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Ojai Town

Ventura, CA
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Ojai Town, Ventura California

Description

Downtown Ojai was created in the 1920s. There's the long Spanish arcade with its endless white arches (not very pretty somehow) where you can stroll and look at antique stores if that's your cup of tea. For kids, there's a cool independent icecream store. Ojai tries to support independent stores and not allow chain stores. There's a tiny independent bookstore called Local Hero Books. If you walk through an opening in the historic arcade you come to a lovely revitalized area called Ojai Arcade Plaza, with more stores, lining Matilija Street. Here is a wonderful toy store called Serendipity Toys. It's cramped but there is every imaginable unique toy you could think of. There's also a nice fountain that kids enjoy.
Ojai Pizza, on Ojai Ave, near Montgomery St, is a cool place to eat. It's a happening place and all the buzz will keep your kids entertained. The food is good too.
Also on Matilija Street, though a few blocks to the west, is Bart's Books, which you must check out! It is an outdoor bookstore. Tables with umbrellas are set out under trees and vines, and bookcases filled with used books surround you. It's a pretty setting. Usually used books are so dusty but since they are outside you hardly notice!
The post office tower is a lovely landmark, with it's Spanish bell tower reaching up to the sky. Here kids enjoy climbing up the very steep ladder while comtemplating the sign that tells them to do it "at their own risk."
Across the street from the main arched arcade is Libbey Park, where locals gather around the fountain. There's a large old-fashioned colorful metal playground. Behind that, the lack of grass under the trees isn't so pretty, but there is a nice pavilion, Libbey Bowl, where outdoor concerts and festivals are held. This can be lovely in the evening.
Don't miss the Sunday Farmer's Market in downtown Ojai which is always charming. It's held from 9-1 behind the arcade at 300 E. Matilija Street.
Ojai is a very progressive place, and leads the way in green building, organic school lunches, and other great earth-friendly goals. It is also a magnet for artists, poets, playwrights, and musicians, and the home of several elite boarding schools.
The prettiest spot in the whole of Ojai is Ojai Valley Inn and Spa which you must take a stroll around while you are in the area!
Like all inland California towns, Ojai can be suffocatingly hot in summer, so check the weather and prepare accordingly!
While you're in Ojai, take a peaceful drive through the orange groves, or take in the great vista at Ojai Valley Lookout. Let your kids examine a plaque with mountain ranges and their heights at Cluff Vista Park, which is jsut walking distance from downtown.

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Photo Gallery

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The Spanish Arcade on Ojai Avenue (Highway 150).
The Spanish Arcade on Ojai Avenue (Highway 150).
Walking the historic Spanish-style arcade...
Walking the historic Spanish-style arcade...
Fountain in Ojai Arcade Plaza, the shopping area behind the older, historic arcade.
Fountain in Ojai Arcade Plaza, the shopping area behind the older, historic arcade.
Libbey Park- the centerpoint of town- across from the arcade. Notice the hula hoops- a fun diversion of some park goers. There are quite a few homeless people here as well.
Libbey Park- the centerpoint of town- across from the arcade. Notice the hula hoops- a fun diversion of some park goers. There are quite a few homeless people here as well.
The post office bell tower.
The post office bell tower.
Libbey Park's colorful playground.
Libbey Park's colorful playground.
Gorgeous Spanish architecture, and a banner advertising the Ojai Music Festival, a Classical music festival which occurs in June.
Gorgeous Spanish architecture, and a banner advertising the Ojai Music Festival, a Classical music festival which occurs in June.
The Spanish pergola across the street from the arcade.
The Spanish pergola across the street from the arcade.
The cool calligraphy on the sign in the bell tower.
The cool calligraphy on the sign in the bell tower.
A spa in Ojai town. I love the architecture!
A spa in Ojai town. I love the architecture!
Bart's Books- you're outdoors and yet you're in a bookstore!!
Bart's Books- you're outdoors and yet you're in a bookstore!!
Fireplace and more tables at Bart's Books.
Fireplace and more tables at Bart's Books.
There's a good atmosphere at Java & Joe, a coffeeshop on East Matilija Street, one street back from Ojai Avenue.
There's a good atmosphere at Java & Joe, a coffeeshop on East Matilija Street, one street back from Ojai Avenue.
Shelves packed with every imaginable flavor of coffee, at attractive Java & Joe coffeeshop.
Shelves packed with every imaginable flavor of coffee, at attractive Java & Joe coffeeshop.
Spanish tower through the arcade.
Spanish tower through the arcade.
Fountain in Libbey Park.
Fountain in Libbey Park.
Playground at Libbey Park, with tower and mountains behind.
Playground at Libbey Park, with tower and mountains behind.
Colorful playground at Libbey Park.
Colorful playground at Libbey Park.
Fun at the playground at Libbey Park!
Fun at the playground at Libbey Park!
   

Directions

Downtown Ojai's main strip is located on Highway 150 (Ojai Avenue) between Signal Street and Montgomery Street. Matilija Street, one street back, also has some cool stores.
To get to Ojai, take Highway 33 from Ventura or Highway 150 from Carpinteria just south of Santa Barbara. Highway 150 from Carpinteria to Ojai is a stunning drive through forest and winding mountain passes, and past glistening Lake Casitas.
Bart's Books, 302 W. Matilija St, (805) 646-3755.
Java & Joe, 323 E. Matilija Street, (805) 646-3138.
Serendipity Toys, 221 E. Matilija Street, (805) 646-2585.
Ojai Icecream, 210 E. Ojai Avenue, (805) 646-6075.
Local Hero Bookstore, 208 E. Ojai Avenue, (805) 640-9250.
Ojai Pizza, 331 E Ojai Ave, call (805) 646-7878

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Visitor Ratings

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Last Updated Wed, 12 Jan 2011 06:30:07 GMT