We all know Julian is known for its fresh-baked apple pie. The truth is, in addition to our famous pies, we have many fun things for you to discover. Luckily for you, I’m sharing my local insider knowledge. I’ve put together this list of some of the best things to do in Julian. I promise you these restaurants, attractions, and hidden gems won’t disappoint. Who’s ready to discover Julian? Let’s go!
Just one block off Main Street, Pioneer Park is the hub of Julian’s Historic District. The Julian Historical Society has two fantastic historic locations open to the public: The Witch Creek Schoolhouse and Julian Stage Line. Right next door is the Pioneer Museum. This museum was once the town's blacksmith shop. Today, it displays local artifacts, Native American history, animal mounts, and much more Julian history. Thanks to volunteers, the museum is usually open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. To confirm that the museum is open, you can call ahead: 760-765-0227.
Stay with Alter Experiences
Alter Experiences takes the hassle out of camping. When you stay with them, they provide everything, even an outdoor kitchen sink. Sleep up in the trees or on a comfortable bed inside a fully decorated bell tent. Either way, you’ll wake up to the birds singing and the fresh mountain air in the Cleveland National Forest.
Santa Ysabel General Store
Nestled in the beautiful Santa Ysabel Valley where Highways 78 and 79 meet, there sits the historic 1884 Santa Ysabel General Store. This hidden gem is one of those places you don’t expect to come across, but once you do, you are sure glad you did. Today, the non-profit Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) owns the store and barn in the back. They have restored San Diego’s only remaining false-front adobe building back to its original beauty. The store is stocked with canned goods, home goods, and, of course, antiques.
Colt’s Burger Bar
Colt’s Burger Bar is located inside the Julian Station. Here you can find Julian’s only burger cooked on an open grill. Their half-pound, grass-fed beef burgers are cooked perfectly to medium-rare and topped with fresh produce. Stop by to see what daily specialty burgers they are cooking up.
Candy Mine (inside Miner’s Diner)
Hidden in the basement of Miner’s Diner is Julian’s famous candy store, the Candy Mine.
This miners-inspired candy store is like no other you have been in. It’s stocked full of classic candies like gum cigarettes and wax bottles as well as modern-day favorites. Watch out for the sound of dynamite—it might catch you by surprise!
Heartland Vestige Home Decor
Heartland Vestige Home Decor travels the country selling home décor at shows. We’re lucky they’ve chosen our town as their home base, and their showroom is on B Street. They have participated in the Silobration Vendor Fair at Magnolia Market in Waco, TX multiple times. How cool is that?! You can also find Mountain Made candles here! So come on by the next time you come up to Julian.
California Wolf Center
California Wolf Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping wild wolves return to their natural habitat. The center offers a variety of public and private tours. (Reservations required for all tours.)
Julian Beer Co.
Julian Beer Co. is known for its freshly-made, smoked BBQ, hand-tossed pizza, and of course, their house-brewed beers. A large variety of indoor-outdoor seating makes this place a popular hangout spot. My personal favorites are their pizza and ribs.
Ride and Feed the Camels at Oasis Camel Dairy
Yes, that's right! There are camels in San Diego. Once a month, Oasis Camel Dairy (13 miles west of Julian) holds its Open Farm Days. You can feed, pet, and ride the camels. The camels even have their own skincare line made right on the farm. You can buy Milk Soap, Camel Milk Lotion, Camel Milk Bath Bombs, Camel Milk Lip Balms, and Camel Milk Serum. Check their website for more details.
Cider from the Julian Cider Mill
The Julian Cider Mill was founded in 1975 by the Slaughter family. Here you can find a wide assortment of yummy snacks, local honey, and of course, homemade raw apple cider made with only local apples. Their cider is 100% pure apple juice. Unlike apple juice you find in the grocery store, Julian Cider Mill’s is unpasteurized, unfiltered, has no added sugar, and is never watered down. You can taste the difference! They also make a delicious Cherry Apple Cider that's available all year long.
The annual Julian 4th of July Parade is truly a great way to celebrate our country's birthday. Nothing says small-town America like the Julian Parade! The whole community and visitors from all over line Main Street to watch the incredible fly-over of biplanes used in WW2; we wave flags and cheer on the parade entries as they compete for the Golden Nugget award. A small committee of volunteers works all year long to plan and raise funds ($25,000) to make the parade happen. Be sure to buy a Julian 4th of July Parade commemorative t-shirt to take home with you! After the parade, join the Julian American Legion for their annual deep pit BBQ.