Updated: Feb 25
Visiting Ojai was a lovely surprise in different ways. This charming, quaint little town, located less than 2 hours from the busy LA metropolitan area is the perfect weekend getaway to disconnect and wine down, if you know what I mean. Ojai offers lots of wine tastings for you to sip your day away, but that's not all! Here are the places you can't miss on your next trip or stop in Ojai Valley:
1- Bart's Books
Bart's Books had to be the first on my list because it was our favorite discovery in Ojai. This is a bookstore unlike any other I've ever visited. It's an open-air used bookstore in a roofless house. The place obviously gets a lot of natural light and tables and benches create an inviting atmosphere for you to just grab a book and enjoy some reading time. Since it doesn't rain much on this side of the Golden State, there's not much to worry as far as getting the books all wet. Btw, it is the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the US.
2- Go Wine Tasting
There's a good number of wineries and tasting rooms in Ojai for you to uncork and unwind. It was one of the coolest experiences we've had in town, because we got to sip around and try excellent wine, and I'll include the list of the places we've visited, plus some other recommendations, but also because we got to meet some very nice people along the way.
Ojai is a very small town, and so most of the places are within walking distance from each other, thus no need to worry about having to drive from one tasting room to another.
Tipple and Ramble
This place is a MUST - includes wine and beer, as well as a small but carefully curated food menu, plus the place looks like Free People opened a restaurant, total boho vibes. I highly recommend the cheese board or the big board (cheeses + meats).
Casa Barranca Tasting Room
Vintage organic wine tasting in the heart of Ojai. We had a great time here and I loved that, on top of the details provided by the bartender, there was also little booklets further explaining all of the wines that we were tasting.
Topa Mountain Winery
Beautiful tasting room and winery with indoor and outdoor space (patio area is huge), features live music every weekend and a food truck in a family-friendly environment. This is another MUST that you can't leave without visiting!
Azu Restaurant & Ojai Valley Brewery
The restaurant and the brewery share the same space and, on top of the savory food made with local ingredients (we had the burger and the ahi tacos) and the wide variety of brews, they also serve local wines from Topa Mountain, The Ojai Alisal Vineyard and The Ojai Vineyard.
Topa Topa Brewing
We had visited Topa Topa in Santa Barbara so when we saw they had a tap room in Ojai, we decided to stop by. Great selection of beers and to go packs, and as with every brewery I've ever been to, it's never empty.
One of the few places open late, it was our first stop when we arrived in Ojai on Friday night and it did not disappoint. We shared a few appetizers (fries, chicken wings and hummus plate) and wine (from Santa Barbara).
More places to check out:
- Majestic Oak Vineyard Tasting Room
- The Vine
- Ojai Olive Oil (Note: The property is only open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays)
3- Rent a Bike and Go Explore
One of the best ways to explore Ojai is by bicycle. A couple places offer rentals right in downtown (we got ours from Bicycles of Ojai) and riding through The Ojai Valley Trail provided some stunning views of the mountains and nature around, we also saw plenty of birds and it was quite a fun workout!
The trail is about 9 miles long and includes some moderate hills, and I recommend it as a nice outdoor experience for the entire family, including the kiddos.
Also visit The Ojai Meadows Preserve, which includes protected wetlands, meadows and Eucalyptus trees.
4- Catch a Pink Sunset
During December and January, the Ojai valley experiences a phenomenon called "Pink Sunset" when a pink-purple-orange glow fills up the sky. It's a sight to see!
5- Stroll Around Downtown
Ojai is full of little boutiques and specialty shops that are worth checking during your visit to the area. Walk around downtown and also stop by Libbey Park (Ps. it includes a kids play area for the little ones to spend some energy).
Some other places worth checking out:
Hike - Last Chance Trail
It's a 6 mile trail and the most popular of the 24 hiking paths along the valley.
Scenic Overlook of Ojai 5900-7398, CA-150, Ojai, CA 93023
I didn't get a chance to check this place out because our kitty was quite impatient in the car after we left our AirBnb and so we decided to head straight back home. It was on my list and it seems to offer amazing views of the valley and the surrounding mountains.
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