There is something magical about Conejo Valley. From the rolling hills, numerous outdoor activities, great dining and shopping options, it has all the best that Southern California has to offer… just with more space.
As someone who spends a lot of time in Los Angeles (yours truly), I finally found myself able to take a breath and escape from the rate race. The best part, Conejo Valley is only a short 45-minute drive north of LA, which means it is now my new favorite weekend getaway.
In all seriousness, Conejo Valley is a hidden gem. If you would have asked me years ago, I might not have been able to point it out on a map. But I absolutely was familiar with several places located in the area.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library? Located in Conejo Valley. Santa Monica Mountains? Located in Conejo Valley. Malibu Wine Safari? Yes. Also located in Conejo Valley. Paramount Rach? Oh, yes. This too is in Conejo Valley (unfortunately most of it was destroyed on the Woolsey fires in late 2018).
Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Newbury Park, Agoura Hills, and part of Calabasas all make up Conejo Valley. So, if you are looking for a weekend escape, this is the perfect place to recharge and discover a different side of Southern California. The following are my recommendations on where to stay, what to eat, and what to do.
Where To Stay in Conejo Valley
There are many great options for accommodations in Conejo Valley. The Hyatt Regency Westlake is a great option for those looking to be pampered. But if you prefer more of a focused service experience, the Hampton Inn & Suites is a great option as well. In fact, this is where I stayed, and I had a lovely experience. I was warmly greeted every time I came in and out of the hotel. Their pool was great! And their breakfast included lots of options to fuel up on before heading out for the day.
Where to Eat in Conejo Valley
So when it comes to eating, you can find nearly any cuisine under the sun. It is Southern California after all. One night we found ourselves at the Tipsy Goat, which was not only delicious, but it turned into quite the dance part after 10 pm. This was a Saturday night, but it was such a lively way to end the evening. The food, classic, American bar fare, checked off all the boxes. I even got to order a veggie burger—my favorite go-to.
The other night, I opted for something more low-key—but it did not disappoint. Vegan Thyme served up some of the best vegan Thai food I have had in years. Yes, years. It is a small, hole-in-the-wall, but top notch food and service. Highlights of me meal were the drunken noodles, summer rolls, and the avocado spring rolls. The secret is out. Now you know not only what I order at a vegan Thai restaurant, but you also know about this place. Really a spot more for locals, it was delicious. Delicious enough for me to make it a mandatory stop on my next day trip up to Conejo Valley.
I can’t forget to talk about breakfast and brunch!
Calling all bagel lovers! Flatiron Bagels is a game-changer when it comes to west coast bagels. Like WHOA. I snagged their French Toast bagel as well as their Avocado Toast Bagel. To die for! SO good!
As much as I wanted to go back for a second day in a row, I ended up at Five 07 Coffee Bar and Eatery. Another foodie winner in Conejo Valley! My friend and I had their Avocado Toast and their Lavender Honey Toast, along with a latte and a sparkling lemonade. It’s a perfect start to any day!
What to Do in Conejo Valley
There is so much to do in Conejo Valley, but I’ll share my personal highlights.
Gardens of the World
I started off by visiting the Gardens of the World. AWESOME! I didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s this beautifully curated and groomed garden that you can find yourself lost in for hours. It isn’t big, but there are so many interesting corners. There’s a rose garden, European fountain, Japanese Garden, and even a little Mission. Honestly, now that I’ve taken a step back—I get it. It really encapsulates all the different cultures that make up Southern California. It really is stunning!
The Conejo Valley Botanic Gardens
They are so worth a visit! I figured I would focus on the places I would not normally get to visit, and it too was beautiful. Tucked away, the Conejo Valley Botanical Gardens creates a nice haven that you can wander all throughout. I suggest to go earlier in the day as it can get a little warm in the summer.
You have to check out an Open-Air Concert! The weekend I was in town I saw the New West Symphony play to a showing of the movie Titanic. Families and people of all ages gathered in the Cal Lutheran University football field. As the sun set, the music played into the night. It was another spectacular evening! Of course there are always events going on so I suggest checking out their website on what is happening while you’re in town!
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
This is a must! I can’t believe that in all my years of living in LA, I had not been. Especially cool to note are the permanent exhibits, Air Force One Pavilion and the Oval Office. Currenlty, the special exhibit is The World od Da Vinci that is on until September 8th, 2019.
Although I did not visit Malibu Safari this time, I have been in the past. Many people don’t realize that there are some great wineries in the Malibu area… and this one has safari animals, from zebras to their famous giraffe, Stanley! I think it’s a great option for groups or couples looking for something different.
Then of course, I ended my weekend retreat by tipping my toes in the Pacific and enjoying the sand at Zuma Beach. This 2 mile long stretch of beach is a surfers haven and also one of the most scenic beaches in Malibu. I loved driving through the Santa Monica Mountains on Kanan Road to hit the beach.
That’s my recap on the amazing Conejo Valley! Head over to my Instagram to check out my stories.
On your next trip to SoCal, or even if you are based here and looking for a different place to escape to, Conejo Valley is the perfect retreat! For more on the area, check out www.conejo.com!