If you’re visiting Los Alamos, good news! You’re going to have so much fun in this funky town that is so full of life, antique shopping, wine tasting, friendly faces, and hidden gems. Located in the Central California Santa Ynez Valley, it sure is a tiny town, but it’s underrated in the best way possible.
Los Alamos is the small town to go for a girl’s getaway with lifelong friends or to simply get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
In 1896, two ranchers by the names of Dr. James Barron Shaw and John S. Bell donated part of their properties to found the town site. The name “Los Alamos” came from the Spanish word for “Cottonwoods”, beautiful trees which are still prevalent in the area, even today.
Though the small town is only seven blocks long, it feels so special and very welcoming. You can certainly feel the love and joy that the local artisans, ranchers, vineyard farmers, and townspeople pour into Los Alamos.
Los Alamos is just thirteen minutes north of Los Olivos on Highway 101, two hours and thirty minutes north of Los Angeles, and two hours and thirty minutes west of Bakersfield. It’s less than an hour northwest of Santa Barbara, close to the Santa Ynez Valley, and just off California’s central coast. Ultimately, it is a simply gorgeous part of California.
During your stay, you'll enjoy access to the restaurant, outdoor pool, and bar. Plus, their spacious accommodations feature all of the amenities you need for a relaxing and enjoyable stay. So whether you're looking to unwind by the fireplace or take in the stunning views from our sun terrace, Skyview Los Alamos is the perfect place for your next vacation.
Situated in the heart of the Santa Ynez wine country, this beautifully renovated bed and breakfast offers unrivaled accommodations and exceptional service. You'll enjoy all the modern amenities you need during your stay, like flat-screen TVs, video players, and more. Plus, the property features stunning outdoor spaces that are perfect for unwinding after a long day of exploring.
The Alamo motel offers convenient amenities like free WiFi and a flat-screen TV with DISH network in every guest room. Plus, every room has a private entrance and bathroom with free toiletries. And when you need to take a break from exploring the area, The have plenty of outdoor space for relaxing, including an outdoor fireplace, picnic area and BBQ facilities. Book your Alamo stay today!
Here are some of the best and most fun things to do in Los Alamos, California:
- Most significant landmark – Skyview Los Alamos
- Best park – Los Alamos County Park
- Best free activity – Strolling Bell Street
- Best activity for kids – Playing at Los Alamos County Park
- Best activity for adults -Bedford Wine Tasting
- Best food – Bell’s
- Best nightlife -The Los Alamos Bodega Garden
- Best all-around accommodation – Skyview Los Alamos
Fun & Best Things to Do in Los Alamos, California
1. Stop In At The Depot Antique Shop
Address: 515 Bell St, Los Alamos, CA 93440
If there’s one thing Los Alamos has, it’s cool antique shops within walking distance. Located right on Bell Street in Los Alamos, The Depot Antique Shop is the perfect place to hunt for vintage treasures while you unwind and relax.
The Depot is a one-of-a-kind, and one of the highest-rated antique stores in Los Alamos. It’s packed with home decor, good gifts, vinyl, art, collectibles, unique wine bottles, jewelry, and neat antiques.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Ramona, California
2. Taste Wine at Casa Dumetz Wines
Address: 388 Bell St, Los Alamos, CA 93440
Casa Dumetz Wines has a lovely wine tasting room that is open seven days a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays are by appointment only). Private and public tastings are available, with the private tastings on Tuesday and Wednesday going into much more detail and explaining the winery’s philosophies, histories, and creativity.
Three labels are created by Casa Dumetz. They are Casa Dumetz, Clementine Carter, and the Feminist Party. Each line is special in its own way.
If you love what you find, be sure to sign up for their wine club. They send you new wines regularly and even offer discounts on other items you purchase there.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Antioch, California
3. Stay a Spell at Skyview Los Alamos
Address: 9150 US-101 Los Alamos, CA 93440
When you visit Los Alamos, you have to make sure you stay here for at least a few nights. This is an iconic roadside motel that offers thirty-three boutique luxury guest rooms that overlook Santa Barbara wine country and the Ynez Mountains. Everything about this hotel whispers fancy mid-century style and modern southwestern rustic glam.
The amenities are pretty great too. You have access to a fully restored 1950s heated pool, with full food and drink service, freshly made coffees every morning, access to Linus bicycles, access to your own private patio with a fire pit, panoramic views of wine country, and rustic outdoor showers.
Just outside Skyview sits the Skyview Vineyard. It is a modest 2.5 acres but produces delicious Pinot Noir house wine. Norman Restaurant and Bar is part of Skyview Los Alamos, and wow, what a gorgeous little restaurant. You have to try their lunch menu and the cast iron cornbread.
It’s simple but so delicious. The Bates Burger and house-cut fries are just about perfect too. Looking for something lighter? Try the Stonefruit and walnut salad, it tastes so crisp and fresh.
Looking for more hotels to stay in? Hotels.com offers the best deals on hotels so book your stay in advance to ensure you secure your spot at one of the top spots for accommodation in Los Alamos.
See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in California to Visit
4. Enjoy a Day Strolling Bell Street
Address: Bell Street, Los Alamos, CA 93440
Bell Street is the main drag and main street of the town, and it just feels like such a welcoming, home-like place. Here, you’ll have your pick of wine tasting rooms, antique stores, and craft beers, all with a stark old west backdrop feel.
The town feels vintage and modern all in one. Union Hotel especially drives this aesthetic home. Though it is no longer used as a hotel, it does function as a beautiful wedding venue. Union Hotel is where rough and weathered meets upscale cowboy glamour.
Alamo Motel is another option, and it does accept overnight guests. Alamo Motel is a highly rated no-frills motel with a simple bar and lounge.
Fully immerse yourself in the local culture and fall in love with the culinary scene, the locals, and all the free fun that Bell Street in Los Alamos has to offer you.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Ridgecrest, California
5. Eat Dinner at Full of Life Flatbread
Address: 225 Bell St, Los Alamos, CA 93440
Also on Bell Street, Full of Life Flatbread thrives with its creative wood-fired pizzas, craft beers, and delicious local wines.
They have so many delicious flatbreads, that it’s hard to choose a favorite. Here are some of them:
- Dancing Heart Bread
- Shaman’s Bread
- Cheese and Herb
- Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa Flatbread
- Wood-Fired Cauldron Tomato Sauce Flatbread
- Mushroom and Carmelized Onion Flatbread
- Smoke-Dried Tomato and Mushroom Flatbread
- Kalamata Olive and Feta Flatbread
- Central Coast Sausage Flatbread
- Coachella Valley Date and Bacon Flatbread
Here’s a hot tip: Eat on the front porch. From here, you’ll have an excellent view of Bell Street, it feels extra special, and you’ll get to fully immerse yourself in that small town feeling.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do In Cambria, California
6. Los Alamos County Park
Address: 500 Drum Canyon Rd, Los Alamos, CA 93440
Los Alamos County Park is fifty-one acres, and it offers lots of open green grassy fields, good views, picnic tables, fire pits, barbecue grills, benches, hiking trails, biking trails, horseshoe pits, a playground, a volleyball court, and clean, well-maintained restrooms. People love that there are many easy-access parking spaces.
The trees here are mature old-growth oaks that provide lots of splendor, shade, and well-established old-time energy to the area. It just feels like a safe and enjoyable place to spend the day.
If you want a quiet place to reflect and enjoy the sunshine, this park is for you.
See Related: Best Vacation Rentals in California
7. Bedford Wine Tasting
Address: 448 Bell Street, Los Alamos, CA 93440
Add this to your itinerary! Bedford Wine Tasting offers superlative wines in an ambient space. The tasting room is open daily, and tastings are free for wine club members.
You have to try the 2020 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County wine. From Santa Maria Valley and Los Alamos, this wine deliciously combines cranberry and cherry notes with sage and spice. This wine is aged in French oak barrels for ten months.
Their 2017 Cellar Red Select Wine from Santa Barbara County is also good. It blends Bordeaux varieties and then ages them twenty months in vintage French oak barrels.
See Related: Most Beautiful & Best Vacation in the US
8. Have a Drink at the Bodega Los Alamos Gardens
Address: 273 Bell Street Los Alamos, CA 93440
The Bodega at Los Alamos offers a unique open-air beer and wine garden right in the middle of Los Alamos, California.
It has clean, modern, minimalist farmhouse vibes throughout and exceptionally friendly staff who are happy to help you choose a drink to take out in the wine and beer garden. They also serve surprisingly yummy ciders that are full of flavor and warmth.
Their gardens are beautiful day and night. During the day you have the gift of seeing the scenery, landscaping, and hills. At night, swooping, hanging twinkle lights elevate the space and give it a sweetly romantic atmosphere.
9. Stay at the Los Alamos Mercantile Building
Address: 508 Bell St, Los Alamos, CA 93440
The Los Alamos Mercantile Building really drives home the old west vibe of the town and it’s a great place to stay. It has four spaces to stay in:
- Billy the Kid – a three-bedroom Airbnb.
- Butch Cassidy – a two-bedroom Airbnb.
- Wyatt Earp – a two-bedroom Airbnb.
- Annie Oakley – a two-bedroom Airbnb.
These spaces are charming and with that gruff but sleek old-west cowboy vibe. The rooms are decorated with brown leather chairs, serape prints, terracotta colors, a perfect blend of various textures, vintage western hand-painted artwork, hand-carved wooden accents, cozy beds, and so much more.
People rave about their fully stocked state-of-the-art kitchen, big rooms, and cozy full baths. It’s the perfect place to kick back, relax, sip cabernet franc, sauvignon blanc, or grenache wines, crack open a wine magazine, and enjoy this beautiful section of the country.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Richmond, California
10. Eat at Bell’s
Address: 406 Bell St, Los Alamos, CA 93440
Bell’s has been featured in the Michelin Guide because its food is so phenomenally good. This is an adventure in flavor and one that you’ll never forget.
This french inspired bistro from Daisy Ryan is family owned and operated, and so uniquely wonderful. It has a colorful eclectic dining area with mismatched prints, patterns, chairs, tall vaulted ceilings, and gorgeous oriental rugs throughout. Enough about the cozy restaurant though; let’s talk about this amazing food!
Bell’s offers dine-in, takeout, and Prix Fixe Dinner. It is strongly recommended that you make a reservation. Reservations are released on the first of the previous month. So, for example, October reservations are released on September 1st at 1 pm.
Some of their best and most notable dishes are:
- Wild Burgundy Snails
- Steak Tartare
- Braised Beef Chuck Sandwich
- Santa Barbara Sea Urchin
- Crudo of Santa Barbara Bluefin
- Dark Chocolate Glacee
They also have dozens of champagne, white, rose, orange, and red wines available.
11. Buy the exhibits at T&T Local Artisans Enterprise
Address: 515 Bell St, Los Alamos, CA 93440
My least favorite thing about your regular old art galleries like MoMA or the Guggenheim is that you can spend all day wandering the halls, admiring the magnificent works on display, but at the end of it, will they let you buy your favorite painting? No. They won’t. In fact, they’re normally pretty rude when it comes to walking out with an original Warhol or Matisse.
That’s one of the reasons Local Artisans Enterprise in the old T&T building is so dang rad. As well as being host to the stunning works of over 50 local artists, you can also spend some time shopping around for your favorite pieces.
Featuring original wall art, sculptures, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and much more, T&T Local Artisans Enterprise is an essential stop for anyone looking for a unique souvenir or a dose of creativity.
12. Take a Sidecar Tour of Santa Ynez Valley
Address: 515 Bell Street, Los Alamos, CA, 93440
Among the best reasons to visit Los Alamos are the various different wines, you can sample from the local vineyards, as well as the simply magnificent landscapes surrounding the town. If you’re only here for a flying visit, you might be torn between going on a wine tour or exploring the great outdoors.
If only there was a way to do both in a pinch…wait – there totally is! And there’s a way to do both in style! Sidecar Tours Santa Ynez is an awesome and unique way of touring Los Alamos and the Santa Ynez Valley.
Get your helmet on and hop in the sidecar of a vintage motorcycle for the sightseeing tour of a lifetime! Your tour guide will pick you up from Bell Street and then take you on a whistle-stop tour of the area. Offering scenic tours and vineyard excursions, they also offer customizable tours as well.
Getting Around Los Alamos
Los Alamos is one of a kind small town where it is almost completely unnecessary to need your own car to explore the area. Almost every single restaurant, shop, winery, hotel, and point of interest is on Bell Street – you might have noticed that already. It is exceptionally easy to navigate the town, and you will only need transportation in and out of the town at the beginning and end of your vacation.
A bicycle or decent walking shoes are sufficient. If you have children, it would likely take you more time to load everyone into the car and buckle them into their seats than it would to simply stroll down the street to wherever it is you want to go.
Even if you’re here on a girl’s trip with your own wine-tasting itinerary, walking is still the better option because it is so quick, safe, easy, and legal. You don’t need a designated driver if you are just walking in the town. However, if you want the freedom to freely enter and leave when you visit Los Alamos, you can rent a car here.
What are some fun things to do in Los Alamos, California?
Go shopping for antiques, stop in at a few wine tasting rooms, go for a walk, stop at a delicious restaurant in the middle of town, and then head back to your quaint little bed and breakfast or motel room for a dip in the pool.
What is the best thing to do with kids in Los Alamos?
Take kids on a stroll through downtown Los Almos on Bell Street to get ice cream, and then walk twelve minutes down Drum Canyon Road to the Los Alamos County Park.
What are some things to do in Los Alamos when it is raining?
Los Alamos has many historic buildings that overlook sweeping, majestic views of the local vineyards and rolling hills. Grab a hot coffee or tea, find a cozy spot by a window to watch the rain patter down, or crack open a good book.
- Best Sabbatical Destinations
- Best Vacations for a Group of Friends
- Most Exotic Places in California to Visit
Lock In Your Travel Now
Find Cheap Flights
Use Skyscanner to find flight deals. As my personal favorite flight search engine, Skyscanner scours websites and airlines across the globe, leaving no stone unturned to help you find the best deal possible. And if you really want to take your savings to new heights, pair Skyscanner with Going (Formerly Scott's Cheap Flights). With access to exclusive mistake fares delivered straight to your inbox, you'll be packing your bags and jetting off on your next adventure before you know it.
Travel insurance is a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what's thrown at it. Cover yourself against illness, injury and theft, and protect the arrangements you've made with our flexible travel cancellation insurance. My favorite options for travel insurance are:
Book Your Accommodation
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be sure to join the ViaTravelers Newsletter for expert tips, tricks and inspiration for your next travel journey!
Discover the Best Travel Tools
Be sure to visit our page on our favorite travel resources to learn how you too can visit over 10 countries in year.