Just a few miles up Highway 33, but a world away from the headaches and traffic that thwart much of Southern California is the small town of Ojai. About 12 miles inland from Ventura, Ojai is the smallest city in Ventura County, and we are darn proud of it.
Ojai’s charms are many. The community has long been known as a haven for artists, musicians and health enthusiasts. A village as we locals call it of about 8,000, Ojai is a vibrant place with so much natural beauty that it gained fame decades ago when the area was photographed to represent Shangri-La in the 1939 movie, The Lost Horizon.
Filled with delightful shops, art galleries and a host of places to retreat from the fast-paced lifestyle that can knot the nerves, Ojai invites you to walk its oak-shaded paths taking some time to drink in the serenity of it all.
The Chumash Indians are the first known residents of Ojai, and it is from their word Ahwai meaning moon that the name Ojai is derived. One of the oldest towns in Ventura County, Ojai was settled in the 1800s and incorporated as a city in 1921. Nestled in the Ojai Valley, the town is surrounded by peaks that give off a glow in the evening light known as the pink moment.
One of the prominent early settlers was Edward D. Libbey, a wealthy glass manufacturer who is responsible for the layout of the town. It was Robert Winfield who built the stately Arcade that today houses shops and eateries, but it was Libbey’s money and his vision that the town have a distinctive center faithful to its Spanish heritage. Thus Libbey teamed with architect Richard Requa from San Diego and together they created what today draws the eye and captures the heart.