Hidden Gems: A Local’s Guide To Camarillo

Love seeing a city through the eyes of a local? Then today’s post is perfect for you! The possibilities are endless in Camarillo. From attending an English Tea to wandering through a botanical garden Camarillo is filled with hidden gems you don’t want to miss out on.

I’ve been living in Camarillo for several years now and I have to say, the city has so much to offer. This guide is all about my favorite spots that make this Southern California community worth checking out.  From restaurants to shops, you will find something on this list of places to visit during your next trip. So grab your friends and check it out!

Dining Out to Live Music

Weekends in Camarillo are perfect for dining alfresco and enjoying live music. There’s nothing better than date night or a girl’s night out with live music in the background! With so many amazing restaurants in this city, it’s hard to narrow it down.

At the top of my list is Onyx Bistro. With local acoustic style musicians on Fridays and Saturdays, their live music is just the right vibe for dining out on their patio. They have a great menu full of delicious options. Start with the roasted potato skins appetizer for sure! And don’t forget to finish off the night with their flourless chocolate cake. You won’t regret it. Be sure to get there early and you just might score cozy seating at the glass fire pit.

Love a good locally brewed beer? Try Twisted Oak Tavern! The ambiance couldn’t be more fitting as you enjoy drinks with friends after dinner or maybe some happy hour cocktails. My favorite thing about this restaurant is the atmosphere, it’s so warm and inviting. You’ll fall in love with savory dishes like the miso salmon with English pea puree, warm red potato salad, red miso glaze or go for a classic and order the Reuben! Order brewed in-house beers on tap and enjoy live music on select weekends. You’ll feel right at home while watching sports at the bar and cheering on your favorite teams.

Ric’s Restaurant is a favorite among locals for its amazing specials, not to mention being known as the best sports bar in Camarillo. Stop on by for a local favorite like the prime rib French dip, any of their mouth-watering burgers, or the Ahi Tuna! They have happy hour all week long from 2:30 – 6 pm. They also offer live music every Sunday afternoon starting at 2:30 pm so come early before all the seating fills up!

Best Brunch Spots in Camarillo

We love to brunch on the weekend or let’s be honest, any day off! In Camarillo the question isn’t where to brunch, but where not to brunch! There are so many great brunch spots it’s hard to narrow it down.

For a truly hidden gem head over to the Hidden Cafe and you’ll find it’s aptly named for its tucked-away location. Open from 7 am – 2 pm with fantastic service that will not disappoint! The food here is amazing too; with such great options on their menu, you’ll have a hard time choosing between breakfast or lunch. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with the house omelet, the chicken fried steak or the cajun chicken sandwich!

Head to the quaintest spot in town: Old Town. You’ll find the cutest shops, a fantastic farmer’s market, and plenty of spots to grab breakfast at. A beloved local favorite I’d recommend is the lovely Old Town Cafe.

Family-owned Old Town Cafe is known for fresh ingredients and creative seasonal items. You’ll love the friendly atmosphere and staff who are always happy to see you walk in the door. With a cozy spot on the corner of Ventura Blvd. and Oak Street you’ll enjoy people watching from the patio while sipping a seasonal latte or mimosa.

Lastly, on my list of favorite brunch spots, you can’t go wrong with is Braxton’s Kitchen! Locally sourced and always fresh. If you’re in the mood for some delicious food and a great atmosphere, Braxton’s Kitchen is your place! I absolutely love their Sausage & Cheddar bowl. It comes complete with an egg cooked just how I like it: fried sunny-side up. And don’t forget about their yummy avocado toast, topped with arugula and balsamic drizzle, you really can’t go wrong. They’re also super dog friendly–so feel free to bring your dog along with you! Not only do they love dogs, but a portion of their profits go towards local rescues and nonprofits.

Getting Out in Nature

Visit Santa Rosa Valley Park for wilderness exploring, biking and hiking. You’ll find several trails people love to hike, bike and even ride their horses on! Hike the Hill Canyon Trail where you’ll find gorgeous mountain views and beautiful wildflowers on this moderate family-friendly hike. This popular 3.6 mile hike is a great way to connect with nature and escape the city.

Camarillo Grove Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Camarillo, full of gorgeous old trees, lots of picnic tables, great hikes, and an amazing view of Camarillo. There’s plenty to do at the park whether you are looking to hang out, play or hike! Bring a picnic, relax and check out the nature center or let the dog roam the dog park. The park also has a rich history. In 1941 Adolfo Camarillo donated 26 acres of Rancho Calleguas to Ventura County for the park. Not only is it home to the oldest tree in the district, it’s a former stagecoach stop for Camarillo.

On Saturdays and Sundays, you can check out the Pleasant Valley Historical Society and Museum and Botanical Garden. While you may have heard of Pleasant Valley Historical Society and Museum, did you know there’s also a Botanical Garden? There’s lots to learn at the museum about the history of the Pleasant Valley and Camarillo! After visiting the museum take a stroll through the Charles L. Honn Botanical Garden. Complete with a darling gazebo it also serves as an urban bee lab for UC-Berkeley. Although PVHS is currently closed for expansion, we are excited to be welcomed back into the beautiful space we know and love. Check out their project progress here.

Time for Shopping!

There’s no shortage of shopping to be done in Old Town. For the vintage and antique lover check out Green Goddess, the Antique Mall of Camarillo, and Window Box Antiques. Beach lovers and surfers alike will love checking out Revolution Board Co. Art lovers should be sure to visit the Studio Channel Islands Art Center gallery or book a reservation at Painting With a Twist for a fun night out.

On Saturday mornings, take a stroll through Old Town and check out the Farmer’s Market. This weekly event offers farm fresh produce from local farms, as well as flowers for your home, in addition to other artisan goods like jewelry or clothing made by local vendors! There are also food vendors serving everything from coffee, chips, tamales, seafood and lots of yummy treats. Be sure to visit from 8 am – 12 pm, for fresh local produce, flowers, artisan goods, treats, and yes, live music!

What’s a trip to Camarillo without hitting up the Outlets. You’ll find me regularly shopping at Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, and Banana Republic. Not to mention Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and Ted Baker. With over 150 shops and restaurants, you could spend an entire day there. Feeling hungry while shopping? Go back to the 50’s at Johnny Rockets or grab a treat on the go at It’s Boba Time.

Pick up your next novel at The Bookworm. A locally owned bookstore beloved by the community. The Bookworm has been a fixture in town since 1973 when it first opened its doors as Mrs. Fig’s Bookworm. You’ll find them incredibly knowledgeable and helpful in picking out a book to read, no matter what your reading tastes are. They carry local authors, host book signings, and definitely have a passion for literature.

Shopping For a Sweet Treat

Stopping for a sweet treat at Tifa Chocolate and Gelato is a must! Delicious gelato flavors, and lots of great coffee and tea options. When you’re looking for the perfect flavors, why not try something a little different? Their gelato has been handcrafted and they only use fresh ingredients. Enjoy authentic flavors with their added American twist on it! Indulge in artisan chocolate or how about a homemade truffle, bon-bon, or caramel! Stay awhile and play a game of chess or checkers or read that novel you just picked up from The Bookworm.

Hanging out in Old Town? You’ll have to decide between amazing soft serve and the creamiest artisan ice cream! You can’t go wrong with a classic twist from Mister Softee’s or have fun piling the toppings on an ice cream sundae.

For amazing artisan ice cream, try the most delectable flavors at Rori’s in The Mark. Their Ice cream is made in small batches with a focus on quality and wholesome ingredients. And trust me you can taste it! From scoops to ice cream sandwiches, root beer floats, shakes, malts, and even vegan options, you won’t be disappointed.

Stop by All Things Tea for tea and baked goodies. The family-owned tea room is your one stop destination for English style service. A tea enthusiast’s paradise , they have 130 varieties to choose from. The hostess is very knowledgeable about tea and makes helpful suggestions on selecting different flavors. They have unique treats such as lemon rosemary scones and seasonal baked goods. Book a reservation for an English Tea and enjoy a lovely afternoon at the perfect spot for some much needed refreshment with friends!

When you’re a local, it’s easy to forget that there are so many hidden gems in the area! Whether you live here or are visiting, this charming city doesn’t disappoint. From dining alfresco, exploring nature, indulging in a sweet treat, shopping, or strolling through Old Town there’s no shortage of things to do. I hope you enjoy exploring some of my favorite spots in Camarillo.

xoxo Naomi

Guest blogger, Naomi, is a long time Camarillo local. She and her husband Nick enjoy the charm of the city and being a part of this vibrant community. You can find her on Instagram: @naomikirons and at happilydwell.com where she writes lifestyle, travel, and inspirational posts.