Ojai, California Weekend Itinerary

3 Days in Ojai: The Perfect Weekend Itinerary

Who should visit Ojai? For starters, this scenic getaway is a true paradise for artists. Everywhere you go, you’ll find unique works of art. There’s a certain spirit in Ojai that will make any artist feel a kinship with Ojai’s residents. 

But it’s also a perfect escape for any foodie. If you adore eating the freshest foods around, you’ll delight in finding that so many of the restaurants in Ojai build their recipes around locally-grown ingredients. Some of the restaurants even grow the ingredients themselves. 

Maybe you’re an outdoor adventurer. Then, you’ll love Ojai for its towering mountains and lush greenery, with plenty of outdoor spots to explore. If being one with nature is your idea of a perfect vacation, you’ll feel right at home in Ojai. 

There isn’t a bad time of year to visit Ojai, thanks to its comfortable temperatures throughout the year, but the summers can be a bit hot. The summer months are also when most visitors come to Ojai, so you’ll find going outside of June, July, and August may help you save on accommodations and avoid the crowds.

However, there are some benefits to coming in the summer months, namely the festivals. In June, you can experience the Ojai Music Festival, which is a unique celebration of sound that focuses on storytelling through music. Also in June is the Ojai Wine Festival, where you’ll sip your way around the region’s wines, courtesy of over 30 award-winning wineries.

Planning a 3-day weekend in Ojai? We’ve put together an Ojai itinerary that’ll help you see the best of the city, from where to eat to what to do. Stick to this schedule, and you’re bound to have an amazing time in this scenic city.

One quick note before we dive in: This 3-day Ojai itinerary assumes your first day is a Friday and your last day is a Sunday. There are time-sensitive items on this list, as Friend’s Ranch is only open for customers on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the Ojai Certified Farmers Market only runs on Sundays.

If you’re still deciding where to stay then make sure to check out our article on the best boutique hotels in Ojai!

How to Spend a Weekend in Ojai, California

Getting Around Ojai

Getting Around Ojai, California: Weekend Itinerary

To kick off your weekend in Ojai, you have a few options for airports to fly into. The closest airport is Santa Barbara Airport, which is about an hour’s drive away. However, this airport is regional and primarily serves the West Coast. The farthest east that Santa Barbara Airport flies is Dallas. If you intend to fly into this airport from anywhere beyond Dallas, you should expect that you’ll need a layover.

If you want to avoid a layover, you can fly into Los Angeles International Airport. However, flying here places you a little under two and a half hours away from Ojai. 

No matter which airport you fly into, you’ll need to book a taxi or shuttle to get from the airport to Ojai. If you fly into Santa Barbara Airport, there are several private shuttle companies that can help you get to your destination. 

If you fly into Los Angeles International Airport, you can also book a taxi or private shuttle, or you can take the shared Ventura County Airporter Shuttle. You’ll be taken to Ventura, where you can hop on the Gold Coast Transit to take you to Ojai.

You can also avoid the hassle of taxis and shuttles by booking a rental car. Although Ojai is a highly walkable town and also has the Ojai Trolley to help you get around, this Ojai itinerary is pretty active and will have you on your feet quite a bit. You may appreciate having a car to help you get around so you’re not walking more than you need to. 

Having a rental car will be even more of a help if you intend to go beyond this 3-day Ojai itinerary. If you’d like to see some of the beautiful outdoor destinations around Ojai, like Lake Casitas, you’ll need a car to get there.


Ojai Weekend Itinerary – Day 1

The Dutchess

3 Days in Ojai Itinerary: The Dutchess

The first day of your 3-day weekend in Ojai kicks off with a one-of-a-kind breakfast. At The Dutchess, you’ll end up wanting to try a little bit of everything, which is a good thing because you’re going to need lots of fuel to kick-start your Ojai adventure. This unique restaurant is a fusion of Burmese and Californian cuisine, which you’ll dine on surrounded by color and light. 

Beyond their breakfast offerings, which range from traditional options like frittatas to less conventional choices for breakfast, like a Burmese fried chicken sandwich, this restaurant is also known for its coffee and pastries. Definitely order up a few pastries alongside your breakfast.

Friend’s Ranch

Ojai 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Friend’s Ranch

For your first adventure during your 3 days in Ojai, head to the beloved Friend’s Ranch. This Ojai institution has been planting citrus here since the late 1800s. The Friend family continues to run the ranch and offers oranges, lemons, tangerines, fresh-squeezed juices, and much more at their packinghouse twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays in the morning. 

But the biggest highlight at this ranch is the famous Ojai Pixie tangerine. This sweet, seedless fruit is a local favorite, but visitors from all over flock here to pick one up when they’re in season. If you’re visiting in mid-to-late spring, don’t forget to try a Pixie!

Los Padres National Forest 

3 Days in Ojai Weekend Itinerary: Los Padres National Forest

From there, head over to Los Padres National Forest to go hiking in a beautiful location. This forest spans over 1.75 million acres and runs between Ventura and Monterey. While you definitely can’t explore all of the Los Padres National Forest in a weekend, as it contains nearly 200 trails, there’s still plenty to see in the forest around the Ojai area. 

There are plenty of waterfall hikes, like the Rose Valley Falls Trail, as well as trails that lead to places to get in the water yourself, like the famous but very challenging Santa Paula Canyon and Punch Bowls Trail, which is not recommended for beginners. 

One thing to keep in mind is that 2023 was a difficult year for much of California’s wilderness, and Los Padres National Forest was not spared. Although many of the forest’s trails have since reopened, some were greatly damaged during the winter storms and require further refurbishment. Before your trip, check the USDA Forest Service page to see what’s open.

By now, you’ve likely worked up an appetite, so let’s head downtown for some lunch. Over at The Nest, you’ll find a quintessentially Ojai experience. Every dish is filled with fresh ingredients, making for bright and colorful bites that are just bursting with flavor. 

From stacked sandwiches overflowing with ingredients to healthy salads and bowls, there’s something for everyone here. But the pizza is really what can’t be missed, especially the Figgy Piggy Pizza with figs, gorgonzola, parmesan, and bacon. Definitely order up a side of Mike’s Hot Honey for dipping.

If your little ones are less adventurous, there’s a solid kids’ menu here as well. There are also quite a few gluten-free or vegan dishes throughout the adults’ menu. 

Casa Barranca

Weekend in Ojai 3 Days Itinerary: Casa Barranca

For the next stop for your weekend in Ojai, you don’t have to go too far. Casa Barranca is just a short walk away, and it offers one of the best wine-tasting experiences in Ojai. In this quaint and cozy tasting room, you’ll sip on wines that are only natural, pure, and organic. From rosé to merlot, you’ll taste incredible wines that are only available here.

Ojai Rotie

Weekend in Ojai: Ojai Rotie

When you’re ready for a full meal again, head to dinner at Ojai Rotie. Dining here requires just another short walk through downtown. Be sure to stop in at some of the shops along this walk, where you’ll find tons of locally-made artisan goods. 

Once you reach Ojai Rotie, take a seat on the illuminated patio and order up one of their incredible rotisserie chicken plates. Don’t skimp on the sides, of which there are tons to choose from, or miss out on their sourdough bread.


Ojai Weekend Itinerary – Day 2

For the next day of your trip to Ojai, you’re sure to please any chef. Today, you’ll find fresh ingredients across a number of locations that you’re going to want to take home with you to try to replicate some of the incredible flavors you’ll taste in Ojai. Ojai is an agricultural haven, so you’ll find that fresh, local produce and other ingredients are a staple throughout the town. 

Bonnie Lu’s Country Cafe

3 Days in Ojai Itinerary: Bonnie Lu’s Country Cafe

To start the second day of your weekend in Ojai, we’re grabbing breakfast at a classic Ojai breakfast joint, Bonnie Lu’s Country Cafe. This downtown spot serves up home-cooked American comfort food all day. 

It’s got a classic diner vibe, with the dishes to match. From biscuits and gravy to blueberry pancakes, plus a massive menu of sides, every dish here will leave you full and fueled for your day in Ojai. 

From there, it’s time to get back to nature. Your next stop is the Ojai Meadows Preserve, the sight of a highly successful restoration project that brought nature back to an area that had once been left to suffer under the weight of fill dirt from construction. And with the unhelpful planting of non-native flora, the native habitat struggled to survive. 

After years of suffering, a proposition arose for the land to be destroyed altogether in favor of a shopping complex and parking lots. But the Ojai people rose up and worked together to restore the land to what it once was, returning the wetland to its former glory. The restoration project went even further to add the Ojai Saddle Trails, inviting residents and guests to take a relaxing, scenic stroll through the grounds.

Enjoy the beauty of the lush wetlands and keep your eyes peeled for the many animals that call it home. If you’re a birdwatcher, it would be difficult to find a better place to look than the Ojai Meadows Preserve. Depending on when you visit, you may also be able to take a guided tour with the conservation group responsible for the wetland’s restoration.

Farmer and the Cook

Ojai 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Farmer and the Cook

Next up is lunch at an Ojai favorite, Farmer and the Cook. This location offers a little bit of everything. Chow down on the vegetarian- and vegan-friendly offerings at their Mexican-Californian cafe, featuring inventive treats like goat cheese and veggie tacos or cauliflower burritos. 

Meals are veggie-centric, with ingredients freshly grown on their farm. You can even pick up your own fresh vegetables on-site. Also on-site are a bakery and espresso bar, which goes far beyond a traditional coffee shop. From the turmeric-infused Golden Poppy Latte to the Lavender Haze Latte to the cinnamony Horchata Latte, grabbing a drink here is sure to please every palate. 

Ojai Olive Oil 

3 Days in Ojai Weekend Itinerary: Ojai Olive Oil

Next up is another Ojai institution, Ojai Olive Oil. Last night, you tried wine tasting. Today, it’s time for olive oil tasting. It may sound a little strange, but every chef knows how important good olive oil is. And at Ojai Olive Oil, you’ll find truly inventive flavors that enhance any dish.

This award-winning, family-owned, and family-friendly farm offers tastings every day of the week, where you can sample all the unique olive oils available. From their famous traditional extra virgin olive oil to distinct flavors like their Ojai Pixie olive oil, you’ll sip your way around and discover ways to use olive oil in your dishes you’ve never thought of before. Plus, the grounds are quite lovely, and it’s a relaxing place to spend an afternoon.

Meditation Mount

Weekend in Ojai 3 Days Itinerary: Meditation Mount

What you do next depends on the time of day. If it’s winter and the sun is going to set soon, head straight over to Meditation Mount, a non-profit meditation center that offers visitation hours throughout the week, including on Saturday nights, as long as you reserve your spot in advance. 

Meditation Mount is a truly tranquil place that will make you feel connected to the Earth and your fellow humans. During visitation hours, you can take a meditative walk around the scenic grounds, taking in the views of the mountains and lush greenery. 

The view is the main reason why you should come in the evenings. Meditation Mount is one of the best places to see Ojai’s famous “pink moment.” As sunset arrives, the sun casts a distinctive pink and purple glow along the Topatopa Mountains. Though the moment is fleeting, it’s a memory that’ll last forever. 

If you’re going in the summer, you may find that you still have a good deal of time before sunset, so grab dinner before going to Meditation Mount rather than after. Head to Pinyon Ojai, one of the best places in Ojai to split a pie with your fellow travelers. 

Featuring wood-fired pizzas made from locally-sourced ingredients, this restaurant has innovative recipes for slices absolutely overflowing with cheese, vegetables, and other add-ons. Grab yourself a glass of natural wine to go with it all!


Ojai Weekend Itinerary – Day 3

The Oak

Weekend in Ojai: The Oak

For the last day of your 3-day weekend in Ojai, start out with breakfast at The Oak. If you’re staying in the Ojai Valley Inn, you don’t have to go far because the restaurant is right on-site. If you’re dining on a Sunday, you’ll also enjoy bluegrass music alongside the scenic views from this upscale restaurant. 

The Oak features a range of both traditional and not-so-traditional options for breakfast, including a variety of healthy options like the quinoa breakfast bowl with sunny-side-up eggs or the egg white frittata with rotisserie chicken. Like much of the food in Ojai, the menu relies strongly on locally-sourced ingredients, with fresh produce playing a starring role.

Book a Room at Ojai Valley Inn

Ojai Certified Farmers Market

3 Days in Ojai Itinerary: Ojai Certified Farmers Market

Next up is the Ojai Certified Farmers Market, running every Sunday morning. Because Ojai is such a prime location for growing fresh foods, you’ll find tons of options at this market. From locally-grown produce, like the famous Ojai Pixies, to unique offerings designed with locally-grown ingredients, like pistachio butter, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. 

Plus, it’s not just food that’s available. Pick up locally-made wares, like goat milk soap or handmade wreaths. As a bonus, there are typically a number of prepared food offerings as well. For lunch, dine your way around the market and order a variety of dishes to share with your fellow travelers. 

Firestick Pottery Studio

Ojai 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Firestick Pottery Studio

For your next stop, you’ll need to reserve your space in advance. Depending on the times Firestick Pottery Studio has available for one-time workshops, you may need to adjust your Ojai itinerary. But you’re definitely going to want to make time for this fun attraction.

Featuring 17 pottery wheels, a hand-building room, an outdoor picnic area, an outdoor glaze room, and a spray booth, Firestick Pottery Studio will feel like home to any artist or aspiring artist. The studio offers tours of the facilities, plus both one-time workshops and recurring classes. During your workshop, you’ll learn to “throw” on the wheel and make up to five pieces. 

Whatever you make will not be completed on the same day. Even if you did this activity on Friday, the pieces would not be done by Sunday. However, you do have the option of coming back to pick up your work within three months or having the studio mail them to you.

Bart’s Books 

3 Days in Ojai Weekend Itinerary: Bart's Books

After your class, head over to one last Ojai institution: Bart’s Books. As the world’s largest outdoor bookstore, a weekend in Ojai would not be complete for any book lovers without a stop here. Offering over 130,000 new and used books, it’s easy to get lost in the stacks here. As a warning, if you do bring a book lover here, they’ll likely never want to leave!

Rory’s Place

Weekend in Ojai 3 Days Itinerary: Rory's Place

End your 3-day weekend in Ojai with a meal at Rory’s Place, just a short stroll away from Bart’s Books. In addition to a drinks menu that takes classics and twists them on their heads, you’ll also find a menu filled with everything from seafood to steak to chicken, all packed with flavorful punches.


More Places to Eat & Drink in Ojai

Brunch at Cafe Nouveau:
Although it requires a short trek over to Ventura, you absolutely should not miss this place for brunch. Take a seat on the patio, where lush greenery surrounds you and makes every table feel secluded and private. Order up the maple bacon beignets for a starter. And while everything on the menu is delicious, the Eggs Benevilla, a version of eggs benedict served on a crispy cheese and jalapeño tamale, was one of the best things I’ve ever had!

Sip around Topa Topa Brewing Company:
This beloved brewery is one of the best around Ojai, and it has a tasting room right in the downtown area. Be sure to order up a ton of tasters because this brand always has limited specialty releases that you need to try.

Share slices at Boccali’s Pizza & Pasta:
This family-owned restaurant is serving up traditional Italian dishes made with ingredients grown on their own farm. Don’t miss the wine list, with wines made by the Boccali family as well.

Bonus – Try the award-winning kombucha at Revel:
Although there isn’t much to eat here except acai bowls, which are indeed delicious, the reason this location is worth a visit is because of its kombucha taproom. Bursting with prebiotics and probiotics, this booch is as delicious as it is gut-healthy. Don’t miss their famous Pink Moment Kombucha, made with hibiscus, ginger, and orange zest.


What to do if you have more than 3 days in Ojai

Downtown Ojai

3 Days in Ojai Itinerary: Magic Hour

Shop around downtown. If you didn’t get the chance to do some shopping in Ojai’s quaint downtown area, you should definitely take some time to do so if you have more than 3 days in Ojai. Some highlights include a honey tasting at Heavenly Honey and the incredible teas at Magic Hour.

Lake Casitas

Ojai 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Lake Casitas

Kayak Lake Casitas. A few miles from Ojai is a crystal clear blue lake surrounded by the Santa Ynez Mountains. Although you can’t swim, you can rent a boat to get out on the water. If you’re visiting in the summer months, you can also enjoy the Casitas Water Adventure water park, which is a perfect place to take little ones.

Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts

Explore the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts. Named for a patron of the arts who played a formative role in making Ojai into the art haven it is today, this museum hosts a collection of Wood’s work and her personal folk art collection and library. It’s a place where all art is celebrated, so you may end up stopping by during a number of types of performances, from live theater to musical acts. You may also attend a workshop to learn how to do many different forms of art yourself.

Ventura River Valley Preserve

3 Days in Ojai Weekend Itinerary: Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company

Take a sunset trail ride. The Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company offers trail rides through the scenic Ventura River Valley Preserve, both during the day and at sunset. If you’ve ever wanted to see the pink moment on horseback, this one-hour guided tour is the best way to do it!

Ecotopia Hot Springs

Soak in the Ecotopia Hot Springs. In the Los Padres National Forest along the Matilija River, you’ll find five rock-bottomed hot spring pools surrounded by stunning mountains. It’s a perfect place to relax your troubles away, but keep in mind that they’re by reservation only and require a bit of a hike to get to them. Like other areas of the Los Padres National Forest, these hot springs and the trails leading up to them were damaged by the 2023 winter storms, so keep an eye out to see when they’re up for reopening.

We hope you enjoy your weekend trip to Ojai! Should we add something else to our 3-day Ojai itinerary? Let us know in the comments.


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Author

  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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