Best bars in California

It’s no secret that Californians knows how to fuel a good time, from craft brews to frozen boozy concoctions that are surprisingly potent. Here are the top watering holes to grab a drink throughout the state, whether you prefer a pirate-themed bar where rum is king or a spot dedicated to the 70’s where after a few drinks you will think you time traveled back a few decades.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

1. Good Times at Davey Wayne’s (Los Angeles)

 Good Times at Davey Wayne’sLos Angeles, United States70’s themed bar with boozy snow cones and disco music.

Step through an oversized refrigerator at Good Times and dance the night away to 70’s music, fueled by alcoholic snow cones and delicious secret-family-recipe BBQ. Drinks are strong, with names like “The Fat Elvis,” and the “Village People.” The dress code is California casual, but no athletic wear or shorts after dark.

2. Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco)

 Smuggler’s CoveSan Francisco, United StatesPirate themed bar with strong mixed drinks.

For those who like their drinks fruity and strong, this pirate-themed bar is one-of-a-kind. You are transported into a lawless place, where dimly lit lanterns light your way. Rum is the poison of choice here. Check out one of the specialty drinks, like their classic Mai Tai. If you are with a group, the Top Notch Volcano is an adventure in itself for those who are daring enough.

3. Gestalt Haus Fairfax

 GESTALT HAUSFairfax, United StatesBiker bar with German brews and brats.

Gestalt Haus is the perfect spot to refuel after a bike ride on one of the nearby trails. The clientele is mostly clad in body-tight spandex and proudly hang their rides on the full-wall biker’s rack inside. There are delicious wursts to choose from, flavorful sides like potato salad and a collection of German (as well as local) brews on tap.

4. Shotwell’s (San Francisco)

From the mysterious bullet holes in the bar panels to the original back bar that survived a train trip from coast to coast, this century-old dive bar is one of the city’s treasured haunts. The drink menu is limited to wine, beer and ciders. You can bring your favorite food from a nearby restaurant to nibble on – and your four-legged friend.

5. Angel City Brewery (Los Angeles)

 Angel City BreweryLos Angeles, United StatesLocal brewery with games, food trucks and beautiful murals.

One of the best places to find California’s craft beers is ACB in the heart of downtown LA’s Arts District. Grab the “Marilyn Blond” and take a seat at one of their upstairs picnic tables. There is always a food truck downstairs. Board games to live music at night make this brewery a must-stop. Stop by the angel wings mural on the wall outside for a perfect Insta shot.

6. The Trappist (Oakland)

This well-loved neighborhood spot, specializing in Belgian and other specialty beers, is housed in an 1870’s Victorian building. The interior pays homage to Belgian pubs with plenty of beer décor adorning the walls. 25 rotating taps are available. Leave room for food, as they offer delicious sandwiches and cheese boards.

7. Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens (San Diego)

 Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty StationSan Diego, United StatesSpacious spot to grab a cold brew and good food.

This craft brewery, housed in the historic Liberty Station, is the tenth largest craft brewer in the U.S. There are a beer garden, a large indoor dining area and the brewery itself (tours are recommended). The beer is the star here (including a delicious gluten-free option), but the food holds its own, with options like duck tacos and shrimp and grits. You can get a variety of their beers in growlers to go in their shop.

8. The Shady Lady Saloon (Sacramento)

The Shady Lady features a New Orleans-like dark interior and live jazz. Come for the drinks like the Horse’s Neck or Gin Daisy, but do not overlook crowd favorites like biscuits and gravy and shrimp po boys. Brunch is served on the weekends, with items like buttermilk pancakes and duck sausage breakfast scramble.

9. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar (Anaheim)

Trader Sam’s is in the Disneyland Hotel. From the tropical island décor to the surprisingly strong blended drinks, it feels like you have been transported to the South Pacific. The Mai Tai is a popular choice with a blend of rums, sweet orange, agave and lime flavors, or their OH-HA! that comes with its own souvenir tiki bowl.

10. Brew Cruz (Santa Cruz)

Let local beer enthusiast Annie Pautsch show you the way around town in Betty Jane, a renovated 1989 school bus. You’ll travel with plush seating, installed sound system, hardwood floors and plenty of coolers where you can stash your own store-bought beers in. Get ready for a memorable night out.

11. Drake’s Dealership (Oakland)

 Drake’s DealershipOakland, United StatesSpacious outdoor space with delicious food and craft brews.

Situated in a former car sales lot in part of Oakland’s Auto Row, Drake’s is a great place to catch some rays in their garden, as you sip on a cold brew. Go for their Electric Owl (coffee ale) or their Pomegranate Cider or any of their excellent drinks. All ages are welcome, as well as Fido.

Free activities in California

is not cheap, but that does not mean you need to spend your money to ensure that you will have a good time. Here is a round up of our favorite things to do in California that let you explore the wonders of the Golden State without spending a cent.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

1. Drive up the PCH

 Manhattan Beach PierManhattan Beach, United StatesLooking down Manhattan Beach in LA with my drone. Great place to just relax and enjoy the ocean views!

The Pacific Coastal Highway is most likely the most iconic road in California. PCH hugs the coastline and has stunning views of the Pacific Ocean at every turn. Jump in your vehicle – convertible preferred – in Malibu and zip along the highway with the dazzling sea on one side and million-dollar homes nestled into the rugged mountains on the other. Head towards Los Angeles. You’ll go through Redondo Beach, Hermosa and Manhattan Beach, all worthy stops in their own right. Take time to admire the spectacular views of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, then finish up the last highway stretch to San Pedro.

2. Watch TV live (Los Angeles)

From The Ellen DeGeneres Show to Jimmy Kimmel Live!, watching a live taping of a popular TV show is a fascinating free experience. Depending on which show you want to see, it can be quite difficult to obtain the free tickets. To find out the details on a particular show, head over to their website and follow the specific instructions to request the tickets. If there are open spots available, you will feel like you won an Emmy.

3. Go sailing on the Berkeley Marina

 Berkeley MarinaBerkeley, United StatesGreat for going on a free sailboat ride with Cal Sailing Club.

The non-profit organization, Cal Sailing Club’s is volunteer-run and takes guests on introductory sailboat rides every month during their Open House. Children must be at least 5-years-old and accompanied by an adult. Open house hours are 1-4 p.m. Pro tip: get there early, since spots fill up fast.

4. Take a walking tour (San Francisco)

 Japanese Tea GardenSan Francisco, United StatesBeautiful gardens in the middle of Golden Gate Park.

San Francisco is a great pedestrian city and there’s no better way to get to know it than a walking tour by San Francisco City Guides. You’ll love learning the lore of the Japanese Tea Garden and listening to tales of the stately Pacific Heights mansions. The guides themselves are engaging, knowledgeable volunteers who spill San Francisco’s secrets and keep you highly entertained throughout the tour. Pro tip: at the end of your tour ask your guide for restaurant recommendations nearby, since they know the area more than well.

5. Hike in Griffith Park (Los Angeles)

 Griffith ObservatoryLos Angeles, United StatesAbsolutely stunning views of the cityscape and the surrounding mountains. The ideal spot for your obligatory Hollywood sign viewing, while the observatory itself adds to the atmosphere with its classical architecture. Free, lots of hiking tras, and not far from downtown! #astrology #science #free #hiking #photography #landscape #cityscape #cityview #touristspots

There is nothing more magical, day or night, than seeing Los Angeles from above. The Griffith Observatory is set high on a hill and a great place to throw down a blanket, lie down and stargaze. There are also plenty of trails to hike, with no shortage of stunning vista points. Make sure to look over to you’re the massive Hollywood sign.

6. Tour the State Capitol Building (Sacramento)

 California State Capitol MuseumSacramento, United StatesLearn about California’s political past in this beautiful building.

A visit to Sacramento is not complete without stopping by the historic Capitol Building and the museum within it. Wander through replica rooms of government offices from the early 20th century and learn about how the state’s early government was conducted. Sign up for one of their free tours and find out more about the politics of the Golden State. Tours run every hour from 9 to 4 p.m. and allow you access into parts of the Capitol Building which are usually off limits to the public.

7. Experience Timken Museum of Art (San Diego)

The Tinken Museum of Art is the only museum in Balboa that is completely free. A visit is a great opportunity to enjoy world-class European and American masterpieces. The museum building is a modern architectural beauty that features a spacious entryway and is framed by nearby palms. Tours are offered for those who want to learn more about the history behind the art. Closed on Mondays.

8. Tour a fortune cookie factory (San Francisco)

 Golden Gate Fortune Cookie FactorySan Francisco, United StatesLearn how fortune cookies are made in this historic place.

Golden Gate Fortune Cookies is tucked away in a Chinatown alleyway and allows visitors to get a glimpse into how fortune cookies are made. You’ll view workers making batches of fragrant cookies and you’ll get to sample them hot off the press. There are plenty of treats to buy on your way out: fortune cookies in various flavors, almond cookies, and flattened fortune cookies. If you want to be the master of your own fate, you can create a personalized message that they will slip into a fortune cookie for you. Make sure to bring cash.

9. Enjoy lakeside botanical gardens (Oakland)

Lake Merritt is a popular waterfront destination, but the gardens at Lake Merritt are lesser known – and do not cost anything to enter. Wander around seven acres of Japanese tea gardens, edible gardens, pollinator gardens and a sensory garden where you can touch and smell the plants to your heart’s delight. Do check out the exceptional Bonsai Garden next door.

10. Learn about how craft beer is brewed (Chico)

 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.Chico, United StatesTour one of California’s iconic craft breweries.

Craft beer breweries in California are plentiful, but Sierra Nevada stands out from the rest. Learn how this well-known beer is crafted to perfection in their free Brewhouse Tour. Hold and smell some aromatic hops, watch the process of packaging the beer in their packing facility and, as a grand finale, try samples of some of their best brews. Reservations recommended. You can make them on-line.

11. Admire the buildings and artifacts of one of California’s legendary families (Los Angeles)

The Getty family is the stuff of California legends and The Getty Center is no exception. The stunning collection of buildings high above Los Angeles have plenty of exceptional art, well-manicured grounds and stunning views both day and night. Entrance is free, but parking is $15 ($10 if you come after 3 p.m.). For an imaginary trip to ancient Greece and Rome, visit The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades. A visit is also free, but the charges for parking are the same.

12. Watch a movie poolside (San Diego)

 Pearl HotelSan Diego, United StatesRetro hotel where you can watch a film by the pool.

Head over to The Pearl Hotel to enjoy a classic California movie projected on a screen next to a vintage pool. Selections include well-loved flicks like The Graduate and Sixteen Candles. Food and drinks are served throughout the night. Make sure to bring a suit, since guests can use the pool if they purchase a drink or are staying at the hotel. Movies are weekly and start at 8:00 p.m. Reservations recommended.

Best beaches in California

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

1. Gold Bluffs Beach

Gold Bluffs Beach

Gold Bluffs Beach. Photo: David Fulmer

Picture California’s North Coast, and beaches might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Hence the underrated status of Gold Bluffs Beach, a 10-mile stretch of pale sand halfway between Eureka and Crescent City — as far north in the state as you can go before the Ataris write an album about it.

But what you do expect from the North Coast — mist and mystique, smaller crowds, and redwood groves — is all here in abundance.

 Stout Grove TrailheadCrescent City, United StatesOne of my favorite trails I walked in the redwoods. Felt like walking among giants. #hiking #redwoods #forest

Hang a left off the 101 onto Davidson Rd, just north of Orick, and continue for a few miles as the pavement turns to dirt and the tall trees thin as you reach the Pacific. If you take the time to camp and explore, you’ll find elk wandering along the foggy shore.

2. China Beach

 China BeachSan Francisco, United StatesSmall gem of a beach on the western side of the Golden Gare Bridge. More protected than Ocean Beach and great views!

3. Manchester State Beach

Manchester Beach, with Point Arena Lighthouse in the distance

Manchester State Beach, with Point Arena Lighthouse in the distance. Photo: Sharon Mollerus

Manchester State Beach wasn’t built for surfing or swimming — nor sunbathing. Manchester, off Highway 1 just north of Point Arena in Mendocino County, is located in a catch basin of currents, making the water itself haphazard and murky. But it’s in that swirling vortex of hydrodynamics that the magic is found. The catch basin offshore means these five miles of sand are littered with perfectly polished driftwood and other marine artifacts, which makes walking the sand continuously fascinating.

4. Marshalls Beach

 Marshall’s BeachSan Francisco, United StatesGreat view of the Golden Gate Bridge from both higher and lower elevations, depending on how far you want to walk. #sunset #bridge #view #goldengate

5. McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

 McWay FallsBig Sur, United States#hiking

It’s easy to get what Jack Kerouac saw in Big Sur.

 Big SurBig Sur, United StatesI love ocean views.

When life started moving too sedately for the writer only comfortable with transience, he retreated to the shores of the Central Coast, spending his days searching for his sanity by kicking the sand and wandering the forest. The area is quiet, and though it shares the foggy ambiance of the North, there’s much that’s unique to the region: tiny beaches at the bottom of the cordillera that cuts across the coast; foaming outlets for the creeks.

Bixby Creek is the most famous, with an iconic bridge standing over it, but it pales in comparison to the beauty of McWay Falls, a small beach on the shore of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, some 40 miles south of Monterey.

Here, while the creek winds into the water like a snake, another stream falls with a slap onto the sand. A large sentinel rock stands nearby, creating a closed area where the sound of the waves echoes into the silence.

 Julia Pfeiffer Burns State ParkBig Sur, United StatesIf you’re looking for easy access to beautiful redwood forests, Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park is my go to spot. Within moments you’ll be in the midst of a huge grove of redwoods. I recommend using your time here to wander rather than to hike. Logs criss-cross the creek and lead to spots off the beaten path. For me, this area is about taking it all in and having a moment in these ancient trees. There are other spots to go if your goal is to go far. Bring a picnic basket and relax here for a while. #hiking #accessbigsur #redwoods #wandering

McWay Falls are featured in an untold number of screensaver-postcard-pics, and thus this beach really isn’t “underrated” — but being hard to get to turns many people away. Hike the trail to the viewpoint above, winding through the forests that have made Big Sur famous, and you’ll feel not unlike the bohemians who made the trek before you — alone in nature.

6. Millerton

 Millerton PointMarshall, United StatesSmall beach on Tomales Bay great for kids and dogs.

Tomales Bay has a few great beaches and the water is warmer and much safer than the ocean if you’re visiting with kids. Check out Millerton and Heart’s Desire.

7. Guadalupe-Nipomo / Pismo Beach

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. Photo: Pacific Southwest Region

Guadalupe-Nipomo (just south of San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast) is the place to be. It’s the largest remaining coastal sand dune group south of San Francisco, making it not just a place to roll — go ahead and bring a snowboard if you’ve got the agility. If you don’t, head north. The northern tip of the dunes is known as Pismo Beach, and it’s become a hub for motorsports, with cheap rentals of ATVs and even monster trucks.

8. Lost Coast

 Lost CoastWhitethorn, United StatesMulti-day backpacking along a rugged stretch of CA coast #hiking #camping #extreme

Lost Coast is a backpacking trip full of beaches in a location too rugged for roadbuilding.

9. Two Harbors

Sailboat at Two Harbors, Catalina

Sailboat at Two Harbors, Catalina. Photo: Kenneth Hagemeyer

Usually, finding the besthidden beaches can be as simple as driving the PCH and pulling over when you spot a place worth stopping. But if you only go that route, you’ll miss one of California’s worst-kept secrets: Santa Catalina Island (just call it Catalina), 22 miles offshore of the greater LA area — catch a ferry from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, or Dana Point.

Catalina is a tourist hotspot, and Avalon (the only real city on the island), despite having a decent beach, is packed full of tourist candy shops and hotels. Few people venture outside this first port of call. Meanwhile, on the other side of the island is Two Harbors, a settlement on the island’s isthmus. With 90% of Catalina’s population in Avalon, Two Harbors is quieter and more natural, and though there are still plenty of boats docked just offshore, the lower visitor population means you can use more of the beach. On the off chance it does get crowded on one side of the isthmus, well…there’s a reason it’s called Two Harbors.

Either community on Catalina will have locations to rent kayaks, which means the entire island is yours to explore — there are more beaches than Two Harbors, and some are worth packing a lunch and getting lost for a day. And who knows, if you get really lucky, some of the island’s 150 bisons may join you.

10. Bean Hollow

 Bean Hollow State BeachPescadero, United StatesA small, very peaceful beach.

Heading south from San Francisco, Bean Hollow is a tiny beach on the San Mateo Coast with white sand and plenty of sea life.

11. The Wedge

The Wedge

The Wedge. Photo: Raniel Diaz

When surfing is involved, there’s no such thing as an underrated beach. Any break of decent quality has been tracked and categorized by the army of surfing fanatics along the coast, making liberal use of the “dibs” system. Maybe that’s what makes the Wedge underrated, in a sense — it’s almost too overrated for exclusivity.

 Newport Beach PierNewport Beach, United StatesI live here!

Located smack at the end of the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach (a short drive south of downtown LA), the Wedge, watersports-wise, is something only the experienced should try. The waves there routinely reach into the 15-18ft range (or more), and the intense shore break means even skimboarders can get gobsmacked by a giant. Normally, this would mean only the experienced would even bother to go, but the mainstream location makes the Wedge a great place to watch the athletes without worrying about getting in their way.

12. Limekiln State Beach

 Limekiln State ParkBig Sur, United StatesRedwoods, hiking, historic kilns, a clean campground and beach #hiking #camping

Limekiln State Beach, south of Big Sur, is less crowded than other beaches in that area and offers a black sand beach, a great waterfall hike, and clean campground.

13. San Onofre State Beach

San Onofre Beach

San Onofre Beach. Photo: Justin Meissen

Maybe it’s the endearing wild hills that line the eastern side of the 5 here at the halfway point between LA and San Diego. Maybe it’s the giant mothballed nuclear reactor on the shore that looks humorously similar to a certain part of the human anatomy. But more than likely, it’s the magnificent beaches that line the coast of San Onofre. Trestles gets all the fame, being one of the best surf spots in California; Cotton’s Point, a short walk north, also stands to the challenge.

14. Solana Beach

Solana Beach

Solana Beach. Photo: SpencerHanson

In Solana, you’ll find folks who don’t mind putting in a little effort to find places they enjoy. When the pink morning sun first starts to show above the eastern horizon, there will already be troops of junior guards doing their morning routines, swim groups with their polar bear plunges, and casual joggers whose sneakers don’t even sink into the sand.

15. La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove. Photo: Joel Olives

Greater San Diego’s La Jolla Cove is hardly a beach. When the tide is in, the water laps the bluffs that enclose the coarse, seashell sand. The water is cold, and the floor drops swiftly into a forest of seaweed. Slippery rocks cover either side of the narrow shore. But nothing worth doing is easy, right?

As unconventional as it is, the Cove is the place to be for those in the know. Its true draw is as one of the best access points to the colossal marine reserve jutting into the La Jolla coastline. Here, where all but kayaks are banned, swimmers can throw on a snorkel and find themselves in an alien world of garibaldis, bat rays, nurse sharks, and jellyfish.

On the other side of the sand, up the stairs and back into the town of La Jolla, there’s a large park dotted with giant Torrey pines. When the sun begins to set and the tide closes out the beach, you can escape to the green grass just in time to watch the Green Flash over the horizon. By that point, the park will be inundated:: families packing up, couples surreptitiously uncorking a bottle of wine, young adults jogging with their dogs. It’s a microcosm of the entire population of California.

Ojai: weekend escape from LA

When you need an escape from the city life, Ojai is the perfect quaint destination. Just over 80 miles north of Los Angeles, Ojai is more than just a wine stop and spa-saturated getaway. Ojai’s charm lies in the small town feel — a tight-knit community of local farmers, producers, small business owners and residents –  combined with lush landscapes and sweeping mountain views which provide a plethora of ways to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here are our top picks for getting the most out of this underrated town.

Get your caffeine fix at Beacon Coffee

This modern artisanal coffee shop which opened its doors in September 2016 lives up to all the buzz in town. The husband and wife duo, John and Jennifer, are no strangers to the coffee bean — John was one of the first employees to help launch the Allegro coffee line at Whole Foods in Boston which is where he learned all about coffee bean sourcing and brewing (which you too can learn in one of their workshops). What initially started as a roasting plant in Ventura has quickly blossomed into a full-blown cafe, with the Ojai location being their second outpost. Their passion for fresh, quality ingredients is seen in everything from the almond milk made in-house, to the ganache for their mocha, and the scrumptious seasonal pastries made with local produce and citrus (pro-tip: try the stuffed puff pastries when they’re available). The light, airy space with high wood beamed ceilings and rustic tables is the ideal setting to crank out some work or enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up.

Wine down at Topa Mountain Winery

This two-acre winery set against the Topatopa Mountains offers live music, games, and some of Ojai’s finest grapes. The tasting room which opened May 2016 offers a range of varietals including Barbera, Tempranillo, and Syrah that you can sip on outside in their spacious seating area while listening to one of their many local band or acoustic performances under the string lights. Included in the tasting is six of their wines which changes on a monthly basis and if you happen to be there on a Saturday you can fill your glass and your belly with the local food truck that parks on-site.

Feast on fried chicken at Ojai Deer Lodge

This old gas station turned cozy rustic lodge and music venue has been around since 1932. The taxidermy on the walls would lead you to believe that there would be a meat-heavy menu fit for a man cave. There’s that too, but the seasonal menu puts the spotlight on Ojai’s produce and has a pretty impressive (and hearty) selection of vegetarian options like the quinoa burger, mac and cheese, or white truffle parmesan fried brussel sprouts. But if you are in the mood for some good ol’ comfort food, try their famous fried chicken breast that comes out piping hot and glazed from the buttermilk brine. Wash it all down with one of their local wine pairings like the Qupé syrah and enjoy their live entertainment performances ranging from open-mic nights, to DJs and local bands.

Stay at a bed and breakfast

The Lavender Inn and Spa, in the heart of Ojai, gives you a taste of the town yet provides a tranquil getaway in a charming cottage (which used to be a school) surrounded by lush greenery. Guests can enjoy a daily tapas hour from 5-6 pm highlighting small bites from local producers or you can up your culinary game by taking one of their cooking “classes” (more of a demo) ranging from Winter Soups to a Taste of Greece taught by local and visiting chefs. Either way, you’ll leave this place a little more zen than when you arrived.

Bike ride along the Ojai Valley Trail
Rent a bike from The Mob Shop or BYO and then pedal along this 9.5 mile trail which extends from Fox Street in Ojai to Foster Park in Ventura. Some portions of the untapped path are a bit industrial so you may want to skip them. but others are scenic and tranquil. It’s also a fairly easy ride and great way to stop-and-go as you explore the city.

Shop local at the Farmers Market

Ojai has plenty of bountiful produce grown locally and available at the weekly Sunday certified farmers’ market and while you can find all the standard produce that you’ll see at any farmers’ market, you’re going to want to stock up on what they’re best known for — the avocados and citrus fruits (especially the Pixie tangerines). We see a homemade guacamole in your near future.

Spend the night in a retro airstream

You would never really know about Caravan Outpost because it’s a hidden oasis tucked away on a side street, but once you stumble upon this campsite heaven, you’ll never want to leave. Just picture, 11 sparkling silver airstreams parked on a gravel-filled site nestled around a communal fire pit underneath a set of string lights — it’s like summer camp for adults. The silver bullets are equipped with all the glamping essentials including a shower, bathroom, TV, records for the genuine record player and a few of the airstreams are even decked out with a kitchenette if you’re feeling like cooking up a storm. The Bohemian-style general store, which is also where you check-in, looks like it could be plucked right off of Abbot Kinney. And be prepared to Shazam every song off their Spotify playlist — basically, you’re going to want to move in after you spend a night here.

Hit the trails

Whether you’re looking for an easy or strenuous hike, there is no shortage of either in Ojai. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s mission is to preserve the natural spaces and habitats in Ojai including Valley View Preserve which has a number of trails including Fox Canyon Trail or try Luci’s Trail for a short but rather steep booty-burning hike. For a more leisurely stroll, walk the Ojai Meadows Preserve and take a whiff of the Eucalyptus trees surrounding you.

Sample award-winning olive oil straight from the farm

If you’re ever curious about the difference between French, Italian and Spanish olive oil, Ojai Olive Oil company is the place to visit. The owners take pride in their award-winning EVOO (that’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil for you newbies) that you can taste during certain hours in their tasting room while you learn about how they harvest over 100 olive trees. You can also find organic infused oils like basil or garlic and balsamic vinegars that would make the perfect dressing the next time you attempt to toss a salad together.

Taste local organic wine at Casa Barranca

Organic wine? Yes, this is SoCal, are you surprised? Located in the historic downtown Arcade area, the small, family-owned tasting room pours organic (i.e. little to no added sulfites) wine and welcomes food (pack a picnic) and your pups! Taste a flight for $15 which currently includes one white and four reds — the fee will be waived with a two bottle purchase.

Get lost at Bart’s Books

What makes this bookstore so unique? It’s the largest independently owned, outdoor bookstore in the country. Bookworms flock to this place and peruse the aisles in hopes that a rare find or art book will grab their attention — or maybe their 50- cent specials based on an honor system will. It’s a book lover’s paradise and a must-stop when you’re in Ojai.

Learn how to rock climb

Climb the Ojai mountains with your guide, Alex Bury, who will show you the ropes (literally) and give you the basic tools needed to hit the rocks. All equipment is provided so all you need to bring is your fearless self.

Revel at Revel

Fermentation is the name of the game at Revel. Grab a seat at the kombucha bar and order one of their Jun kombuchas on tap (fermented tonic made with honey and green tea) or try one of their family-owned kimchee recipes (vegan options available) hailing from South Korea. They also serve acai bowls so you can binge on just about anything served here and your digestive system will thank you later.

Meditate on Meditation Mount

This public meditation destination is located just five miles outside of downtown Ojai and is the perfect city escape when you’re looking to get lost in nature. Overlook the panoramic views of the majestic mountains as you walk the grounds and then pass through the Peace Portal made with 1,200-year-old growth Douglas fir wood reclaimed from the Ventura-Ojai rail line. The nonprofit center is technically free (with a suggested donation) so you’re relaxed even before you enter.

Get crafty at Cattywampus Crafts

This hipster, Bohemian-esque shop (next to Beacon Coffee) is a cool craft store that will inspire you to knit your next beanie or pair of gloves (for all those uh, bone-chilling LA nights). Sign-up for one of their many workshops like macrame or sweater making (if you’re advanced) and make yourself a winter scarf to show off to everybody.

Throwback a beer at this new tap room

The front room and patio of Azu Restaurant and Bar (a farm-to-table, Mediterranean-inspired tapas eatery) is home to the all new Ojai Valley Brewery Tap Room. With a focus on craft beers, especially, dry lagers, and light ales, and the usage of local ingredients to enhance the flavors, Ojai Valley Brewery is dedicated to creating a sustainable brew. Nosh on bites and small plates like their chorizo stuffed dates, poutine, and tacos and pair them with any of their signature beers or beer cocktails.

Leila fell in love with Ojai the last time she went and may or may not have pretended to be on tour with a rock band the last time she stayed at Caravan Outpost. See the photo evidence for yourself on Instagram or Twitter.