Topanga Canyon is a little hippie chic town that has long been a tucked away gem in California, surrounded by a State Park on three sides and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Given its proximity to Los Angeles and its deep ties to nature, it has historically served as a welcome respite from the fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle for celebrities, including famed artists and musicians such as Emmylou Harris and Jim Morrison. In fact, Neil Young recorded After the Goldrush here back in the 60's. Today, it maintains its magic through a tight-knit community of artists, bohemians, spiritual seekers, and nature lovers. As the secret's slowly been let out, Topanga is increasingly becoming a popular destination for visitors from around the world.
It so happens that our very own co-founder, Heather Roma, has been a Topanga resident for years so we couldn't think of a better person to ask about the best things to do and see around town. Here are her top picks.
Note: we've also partnered with some of these local businesses to provide exclusive perks and discounts to Almanaq guests. These are indicated throughout with an asterisk or scroll to the bottom to see the full list!
Featured image courtesy of ndr2h via Reddit
Image courtesy of Chai K. via Yelp.com
You won't find a more romantic little restaurant, which is why it's served as the venue for numerous weddings to date. It's situated on the creek with magical fairy lights everywhere and a fountain swimming with rose petals. The menu is divine and the staff is helpful and friendly. Perfect for date night. Afterwards, you can wander to the cute book and gift shop next door.
Image courtesy of Reel Inn
Located on the PCH a little closer to Topanga Canyon Blvd. than Cholada. Order at the counter and choose to sit indoors by the fish tank, fireplace, or oceanside. The outdoor patio is perfection on sunny days. Pups are allowed, but only off the deck. Order the fish tacos or fish and chips and throw in a bottle of wine at a great price.
Image coutesy of Yelp.com
Located closer to the valley, "TLC" as we call it, is a beautifully designed cafe with healthy options, smoothies and a great buttered coffee. Part cafe, part market, and part boutique, it's owned by a local Balinese brother and sister duo who import their gifts and carefully select organic options for the market.
This is my favorite local cafe in the canyon owned by Claire, a beautiful and caring frenchwoman. When I walk into the cafe, it feels like I stepped back into 1960's France. Locals are talking about life and philosophy with dogs and kids about. Choose from cozy French cafe seating inside, a cute patio out front, or seating next to a lovely koi pond on the side patio. The matcha latte, avocado toast and egg wraps are sublime. Shop local goods next to the counter.
*Exclusive Local Perk: 1 free coffee
Image courtesy of Endless Color
The newest pizza joint in town is already preceded by its reputation. Created by owners of the beloved Topanga Living Cafe, Endless Color is already set up for success, but thankfully it lives up to the hype. Featuring inventive pizzas made with healthy, organic ingredients (think gluten-free roasted pork loin), local craft beer, and biodynamic wine in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Cool Flintstones vibes included.
Image courtesy of Yelp.com
If you're on the hunt for tacos that are equally healthy and mouthwatering, this pop-up is a dream come true. La Chingona makes street style tacos that are all organic, gluten, and dairy free. Choose from plenty of vegan, vegetarian, or pescetarian options on handmade tortillas and sip on organic alkaline agua frescas. Make note that they're only open Tuesdays and Fridays from 4-7:30pm.
Image courtesy of TripAdvisor.com
Located in Pine Tree Circle, Canyon Bistro is our only casual dining restaurant for dinner. For lunch, it's a great place to get a nice salad or a burger and enjoy some wine with friends. I also highly recommend take-out from here if you want to have a nice dinner in.
Image courtesy of mananatravel.com
You can't miss this colorful building with a man riding a horse and clusters of interesting statues outside. This is one of the best vintage shops around, in my opinion. Prices are reasonable, the selection feels endless, and it's always a good time with their fun selection of sunnies and more crazy statues inside. (See underwater seaman with lobster hands.)
Image courtesy of Canyon Gourmet
If you want to spend some cash on cheese, bread, and wine, this is the place. Prices are not cheap, but you won't be disappointed with the quality and curated selection of high-end groceries and small collection of housewares. Bread loaves are delivered from Gjelina in Venice weekly. The olive loaf is my fave.
Image by Kristine Lo
One of the most beautiful boutiques around, curated by my close friend Monica Zaidman. It started with her clothing brand, made from natural dyed linens and gorgeous laces and has grown into a collective of multiple designers. The shop carries clothing, jewelry, gifts, and homewares. Enjoy the deck out back where Monica frequently hosts workshops, like broom making and tea ceremonies.
* Exclusive Local Perk: 20% discount
* Travel Immersion: Moonastar Workshops (currently on pause due to Covid)
This place screams Topanga with its overflowing florals and boho witchy vibes. Pick up farm fresh seeds, stems, medicinal herbs, tinctures, antiques, angel decks, and tarot cards. It's the cutest little pink pop-up structure in the middle of town at Pinetree Circle. Say hi to Gidget, the grooviest shop owner!
Image courtesy of The Well Refill
The cool new kid on the block was recently opened by one of our local Almanaq hosts, Hayley Magrini. With a mission of providing clean refills for the home and body and making it easy (and fun) for people to be more environmentally-friendly, we can definitely get on board! You can bring a container or buy one and fill it with handpicked, environmentally-safe cleaning and personal care products that smell divine. Keep an eye out for the great selection of beautiful and sustainable, new and vintage home goods.
Image by Jeremy Jacobus
The adorable boutique sits next door to Moonastar and has been in the canyon for many years. It's the go-to spot to find colorful boho vibes for moms and kids alike.
*Exclusive Local Perk: 10% discount
Enrico Busto brings custom, handmade, premium quality hats from Venice, Italy to Topanga, California. Judging by the wall of colorfully diverse shapes and sizes, every hatphile is bound to find something that suits their style. And if not, Enrico is more than happy to make one to your satisfaction. You can even watch the milliner at work in his shop Wednesday-Sunday, 11-6 at 115 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
* Exclusive local perk: $30 off a custom hat
Image courtesy of Jalan Jalan Imports
This is the first business you'll see as you come into the canyon from the beachside. Brian imports almost everything from Indonesia. You can't miss the huge selection of home furnishings, including giant Ganesha statues, Buddhas, and crystals for outdoor living. He has recently moved some of his crystal inventory to his new shop, called Topanga Rocks, in Pine Tree Circle. While at Jalan Jalan, check out the waterfall located in the corner of the outdoor property that's a perfect resting spot, named Owl Falls.
Image by Chris Goldbert via Flickr.com
It's a hike to get there, but if you have the time it's well worth it. Enter through the main entrance of Topanga State Park and take Musch Trail for the more scenic route (about 3 hours round trip) or Fire Road up to Eagle Rock (2 hours round trip). It's a beautiful and sacred space with some caves that are wonderful for meditating or just relaxing.
Image by Ryan Krueger
If mountain biking's your thing, you've come to the right place. Bikers from around the world make sure they stop at the award-winning shop to rent some gear and get their adventure on anytime they pass through. These guys really live and breathe their craft, closing down shop every Wednesday to go bikepacking on an overnight trip.
The Outpost also houses Rogue Journeymen – a leather and canvas goods shop started by the mechanic, Chris (pictured).
* Travel Immersion: Leather Belt Making Workshop
Image by Kent Kanouse via Flickr.com
For a uniquely Topanga experience, catch a live show at this open-air theater that's been a Topanga fixture since the early 70's. Enjoy classic or contemporary pieces, like Shakespeare, or screenings of local films and favorites. They also host workshops and drama camps for kids and adults.
Image by Michele Miles Gardiner via Flickr.com
I wish someone could buy up this location and renovate it. People have tried, but it's owned by the state and they won't allow it. Either way, it's a cute little old motel that's been shut down for many years. It's the perfect photo op with a row of old, run-down cabins. There's a hiking trail along the side of it that goes into the canyon. Also, Wylie's Bait & Tackle shop next to Cholada Thai is another great photo op.
Last but not least, we tapped Jill Epstein of Camper General Store–a local designer and interior guru who moonlights as a DJ–to curate the perfect playlist for your stay. She said, "It has to feel like you're driving up Topanga Canyon now and long ago." She nailed it with this epic soundtrack that spans Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys, Tom Petty, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Childish Gambino, and more. LISTEN HERE or open Spotify and search "Almanaq - Topanga".
** LOCAL PERKS **
- Moonastar Collective - 20% discount
Pebbles Clothing - 10% discount
Cafe Mimosa - 1 free coffee
Busto and Sun - $30 off a custom hat
- WUM Essential Elements & Apothecary - Free bulk herb with purchase
- "To Be Magnetic" Manifestation Courses - $20 off first month of the Pathway or $20 off any a la carte workshop (excluding "Intro to Money"). Head to www.ToBeMagnetic.com and enter code "TBMAlmanaq" at checkout.