Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. series. This is your one-stop travel guide to a place’s best, most unique and quintessential experiences. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Ojai?”
Ojai is a cozy, quiet 4.3-square-mile Southern California town filled with vintage shops, spas and art in a valley surrounded by rolling mountains and preserves you can hike and horseback ride through. Located in Ventura County about 75 miles from Los Angeles and about 35 miles from Santa Barbara, Ojai is frequented by spiritual seekers, outdoor enthusiasts, bikers and tired city and suburb dwellers, and even celebrities looking for a weekend away.
You’re here in Ojai to relax, and you’ll notice a different vibe here than most of Southern California. For starters, a citywide ban on chain stores since 2007 has helped Ojai’s walkable downtown stay filled with mom-and-pop shops and eateries, a sharp contrast to the rest of the region. Here, you’ll find a long row of mission-style archways, called an arcade, built in 1917. Ojai is also said to have mystical properties (“the Ojai vortex”) — who knows, right? — and is home to artists, farmers, healers and the like.
If there’s a must-do besides chilling out and savoring the mellow pace, it’s to catch the awe-inspiring sunsets known as “the pink moment,” when the fading light hits the nearby Topatopa Mountains and covers the Ojai Valley in pink. Here’s what to do when you’re here.