If you've never been to Ojai, the scenic town 1.5 hours north of LA, it's one of the best places to visit and unwind. Take in serene mountain views, enjoy amazing organic California cuisine, explore the charming downtown, and hike. These are the top things to do in Ojai, California, plus where to eat, stay and play!
The best time to visit
You can visit Ojai year round, but we loved going in early spring when the average temperatures are in the 70's. We went in early April for a baby moon, which happens to also be Pixie month!
We saw thousands of trees growing these sweet, seedless tangerines native to the Ojai Valley. The town celebrates the Pixie all month long in cocktail features, festivals, classes, body products, and more.
The warmest months in Ojai are June and July, and the least rainy month is May. The temps drop a bit in the fall, so October and November are also great time to visit.
How long to visit
Plan to spend 2-3 nights in Ojai for the perfect trip.
How to get there
Fly into Los Angeles International Airport and then rent a car. It'll take 1.5-2 hours to get to Ojai, just past Ventura.
Where to stay
We stayed at this incredible "Nature Meets Luxury" AirBnB, which felt like a secluded nature escape while still being less than 10 minutes from downtown. The panoramic views of the Topatopa mountains were just stunning!
Other great places to stay:
- Lavender Inn: A quaint, charming, and reasonably priced bed and breakfast situated right downtown. They have a spa and--bonus points--include daily homemade breakfast.
- Ojai Valley Inn: A gorgeous 5-star luxury estate with gorgeous grounds, several restaurants, pools, and a full service spa. A splurge!
- Capri Hotel: A modern roadside retreat located near downtown. Renovated top to bottom in 2020, they also have a pool and complimentary bikes.
What to do
Ojai has countless farm-to-table restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, breweries, and wineries. There's also breathtaking hiking trails, horseback riding, and no shortage of local shops and spas to explore.
1. Grab a danish from The Duchess.
Located right in the center of Ojai's main street, The Duchess does it all. Picture an all-day bakery, café & Burmese-Californian restaurant all rolled into one.
Get there when they open at 8am or expect a line for heaven-sent pastries like passionfruit cream cheese danishes, chewy sourdough, and chocolate almond croissants.
They also have an impressive coffee program complete with house-made nut milks. We went there twice and I'm already dying to go back!
2. Hike around Meditation Mount.
Meditation Mount, a nonprofit educational center started in 1971, has truly breathtaking views of the Ojai valley.
Awaken your inner spiritual side with a grounding meditation in the most serene place or simply stroll around the gardens and soak in the 360 views. Be sure to register online before visiting.
For more places to hike in Ojai, try Los Padres National Forest and the Ojai Valley Trail.
3. Do a tasting at Ojai Olive Oil.
A third-generation family owned and operated farm, Ojai Olive Oil is passionate about world class extra virgin olive oil and sustainable farming.
They pick all of the olives by hand so go lounge in the grove, sample delicious local oil, and learn what makes this valley's olive oil so special. Open daily 10am-4pm.
4. Eat lunch at The Nest.
Casual yet totally delicious, The Nest offers an innovate and fun lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch menu. Don't sleep on the massive ahi poke bowl with black rice and tamari ginger lime sauce.
But wait, there's also the smoked beet polenta toast with cashew truffle cheese and brisket tacos on hand-pressed tortillas with black garlic aioli. Your choice.
5. Walk the grounds of Ojai Valley Inn.
With an award-winning spa, sprawling golf course, and multiple restaurants, Ojai Valley Inn is luxury at its finest.
If you're not quite lucky enough to stay there, don't fret. You can still enjoy a massage or lunch at The Oak to experience the stunning, tranquil, and oh-so-green grounds of The Inn.
6. Enjoy a sit down dinner at Rory's Place.
Rory's was easily the best meal we had in Ojai, so be sure to make a reservation on the patio. Recently opened by sisters Rory and Meave McAuliffe, their food is eclectic, inspiring, and vibrant.
I couldn't help but gawk over the beautiful dishes the food was served on. As it turns out, Meave took up a pottery practice and created many of the restaurant's serving dishes.
Menus change often with the seasons, but if you see them, don't miss the melt-in-your-mouth halibut with sunchoke puree or the sweet potatoes with coconut yogurt and seeds.
For dessert, will it be the warm cookie n' milk or persimmon toffee pudding with coffee crumble?
7. Sip wine (and eat strawberry shortcake) at Boccali's.
A friend who lives in nearby Ventura raved about Boccali's Pizza and Pasta, a true locals spot featuring dishes your grandma would make plus wine from the family's own vineyard. Red checker tablecloth included!
The strawberry shortcake is "world famous," so be sure to order some while you sip a Pink Moment Rose Syrah under the sweeping trees.
8. Explore downtown galleries and Bart's outdoor bookshop.
There's several art galleries to peruse featuring local makers and purveyors. Grab a gift for a friend (and perhaps a latte from Beacon Coffee).
Then head to Bart's, a one-of-a-kind outdoor bookstore that's been stealing Ojai's heart since 1964.
9. Treat yourself to a massage at Ojai Massage.
There's something about Ojai that just screams relaxation, so indulging in a mid-day therapeutic massage is a no brainer. We love that it's located right in the center of the historic downtown.
10. Enjoy mid-day rotisserie at Roti.
A hip French-Lebanese fast casual serving up juicy chicken, homemade sourdough, and flavorful sides on the patio. This is a great place to grab a beer or wine and share a bite with friends.
11. Visit the farmer's market.
Check out Ojai's finest local produce, provisions, live music, and people watching every Sunday from 9am-1pm, rain or shine, at 300 East Matilija Street.
Shop local jams and honey, free range eggs, avocados, Pixie tangerines, fresh-squeezed juice, and so much more.
12. Take home a pizza from Pinyon.
This family and friend run wood-fired pizzeria is the perfect little date night spot. We dug the "Porco Rosso" with Bianco di Napoli tomato, pecorino, Calabrian chile, guanciale, bread crumbs (oh yes!) and confit garlic.
As if the sourdough pizza night gig weren't enough, Pinyon doubles as a natural wine shop and bakery during the day. Hello, strawberry cream cheese brioche and sourdough cinnamon roll!
William Wilds says
The Ojai Arts Center on South Montgomery St., one block off Ojai Ave. Has a Gallery of local Artists that rotates monthly. For THEATRE lovers, they present a FULL SEASON of plays!
http://www.OjaiACT.org for SEASON INFO and TICKETS 🎭
Adelle Lagor says
Trip looks amazing!! Cent wait to go!