Why Visit Ojai California?
Libbey Park Ojai California
Ojai California, located in Ventura County is a magical town worth a visit! It is a popular weekend getaway because of its 1 hour proximity to Los Angeles. Nestled in the hills of the Topatopa mountains it is located 30 minutes from Ventura Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
City of Ojai California
Culture and Vibe in Ojai
The culture of Ojai is focused on ecology, health, organic foods, hiking, spirituality and the local art scene. I like Ojai for the Mediterranean climate, charming architecture and relaxing atmosphere. It definitely has a hipster vibe, but not as extreme as other towns like Joshua Tree. It is a bit more refined and offers a wide variety of shopping, cuisine and architecture.
Window Shopping in Ojai
What Type of Hotel in Ojai?
Four years ago I visited Ojai and we stayed at The Ojai Valley Inn
a luxury resort with a golf course and a spa village. It was wonderful, but more of a resort experience. I wanted to find something smaller, unique and well..cheaper.
I love mid-century design and discovered The Capri Hotel. It is a hotel built in the early 60’s and still retains its vintage motor lodge feel. It has the original neon sign out front. The owners are in the process of renovating it. The amenities are limited, but it was clean, comfortable and the pool was great.
The Capri’s sister property is The Ojai Rancho Inn which offers tiny cottages with a Western feel. Both properties are super cute and offer the perfect nostalgic feel for Ojai. If you are interested in a glamping experience, We discovered Caravan Outpost which is an amazing upscale campground setting with 11 Airstreams. It would be perfect for a fun group getaway.
The Capri Hotel Ojai California
The pool Capri Hotel Ojai California
Ojai Rancho Inn
The Capri Hotel Ojai California
Caravan Outpost Ojai California
What to Do in Ojai?
Ojai is a super bike friendly town. There is a beautiful shaded bike path that runs parallel to Ojai Avenue from Byrant Street on the East end to The Maricopa Highway on the West End. The Capri has several bikes available for free. We arrived early at 10 a.m. kept our items in the car and asked to borrow the bikes.
Our first stop was the Certified Organic Farmer’s Market located on East Matilija Street. This is the real deal. Wonderfully fresh produce grown in the nearby valleys as well as artisan jellies, cheeses and many other products. It is open rain or shine on Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ojai Certified Farmer’s Market
For all of the Bibliophiles out there, you must visit Bart’s Books
. Located at the corner of Matilija and Canada streets in Ojai, CA, Bart’s is the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the U.S.A. It is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours browsing the well-organized sections of books and enjoying the wonderful Mediterranean climate.
Bart’s Bookstore Ojai California
There are many options for lunch, but we chose The Hip Vegan Cafe
on Montgomery Street on the recommendation from the hotel staff. It was the perfect stop. A delicious vegan sandwich & salad menu with coffee, teas and deserts.
The Hip Vegan Cafe
For dinner we opted for Boccali’s an Italian indoor outdoor cafe on the outskirts of town with views of The Topatopa Mountains. It was the perfect choice for the Ojai sunset. The food was so fresh and the produce is grown on their own farm. The highlight of the meal was the Strawberry Shortcake. There was nothing short about it!
Boccali’s Italian Restaurant
Boccali’s Italian Restaurant – Strawberry Shortcake
Shopping, Knitting and Coffee in Ojai
This was a great stop, a two for one. We had a recommendation for coffee at Beacon Coffee
. It is a local coffee roaster with a location in Ojai and Ventura. The owners source the beans directly and the beans are in the top 3% of quality. I had an Americano and it was smooth and rich. Attached to Beacon Coffee is Cattywampus Crafts
. This is not our Mother’s craft store, this is a hip boutique offering yarn, organic fabrics, clothing, jewelry, accessories, ceramics and record albums. Both businesses offer education in their specialties, coffee roasting and knitting. One of the items we saw in several stores were beautiful t shirts with cool embroidery on them. The shirts sell for $170, but Cattywampus offers a hand stitching class to make your own.
Cattywampus Crafts Ojai
Beacon Coffee Ojai
After a wonderful day exploring charming Ojai, and a delicious dinner, we returned to the Capri Hotel to enjoy the new hot tub. We got in bed early for the next day’s plan to visit The Channel Islands National Park.