Blake Walsh

30 Best Things to Do in Ojai, CA

  • Published 2022/09/16

Located in the Ojai Valley of California’s Ventura County, Ojai is a laid-back and picturesque city in the United States of America.

It is one of the most beautiful cities in the Golden State of California.

It is situated about 50 miles north of Malibu, and it is south and inland of Santa Barbara.

Ojai is a spiritual oasis where you can take pleasure in hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and so much more.

It is also known for its charming boutique hotels and many more recreational opportunities that you can enjoy with very scenic views.

This gorgeous city is surrounded by incredible scenery, such as vineyards and citrus groves.

Ojai is a vibrant and cultural place filled with historical and fascinating museums, elegant art galleries, charming farmer’s markets, immaculate theaters, and much more.

The food scene in Ojai is fantastic as well.

There are various impressive restaurants and cafes in the city that serve fresh and delicious Californian food.

Ready to start exploring this charming city?

Here are some of the best things to do in Ojai, California:

Celebrate Art at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts

Exterior of Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts

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The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts celebrates the life and art of the famous New York artist Beatrice Wood.

She was a potter, artist, and a prominent part of the avant-garde movement in the United States.

The center commemorates Wood’s artistry through various displays and exhibitions.

It also hosts various lectures, workshops, and classes to educate the visitors about art and its importance.

There is a small gift shop in the center where you can buy gifts and art by local artists to remember this incredible city.

Hike along the Ojai Meadows Preserve

The Ojai Meadows Preserve is a protected natural wetland area with meadows that are designed to connect people with their natural surroundings.

It was destroyed in the 1900s due to development in the area surrounding the wetlands.

However, the land was restored to its current glory with the help of the local community.

Now, the Ojai Meadows Preserve is a popular spot for recreation with hiking trails and a plant nursery, along with tons of wildlife and plant life.

Sample the Remarkable Ojai Olive Oil

Ojai Valley’s unique geography makes it the perfect place for several family-run farms.

Ojai Olive Oil is one of the largest and the oldest olive oil orchards in Southern California.

It is over 150 years old and contributes largely to the diversity of the area.

This family-run farm uses organic farm practices to produce the highest quality olive oil.

They make several award-winning olive oils that you can buy from the local farmers’ market.

You can sample the olive oils in their tasting room and take guided tours of the property to see how they are made.

Purchase Fresh Produce at the Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market

Ojai hosts a very charming and rustic farmers’ market every Sunday where several vendors sell the freshest produce of Ojai.

The Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market is the perfect place to sample the local and wholesome products of the fertile lands of Ojai Valley.

Apart from fresh fruits and vegetables, you can also try artisanal jams, chocolates, soaps, candles, honey, gourmet desserts, and bread, along with fresh seafood.

You can also purchase local food from various vendors while enjoying the fantastic live music playing in the background.

Learn about Ojai at the Ojai Valley Museum

Exterior of Ojai Valley Museum

Patrick Pelletier, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ojai Valley Museum is a non-profit organization and was founded in 1966 by local volunteers.

It is located inside the former St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.

Entryway of Ojai Valley Museum

Ken Lund from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum preserves the history of Ojai Valley by collecting and displaying various artifacts, documents, photographs, and art.

There is also an interpretive garden behind the building, where you can sit and bask in the beautiful Californian sunshine after roaming around the museum.

Join a Guided Tour of the Stunning Valley View Preserve

Scenic view of Valley View Preserve

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Located just outside Downtown Ojai, Valley View Preserve is a protected area of 195 acres.

The open space consists of several miles of hiking trails, dog-friendly trails, and beautiful native flora and fauna.

The most popular trails to hike in the Valley View Preserve are the Fox Canyon Trail, Foothill Trails, and Luci’s Trail.

Make sure to hike on these trails to see the stunning beauty of the preserve.

You can also take a guided tour of the preserve to see and learn more about it.

Get the Freshest Citrus Fruits at Friend’s Ranches

Friend’s Ranches is a family-owned and operated orchard that has been growing citrus fruits for more than 100 years in Ojai Valley.

The citrus fruits grown here include lemons, oranges, tangelos, and so much more.

Friend’s Ranches is best known for its Pixie tangerine, a sweet and sweet fruit that is very popular among the locals of Ojai.

Make sure to stop by the Friend’s Ranches and enjoy their newly-harvested produce along with freshly squeezed citrus fruit juice.

Spend an Afternoon at Bart’s Books

Daytime view of Bart's Books

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Founded in 1964, Bart’s Books is the largest independently owned outdoor bookstore in the United States of America.

The bookstore has over a million books available for sale, including rare and limited edition books worth thousands of dollars.

Visit Bart’s Books when you come to Ojai, and spend an afternoon going through several different books under the shade of a glorious lemon tree.

Signage of Bart's Books

Sarahmirk, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Horseback Riding with the Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company

The Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company offers horseback rides on the enchanted green trails along the Ventura River.

They also have ponies on which young children can ride.

Rides last for about one to two hours, and you can choose the location where you want to enjoy horseback riding.

Taste Organic Wine at Casa Barranca

Casa Barranca is a rustic winery overlooking the magnificent Ojai Valley.

It serves several different types of wines made from organic grapes grown in their vineyard.

The Casa Barranca vineyard is the first organic winery on the central coast of California.

All the wines are delicately handcrafted with the best quality grapes to make sure that you taste the finest wine in California.

Appreciate the Scenic Views of the Ventura River Preserve

Rocky stream of Ventura River Preserve

LorraineWalter at English Wikipedia, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ventura River Preserve is located in the western Ojai Valley.

It consists of 1,600 acres of gorgeous green space and three miles of the Ventura River.

Swimming hole at Ventura River Preserve

Photo by Ojai Valley Land Conservancy., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The preserve provides shelter to more than 300 species of different flora and fauna.

It also has various trails where you can walk, jog, or hike while appreciating scenic views of the nearby greenery.

Learn Something New at the Krishnamurti Educational Center

Located in the former residence of the author and philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, the Educational Center consists of a library and a quiet room where visitors can read or meditate in peace.

You can learn a lot about Krishnamurti and his teaching in the education center.

Make sure to explore the peaceful gardens surrounding the building.

Stay at the Serene Ecotopia Ojai Hot Springs

Ecotopia Ojai Hot Springs is the hidden gem of Ojai.

You can truly immerse yourself in nature here.

It is a delightful mix of different ecologies, hot springs, and creeks and is sustained by a local community agricultural program.

You can book your stay in advance on their website and choose various amenities according to your needs and budget.

Ecotopia Ojai Hot Springs’ serene environment will make you grateful to be alive.

Visit the Ojai Vineyard

The Ojai Vineyard has been producing wine on the Central Coast for more than half a century.

The expertise and finesse are visible in the wines that are produced here.

You can taste more than 24 wines in the Ojai Vineyard’s tasting room.

Make sure to try the famous Syrahs, Chards, Rieslings, and Pinots when you visit the renowned vineyard.

Head to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

Sign at Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

Geartooth Productions /

The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy is a non-profit organization that buys the vacant lands in the Ojai Valley and works toward preserving them.

This is done by converting them into recreational areas where visitors can enjoy hiking, walking, running, or mountain biking while relishing the beauty of the valley.

Some of the trails are easily accessible on foot and are located near Ojai’s downtown area.

They also host interpretive nature walks to encourage people to connect with the environment.

Don’t forget to make a small donation to support this organization and its valuable work.

Start Your Day with Breakfast at Bonnie Lu’s Country Cafe

Bonnie Lu’s Country Cafe is a quintessential diner cafe that serves delicious American comfort food.

It is almost always packed, so you might have to wait, but it will surely be worth the delicious food that this diner serves.

Make sure to order their famous English muffin biscuits, omelets, hash browns, and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Devour Delicious Vegan Food at Hip Vegan Cafe

Hip Vegan Cafe is the perfect place to have a meal if you are vegan or vegetarian.

The cafe serves delicious vegan and vegetarian food made with fresh ingredients.

Don’t forget to try the hummus wraps, Wagamama bowl, and tempeh burgers when you visit this charming cafe.

Appreciate the Award-Winning Wine Selection at Olivella

Olivella is an upmarket restaurant that serves delectable Italian food in a warm and friendly setting.

They pride themselves on preparing their dishes with locally grown produce.

The staff is very friendly and attentive and will make sure that your experience is nothing but fantastic.

Olivella is famous for its chocolate sphere, filet mignon, lobster risotto, and award-winning wine selection.

Stay at the Incredible Blue Iguana Inn

Located on Ventura Avenue, the Blue Iguana Inn is a charming boutique hotel.

It is located only a 15-minute drive away from the magnificent Pacific Ocean.

Each room is carefully curated, with hand-selected furnishings and paintings, along with other prized possessions and amenities to make your stay as worthwhile as possible.

The staff is courteous, informative, and provides top-notch service.

Make sure to book at least one night at the Blue Iguana Inn when you visit the charming city of Ojai.

Get Pumped and Watch an Event at Libbey Bowl

Originally constructed in what was previously named Civic Center Park, Ojai Festival Bowl was created by famous architects Austen Pierpont and Roy Wilson.

By the 1970s, the parking area and the bowl had been later renamed Libbey in recognition of Edward Drummond Libbey, the donor.

He had previously given the area to the people of Ojai.

Both performers and spectators have referred to the Libbey Bowl as a nearly mystical setting.

The feeling viewers get from watching an event in Libbey Bowl is amazing due to the venue’s flawless integration of its natural setting with contemporary production amenities.

A lovely grass area looks out over the bowl and can hold 200–300 spectators sprawled out on their picnic mats.

Have a Well-Deserved Pamper Day at Spa Ojai

Exterior of Spa Ojai

Thomas Barrat /

Their 31,000-square-foot deluxe spa is the focal point of their tranquil Spa Village, encircled by the stunning Topatopa Mountains.

Two pools, a fully-stocked gym, Mind & Body workshops, the Spa Shop, and the Spa Café, which serves a selection of fresh, healthful delights, are all accessible with a visit to Spa Ojai.

Daytime view of Spa Ojai

Terry Granger /

When guests at the Ojai Valley Inn book a spa or beauty salon session on the day of the appointment, they are entitled to free access to the spa facilities; this includes making use of all restrooms and wet area amenities.

Depending on availability, visitors who aren’t staying at the resort can book services at Spa Ojai as Day Spa paying guests.

For visitors over 18, Spa Ojai offers facial and nail salon treatments.

Swimming pool at Spa Ojai

Thomas Barrat /

Show Appreciation for the Arts at the Ojai Art Center

In the whole State of California, the Ojai Art Center is a multifunctional center that has been serving the art industry for the longest run.

The Ojai Art Center, which opened its doors in 1939, has eight branches covering different areas of the arts.

An artistic group is headquartered in the Ojai Art Center, including the theater production.

Since those early days, the Art Center has been home to a 120-seat theater that hosts thousands of people of Ojai and the surrounding community every year.

Annually, the Theater puts on a range of theatrical shows, from comedies to operas, plays, and musicals.

Run Down to Coffee Connection for a Morning Coffee

The Meiners Oaks neighborhood in the stunning Ojai Valley is where Coffee Connection is situated.

They produce handcrafted drinks using certificated natural coffee and espresso since they believe in providing customer service with a smile.

They are proud to give back to their community and are popularly loved and operated locally.

Coffee Connection offers sustainably grown and fair trade-certified caffeine.

Each beverage is created by hand with passion and respect for the art form that binds Coffee Connection to numerous people worldwide.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Beautiful Lake Casitas

Wildflowers near Lake Casitas

Annette Teng, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Casitas is an artificial lake created after the construction of the dam on Coyote Creek.

The lake was made to provide water for important activities, such as irrigation.

Swimming is prohibited at the lake; however, you can enjoy camping, fishing, and boating in its serene environment.

The waters of Lake Casitas

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It is also surrounded by the Lake Casitas Recreation Area, where you can enjoy golfing, lunch with a view of the lake, a water park, and more.

Lake Casitas Recreation Area is located in Ventura, just a 10-minute drive away from Ojai.

Great heron at Lake Casitas

Scenic Corner /

Enjoy the Casitas Water Adventure with Friends and Family

Just 10 minutes away from Ojai, Casitas Water Adventure is a family-friendly water park and is part of the Lake Casitas Recreation Area.

The water park is very compact and has water playgrounds, a deep lagoon, snack shacks, picnic tables, and much more.

The lagoon is 18 inches deep and offers several water features, bridges, a jungle gym, slides, and more.

Don’t forget to visit the Lake Casitas Recreation Area water park to enjoy Lake Casita’s water with your family and friends.

Explore the Magnificent Los Padres National Forest

Scenic view of Los Padres National Forest

Ventu Photo /

Los Padres National Forest is the second-largest national forest in central and southern California.

It includes the majority of the mountainous land of the Californian coast.

Butterfly at Los Padres National Forest

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The forest is home to over 400 species of animals and more than 1,200 species of plants, which makes it a quintessential destination for nature lovers.

A bird at Los Padres National Forest

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Those who visit can enjoy birdwatching or simply explore the forest and admire its abundant flora and fauna.

The best way to explore this green space is by walking on the various trails in the forest that are very easy to traverse.

The waters of Los Padres National Forest

Claudine Van Massenhove /

Hike the Rose Valley Falls Trail

View of the Rose Valley Falls

Bill G Lincoln /

Rose Valley Falls Trail is located 30 minutes away from Ojai in the Los Padres National Forest.

This half-mile trail leads to a lovely waterfall in the forest.

View from behind the Rose Valley Falls

Bill G Lincoln /

You can hike the trail to enjoy the forest’s beautiful green space and see the stunning waterfall at the end.

Make sure to carry a good camera with you so you can take stunning pictures of the gorgeous surroundings.

Go Mountain Biking on Pratt Trail Loop

Pratt Trail Loop is a 15.4-kilometer scenic trail near Ojai, and it is rated as difficult.

The challenging but scenic trail features beautiful plant life and stunning views of the city.

You can enjoy running, hiking, and mountain biking while appreciating the expansive views of the valley.

Final Thoughts

Ojai, California, is encircled by stunning natural features, including top-notch regional food, wineries, museums, hiking paths, art, and culture.

You may engage in both indoor and outdoor pursuits all day long.

Ojai attracts visitors of all kinds thanks to its fascinating history, lively atmosphere, and charming city.

The list of the best things to do in Ojai, California, should be included in your itinerary if you visit this well-known tourist destination.

Come to Ojai and experience the never-ending fun for yourself!

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