One Day (and Gluten and Dairy-Free) in Ojai, CA Guide

We decided to spend a recent weekend getaway in Ojai, CA. I only heard rave reviews about this mountain-side “small town” saddled between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and wanted to check it out for myself. I imagined a true small town, far inland, and away from it all. Like one of those Hallmark channel Christmas movie settings (is anyone else obsessed with them? I’m going to imagine you just said, yes.). What I got was a small, quaint town but at just 15-20 minutes inland from Ventura, many people stay here to surf down at the coast. Surrounded by mountains and ranches, and filled with things to do and see, especially during our weekend stay, Ojai definitely is a unique and cute place to visit. Here are a few of our favorites, to create your own ideal itinerary…

COFFEE/TEA

Beacon Coffee Company

This is a very hip coffee shop that has everything you need for a morning pick-me-up or afternoon delight. Whether it be caffeine, nut milk, kombucha, tea, a gluten-free mochi dessert... they’ve got you covered. Unfortunately, cross-contamination can easily happen as everything sits in the open air. I recommend sticking to just drinks, unless you’re carrying a Nima with you.

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BREAKFAST

Farmer and the Cook

A farmer-owned restaurant and market, slinging both organic farmed goods and raw and/or cooked Mexican fare. It is also opened for lunch and dinner.

Marche Gourmet Delicatessen

Cute little French cafe, like you just stepped into Paris. I was able to get a delicious vegan pea soup, and my partner, a classic bagel and lox. It’s also open for lunch.

LUNCH

Food Harmonics

Would I return back to Ojai just for this place? Yes. A thousand times yes. Their housemade dosas (Indian crepes) are out of this world, as are their brownies. Did I mention they are the only 100% gluten-free cafe in town?? Also open for dinner.

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Rainbow Bridge Natural Foods Deli

The deli in this market has a large selection of gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options to choose from, both in their hot case, and made-to-order menu.

Ojai Harvest

A bohemian bar and restaurant, offering farm-to-table organic fare, including gluten-free options. They are also open for dinner.

DINNER

Azu Restaurant and Tapas Bar

Great place to share small plates with friends and loved ones. Quaint interior with lots of gluten-free options and are also open during lunch.

Osteria Monte Grappa

Italian food du jour with many gluten-free pastas and other dishes to choose from. Fine and delicious dining, also open during lunch.

Drinks

Chief’s Peak at the Ojai Ranch Inn Wine and Beer Bar

The hippest little Inn in town (this is where we stayed for the weekend), has the hippest wine and beer bar. Makes sense. Records and drinks, all poolside.

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Deer Lodge Restaurant Bar

Farm-to-table dining, and music, as well as events. Great place for a night out on the town.

THINGS TO DO

Ecotopia

Favorite part about Ojai! This place is amazing, especially since it is an energy vortex. It’s also a community farm, with geothermal pools onsite that parallel a freshwater river. Perfect place to start or end your day. You must reserve in advance, and visits occur in two-hour increments, allowing for intimate time spent on the property. P.S. Nudity is allowed, so wear your suit, bathing or birthday!

Pedal your way through the Ojai Valley Bike Trail

Best way to get into town, or around Ojai Valley. It is a dedicated bike trail so no worries about car traffic. You can bring or a rent a bike. Some of the inns/rentals/hotels have rentals available.

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Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts

This center is about 20 minutes away from the city center, and is a museum for Beatrice Wood’s art, as well as presents performances, exhibitions, workshops and classes.

Mob Shop Bike Shop and Tours

Is there a better way to get to know a city than via bicycle tour? Didn’t think so. They also sell and rent out bikes.

Topa Mountain Winery

Located in town, a beautiful spot to both wine taste and chow.

Arrow Heart Yoga

Need a vacation from your vacation, or just a good stretch? This is the place for you.

Plant As Compass

Could you use a massage? Then Amber Lee from Plant As Compass has your back (literally). She offers hands-on healing, including Acupressure, Integrated Energy Therapy, Esalen Massage and Deep Bodywork.

Ashley Berry

Ashley offers healing sessions (breathwork, reiki, AromaTouch) and intuitive card readings. Your Ojai experience wouldn’t be complete without her.

The Vibrant Kitchen and Home

Michelle Gerard, author of Bruised Fruit, hosts private cooking and writing workshops. Perfect for a delicious getaway!

Ojai Day

We were so lucky to coincidentally be in Ojai the exact same weekend as the famous Ojai days, only held one Saturday a year in Ojai. This where local artisans get to show off and sell their goods. It was fun to stroll down the main street (temporarily closed to cars) and window shop all the stalls. P.S. There is free bike valet available!

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Meditation Mount

We were excited to visit, and perhaps even meditate in this serene spot, but unfortunately it’s been closed since the fires. Hopefully it will re-open soon.

SHOPPING

Bart’s Books

This is one of the best used book stores I’ve ever visited. It’s huge, and aesthetically beautiful. It’s half outdoor, half indoor. And it has anything you are likely looking (and not looking for). We sure walked away with a huge haul.

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Ojai Olive Oil Company

Award winning olive oil company that offers free tours of their olive groves, olive oil mill and tasting room three days a week. Tastings and shopping is open to the public seven days a week. You can also find them at the weekly Farmer’s Market.

Cattywampus Crafts

Adorable store, selling everything you need to craft it up. They also sell beautiful clothing, gifts and jewelry, many made by local designers. They also host various workshops. I could spend all day in here. Did I mention it’s attached to Beacon Coffee?

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In the Field Boutique

One of my favorite boutiques outside of LA. Both my partner and I were very happy here, especially in the back-side clearance section. They sell men’s, women’s, and children’s fashion, accessories and home decor.

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Summer Camp Boutique

Cute little boutique, offering custom framing, vintage, home and lifestyle goods. Don’t have time to stop by. Don’t worry, they have an adorable website you can shop from!

Rainbow Bridge Natural Foods

Great organic supermarket, store and deli (mentioned above), with all of the gluten-free options you could ever imagine. If we had our own kitchen, this is definitely where we’d shop.

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Ojai Farmers Market

If you are in town on a Sunday, then you definitely have to stop by the Ojai Farmers Market. It’s located right across the street from Rainbow Bridge, and nothing is better than fresh, organic offerings.

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FIG Curated Living

Local, handmade, fair trade home and garden goods. It’s just the cutest little store.

deKor&Co.

This store is very nordic in its design and offerings. They sell everything from candles to furniture. Plus, they are also a design firm.

Found 203 Studio

Cute store selling plants and succulents. The owners were so kind, and I look forward to returning back for my next plant fix.

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Love Heals Jewelry

Handmade jewelry with a purpose. Each purchase made there plants 10 trees.


I think this list has you covered! Enjoy this small town, and its valley of the moon!

As always, Buen Camino!





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