Ojai, pronounced oh-hi, is often touted as a bohemian corner of California. Tucked away only an hour-and-a-half from Los Angeles, Ojai is known for its unique “pink moment” sunsets, inventive farm-to-fork cuisine, and California’s favorite sport of wine tasting.
On your drive up from L.A., you’ll hit a perfect pit stop in Casita Springs, the place Johnny Cash once called home. Making your way further into Ojai, you’ll slip into the low-key, country mindset while passing the wildflowers along hiking and biking trails and maybe stopping at a roadside stand for local fruit.
When booking where to stay, you can choose between quaint B&Bs or the well-known luxury resort. Blue Iguana Inn and Ojai Rancho Inn are stylish with a modern lodge spin; imagine southwestern decor and a cozy fireplace. Ojai Valley Inn is an alluring Spanish-style resort with sprawling oak trees, which certainly tempt you to never leave. Plus, Ojai Valley Inn’s spa is the ultimate hideaway to indulge in self-care and truly escape the world.
Many visit Ojai to clear their minds and get closer to nature. The valley is lined with fragrant, pixie-tangerine orchards best seen while hiking Shelf Trail and driving up to Meditation Mount, a wide-open lawn surrounded by a lush garden that is a community point to witness the magical pink moment sunset. That pink glow at dusk is caused by the sun’s reflection off of this particular mountain range alignment and is only seen in a few other places around the world.
Shopping along Ojai’s main street is ideal for finding a souvenir or just plain wandering. The little stores dotting the agricultural street capture the spirit and artistic soul of Ojai. Stop into Bart’s Books, a fifty-year-old, open-air bookstore that makes a special place to browse through books, oddities, and artwork. After shopping, Azu is a cute Mediterranean restaurant offering local wine flights, farm-fresh tapas, and craft cocktails. Post-lunch, walk into the nearby Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room to experience several fine wines while learning the history behind winemaking in the region.
For dinner, Deer Lodge has a hole-in-the-wall charm and Ojai farm-sourced cuisine. Dine on their patio, a cozy oasis with blankets and firepits perfect for enjoying their organic buffalo burger and a glass of local red. For another intimate dinner option, Nocciola features a flavorful menu that has many visitors raving for its handmade Italian pasta. On your way out of town you will not want to miss breakfast at the Farmer and the Cook, an absolute hippie haven with organic Mexican food, fresh smoothies, and acai bowls to boot.
The unexpected collision of style and subcultures is ultimately what gives Ojai its unique allure and takes it to the top of the list for L.A.’s greatest weekend escape. Though we can’t promise you’ll be ready to go back home to reality after just a weekend.