Photos by Lauren Young
Hidden deep within the Santa Monica mountains, Topanga Canyon serves as a community of talented artists, musicians, hippies and free spirits.
This area was popularized in the 1960s as a getaway for creative minds such as Neil Young, The Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson and Jim Morrison of The Doors, according to Brendan Newnam in the CNN Travel piece, “Topanga: Malibu’s Hippie Cousin?” Though it’s just a 30-minute drive away, the bustling city of Los Angeles feels like a completely different world compared to this peaceful, mountainous region.
Topanga Canyon has modernized itself by bringing treasures of the past to the present. With thrift stores full of character, locally-owned coffee shops, art supply stores and restaurants, we have chosen the must-sees of Topanga Canyon that help this rustic community embrace its flower-child roots.
154 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga CA, 90290
Monday – Sunday: 10:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.
An old house that looks like a pirate ship? This quirky store is the perfect spot for finding your next Halloween costume or fringe leather jacket!
2. Waterlily Cafe $$
120 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga CA, 90290
A delicious local place to get your coffee and pastry fix, with tasty soups and sandwiches as well.
3. The Canyon Bistro $$
120 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290
Charming restaurant featuring a delicious brunch menu and the best french toast in the Santa Monica mountains.
4. Bouboulina Boutique $$
108 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290
Family-run since 1980, this clothing store has treasures new and old, with a fine collection of handmade jewelry and hand-dyed fabrics.
127 S Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290
Monday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Closed Tuesday and Wednesday)
Near the Topanga General Store, this is a “funky, fun, vintage” place to find that perfect fall flannel.
6. Cafe Mimosa $$
395 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290
Full of artsy paintings and whimsical decorations, this French-inspired cafe can serve as a cozy spot for a coffee date or quiet lunch with a friend.
7. Old Canyon Ranch $
301 Old Topanga Canyon Rd., Topanga, CA 90290
This rustic outdoor venue is a popular place for weddings but is also a gorgeous spot to walk around and experience Topanga Canyon’s natural beauty. The Ranch is complete with a garden, plant nursery, picnic tables and pumpkin patch in the fall!
The character and charm of Topanga Canyon’s bohemian community will make you feel as if you’ve traveled back to a simpler time. Rather than heading to Starbucks in Malibu for your next coffee fix, try something new only twenty minutes from campus. Take advantage of Topanga Canyon’s beautiful scenery and unique stores, grab some friends and go on an adventure to discover the unique way of life just through the canyon.
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