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The Insider’s Guide to a Weekend Getaway in Santa Barbara

Welcome to Santa Barbara, the quintessential California destination. In just one stunning community, you can look forward to upscale living, relaxed beaches, farm to table dining, and some of the best wine country in the nation. The refined ruggedness of the California coast is truly something to behold–and Santa Barbara is no different. Whether you’re looking for a much needed staycation from the big city or you’re visiting from far out of town, there’s so much out about Santa Barbara you’ll love. From the year round sunshine to the California fresh cuisine, fewer places are more charming than Santa Barbara–and that’s a promise!

From a local’s perspective, your visit to Santa Barbara isn’t complete without the following:

  • California fresh, local fare (avocados are required at brunch!)
  • A moment in nature along the rugged coastline
  • The perfect beach sunset
  • A tasting flight of local wine
  • Elevated, local shopping

Sound like a plan?

Keep reading for a local’s guide to a Santa Barbara vacation to remember.

 

Best Santa Barbara Restaurants:

No matter the palette, there’s a cuisine for everyone in Santa Barbara. Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat to start the day, New American fare for lunch, or street tacos to wrap up the night, Santa Barbara has world class restaurants to fit whatever you’re craving. It’s a foodie’s paradise out there… The biggest challenge you’ll have is deciding where to dine. No trip to Santa Barbara is complete without a taste from one of the restaurants below–trust me on this one!

 

Jeannine’s Bakery and Restaurant
3607 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

The Lark
131 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Loquita
202 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Flor De Maiz
29 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Brophy Bros.
119 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

Sushi 29
1134 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

 

Santa Barbara Bakeries, Sweets, and Pastries

On your way out of town, be sure to grab one last bite. If you pick up a donut or cone for the road, you’ll be able to remember your time in Santa Barbara fondly no matter what traffic you run into on the way home.

 

Hook & Press Handcrafted Donuts
1131 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

728 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Rori’s Artisanal Creamery

38 W Victoria St #103, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Helena Avenue Bakery–Located in Funk Zone near Dart coffee and MOXI

131 Anacapa St C, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Lilac Pâtisserie–Great for those with food allergies and gluten free eaters.

1017 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

 

Family Friendly & Kid-Approved Activities in Santa Barbara:

Don’t let the kids miss out on the fun–bring them along on your next trip to Santa Barbara. You’ll be glad you did! Here’s the good news: There’s plenty of family friend, kid-approved fun to be had in Santa Barbara. Take this opportunity to immerse the family in art, animals, and the great outdoors. Whatever you choose, you can be sure that the kids will love every minute. And one more thing–take the kids to the beach! Who doesn’t love a little sand and surf? I’ve got a whole section of this guide dedicated to Santa Barbara’s best beaches later, so keep reading.

 

Funk Zone Murals

205 Santa Barbara Street Santa Barbara CA 93101

Santa Barbara Zoo
500 Ninos Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93103

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation
125 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Lotusland
Cold Spring Rd, Montecito, CA 93108

Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens
1212 Mission Canyon Rd, Santa Barbara, CA

Paddle Sports Center – Kayak and Paddle Board rentals 
117 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

 

Santa Barbara Wineries You Can’t Miss:

There’s so much to love about the wineries in Santa Barbara.

You can always count on incredible tasting flights, an Instagram-worthy aesthetic (for the inevitable toasting Boomerang), and the distinct kind of ease that only Southern California brings. The climate around here couldn’t be better for yielding the greatest wine grapes in the country, so it only makes sense that the wineries in Santa Barbara would be just as incredible–if not better. Read on for the best wineries in Santa Barbara (from a local’s point of view):

 

Sevtap
23 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Wine Therapy
12 W Haley St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Santa Barbara Winery

202 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

 

Santa Barbara Breweries:

What better way to wrap up an oceanside hike than with a round of cold brews? Beer enthusiasts are not only welcome in Santa Barbara, they’re encouraged to visit. Whether you’re in for a tasting flight or a few rounds of your new local favorite, Santa Barbara is no stranger to excellent beer. From IPAs, ales, lagers, stouts, and everything in between, Santa Barbara has everything to be your next beer destination. And whether you’re winding down an afternoon of hiking or not, a beer with good friends can’t be topped on one of Santa Barbara’s three hundred annual days of sunshine.

 

Topa Topa Brewing Co.
120 Santa Barbara St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Figueroa Mountain Brewery
137 Anacapa St F, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Captain Fatty’s Brewery
6489 Calle Real Suite D, Goleta, CA 93117

 

Santa Barbara Happy Hours:

Take this opportunity to toast to an incredible getaway to Santa Barbara–it was definitely worth two hours on the 101, right? No matter what kind of experience you’re looking to find over the perfect round–a beach view, a Santa Barbara happy hour is sure to provide. Oh, and who doesn’t love a midweek drink special? Your new favorite cocktail is waiting to be discovered. Start from this curated list to find your next spot to drink to an unforgettable trip in Santa Barbara.

 

Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach
2981 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

The Good Lion
1212 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Sevtap Winery

23 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

FisHouse
101 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

 

Santa Barbara Craft Coffee Shops:

Coffee in the morning is non-negotiable wherever you’re from–and the same is true in Santa Barbara. Whatever you’re craving, Santa Barbara’s got you covered. From cortados to lattes to cappuccinos, you can get your fix before hitting the beach at one of Santa Barbara’s best coffee shops with an Instagram-worthy aesthetic. Perfect for a quick stop before a morning of shopping or a catch-up date with a friend, Santa Barbara is sure to have a coffee shop that’s perfect for whatever you want from a morning pick-me-up.

 

Dune Coffee Roasters
528 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Handlebar
128 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Dart Coffee Co

121 E Yanonali St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

 

Upscale Santa Barbara Boutiques & Shopping

Wherever you go, a little retail therapy is a welcome respite, but in Santa Barbara, shopping has its own unique flavor (one I’m sure you’ll love). Because of the sunshine, outdoor shopping is a dream, and while you’ll find your favorite nationwide chains along the palm and adobe lined streets, the recommendations outlined here include my favorite local boutiques. Whether you’re on the hunt for a wardrobe update or a small token to remember your trip to Santa Barbara, the shopping won’t disappoint. Keep reading for Santa Barbara’s best shopping that’s refined, upscale, and down to earth. In other words: the perfect mix!

 

Parker Clay
133 E Anapamu St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Locals Collective–Check before you go, as they’re open seasonally!
931 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Dylan Star
110 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Wendy Foster

1220 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Whiskey & Leather
1101 Coast Village Rd A, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

 

Santa Barbara Hikes For All Ages & Skill Sets:

There’s something special about Santa Barbara’s rustic yet refined ruggedness. There aren’t many places out there that come close to the feeling. What better place to enjoy a Los Angeles staycation…a moment away from the city to catch your breath again. Start by refreshing your senses and realigning with nature. Santa Barbara has no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy, but let’s start with the hikes (hope you’re ready for an ocean view). Grab a backpack, some trail snacks, and your best pair of hiking shoes–here’s the best hikes in Santa Barbara for all ages and skill sets:

 

Elwood Bluffs
Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117

Seven Falls
Tunnel Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Rattlesnake Canyon

1783 Las Canoas Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Jesuita Trail
San Roque Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

 

The Best Santa Barbara Beaches:

No guide to Santa Barbara would be complete without a rundown of the city’s best beaches. Whatever you’re looking for from a beach day, there’s an abundance of options. From shady, intimate coves to expansive beaches, there’s one thing that’s for sure–no matter what you choose, you’ll never be unhappy. Sunny beaches are a SoCal signature, but in Santa Barbara, they’re part of everyday life. Pack up a picnic basket, an umbrella, and your favorite beach towel–a sunny day of sand and surf in Santa Barbara is in your future.

 

Butterfly Beach
Butterfly Ln and Channel Dr, Montecito, CA 93108

East Beach
1118 East Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Hendry’s Beach (Next to Boathouse Restaurant)
Arroyo Burro Beach County Park, 2981 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

 

When it comes to exploring a new place, few things are better than experiencing it through the eyes of a local–especially when it comes to the Santa Ynez Valley.

 

Where are you headed first? I can’t wait to hear which spots from this list make your next visit

(and every visit to come) unforgettable.

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