Day Trip: Ojai, LA’s Own Shangri-La

A mere two hours north of LA proper lies the artsy resort town of Ojai; a desert oasis where hippies, farmers and tourists live in harmony. Named Ojai (meaning “moon”) by its original Chumash tenants, a certain spirituality and connection with nature remains palpable in the city. For those seeking a change of pace and some much needed R&R, Ojai serves as LA’s own little Shangri-La.

 

WHERE TO STAY?ojai-rancho-inn-1

Ojai Rancho Inn | Funky, fun and convenient, the Ojai Rancho Inn is one of those places with just the right amount of character. A converted motel, the Rancho Inn pays homage to its original lodge decor with some well-curated updates. The stay also includes access to their resident cruiser bicycles – the ideal form of transportation to get around town.

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa | If you’re looking to splurge on a five star vacay, look no further than the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. Gorgeous Spanish revival architecture, serene pools and a spa to die for, plus extracurriculars like pottery classes and an apothecary make this location truly idyllic.

The CapriReminiscent of a midcentury Palm Springs hotel, the Capri offers a different vibe for those looking for something sleeker. Their well-designed lobby serves up coffee, 1950s-esque reading material and a cheeky VHS library for your viewing pleasure. Poolside cabanas are also available for those seeking some serious lounging time.

 

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK?deerlodge

Deer Lodge | Ojai’s Deer Lodge is where kitsch meets authenticity. An Ojai staple since 1932, this joint is basically the original version of LA’s famed Big Foot Lodge. Somewhat off the beaten path, the restaurant and bar combo pays homage to its roots with mostly traditional meat-focused entrees and eclectic hunting decor. Enjoy a plethora of talented local bands here each night of the week, as well as a charming well-lit outdoor patio.

The Farmer & The Cook | This restaurant reflects the aura of Ojai perfectly: organic, thoughtful and friendly. They offer delicious farm-to-table vegan and vegetarian cuisine with an expansive patio, as well as a mouth-watering healthy market. Don’t miss their Sunday night pizza oven parties on the patio featuring live, local musicians.

Coffee Connection | If you need your coffee fix on the road, Ojai’s Coffee Connection has you covered. The espresso bar serves up no-nonsense, fair trade coffee alongside local artisan elixirs, such as lavender lemonade. Enjoy every sip of your latte on the patio with the locals and their pups.

 

WHERE TO SHOP?SC+alt+canoe+print(1)

Summer CampA gas station converted into a custom framing and hip accessory boutique, Summer Camp is one of the more interesting shops to peruse in Ojai. Prices are comparable to LA, but you’ll find unique gems from local designers thoughtfully curated for the tourists.

Fig | A succulent wreath welcomes you into this charming home decor and gift shop with treasures fit for an enchanted garden, and maybe even your tiny apartment. Fig is the perfect spot to snag a unique gift for that hard to shop for friend or family member.

Bookends Bookstore & Curiosities | Once a church and now a bookstore, thanks to the vision of its friendly owners, this thrift store/bookshop is like no other. Carefully selected rare books and odds & ends will entertain you for hours and the prices will have you saying “amen.”

 

WHAT TO DO?ojai (1)

Meditation Mount | For the nature-lovers or those who want to get in touch with their spiritual side, a hike to what’s known as “Meditation Mount” will serve you well. Take in the spectacular valley views at sunset and wander through the gardens to get a sense of why this spot is sacred for so many.

Yoga Class | Yoga is a staple of the wellness-loving town of Ojai so, to get the full experience, you’ll want to participate. Classes are offered at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, as well as at Meditation Mount in the morning. Definitely worth it.

Olive Oil Tasting | For the foodies, a stop at one of Ojai’s olive oil farms and tasting rooms is real treat. At the Italian-inspired Regalo farm, you can sip on locally produced olive oils, as well as flavored balsamic vinegars with the experts.

 

 

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