Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Topanga, CA

  • Published 2023/04/24

Are you searching for the ideal destination for a vacation but can’t decide where to go?

Look no further than Topanga, where you can find the best things you seek: adventure, tranquility, and great fun.

Topanga is a laid-back region of Southern California that attracts visitors with its incredible variety of points of interest.

This area teems with adventure and stunning scenery, making it the ideal destination to retreat from your busy lifestyle.

Los Angeles County’s Topanga is between Malibu and Pacific Palisades in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Here are the best things to do in Topanga, CA:

Appreciate Green Spaces at Topanga State Park

Hikers along Topanga State Park

Noah Sauve /

Anyone who has visited Topanga knows it’s an incredible location to seek adventure and gain friends.

It’s lush and full of lovely green spaces.

Topanga State Park is a magnificent park that includes hiking trails, equestrian riding, and swimming pools, among other activities.

Several campgrounds are also available for those who choose to spend time outside.

Shrubs along Topanga State Park

Jared Quentin /

This ideal spot for families traveling with children to enjoy fun and safe activities.

If you’re an adult traveler searching for more than just a holiday destination, Topanga State Park boasts a wealth of activities.

You can explore many trails on foot or by mountain bike, depending on the hiker’s degree of fitness and hiking expertise.

You can also join one of the guided hikes, where you can get a sense of what it’s like before embarking on your journey.

A bordwalk at Topanga State Park

Bradley Allen Murrell /

Learn Something at the Topanga Library

Those who travel frequently have likely heard of Topanga.

It’s a gorgeous sight to visit, and it’s also an excellent spot to unwind.

However, did you realize that there is more to this Los Angeles area than just its physical beauty?

You shouldn’t skip the Topanga Library if you’re curious about the past of your vacation spot.

It offers resources for users of all ages and is a part of the County of Los Angeles Public Library system.

This is a one-stop store for books, games, movies, workshops, and other relevant information.

It also provides unusual events like story times for infants, art classes for kids as young as five, and teen activities like rock climbing or cooking.

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn what makes this place unique.

Go Hiking at the Red Rock Canyon Park

Scenic overlook at Red Rock Canyon Park

Andy Konieczny /

You’ve probably heard of the adventure but never actually done it.

You’ve heard of the hike, but you haven’t gone yet.

Now is your moment to venture forth.

Red Rock Canyon Park is a hiking destination in Topanga, California.

The park is within an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, making it a perfect getaway after enjoying the disco nights in the city.

There are numerous pathways to pick, allowing you to find one that meets your needs and interests.

Some of these trails include difficult climbs up steep slopes.

Other trails are more level, making them ideal for families with young children who may not yet be able to climb rugged hills.

Ride a Bike at Topanga Creek Outpost

The Topanga Creek Outpost is the focal point for mountain biking.

From novice to expert, this location offers something for everyone.

You can ride your bicycle from the Topanga Creek Outpost to the summit of Topanga.

You can take in beautiful sights while climbing one of the most renowned mountain biking trails in Southern California.

Spend the day admiring the stunning surroundings along the 50 miles of paved trails and more than 150 miles of unpaved routes.

However, they’re only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this location offers.

Have a Scenic Meal at Cafe on 27

Cafe on 27 is easily one of the best if not the best restaurant if you’re looking to experience the beauty of Topanga over great food.

They’re located on the hilly areas of Topanga that give you sweeping views of the canyon, making it a perfect spot for dates.

The place is famous for brunch food that’s a great way to accentuate the views of the canyon, especially if you want that picture-perfect Instagram post.

Try their eggs benedict, koftas, and their avocado toast that goes well with their iced latte.

Cafe on 27 is found along North Topanga Boulevard and is a can’t-miss when visiting the area.

Traverse the Viewridge Bobcat Trail

Feeling adventurous? Viewridge Bobcat Trail is a go-to natural area in Topanga for those who want to be close to nature.

It’s an expansive trail that features sprawling prairies that’s home to a lot of old oaks, giving it an austere charm.

Viewridge Bobcat Trail also got its name because you can spot an occasional bobcat here, so if you’re into that adrenaline-pumping activity, this is a great place to try your luck.

The path is challenging and rewarding, and it’s a haven for a lot of scenic photography.

You can access Viewridge Bobcat Trail along the Summit to Summit Metroway.

Go Hiking at Summit Valley Edmund D. Edelman Park

Just a stone’s throw away from Viewridge Bobcat Trail lies Summit Valley Edmund D. Edelman Park.

Unlike the former, Summit Valley Edmund D. Edelman is more family and child-oriented, which makes it a popular spot for outdoor recreation.

It’s a famous place for hiking, as you’ll experience various terrains here where you’ll see tons of plant life along the way.

Because of its inclines, the park is also a great place to do some dirt biking and dog-walking.

You’ll find lots of cool things within this huge park, such as bridges, gardens, and even animal farms.

Have a Feast at Reel In Malibu

Located in Topanga Beach lies Reel In Malibu, one of the best restaurants in the Topanga and Malibu area.

It’s a haven for seafood enthusiasts, as Reel In Malibu offers a wide selection of fresh catches that can be eaten in various ways.

For example, you can have a Cajun-style meal through their rockfish, while having a classic American one through their fish n’ chips.

Reel in Malibu also offers Italian-style cooking when handling their seafood, along with Mexican-inspired fish tacos.

One of the best places to chow down, don’t miss out on this amazing restaurant.

Go Shopping at Topanga Center

Topanga Center is a great stopover destination when you’re looking to restock travel essentials, or if you want to do some shopping in general.

The shopping district isn’t your typical one—rather than being the huge commercialized shopping malls, Topanga Center is a small one that has a lot of personality.

Lots of local shops and eateries are found in this intimate space, so spend a couple of hours exploring what it has to offer.

It’s also a great place to buy souvenirs or memorabilia in Topanga.

To visit Topanga Center, find it along Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Enjoy Topanga Sceneries at Parker Mesa Overlook

A couple admiring the view from Parker Mesa Overlook

Kit Leong /

Parker Mesa Overlook is one of Topanga’s most stunning locations.

You can find it in Malibu, California, six minutes from Topanga.

It is a fantastic site for hiking, biking, and virtually any other outdoor activity.

Parker Mesa Overlook is more than 11 kilometers long.

You may finish the hike in two to three hours, depending on your speed.

Sunset illuminating Parker Mesa Overlook's empty bench

Kit Leong /

The location is usually quite tranquil, since it is not too busy.

The trail ascends through a gorge before descending into a valley with breathtaking ocean vistas.

The view from Parker Mesa Overlook is spectacular.

You can also see the entirety of the Los Angeles basin from there.

See the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains to the east, Catalina Island to the south, and the crescent-shaped Santa Monica coastline to the west.

Scenic view from Parker Mesa Overlook

Kit Leong /

Join Riding Activities at Trippet Ranch

Landscape of Trippet Ranch

Jesse Weinstein (JesseW), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Trippet Ranch is another fantastic site in Topanga if you want something different from the park’s other attractions.

The ranch serves as the primary entrance and parking area for Topanga State Park.

It has attractive oak trees and meadows that contrast with the rocky formations and scrub of the rest of the park.

The Musch Meadows trails showcase the finest oaks and meadows.

From the trailhead in Pacific Palisades, the Santa Ynez Canyon Trail descends to a shady canyon and a waterfall.

Starting at Dead Horse Trail and continuing into Musch Trail, the Backbone Trail crosses this region.

The view along this portion of the Backbone is nearly perfect.

Around Trippet Ranch, all single-track paths are off-limits to mountain bikes.

Nonetheless, Parker Mesa Overlook to the south and Eagle Rock and Rogers Road to the east offer excellent riding opportunities.

Appreciate LA from the Topanga Overlook

People on Topanga Overlook

Kit Leong /

The Topanga Overlook is one of Topanga’s most visited locations.

This is the perfect area to go away from the city and spend time with your family.

The lookout offers restrooms, picnic spots, educational displays, and a breathtaking view of the Santa Monica Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, and the valley below.

You can even see all three simultaneously!

Since its establishment in 1926, the park has been protected.

A museum at the visitor center tells the story of how the area became what it is now.

The Topanga Overlook is home to different animals, including black-tailed prairie dogs, mountain lions, coyotes, mule deer, and bobcats.

Go Sunbathing at Topanga State Beach

Daytime view of Topanga State Beach

Emmett Reiner /

Topanga State Beach is one of the best locations for sunbathing, scuba diving, and surfing spot in Topanga.

In addition to surfing and fishing in the neighboring waters, other activities are available, such as hiking and birdwatching.

This beach is located along the Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles County, California, one of the most picturesque regions in Southern California.

Signage of Topanga State Beach

trekandshoot /

The cobblestones and reefs on the beach make it unsuitable for swimming, but that doesn’t stop most visitors from enjoying the beach’s tremendous surf and surrounding scenery.

Surfers come to conquer the waves, and fishing is also a popular pastime.

Along the Pacific Coast Highway are a set of paved stairs that lead down to the ocean.

A surfer walking along Topanga State Beach

Benny Marty /

Ride Horses with Los Angeles Horseback Riding

If you’re seeking an off-the-beaten-path activity to do in Topanga, horseback riding may pique your interest.

Riding horses is a great way to disengage from our screen-centric lives and reconnect with nature.

Sunset and moonlight rides are available, whichever suits your preference.

If you want to do other things, you can ride a mule while viewing the beach and the mountains.

Several firms in Los Angeles provide horseback riding trips, and you can rent horses from private farms.

Experience Music and Art at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum

The Theatricum Botanicum is one of the most distinctive locations in Los Angeles, and it’s easy to see why.

This outdoor art retreat offers visitors a unique opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of Topanga and classic Shakespeare plays.

Every time you visit, you feel like you’re strolling in a mystical forest.

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, music, California history or botany, or any combination of these things, visit this place.

If you want to escape the world for a moment, you should also visit.

Theatricum is a one-of-a-kind venue where the beauty and tribulations of humanity stand out against the stunning backdrop of Topanga’s verdant and rustic natural environs.

Experience Local Culture at Corazón Performing Arts

Corazón Performing Arts are the place to visit if you want to learn more about the local art scene in Topanga.

Here, you can learn more about the local art scene and have a fantastic time doing so.

Corazón Performing Arts is a Topanga institution known for its one-of-a-kind performances, talks, seminars, and events in the heart of Topanga’s “Old Center.”

Since 1955, they have contributed to the town’s development by presenting concerts, talks, art classes, and theater shows.

If you’re planning your next event in this place and want to ensure its success, you can rely on them.

Buy Something at Hidden Treasures

The best spot to find a new pair of jeans in Topanga is hidden away.

You’re a seasoned traveler, so you know how vital it is to buy clothes produced with sustainable materials and sourced locally.

They should also be pleasant to wear.

However, how can you be confident that your purchase will be in excellent taste?

Then look no farther than Hidden Treasures.

This vintage clothes store has items from the Victorian era through the 1980s and various other things, including antiques and festival dresses.

Darrell Hazen, the company’s founder, chose Topanga for his store because of the “hippie aura” it had.

When it comes to strange items, he’s not only referring to tourists’ shopping habits.

To see all the excitement before you return home, stop by Hidden Treasures today if you’re in the mood for something unique while visiting California’s Santa Monica Mountains.

Bring a Date to Inn of the Seventh Ray

In Topanga, making the most of your time is a brilliant idea, but sometimes you want to relax.

Consider the Inn of the Seventh Ray if this is your situation.

This refuge is one of Los Angeles’ most romantic restaurants, with a terraced garden and even a brook.

Whether you’re single or not, you may enjoy the sycamore and oak trees, shimmering lights, and exquisite buddha sculptures at this tranquil refuge.

This place is perfect for weddings, baby showers, or just a quick brunch with friends and family.

Vegan options are available at the Inn, including an oatmeal cookie parfait, while other products are locally and sustainably sourced.

Travelers can unwind here after a day of visiting the city, but it’s also a terrific place to stop on the road.

Marvel at the Great Wall of Topanga

You should take your time and appreciate the odd sight of the Great Wall of Topanga in Topanga.

The project involved building a 48-foot retaining wall on the east side of the road between two branches of Hillside Drive.

It’s immediately across the street from the well-known Froggy’s Topanga Fish Market.

Rick Denman created it as a form of anti-art.

His property allegedly included a vandalized concrete retaining wall that supported a balcony.

Around this time, the enigmatic graffiti artist Banksy began painting the Pacific Coast Highway.

He was in town to promote his movie Exit Through The Gift Shop.

Therefore, Denman’s friends and neighbors concluded that Banksy was responsible for the spray-painted artwork.

Join Local Events at Topanga Days

It’s that time again!

The LA Topanga Festival is back.

This three-day music and wildlife festival in Topanga takes place every Memorial Day weekend in the Los Angeles area.

This festival draws people from all over California to experience a procession of singing and dancing in Topanga.

The festival attracts people from all around California and the rest of the country.

People have celebrated this event for decades since the food, entertainment, and sunset-watching places are great.

Final Thoughts

Topanga is a place of beauty and adventure, just waiting to be explored.

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick hike or an all-day adventure, you’ll find a million ways to make this canyon your own.

From the breathtaking views to its incredible history, there’s always something for someone looking for a getaway.

Book your Topanga trip today!

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