Perched between Malibu, Calabasas, and the West San Fernando Valley, the bohemian vibe of hippie enclave Topanga Canyon makes it one of Los Angeles’ most unique communities.
Topanga’s utter lack of chain restaurants combined with a sense of untamed nature, proximity to the ocean, and small-town, rural feel can almost fool you into believing you’re not in L.A. anymore.
If you are visiting Topanga for the day here are some suggestions that will guide you through the scenic highway.
Canyon Gourmet—A perfect shop for your gourmet picnic basket needs. Canyon Gourmet has a wide selection of artisanal cheeses, and small production wines & gourmet chocolates. A variety of pressed juices, and seasonal produce from our local farmers market. Located at 120 S, Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA; 90290; canyongourmet.com (310) 455-4200.
Cafe Mimosa—Very popular with locals, this coffee shop boasts a shabby chic atmosphere and a koi pond in the garden, the perfect place to linger over a coffee, a Pirates Chai (made with Matcha green tea) or hemp milk. Hungry? Try the pain au chocolate, vegan muffins, quiche or salads. Located at 395 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-4341; cafemimosa.info
Waterlily Café—A small family-owned business that offers fresh, made-to-order sandwiches, homemade soups, salads and breakfast, using only organic meats, and organic ingredients as available. Bread is delivered fresh daily, but gluten-free alternatives are also available. Located at 120 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-0401; waterlilycafe.com.
The Topanga Table—Tucked in the Santa Monica Mountains along Topanga Canyon Boulevard, enjoy a relaxed atmosphere offering California cuisine and a rustic gathering place with delicious food for family and friends to unite. Farm-to-table Brunch is served Sundays on the patio. Located at 1861 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; thetopangatable.com (310) 752-6241.
Topanga Living Café—Located on Topanga Canyon Boulevard and known among locals as “TLC,” the café provides a health-conscious menu for vegans and vegetarians with breakfast and lunch options as well as refreshing smoothies, organic baked goods, and a full espresso bar whose coffee is the best in town. Dine inside and admire stunning antiques, fine art, photography, eclectic jewelry and crafty gifts, all for sale. A fanciful back patio, adorned with umbrellas and wicker chairs, welcomes people and their dogs. TLC is famous for their Taco Night on Saturdays from 4-9 p.m. Located at 1704 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-9888; topangalivingcafe.com.
The Canyon Bistro—French-style cuisine, boutique wines, live jazz, and Happy Hour specials. An art filled café with gourmet menu choices as well as the best grass-fed burgers in town. Dine on the scenic patio while listening to weekend Jazz. Check their website for weekly specials. Located in Pine Tree Circle at 120 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., #119, Topanga, CA 90290; canyonbistrotopanga.com; (310) 455-7800.
Inn of the Seventh Ray—Surrounded by nature, this restaurant is one of the most romantic in all of Los Angeles. The outdoor seating, a large terraced garden area next to a creek tributary, is complete with sycamore trees, fairy lights, oak trees and Buddha statues. During the cooler months, enjoy inside dining and a roaring fireplace. The Inn offers plenty of vegan and vegetarian dishes, and the meat they serve is sustainable and raised naturally. It’s also a great option for Sunday Champagne Brunch, bridal parties, and weddings. Located at 128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd, Topanga, CA 90290. Reservations recommended: innoftheseventhray.com; (310) 455-1311.
Topanga Farmers’ Market—Every Friday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., shoppers find fresh produce, local eggs, fresh-baked goods, seasonal organic veggies and fruits, raw milk, meats, and artisan foods. Children’s Storytime provided by the local library keeps kids entertained while parents shop and keep up with their neighbors. Buy a ticket to win a raffle worth $100 in Farmers Market bucks. Located at the Topanga Community Center, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; (646) 373-7678. On Facebook: Topanga Canyon Certified Farmers’ Market.
SHOPPING & PLACES OF INTEREST
Spiral Staircase—This unique bookstore greets guests of Inn of the Seventh Ray sells metaphysical tomes, jewelry, statues, spiritual iconography, crystals, chimes and incense. Located at 128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd, Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-3370.
Hidden Treasures—Foraging around this reasonably priced vintage clothing shop is like exploring the overstuffed house of stylish eccentrics. Don’t forget to check out the pirate trunk near the front door with clearance items going for just a few bucks each. Located at 154 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; hiddentreasurestopanga.com.
Bouboulina—This tiny clothing store, a local mainstay for more than 30 years, features beautiful hippie dresses, Native American jewelry, and lots of organic cotton clothing. The selection is eclectic, the size range is large, and they have excellent sales. Located near Pine Tree Circle, 108 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290.
Pebbles Topanga—A clothing and lifestyle boutique with shops in Santa Monica, Topanga, and Agoura. Clothes are inspired by world cultures, vibrant color, whimsical embellishments, and an unexpected mix of fabrics and embroidery. Also look for macramé swings, hammocks, tipis, and other lifestyle embellishments. Located at 111 N Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-0909; Facebook.
Topanga Homegrown—A tapestry of clothing and exceptional gifts for men, women and children that has historically been in Topanga Canyon for years. It showcases local and global artists with many one-of-a-kind pieces, such as unique greeting cards, special gifts for all ages, scented candles in different scents and sizes. handmade soaps and bath products, and Topanga souvenir items—T-shirts, sweatshirts and towels–to make memories last. Located at 120 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-8781.
The Topanga Library—A beautiful literary and activity-filled respite, replete with stunning artwork by local artists built into the design, and ongoing displays of student projects and art. Activities for adults and children may include Journey with Drum Circles; Herb and Vegetable Container Gardening; Science projects; Making a Zoetrope; Positivity Rocks; and Speaker series. Check the monthly calendar for current events and activities. Adjacent to Pine Tree Circle at 122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-3480; lacountylibrary.org/libs/Topanga.
Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum—Founded by Will Geer, an actor most famous for playing Grandpa on the ‘70s show, “The Waltons,” this outdoor theater, surrounded by oak trees and landscaped with all the flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays, offers a summer season of repertory theatre with an emphasis on the classics, particularly Shakespeare. Check their website for schedules & show times. Located at 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA 90290; theatricum.com; (310) 455-2322; Box office: (310) 455-3723.
HIKING & OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
Topanga Creek Outpost—A biking store showcasing Mountain and Touring bikes, frames, saddles, and handcrafted leather goods. Mountain bike repairs and local bike-packing tours. Saturdays meet at the shop at 8 a.m. sharp for a bike tour not to be missed. It is approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours climbing up Topanga’s fire roads and fun single tracks for a great Saturday morning workout with some of the most spectacular views as you traverse the canyon trails. Located at 1273 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-2111.
Red Rock Canyon Trail—A great place to hike, you’ll want to explore caves and search for fossils and arrowheads left by the Chumash Indians who once dwelled there. You can also take the canyon trail up to Calabasas Peak for a spectacular view. Located at: 23601 W. Red Rock Road, Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 589-3200.
Topanga State Park—Hike on one of the many trails to see some of the most beautiful nature in the area where you might see a deer, bobcat, or, less likely, one of the mountain lions in residence. With drought conditions, Eagle Spring and Santa Ynez Falls are probably dry. From Trippet Ranch Nature Center, walk the fire road north to Eagle Rock or south to Parker Mesa Overlook for spectacular views. This is an area of microclimates: mountains, meadows, riparian habitat, and oak woodlands. Connecting trails are the Santa Ynez Trail, Musch Trail and Dead Horse trail. Be aware of your surroundings and watch for rattlesnakes and, although they mostly avoid human contact, mountain lions. Trippet Ranch is located at 20828 Entrada Rd, Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-2465.
Tuna Canyon Park—This dog-friendly (on leash) park is a lovely place to stroll and take in some breathtaking views of nearby beaches, Catalina Island, Malibu and Santa Monica Piers. For more information: hikespeak.com/trails/tuna-canyon-park-malibu-topanga.
Summit Valley Edmund D. Edelman Park—offers some 650 preserved acres to explore. While not as well-known as other walking and hiking areas, there are certainly beautiful views, wildflowers in season, and a magnificent oak tree that will speak to your soul if you listen. Recommended are a 1.65-mile hike of the Edelman North Loop and a two-mile hike from Summit Valley to the Summit Motorway. Viewridge Trail crosses Topanga Canyon Blvd. to the less-visited east side of the valley toward a canyon overlook. Located at the north end of Topanga Canyon Boulevard. For information: hikespeak.com/trails/summit-valley-hike-topanga.
Topanga Canyon Air B&Bs—There are many B&Bs in Topanga Canyon offering eclectic places to stay from vacationing in airstreams to glamping in yurts and tipis. Rent a mountain top cabin or a luxury country home with magnificent views. There are many rustic homes with hot tubs and tranquil ponds, pools, gardens, and wildlife. Check the airbnb website for short- or long-term rates starting at $49 per night. More than 300 locations to choose from. www.airbnb.com.
Topanga Canyon Inn Bed & Breakfast—A Mediterranean style Bed & Breakfast offering elegant rooms with mohttuntain views. A peaceful art-filled retreat with American breakfast served daily at 9 a.m. The Inn is surrounded by Topanga State Park wilderness and trails for hiking. Situated 400 feet up a private road and tucked away in a rural setting in a quiet, remote country atmosphere. Located at 20310 Callon Drive, Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 570-3791; topangacanyoninn.com.
Topanga Canyon Gallery—An Artists’ co-operative founded in 1989 is home to the annual Artists Studio Tour. Beginning the first weekend in June, it is a self-guided tour and a chance to meet local artists in their home studios throughout the canyon. Topanga Canyon Gallery sits among a cluster of quaint shops and restaurants at Pine Tree Circle. Many well-known and emerging artists display their works with changing exhibits once a month. This is an established gallery always fresh with new art and artists. Located at 120 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Suite 10; (310) 455-7909; topangacanyongallery.com.