Top 10 Best Things to Do in Ojai

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Ojai sits in one of the few east-west valleys in the world – its early sunrises bathe the valley in sunshine, and the late sunsets create the famous "Pink ... read more...

  1. Hike the Rose Valley Falls Trail takes first place on the list of best things to do in Ojai. Ojai, surrounded by rippling peaks, rugged canyons, and ancient oaks, has some stunning hikes. The hike to Rose Valley Falls is one of the most beautiful and popular. This 1.1-mile out-and-back hike in the Los Padres National Forest is suitable for the whole family, except for small children (it is not stroller or wheelchair accessible). Dogs on leashes are also welcome.

    The approximately 40-minute drive from downtown Ojai to the trailhead, which meanders through canyons and along curving mountain roads, is equally beautiful and longer than the hike itself. To avoid paying a fee, park outside the Rose Valley Campground's gates. You'll cross several small streams and hop across logs before arriving at the falls, a slender veil of water cascading between vibrant moss-cloaked rocks. You can climb inside the waterfall through a cave or cool off in one of the pools here.

    The trail is best hiked in the spring. The meadows are dotted with wildflowers, and the falls are gushing with winter and spring rains. Summers are typically hot and dry, with temperatures occasionally exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Weekends are naturally busy during peak season.

    When it comes to Ojai outdoor activities, this is one of the most rewarding. Even if you feel like you're deep in the wilderness, restrooms are close to the trailhead. Hikes in the Los Padres National Forest include the Matilija Creek Trail and the Piedra Blanca Formations Trail, as well as the Sespe River Trail to Willett Hot Springs and the Pratt, Foothill, and Fox Canyon Trails Loop.

  2. Gaze at the Galleries ranks 2nd on the list of best things to do in Ojai. If you enjoy art, you'll enjoy Ojai. The delightful Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts (8585 Ojai Road), located in a beautiful mountain setting about 10 minutes from downtown Ojai, should be at the top of your list of places to visit for artistic inspiration. You can visit this charismatic artist's home and studio, where you can admire her fascinating collection of modern and folk art from around the world, as well as ethnic jewelry and Wood's own contemporary ceramic creations. Her collection is as unique and endearing as the artist, author, and activist herself. The center is open for limited hours on Fridays and Sundays, and guided tours are available for a small fee.

    Dan Schultz Fine Art Gallery and Studio should be your next stop on your art exploration (106 N. Signal Street). The main focus of this award-winning California artist's gallery is plein air Ojai landscapes in oil, but there are also figure paintings and portraits. This is a great place to find that one-of-a-kind Ojai souvenir. Hours vary, and visits are only available by appointment on some days.

    OVA Arts (238 E. Ojai Ave), a kaleidoscope of vibrant pottery, pillows, and contemporary fine art pieces created by local artists; Porch Gallery Ojai (310 E. Matilija Street), housed in a historic house; and Primavera Gallery (214 E Ojai Ave), featuring contemporary art, American craft, and jewelry. Do you want to roll up your sleeves and make your own art? Firestick Pottery (1804 E. Ojai Ave), a working ceramics studio, hosts workshops for aspiring potters and provides free tours of master potters at work.
  3. Shop 'Til you Drop ranks 3rd on the list of best things to do in Ojai. There are no big chain stores in Ojai, but there are plenty of locally owned stores and local treasures. Looking for unique souvenirs from your trip to Ojai? FiG Curated Living is located down an alleyway brimming with garden decor (327 E Ojai Ave). You'll find a treasure trove of gifts and goodies here, including pottery, plants, wind chimes, and wall hangings, as well as jewelry, soaps, candles, textiles, and home decor. Ojai Treasures (110 N Signal Street) lives up to its name. This 5,000-square-foot "Antique Collective Mall" sells unique estate and ethnic jewelry, pottery, home decor, vintage clothing, and other items.

    Cercana (302 E Ojai Avenue) sells a wide range of artistic treasures from all over the world. Candles, ethnic baskets, travel bags, textiles, ceramics, glassware, crystals, jewelry, and decorative items for the home can be found here. Local art, Ojai souvenirs, and one-of-a-kind gifts are also available at Poppies Arts and Gifts (323 E. Matilija St.) and Ova Arts. Looking for a gift for the bibliophile in your life? Bart's Books is a locals' favorite. And if you want to pick up some fresh-picked goodies to take home, visit the farmers markets, which are held every Sunday.

    If you're looking to decorate a new home, go to DeKor & Co (105 S. Montgomery Street). Its spacious showroom is filled with vintage furniture, oriental rugs, light fixtures, ceramics, pillows, and other stylish accents. Summer Camp (1020 W. Ojai Ave.) and In the Field are also worth a look for stylish decor and other irresistible finds, while Tipple & Ramble (315 N. Montgomery Street) sells indoor and outdoor furniture and has a lovely patio for those who want to linger. Even Ojai has its own specialty department store. Rains, which was founded in 1915, sells everything from clothing, gifts, and kitchenware to outdoor equipment and home décor.
  4. One of the best things to do in Ojai, especially for foodies, is to sample the fruity liquid gold at Ojai Olive Oil Company's farm. The farm, which is graced with 150-year-old olive trees, is about four miles from Ojai and is open for a free tasting and tour almost every day of the year. Ojai Olive Oil Company's farm is one of the few working permaculture farms in Southern California, run by three generations of the Asquith family. Visit the tasting room to try different types of olive oil and balsamic vinegars. The friendly staff is also happy to share information on how the olives are grown, how the oils are extracted, and how the blending and bottling process works.

    Aside from selecting the best olive oil, aspiring chefs will also learn about storing and cooking with extra virgin olive oil. Everyone, including children, is welcome here, and you can even bring your four-legged family member - there's a special enclosure for pups to play in while you taste and tour. Best of all, you can stock up on goodies to give to family and friends. In addition to olive oils and balsamic vinegars, olive-oil-infused face creams, lip balms, and soaps are available. If you can't make it out to the farm, you can visit their stall at the Ojai Certified Farmers' Market on Sundays.
  5. Browse the Ojai Valley Museum of History and Art ranks 5th on the list of best things to do in Ojai. People who visit the Ojai Valley want to know what makes it unique. The Ojai Valley Museum helps them understand what a special place this is by sharing the valley's history, art, and culture. Visitors and locals alike learn about local history, people, places, and events. The Ojai Valley Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 1966. We collect and display art, artifacts, photographs, and paper ephemera related to Ojai Valley history, art, and culture. We run a museum, a library, and a visitor center.

    In 1996, the museum relocated to the former St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. This is the third location for the museum. The original church burned down in 1917 and was rebuilt in the Mission Revival style by architects Mead and Requa. The structure was considered the "crowning achievement" of Edward Drummond Libbey's beautification project in Ojai. The City of Ojai owns the building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

    Insider Tip: A tourist information office is located in a building corner. To make the most of your visit, sign up for a 10:30 a.m. Saturday historic walking tour of downtown Ojai, which includes admission to the museum.
  6. Enjoy a Weekend Getaway at Ojai Valley Inn ranks 6th on the list of best things to do in Ojai. When it comes to romantic things to do in Ojai, nothing beats snuggling up in a plush suite at the Ojai Valley Inn. This sprawling oasis is one of California's top resorts, set on 220 picturesque acres peppered with oaks. Stay in one of the comfortable contemporary Spanish-style suites or splurge on a penthouse suite. Then, intensify the romance with a couples' spa treatment at the luxurious 31,000-foot spa village. If you prefer to be more creative, visit the Artist Cottage & Apothecary, where you can try your hand at candle-making, painting, and floral design.

    Do you prefer to stay active? Play a few rounds of golf or tennis. Hike or horseback ride through the surrounding hills, book a private cabana at one of the sprawling pools, or arrange a picnic and sightseeing bike tour. And if you're a foodie, you'll have plenty to choose from with seven restaurants. At the resort's hives, you can even sample honey and learn about beekeeping. Overall, you have the option of having a romantic weekend full of activities or completely unwinding and letting the tranquility of this picturesque valley wash over you at this grand dame of Ojai hotels.
  7. Bart's Books is an Ojai institution, having opened in 1964. This well-loved gem, hidden away on an Ojai street corner, is the world's largest outdoor bookstore, brimming with more than 130,000 new and used books in a variety of genres ranging from travel and art to health and happiness.

    Bookworms will have a great time here. Looking for a good used cookbook? If you come here, you'll find a plethora of delectable new recipes. Do you want to curl up with a good book? Choose your next page-turner. And if you're looking for a rare specimen, the helpful staff can help you find it. You can browse for hours through the labyrinthine shelves, which spill out onto the street, and the sunny courtyard encourages you to sit in the sunshine and linger awhile. Even when the store is closed, you can pluck a book from the outdoor shelves and post your money in the box.
  8. If you're looking for a quick escape to nature with a dose of inspiration, Ojai Meadows Preserve is the place to go. This picturesque pocket of wilderness, once a construction waste dump, is now a shining example of how a community can come together to restore the land to its natural beauty. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy purchased this 58-acre property in 2000 with the help of local residents and businesses, and worked with local organizations to restore its important wetland habitats. Water has returned to the preserve, wildlife has returned, and the preserve is now an Ojai treasure.

    A leisurely stroll through Ojai Meadows Preserve is the best way to enjoy it. The mostly flat dirt trail is simple to navigate and takes about 30 minutes to complete. Clouds of bright yellow mustard flowers cloak the fields in the spring, and wildlife sightings are common at any time of year. Animals that live here include long-tailed weasels, bobcats, skunks, and numerous bird species.

    You can also walk around the mile-long trail on the Krishnamurti Foundation-owned Ojai Saddle Trails. Sunset is a particularly lovely time to visit, as the surrounding mountain peaks glow pink and purple in the late light. Planning to take your dog? Note that this is a Sensitive Wildlife Habitat, which means Rover should stay on leash, and visitors should stay on the trail. You can't miss the preserve – you'll drive right by it on the way into town along Highway 33. Parking is plentiful.
  9. Meditation Mount, located on a mountaintop about five miles from downtown Ojai, will nourish your soul. This non-denominational spiritual center promotes peace and compassion, and you can sense it the moment you walk in. Wander through the beautiful gardens, listen to the sound of trickling water, and look for wildlife as you feel the tranquility wash over you at the International Garden of Peace. The scenery is breathtaking. The Topa Topa Mountains change color as the sun rises and sets in the sky, and you are surrounded by wilderness in every direction.

    This should be at the top of your list of unusual things to do in Ojai that set the tone for a relaxing stay. Just keep in mind that you may need to make an appointment before visiting. For more information, visit the website. Keep an eye out for workshops and group events as well.
  10. Want to immerse yourself - literally - in the wilderness of Ojai Valley? Ecotopia is about 30 minutes from downtown Ojai. This series of sulfur hot spring pools, nestled deep in Matilija Canyon on private property, offers a relaxing and rustic slice of Ojai nature. The pools are all different temperatures, averaging around a toasty 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and are strung along the cool Matilija Creek. They are also said to have special healing abilities.

    Before you go, make sure you have an appointment. They are reserved in two-hour time slots, and during peak periods, it is best to book well in advance. Are you looking for things to do in Ojai at night? Nighttime visits allow you to gaze at the stars while soaking in the hot, healing water. After your soak, you can take a hot spring water shower outside or visit the community gardens. Bring towels, water, and a pair of flip flops. It should also be noted that clothing is not required in Ecotopia.

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