Skip to Content

24 Things to Do in Los Alamos, CA

Take a road trip and spend the weekend in Los Alamos, CA! The best things to do in Los Alamos are drink, eat, drink more, and shop. However, there are so many choices for where to eat, drink, and shop! There are just so many great tasting rooms, wineries, bars, restaurants, and antique stores that you’ll have to choose what to do because you can’t do it all in one weekend! 

Hey there! This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at NO additional cost to you. Ads are how I pay the bills and keep the blog free and full of valuable content to help you plan your trip!

Also, please follow all local guidelines and regulations as it relates to travel during these rapidly changing times. Please double check hours and make sure restaurants, museums, stores, etc. are open for business before traveling.

Weekend Guide to Los Alamos, CA

I’ve spent two weekends in Los Alamos, CA in the last few years. My first weekend trip was a solo trip and it was awesome, but there are just so many awesome places to eat and drink in Los Alamos that it is the perfect place to visit with friends. And I was so happy to return in 2021 with a couple of girlfriends on a little “momcation”. We definitely ate and drank our way through the town!

History of Los Alamos, CA

The town of Los Alamos (the name is Spanish for The Cottonwoods) was founded in 1876 by ranchers Bell and Shaw as a stop along the stagecoach line. However, the Los Alamos Valley was first home to a Chumash village which was abandoned in the early 1800s with the establishment of the nearby mission. A smallpox outbreak in the 1840s nearly decimated the native population and by the 1850s, only 8 natives remained. 

In 1839 when Mexico ruled Alta California, Jose Antonio de la Guerra was given a land grant of 48,803 acres and he named it Rancho Los Alamos and had a one-story adobe home built on his property (by the Chumash who traded labor in exchange for goods and food). The Ranch House still exists today, but is private property.

One of the bandits that the character Zorro is based on, Salomon Pico, lived in the area of Los Alamos and he and his gang would attack and rob Americans passing through. The restaurant Pico at the former Los Alamos General Store was named for Salomon Pico.

With the establishment of the stagecoach route in 1874, a stable and dining establishment was built and the town quickly grew around it.In 1882, the Pacific Coast Railway established a stop in Los Alamos and the town grew agriculturally until the 1930s when the railroad service ended.

In more recent years, the wine industry has grown immensely in the area and the town of Los Alamos has become a culinary destination.

Why Visit Los Alamos, CA

Great food, great wine, and treasure hunting are all, in my opinion, a great weekend away. 

I highly recommend a weekend trip to Los Alamos, the tiny “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” town located in Central California. Instead of just a stop along the highway, it’s become a little destination town. With multiple motels to choose from, several fancy-ish restaurants, and almost too many places to have a drink in the middle of the day, it’s perfect for a solo trip to recharge, a girls’ getaway, or a romantic weekend for two!

Know Before You Go

  • The town is sleepy Monday through Wednesday, so don’t expect everything (or anything) to be open if you’re rolling through early in the week. 
  • A car is necessary. Don’t rely on Uber or Lyft. Plan on a designated driver if going wine tasting or drinking.
  • Most restaurants close between lunch and dinner, only serve breakfast until a certain time or on certain days, and some of the fancier restaurants might require a reservation, so do your research before you go!
  • It’s hot in the summer. Dress for the weather, bring sunscreen, a hat, and water!

What to do in Los Alamos, CA

Go Wine Tasting

Bodega

I highly recommend a stop at Bodega, an adorable open-air beer and wine garden! My friends and I stopped in on a Friday afternoon after checking into the Skyview Motel (more on the motel below) and we enjoyed catching up over a bottle of wine.

Bodega has a super chic little outdoor area with tons of seating choices (fire pit, hammock, picnic tables, etc.) as well as bocce ball and an absolutely adorable little greenhouse. 

It’s also SUPER photogenic! Sorry for ALL the photos, but you need to see just how cute this place is!

Bedford Winery

The next afternoon, we did a wine tasting at Bedford Winery. I normally do not enjoy in-town tasting rooms, but I highly recommend this one. The courtyard is cute, the tasting was done by one of the owners who told us all about his family’s vineyard, and the wine was great! I took home a bottle of the “Dear Prudence” Chardonnay even though I normally do not like chardonnays.

Here are a few other places to drink wine in town:

Lofi Wines

Lofi Wines is located across from the Alamo Motel, stop in for a tasting Friday-Sunday.

Lumen Lounge at Pico

Go for a $15-20 tasting at the Lumen Lounge located inside Pico restaurant and then afterward, have lunch or dinner! Reservations are recommended Wednesday-Sunday.

Bar Alamo

Formerly Muni Wines, Bar Alamo is a cute little beer and wine bar open Thursdays-Sundays out front of the Alamo Motel. I’d love to try the house-made micheladas offered on Sundays.

Casa Dumetz Wines

I didn’t stop for a wine tasting at Casa Dumetz Wines, but I did step inside for a minute and purchased a bottle of their Clementine Carter Grenache Blanc. Sonja, the owner/winemaker, was super friendly. Like I said, I don’t normally enjoy in-town wine tasting rooms (I much prefer family-owned tasting rooms located within the grounds of the actual winery), but I would make an exception for Casa Dumetz Wines since the owner/winemaker is doing the tasting.

Grab Breakfast at Bob’s Well Bread

If you didn’t stop at Bob’s Well Bread, well, then did you truly experience Los Alamos?

Seriously, the hype is real. The food is great. In fact on our second morning, my girlfriends insisted we go back there again for breakfast instead of trying someplace new.

The first day, we had the Egg in a Jar which is purple potato puree topped with gruyere cheese, poached egg, bacon lardons, chives, and crème fraiche and served with toast soldiers.

The next day we mixed things up a bit with the Gravlax Platter, Cinnamon-Raisin Brioche French Toast, and a Pain au Chocolat. We also bought a ton of bread and other goodies to take home!

Treasure Hunting at Antique Stores

After breakfast at Bob’s Well Bread on the second day in town, we went shopping!

Sister’s Gifts and Home

We started at Sister’s Gifts and Home (which used to be Gussied Up Antiques.) I’d say it’s still an “antique store,” but it’s much more curated and offers some new boutique items and local goods. Because it’s better curated, the prices are on the higher end, but you can still find some deals! I found a gift for my mom, a gorgeous Italian silk scarf, some vintage earrings, a vintage book of paintings by the French painter Utrillo, as well as a cute, little, mid-century salt shaker for me … and I’m now regretting that I didn’t grab a bottle of honey for my honey.

Los Alamos Antique Depot

Later in the day after a wine tasting, we then headed over to the Los Alamos Antique Depot. The place used to be SUPER huge with three large buildings that were all connected. But now they’ve converted the front rooms into a large bar which is where everyone hangs out at night. 

Hot tip: This is literally a hot tip. If you’re visiting in the summer, plan to hit up the Los Alamos Antique Depot earlier in the day since they do NOT have air conditioning and it gets really hot.

I’ve never really found anything here that was super amazing, but on my two trips, I picked up a Bert Kaemfert record (he’s got the mad hits) for $2, a vintage bakelite bracelet, and an antique postcard.

 T&T Local Artisans Enterprise

T&T Local Artisans Enterprise is a newer addition to the shops in Los Alamos. It’s a collective art gallery where local artists and artisans can sell their art and creations.

Terramonary Pottery

I stopped into Terramonary Pottery to check out their tie-dye clothing and I probably would have purchased a shirt if I had seen a pink/purple design in my size or a couple of shirts for the twins had they sold children’s t-shirts. 

Other little shops include:

Where to Eat Lunch in Los Alamos

Full of Life Flatbread

We had lunch at Full of Life Flatbread on the Saturday that we were in town. The food was great, but we felt a little bamboozled by both the name and the waitress.

We wanted to do a light lunch since we knew we were heading up to Presqu’ile Winery for a food and wine tasting and one would think with the word “flatbread” in the name that one would be ordering smaller flatbread-style pizzas. We told the waitress we just wanted a couple of slices between the three of us and asked about the sizing between the small and large, but she recommended that we get a large pepperoni and a large mushroom.

And it was TOO much pizza. Is that even a thing? I mean, it was fucking delicious, don’t get me wrong, but way too much food! Next time, we’ll get the smaller ones so we can also get dessert because the Los Alamos S’more sounds delicious!

Plenty on Bell

On my solo trip to Los Alamos in 2019, I had lunch at Plenty on Bell and I highly recommend it. Great service, great food! 

Bell’s

I have not dined at Bell’s, but it is a highly recommended restaurant in town. Be sure to book reservations while you’re booking your accommodations or you will be disappointed.

Reservations do open up as you get closer to your travel date and you can always try sliding into their DM’s, but if you’re determined to eat at Bell’s, make the reservations now.

Bob’s Well Bread

If you didn’t make it to Bob’s Well Bread for breakfast, well then stop by for lunch! The breakfast and lunch menu is all day, so get the eggs if you want them or opt for a sandwich! They also offer takeaway sandwiches that you can take with you if you plan to picnic or can BYO lunch to a wine tasting!

The Maker’s Son

I haven’t been to The Maker’s Son yet – it was new in town when my girlfriends and I went to Los Alamos in 2021, but the menu looks great and I’d love to try it in the future! Located inside a renovated 1920’s garage and gas station, The Maker’s Son is open for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays only.

Drink Some More 

There are so many places to drink in town! If you’ve had your fill of wine, try switching to beer or liquor! You can do a beer tasting at Babi’s Beer Emporium, grab a drink and go back in time at the 1880 Union Hotel Saloon, hit up the beer bar at Bar Alamo if you’re staying at Alamo Motel, and locals and tourists are welcome nightly at the former antique store turned dive bar, The Depot Bar. 

Babi’s Beer Emporium

I’m not a beer drinker, but I did peek inside Babi’s Beer Emporium and it looks awesome! I feel like it’s the perfect place for non-shopping partners to hang out while their shopper partner visits the antique stores!

1880 Union Saloon

I stopped into the 1880 Union Saloon years ago for an afternoon drink before doing some antique treasure hunting in town. It’s like stepping back in time! Love the ceiling, the moose head, and the old-timey piano!

Bar Alamo

Like I mentioned before, Bar Alamo is a little beer and wine bar located outside of the Alamo Motel.

The Depot Bar 

And last, but not least, The Depot Bar. The former antique store turned dive bar offers a mix of entertainment including live music, line dancing lessons, comedy nights, and sports on tv. They also have a full bar, draught beer, food, and games.

Explore Nearby

Presqu’île Winery

On our Saturday afternoon in town, I had booked reservations for a Wine& Food Experience at Presqu’ile Winery about 20 minutes north up Highway 101 in Santa Maria. The stunning tasting room offers gorgeous vineyard views as well as a tasting of six wines paired with their Meze Picnic consisting of five to six family-style small plates prepared by Chef Julie Simon. We very much enjoyed our afternoon at Presqu’ile (pronounced press-KEEL) and I highly recommend the Wine & Food Experience. Be sure to book reservations!

You can read more about Presqu’ile Winery on my Presqu’ile Winery Review blog post!

Ostrichland

Have you ever fed an ostrich? Well, it is quite an experience! Possibly a terrifying experience! But an experience that you can have at the quirky roadside attraction of Ostrichland located about a 10-minute drive south of Los Alamos.

You can read more about Ostrichland on my Feed an Ostrich at Ostrichland full blog post!

Solvang

The charming village of Solvang is an excellent day trip destination on your drive back to Los Angeles. Thanks to its incredible Danish architecture and numerous cafes and delicious bakeries that offer Danish goods, it is often called Little Denmark.

Where to Eat Dinner in Los Alamos

If you’re a foodie, I recommend booking a reservation for lunch or dinner at Bell’s when you first book your accommodations. This “Franch” (French ranch) restaurant books quickly in advance. 

We could not get outdoor reservations, and my friends were not feeling the four-course prix fixe menu, so instead, we dined at Norman and Pico during our stay, but we did take a peek inside the Michelin star-rated restaurant.

Bell’s

As I mentioned, I have not dined at Bell’s, but it is a highly recommended restaurant in town. Be sure to book reservations while you’re booking your accommodations or you will be disappointed.

Reservations do open up as you get closer to your travel date and you can always try sliding into their DM’s, but if you’re determined to eat at Bell’s, make the reservations now.

Norman

I’ve eaten lunch and dinner at Norman, the on-property restaurant at the Skyview Motel, several times during my two stays at the Skyview. The food is good, the service is good, and it’s convenient if you’re staying at the Skyview.

Pico

My girlfriends and I dined at Pico on our last night in town. We simply made some reservations while we were in town wine tasting and shopping and after freshening up after our wine tasting at Presqu’ile Winery, we drove down to Pico for dinner.

Our table either wasn’t ready or we were early (or a combination of the two), so we enjoyed a quick glass of wine or cocktail at the bar and then went into the beautiful back garden for dinner.

The Maker’s Son

Again, I haven’t been to The Maker’s Son yet – it was new in town when my girlfriends and I went to Los Alamos in 2021, but the menu looks great and I’d love to try it in the future! Located inside a renovated 1920’s garage and gas station, The Maker’s Son is open for dinner Thursdays through Sundays.

Where to Stay in Los Alamos, CA

Skyview Motel

There are several places to choose to stay in Los Alamos, and I decided on a stay at the newly renovated Skyview Motel on my of my weekend trips to Los Alamos.

I remember passing it so many times during my drives back and forth between Los Angeles and Santa Cruz (where I went to college) and I was so excited to see its newly completed renovation into a modern, hip motel! 

Thinking of staying at the Skyview?

Be sure to read my full Skyview Motel Review

Other hotel options in the area include: 

Alamo Motel

The next time I stay in Los Alamos, I’ll stay at the Alamo Motel. I love all the other properties that the hotel group that owns it has in other towns, so I’m sure I would love staying here as well. Plus, unlike the Skyview, it is located right in town in walking distance to everything.

The Victorian Mansion Bed and Breakfast

Wow, The Victorian Mansion Bed and Breakfast looks like a charming bed and breakfast inside an old Victorian home on the outside, but on the inside … full-on themed rooms! Which would you stay in? I can’t decide between the Pirate Suite and the 50’s Suite.

And there are several Airbnbs to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites:

Unfortunately, the 1880 Union Hotel is no longer available as a place to stay for the individual traveler as the landmark hotel is now only rented out to groups for events such as weddings. 

If you’re looking to extend your trip, Los Alamos is the perfect location to tack onto the beginning or end of a wine tasting trip in Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, or Paso Robles. Or see more of the Central Coast and explore Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Cayucos, and Cambria. 

I’ve loved both of my weekend trips up to Los Alamos as well as anytime I’ve stopped in town while just driving up or down the coast. Have I inspired you to book a weekend trip to Los Alamos, California? If so, what are you looking forward to doing? Let me know in a comment below.

Planning a trip soon? Be sure to save this to Pinterest for later!

Land Acknowledgement

Golden State Getaways wants to acknowledge that we live, operate, gather, and benefit everyday on the traditional stolen lands of several Indigenous peoples and nations including the Tongva (Gabrieleno), Kizh (Gabrieleno), Chumash, Popeloutchom (Amah Mutsun), Ohlone, Awaswas, and Fernandeño Tataviam peoples who have stewarded the lands and waterways throughout their many generations in what is now the state of California. 

I wanted to personally acknowledge these Indigenous people and nations and both their commitment and current contributions to the land with a donation to the American Indian College Fund because acknowledgment without action does not begin to address the systemic issues facing Indigenous people. If you feel as though you benefit from the land you’re living on or traveling to and you have the means, I kindly ask that you donate at least $1 to a Native-led organization such as the Native American Rights Fund or the American Indian College Fund

Los Alamos is on Chumash and Ineseño land. You can learn more about the Indigenous land you’re living on or traveling to by visiting the Native Lands website.