Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
LA is super-friendly and even intense when it comes to homegrown, do-it-yourself, all-natural fashion and food, but your standard farmer's market has nothing on hippie chic haven Topanga Canyon, a sprawling, rugged neighborhood tucked way up in the hills between Malibu and Woodland Hills. Spending a day in Topanga feels like stepping into an entirely different realm (we're pretty sure elves live in the woods here), while you're still a mere 15 minutes from the PCH. If you make the most of a day here, you'll leave refreshed, renewed, and totally invigorated, and not just because it's out of the LA basin's smog cover; there's truly a magnificent vibe here, and it's so much richer than the cliché superlatives suggest.
Start your Saturday the Topanga way with a morning class at Yoga Desa (120 N Topanga Canyon Boulevard). For $18 a session, you'll find an incredible lineup of instructors at this premier yoga destination, including legendary '90s high-fashion model Sibyl Buck, whose commitment to health epitomizes the TC lifestyle. There are two classes on Saturday, a 9am gentle flow and a 10:30am level 2/3, so regardless of your yoga abilities, you can find a class to suit your needs. The Canyon is reputed to have a highly cultivated spirit, and the mindfulness of yoga practice certainly brings the area's mystical je ne sais quois to the forefront.
Relax and feel the good vibes after yoga by sitting down to brunch at Cafe Mimosa (395 S Topanga Canyon Boulevard), where you can tuck into homemade quiche, outstanding vegan muffins, and superior organic tea or espresso. It's worth getting the Pirates Chai matcha latte and a pain au chocolat as a nod to the quaint coffee spot's French atmosphere. Don't neglect a quick look around the lovely attached boutique, with a small selection of vintage French imports and sweet gift items.
Topanga has lots of chill shopping options (you'd be hard-pressed to find something that's not chill around here), so make time for a trip to Hidden Treasures (154 S Topanga Canyon Boulevard) and browse their selection of vintage apparel and decor. As the name suggests, you're bound to find some gems here, so shop diligently. Also consider heading to Topanga Homegrown (120 S Topanga Canyon Boulevard) for some locally-made accessories, yummy Paddywax soy candles, and vibrant textiles, or Bouboulina (108 N Topanga Canyon Boulevard), where you can wade through luscious silk shawls and purchase Native American jewelry, picked up by the owners on trips to the Southwest.
Ideally, avoiding the heat of the day is the best option when it comes to hiking, but be aware that the trails in Topanga aren't your relatively antiseptic Runyon options. The landscape here is wild and vast, and you'll want to stick to well-worn trails if you're unfamiliar with the area. Visiting Topanga State Park (20829 Entrada Road) is a must-do, and you won't be disappointed by the flora and fauna along Backbone Trail and Eagle Rock Trail, which you can pick up or drop off at several points along the way (make your way to the boulder outcropping at Eagle Rock, for which the trail is named). Make sure you have plenty of Neil Young and The Beach Boys ready to go, as both Young and Dennis Wilson counted Topanga Canyon as home once upon a time.
For the more adventurous set, try the visually stunning Labyrinth Hike in Tuna Canyon Park, accessible via Fernwood Canyon Drive off Topanga Canyon Road. The trail takes you into Malibu and ends with a compelling panorama of Santa Monica, an unbroken ocean vista, and a cool stone labyrinth etched in the sandy soil at the furthest point. Lest we forget ruin porn aficionados, the brave at heart can venture up to the graffiti-covered, abandoned microwave tower nestled between Topanga and Malibu. Although you can't get near the tower anymore (don't climb the fence and you're well within your legal rights), you can get close enough to snap some awesome photos and take in the sight in all its creepy glory.
After sunset, there are plenty of fabulous dinner options, like high-end DiCaprio-favorite The Inn of the Seventh Ray (128 Old Topanga Canyon Road), with its ethereal, woodland setting in the older part of TC (super popular as a wedding venue), and the Canyon Bistro (120 N Topanga Canyon Boulevard), which has an incredible wine bar and often boasts a live music set. Looking for something more low key? Try Abuelitas Mexican Restaurant (137 S Topanga Canyon Boulevard), open until midnight and known for their killer margaritas and Mexican hot chocolate. Sitting on a patio and breathing in the sweet, faintly salty canyon air while you relax with a beverage sounds like a great way to end a day in this isolated, inspiring place.