Only 80 miles north of Los Angeles lies a picturesque, off-the-beaten-path little town called Ojai. Nestled in between the magical Topa Topa mountains, Ojai has hiking trails, quaint shops, cozy food spots (and lots of crystals, if you’re into that!). It’s also one of the most dog friendly destinations in America.
There are ranches here, olive groves, wineries and farms (taste the amazing fruits of labor at the Farmer’s Market every Sunday 9am-1pm).
By the way, have you heard of an energy vortex? An energy vortex is a specific location on Earth containing more energy than any normal place and there are only a handful of these special spots in the world — including Ojai! Because of this, Ojai has a peaceful, spiritual air that draws people from all over. Be prepared to replenish and experience your own personal wellness retreat — even if it’s just for the day.
Another fun fact: “Ojain” means “the nest” or valley of the moon (in Chumash) and it is one of the few cities in California with an Indian name.
Since Ojai is only an hour and a half from Los Angeles, Angelenos come to escape the city’s bustle and enjoy the hiking trails and the Pink Moment — when the sun sets, it casts a beautiful pinkish hue on the surrounding mountains.
Now here’s what you can do in Ojai with your dog…
Ojai Avenue Shops. Take a relaxing stroll down the main road (downtown Ojai is pretty much just one main street less than a quarter of a mile) and check out the mom-and-pop shops. Ojai embraces its local businesses, so you’ll find unique art, homeware + clothing stores with plenty of charm + love. The town has kept its original Mission-style architecture and its sense of community evokes a simpler time.
Libbey Park. After exploring the shops, stop by this park in the center of town if your pup needs more exercise. There’s a small playground, tennis courts and plenty of shade. Tip: grab a couple tacos across the street from Ojai Tortilla House (104 N Signal St) and have a mini picnic at the park! 210 S Signal St.
Bart’s Books: This unique outdoor book store, founded in 1964, is truly a gem in Ojai. Rows and rows of used books in every category, sit “inside” with a book in hand next to a palm tree. Note: sadly, they don’t allow dogs inside anymore, but you can still peruse the books on the shelves lining the outside of the store. 302 W Matilija St.
Shelf Rd Trail: Take Signal St all the way up to the end. A gentle walk on mostly flat grounds with a stunning view of Ojai with the scent of blossoming orange trees following you — so dreamy, right? To and from, it should take 1.5 hours to complete.
Tipple & Ramble. After the hike, relax and have a glass of wine at the charming outdoor patio of this adorable part picnic shop, part wine bar and browse the curated housewares. (Open Wed-Sun) 315 N Montgomery St.
Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room. Ready for more wine? Stop by this dog-friendly tasting room and try up to 21 different quality wines. Wine flights are $18 or try the aged + reserve tasting for $28. I always bring home a few bottles! 109 S Montgomery St.
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. A trip to Ojai isn’t complete without a stop at Ojai Valley Inn! Stretching over 220 acres, this is a dog (and dog-parents) dream. Rolling green hills with plenty of space to explore for a few hours, wine glass in hand. The Oak is one of the main restaurants here with dog-friendly tables. The Parker rolls are complimentary — stay for the rolls. They are divine: the fluffiest buttered bread rolls topped with flakey sea salt, baked fresh daily. Grab an ice cream at Libbey’s Market and lay out a blanket (you can ask them for one) on the grass. Be sure to stay for the Pink Moment at sunset!
Take a relaxing stroll down Ojai Avenue and check out the mom-and-pop shops. Ojai embraces its local businesses, so you’ll find unique art, homeware + clothing stores with plenty of charm + love (and on top of that, support small businesses!). The town has kept its original Mission-style architecture and its sense of community evokes a simpler time.
Fig Curated Living. The most enchanting shop for home + garden, specializing in handmade, local and fair trade goods. A quirky, plant-filled alleyway welcomes you in to unique gifts, pottery + more. 327 E Ojai Ave.
Summer Camp. Converted from an old gas station, fill your basket up with artisanal goods, home decor, vintage finds, candles, crystals and locally-made Ojai souvenirs. They even offer custom framing services. 1020 W Ojai Ave.
deKor. Named one of the best design shops (owned by an interior designer, of course) by LA Times, stop by if you’re looking for some new home + wardrobe additions. Beautiful selection of high-end furniture, rugs, lifestyle apparel and clean, luxe beauty products. 105 S Montgomery St.
Over the years, more and more charming, delicious restaurants + bars in Ojai have popped up! Because of the beautiful, fresh local produce, an appetite for healthy fare and more chefs moving up to Ojai, you’ll find a great range of food options up here.
Side note: there’s a ban on corporate chains, so local favorites only! 🙂
Ojai Rotie. My new favorite spot for juicy Lebanese-style rotisserie chicken + side dishes (the skinny cucumbers + potatoes!) and plenty of outdoor seating. Oh, definitely order a fresh organic sourdough loaf to-go! 469 E Ojai Ave.
Farmer & The Cook. He’s the farmer, she’s the cook! Organic Mexican vegetarian fare made fresh. They also serve vegetarian burgers, pizzas + sandwiches (but the Mexican dishes are the stars here). 339 W El Roblar Dr.
Rory’s Place. Lively spot with fresh Californian cuisine and really fun ambience for dinner. One of my fave dog-friendly restaurants in Ojai. 139 E Ojai Ave.
Osteria Monte Grappa. Authentic homemade Italian pastas with an outdoor patio in the back! 242 E Ojai Ave.
The Nest. A popular spot with a large outdoor patio and options for everybody, like fried chicken sandwich, vegan cauliflower tacos, fish tacos, pizza + more. 401 E Ojai Ave.
[ Saint Rue Le Classic Dog Harness $55]
The Duchess. An adorable spot for breakfast, coffee + yummy pastries. They also serve Burmese-Californian lunch and dinner. PS: there are a few outdoor tables in front and a back patio. 457 E Ojai Ave.
Topa Topa Brewery. Grab a fresh craft beer and some delish eats like tater tots, wagyu cheeseburger and the pickle plate! 345 E Ojai Ave.
Ojai Valley Brewery. They call themselves a Native Ingredient Brewery & Tap Room with Indigenous botanicals and new world beer. How very Ojai! 🙂 Huge outdoor patio (it feels like a dog park!) with fire pits, corn hole, pool table + other games. 307 Bryant Street.
Jimmy’s Pub. Located in the Ojai Valley Inn, get an outdoor table facing the golf course and mountains and enjoy the view. Homemade seasoned potato chips are complimentary and addicting. 905 Country Club Rd.
Agave Maria’s. Craving enchiladas, tacos and rice + beans? Delicious Mexican plates, endless chips and huge margaritas! 106 S Montgomery St.
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. You can’t go to Ojai without a visit/stay at the Inn & Spa! View my in-depth review of this acclaimed and iconic resort here. $150 per pet, per stay. Tip: take your pup to the Herb Garden to frolic and play a game of horseshoes. Rooms start at $550.
Capri Hotel. Newly remodeled, this midcentury-modern hotel is centrally located and even has a pool! The pet-friendly rooms include a large patio. Two dogs up to 50 lbs for an additional fee of $35 per pet, per stay. Rooms start at $200.
Hop on the adorable Ojai Trolley Service to get around even more easily! Only $1.50 or $4 for a day pass.
And if your pooch is needing a bath after all the hiking and adventure, drop him off with the nice folks at Ultimutt Pet Spa. 323 E Matilija St. (805) 646-7048. Pick up dog food, treats + toys just a few steps down at Dharma & Dog. 215 E Matilija St.