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Travel

A Weekend Guide To Ojai

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Ojai has been buzzing for a hot minute now, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s one of the latest wellness-centric locales and it stretches across some of the most picturesque pieces of land in California. From luxury resorts to wellness hubs to art galleries to New Age shops, it’s the place to be if you’re looking for a quick weekend escape. 

A small city just east of Santa Barbara and a 90-minute drive northwest from LA, this dreamy destination is coveted for its boutique hotels, spiritual retreats, and epic farmer’s market. Conde Nast Traveler has hailed it “nouveau hippie utopia,” and with the plethora of new inns, farm-to-table fare, and art festivals, it’s not hard to see why. It’s rustic yet totally chic, it’s nestled in the rolling hills, and it has a little something for every wellness lover to lust after.

STAY

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Sprawled across 220-acres, it’s without a doubt one of the most popular places to stay in Ojai.  The resort boasts 308 rooms, all equipped with fireplaces, an Artist Cottage which hosts an array of classes and workshops, and an award-winning on-site spa and golf course. Take a cooking class or experience an executive chef dinner, lounge at the pool with views of the Topatopa mountains, or go for a horseback ride. This hotel has literally everything.

Ojai Rancho Inn

If you don’t need all the frills and want something with a bit more character, another popular option is the Ojai Rancho Inn. If you want to really lean into the hippie vibe, this is your place to go. It was once a 1950’s retro roadside motel, and the interiors are loaded with artwork and furnishings from local artists (very log-cabin aesthetic). Each room has its very own front porch, bike rentals are available to ride into town, and there’s even a fire pit that encourages communal hangs so you can mix and mingle with other guests.

EAT

Azu

A wide-ranging Mediterranean menu takes the cake at this local favorite. It’s one of the best places in town for a more upscale meal. From braised short rib tacos to the AZU paella with pesto rice, lobster, shrimp, calamari, fresh chorizo, roasted tomato, hearts of palm, and guajillo aioli, pretty much everything on the menu is mouth-watering.

Farmer and The Cook

If you’re looking for a healthier option, this all-organic, farm-to-table twist on Mexican favorites is easily one of the hottest spots in town. They take cooking with the best locally-sourced produce incredibly seriously here. From sandwiches and tacos to sopes and smoothies, everything on the menu can also be made vegan by request.

DO

Topa Mountain Winery

Ojai also has some pretty incredible wineries, and this is one of the top spots. Surrounded by the ancient oaks and majestic redwoods of the Topatopa Mountain Range, owner Lauro Guerra built this winery to pursue his passion for viticulture and to showcase exceptional wines made from grapes grown in the Ojai Valley Region. The two acres of outdoor space includes a small vineyard, olive trees, and a large outdoor area with covered patios, picnic tables, lawn games, and a bandshell for live music.

Ojai’s Certified Farmers’ Market

This farmer’s market is probably one of the best in all of California. It’s an actual event. Every Sunday morning locals and tourists alike show up in troves to shop locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables, local jams and honey, olive and walnut oil, free range eggs, and more. There’s live music, there’s people watching, and there’s delicious eats literally everywhere.

Ecotopia Natural Hot Springs

Set amidst a corner of sacred Ojai Valley land, the Matilija Canyon’s Ecotopia natural hot-springs are said to have certain mystical healing powers. Come take a dip in the warm waters or explore the community-supported sustainable gardens.

 

 

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