berries, an assortment of gluten free sourdough bread options and vegan garlic cream cheese from Vegan Mario. Make sure to BYO canvas tote(s) or pick up a woven bag at the market because it will be full of goodies by time you leave! Also, tip from my friend Betsy – make sure to stop at Tortilla House around the corner before for an epic breakfast burrito 🙂
Hot Springs: Make an appointment with the Ecotopia CSA for a 2 hour soaking session in the hot springs. It’s a nice peaceful place to head up to in the mountains – warm up in the spring and then run to the nearby creek and jump into the cool water. I spent the early morning of the New Year here this year and it was the perfect way to reset and start the year. For those of you that are hot spring aficionados, these aren’t the hottest hot springs but still worth a visit. Clothing optional so no pics allowed!
Ojai is hands-down one of my favorite places for a quick weekend getaway. Hope you find yourself in Ojai very soon and let me know what your fav spot is! xx
On the way to the hot springs.