SANTA BARBARA CITY GUIDE
By Tara | Santa Barbara, CA
The American Riviera awaits you…
With a dramatic backdrop of chaparral-covered mountains and jaw dropping vistas of pristine coastlines, Santa Barbara is the perfect Summer escape. The town’s old world charm and relaxed coastal way of life will soon have you understanding why it’s been quoted as The American Riviera.
While Santa Barbara’s unique blend of laid back living and subtle sophistication is reason enough to visit, the moderate temperatures all year round make it a destination not to be missed. Now that Summer has officially begun, there’s a carefree air sweeping through town and as we head out to play tourist, we’re beginning to think a “staycation” is in order soon. Today, we are sharing some of our favorite things to do and see in Santa Barbara. Whether around town, by the sea, or in the mountains, there’s a little something for everyone!
State Street The heart and soul of the town. We love downtown State Street for it’s unique shopping experience. Home to the Paseo Nuevo Mall, this store-lined street has a collection of charming boutiques and trusted name brands. Our shopping excursions are never complete without a lunch date at one of the several locally owned eateries. It doesn’t matter how many times you visit, there’s always something new to discover. And don’t forget to take in all the beautiful architecture. From the sea of red roofs and tiled walkways, you’ll be reminded of Santa Barbara’s Spanish history.
Want to get to know the town a little better? Trace Santa Barbara’s historic roots by visiting some of it’s iconic landmarks. Most are nearby and within walking distance. Our favorite is The Santa Barbara Courthouse. Journey to the top of the clock tower for some breathtaking panoramic views of the city and beyond. Some of our other favorite spots include Old Mission Santa Barbara and The Presidio.
Shopping Tip: When in search of high-end must haves or in the mood to spoil yourself with something a little extra luxurious, visit Coast Village Road, located nextdoor in Montecito.
Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club It’s always a Sunday well spent at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. When Summer comes around we love to pull out our favorite sun hats and head to the polo fields to catch an exciting afternoon match.
BY THE SEA
With Santa Barbara’s amazing Mediterranean-style weather, almost everyday is a perfect beach day. Soak up some sun or catch some waves at one of our favorite local beaches. Loon Point is on the top our list for it’s wow factor. It’s dramatic cliffside cascades into the water, creating the perfect backdrop for an evening at sunset. Butterfly Beach is another one of our favorites. Despite it’s A-List location, right across the street from Santa Barbara’s luxury Four Seasons Biltmore Resort, you don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy a stroll along the sand. We love early morning walks with the pooch.
For a little more adventure, stop by Santa Barbara’s Waterfront District. Want to learn how to sail? Interested in stand up paddle boarding or want to rent a kayak? The Harbor is where you’ll want to be. Along with other waterfront activities, the harbor also offers a variety of restaurants and don’t leave without checking out the Maritime Museum.
To enjoy even more seaside sights, don’t miss a visit to another one of Santa Barbara’s most iconic landmarks, Stearns Wharf. It’s California’s oldest working wharf and is still one of Santa Barbara’s most visited tourist attractions.
IN THE MOUNTAINS
Head into the mountains – only 35 miles from the ocean – and discover the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country. The Santa Ynez Valley is full of beautiful vineyards where you’ll find more than 100 wineries. From the towns of Solvang, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Buelton, and Santa Ynez itself, you’ll find a charming blend of old west heritage and country sophistication.
And while an afternoon in the valley is always a nice idea, what we love most about heading into the valley is the drive itself. Scenic vistas are everywhere along Highway 154 as you climb through the Santa Ynez Mountains.
Tip: Skip the restaurants in town and head to Cold Spring Tavern for a rustic, one-of-a-kind dining experience. Cold Spring Tavern served as a stagecoach stop in the lates 1800s. Now it’s a mountainside saloon serving up local wine and American fare. Join them on Sundays for live music and Tri-Tip sandwiches.