Guide to Topanga Canyon:
A Piece of Hippie Heaven

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

EAT

Inn of The 7th Ray

Inn of seventh ray

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.

 

Reel Inn

reel inn

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. 

 

Topanga Living Cafe 

TLC

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.  

 

Cafe Mimosa

cafe mimosa

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

 

Endless Color

Endless Color

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. 

 

La Chingona Tacos

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. 

 

The Canyon Bistro & Wine Bar

canyon bistro

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.

 

SHOP   

Hidden Treasures Vintage

hidden treasures

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.)

 

Canyon Gourmet

canyon gourmet

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.

  

Moonastar Collective

moonastar

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)

 

Flower Power

flower power

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!

 

The Well Refill

the well refill

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.

 

Pebbles Clothing

pebbles

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

 

Busto and Sun

busto and sun

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

 

WUM Essential Elements & Apothecary


We're big fans of the newest shop in Topanga described as "a cultivation space for elevated living". The level of thought and detail in curation results in a uniquely delightful selection of goods that are sure to bring a smile to your face. Think bonsai seed kits, mini Japanese teapots, pickle kits, and at-home cocktails. Most impressive is the selection of medicinal herbs that line an entire wall. Find WUM (pronounced like "womb") in Pine Tree Circle next to Waterlily Cafe. 

*Exclusive local perk: Free bulk herb giveaway with purchase



Image courtesy of Topanga New Times

Two of the newest boutiques in town are housed under the same roof. Kinship Station offers unique treasures from local, indigenous, and folk artists. Expect to find exquisite home goods, ceramics, apparel, and jewelry, many from local artists. Yanapuma supports the indigenous and sacred with a mission to preserve handcrafted, artisanal objects. Try on beautiful, handmade robes adorned with wild beauty or sift through unique textiles, bags, baskets, and jewels. Both shops focus on fine craftsmanship of objects that aid in an intentional lifestyle with daily rituals. 

* Exclusive local perk: 10% off specialty goods


Jalan Jalan Imports and Owl Falls

jalan jalan

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.

  

DO

Eagle Rock at Topanga State Park

eagle rock

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. 

 

Topanga Creek Outpost

tco

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

 

Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum 

theatricum botanicum

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. 

 

Topanga Ranch Motel

topanga ranch motel

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.  

 

LISTEN

Topanga Soundtrack

 

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.