Topanga Canyon is one of those magical towns that are so easy to fall in love with. It has been referred to before in an article as a “Bohemian Brigadoon”, a term I love as it truly is so fitting. You would never know that so close to such a sprawling city like Los Angeles, tucked away in the hills, is a funky little town attracting artists, musicians, hippies, and misfits all in love with it’s natural beauty. Moving here 24 years ago was one of the best things to ever happen to me. Growing up in Topanga surrounded by so much nature and free spirits was truly wonderful and now I have the privilege of raising my own children here. It is a place so near and dear to my heart no matter how much it changes and transforms over the years. There are so many fun ways to spend a day here but my favorite is to eat, shop and hike my way through town. Below are some of my recommendations to help you do just that:
Tuna Canyon Park is one of my personal favorites. You can bring your dogs as it’s not in the state park and at the end of the hike you are rewarded with a labyrinth to meditate and glittering ocean views.
In Topanga State Park (where dogs are NOT allowed), start at Trippet Ranch and just explore from there. It’s an incredibly peaceful place to hike and watch the wildlife – deer, bobcats and coyotes are all seen frequently as are rattlesnakes in the warmer months so pay attention. If you come across one, give it plenty or room and move along. It’s important to remember that when hiking, you are a guest in someone’s home and to act accordingly. Be safe, courteous and respectful making sure to “kill nothing but time, take nothing but photos” and leave no trace.
For breakfast, Topanga Table is wonderful. The Eggs Benedict is my personal fav but I also love their breakfast sandwiches. It’s a beautiful, shady restaurant with an airy patio surrounded by trees that provides seasonal, farm-to-table comfort food. The décor is lovely and very Topanga. Highly recommend for breakfast!
For lunch, I love Topanga Living Café or TLC as the locals call it. My usual lunch is their Salad Trio with the sesame noodles, kale crunch salad, and green bean salad. I also usually get a Fernwood Smoothie and/or an Almond Latte. Their food is all SO good so you really can’t go wrong – the Balinese Corn Fritters are heavenly as is their smoked salmon sandwich. On my way out, I always make sure to browse their little store and pick up a couple Hu Kitchen vegan chocolate bars for home.
For dinner, we love the Canyon Bistro. It has a warm and inviting atmosphere, live jazz nights, and is right in the center of town. My husband and I usually split a French Onion Soup, Cesar Salad, Truffle Fries, and their Scottish Salmon. Their Vegan Risotto is heavenly as is their Chocolate Fondant dessert – sooo good. On Wednesdays, they even waive one bottle corkage fee – the perfect day to head over with your favorite wine for a date night or to catch up with friends. I am so glad Topanga has this place!
For a more upscale dining experience, try the Inn of the Seventh Ray. Rustic elegance at it’s finest, this classy spot has been called L.A.’s most romantic restaurant more than once and it’s no mystery why. Dining outdoors under the twinkling fairy lights is simply enchanting and the trickling creek that runs alongside the restaurant and ancient oaks and rock formations that surround it create the most magical setting. Candles and hanging lights add the final touches to this already incredibly romantic location – it is no wonder it is such a popular place in L.A. to propose.
The cuisine is seasonal, local, organic and made with much care and creativity. I have always loved everything I’ve eaten here and would love to go back again soon to explore the menu more.
Do not visit Topanga without ducking into Hidden Treasures. It’s a vintage store / constantly changing work of art and a true site to behold. Every time I go in there I find something – last time it was a vintage pink nightgown from the 50s that I wear almost every day and before that, a sweet vintage blouse. Whether it’s festival attire, costumes, or some rad vintage pieces you’re looking for, they always have something for everyone.
Another great shop is Luv & Sunshine. They specialize in Topanga-style home décor – a combination of antiques, worldly goods, and bohemian accents that will be sure to inspire you to beautify your own space. They now also offer interior design services as well.
For some truly gorgeous, locally made and sustainable dresses, stop by Moona Star Collective. All her pieces are so feminine and beautiful but also so incredibly wearable – perfect for wearing around Topanga Canyon. In addition to dresses the shop also features several other goodies from jewelry to handmade pottery.
If you head into Topanga Table for lunch, you’ll see Earth Baby Flowers right next door. It’s an adorable organic flower, plant and gift shop and the perfect place to stop for a bouquet for someone special.