Looking for a magical, small-town experience within easy driving distance from Los Angeles? Then come to Ojai (pronounced Oh-hi). The city’s name derives from a Chumash Indian word that means “the nest,” and that’s exactly what it is—a cozy, nurturing enclave just north of Ventura and east of Santa Barbara. The area was immortalized as the mythical Shangri-La in the film Lost Horizon, which was filmed in Ojai in 1937. And it does seem to be a nearly perfect place. Situated in an east–west valley, it’s a naturalist’s paradise—tons of hiking, biking, rock climbing, and famed “pink moment” sunsets over the Topa Topa mountain range. It’s also home to world-class spas and a charming downtown with interesting restaurants, art, shops, and people. The only thing Ojai doesn’t have is a “scene.” It’s the kind of place where actors, writers, and superagents routinely hang but are always ignored. Here are a few places you shouldn’t miss.
Weekend Getaway: Ojai, Calif.