Established in 1876 as the final stop on the North Pacific Coast Railroad, Occidental (pop. 1,126) is a town whose modern-day charms are rooted in its past.
As you explore, you’ll find many local nods to that Western railway heritage, including businesses housed in a former train station, railroad saloon, and boarding house.
Occidental's time as a transportation hot spot made it a popular vacation destination, a reputation it still holds. Now, however, its more known for its laid-back vibes, eclectic boutique shopping, outdoor delights, and being a stop along the scenic Bohemian Highway.
Things to Do in Occidental
This small town is brimming with ways to disconnect with life’s hustle and reconnect with yourself and travel companions. Shop for artisan-made souvenirs and crystals in the locally owned spots that line the two-block downtown or settle into a wine tasting.
Or become the maker yourself thanks to Occidental Center for the Arts, where classes and workshops run the gamut from writing and watercolor to figure drawing and bluegrass fiddling. The center also hosts concerts featuring local musicians and singers, and the Redwood Arts Council sweetens the musical pot with its annual chamber music series.
Where to Eat
An emphasis on seasonal produce and sustainability is the name of the game in Occidental, where you can recharge with a cornucopia of locally sourced meats, cheeses, fruits, and veggies. Howard Station Café is a local favorite, serving American classics and Californian cuisine from the town’s old train station. At The Altamont General Store, savor free-range chicken katsu sandwiches with yuzu aioli, veggie tacos with kimchi special sauce, and vegan soft serve.
Hotels and Lodging
Whether you want to wake up in a guesthouse with views of wooded hillsides and meadows, open your eyes to the gentle sounds of farm animals, or glamp in a treehouse nestled in the branches of redwoods, there’s a place for you to kick back here.
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Tucked away in western Sonoma County, the tiny community of Occidental was founded in 1876 as the last stop on the North Pacific Coast Railroad. It became a popular vacation destination soon after it...
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