Welcome to NYLON’s City Guides, your one-stop shop for the ideal vacation. Here, you’ll find the ultimate recommendations when it comes to where to stay, eat, drink, shop, and more for the world’s hottest cities — all tried and tested by NYLON editors. Read on for your ideal, NYLON-approved itinerary.
Whether it’s Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Joshua Tree, or San Diego — to name just a few — the getaway options from Los Angeles are endless. But none of these must-visit spots compare to a trip to Ojai. About a 90-minute drive (pending traffic, of course) from the city, the serene town is surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest and Topatopa Mountains, making for an always-picturesque trip, especially during its signature “pink moment,” when Ojai’s sky glows at sunset. Though the locale has been described as a bit of a hippie town, it’s also buzzing with fun breweries, tasty restaurants, and stylish shops that make it a lively destination to add to your travel bucket list.
Read on to prepare for a memorable trip to Ojai, from where to stay, eat, drink, and more.
Where To Eat & Drink
Pinyon Ojai: Sure, there are a ton of great pizza (and natural wine) spots in Los Angeles, so why would you dine at yet another place when you’re traveling out of the city? But hear us out: Pinyon prides itself on sourcing local, high-quality ingredients from nearby farms while also creating an equitable environment for everyone who works there. The pizzas are thin and flavorful, and you can’t go wrong with the selection of interesting small plates to round out your meal. Plus, the bright and open space — and overall kind and helpful vibes from the staff — are an ideal spot for a laid-back dinner with a group of friends, significant other, or even if you’re out solo.
Topa Topa Brewing Co. (and Little Sama Ojai): A solid (and dog-friendly) option for a large gathering during lunch or dinner, you’ll spend all day and night at Topa Topa as you try out every brew from its taproom menu and nosh on Southeast Asian-inspired dishes from its adjacent restaurant, Little Sama Ojai. Order the tots, a rice bowl, wings, and Brussels sprouts.
Ojai Rotie: A no-fail outdoor spot for lunch or dinner, Ojai Rotie’s specialty is French-Lebanese-style rotisserie chicken, which you can complement with fresh salads, loads of veggies, savory dips, or roasted potatoes that were cooked in the chicken’s drippings. Yum.
Beacon Coffee: Based right at the beginning of town, this coffee shop is a prime location for you to hit up first thing in the morning and kick off the rest of your day exploring the rest of Ojai’s main strip and side streets of shops and restaurants. There’s also plenty of space for you to sit and enjoy your coffee and pastries for a slower, more chill start to your day.
The Duchess: If you’re looking to splurge on a meal and drinks for the night, hit up The Duchess (and make sure you have a reservation). The menu is a delightful mix of Burmese-meets-Californian-style dishes, like coconut chickpea curry, crispy rice salad, and tandoori chicken, that you’ll still think about long after your visit. Can’t stop by for dinner? Its daytime offerings are just as good — stacked sandwiches and fluffy, crispy croissants galore.
What To Do
Spa Ojai at Ojai Valley Inn: The famous Ojai Valley Inn is a behemoth of a hotel for the fancy visitors of Ojai. Its spa services don’t come cheap, but you’re paying for the experience, with access to its gym, wellness classes, spa pools, and spa public areas. Afterward, you can walk the lush grounds to take in the sights or stop at one of its handful of restaurants for a bite to eat.
Bart’s Books: A staple of the city since the ‘60s, Bart’s Books claims to be the largest outdoor bookstore in the world. You can spend hours at this serene shop as you browse the thousands of used and new books in stock and take a seat to catch up on some reading.
Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market: If you’re around on Sunday mornings, this farmers’ market is an absolute treat. Vendors range from local produce and gourmet foods to fresh-cut flowers, bread, home gifts, and more. On Thursdays, there’s also the Ojai Community Farmers’ Market.
Meditation Mount: For an extremely zen activity, visit this non-denominational spiritual and religious center that boasts a walking garden with a view of Ojai Valley offering self-guided meditations in the morning and at sunset.
Where To Stay
Capri Hotel: After a complete renovation in 2020, this hotel is a whole aesthetic. From its Instagram-worthy lobby to the decor-forward rooms, you may not even want to leave this place during your stay in Ojai. Though, we can never say no to a pool day.
Caravan Outpost: For an untraditional stay in Ojai, book an Airstream — preferably #2, or “Lala,” which happens to be the stylish limited-edition trailer from Pottery Barn — for the full “glamping” experience. (There are plenty of restaurants and bars within walking and biking distance if cooking isn’t your forte.) After spending the day around town, you’ll look forward to hanging out at Caravan Outpost, whether it’s playing a game of cornhole or lounging in one of the plenty of seating areas throughout the outdoor space. Oh, and the free coffee in the mornings is always a plus.