Santa Barbara Attractions

Santa Barbara Attractions


Art Walk and Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Every Sunday in Santa Barbara there is a scintillating and inspiring art extravaganza on display along Cabrillo Boulevard. The art walk attracts all the weekend tourists with its magical pieces. With the beach as a backdrop, all the local artists compete for attention as they showcase their best pieces. Hundreds upon hundreds of easels propped with immaculate art, sculptures captivating your attention, and new friends everywhere. Browse or buy, whichever you like, and sit in the sunlight and appreciate the beauty of every piece. And if you’re hungry, hit up Sambo’s across the street for breakfast. The mini muffins are delightful.

Although the art walk is only on Sundays, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is available every day of the week except Monday. There are several different types of art on display and they are all yours for the viewing. With new exhibitions for every season, you’ll never tire of heading to the art museum.

Wine Tours

Santa Barbara is famous for the wineries of neighboring Santa Ynez and you haven’t experienced a true vacation here without having been on a wine tour. Let yourself be pampered as you get whisked away on an all day excursion, exploring Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley, tasting choice wines and learning a wealth of knowledge about each and every one. Travel by hummer, air-conditioned mini-van, bicycle, or even take a tour by horseback. There’s no end to the options. You’re on vacation. You deserve the very best.

Shopping

Santa Barbara offers a wide variety of shopping venues and is most notably known for State Street and the incredible shopping opportunities that dwell there. From upscale shops like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue to more cost efficient shops like Old Navy and Forever 21, State Street has what you need. The street is always buzzing with all sorts of accents as visitors from across the globe shop until they drop.

Of course, other shopping exists in this sunny city but every tourist is attracted to the State Street experience, especially since the street dumps out onto the ocean at the bottom. So once you’re done swiping the plastic, go lay on the beach for awhile and relish in all the beautiful treasures you’ve just treated yourself to.

Stearns Wharf

Stearns Wharf is the name of the Santa Barbara pier and you haven’t seen Santa Barbara until you’ve hung out on the Wharf for a bit. There are several fine dining opportunities with The Harbor Restaurant, Longboard’s Bar & Grill, Moby Dick’s, and The Santa Barbara Shellfish House. You’re bound to find something your tongue will enjoy. The Ty Warner Sea Center also lives on the pier, as well as several souvenir shops. Stearns Wharf is California’s oldest working wharf and the panoramic views are absolutely stunning. You’ve got mountains and ocean, the best of both worlds.

After you’ve walked the pier and had a nice meal, head on down to the harbor to check out the cool boats and yachts. There are options to kayak and whale watch, as well as take a boat out to the Channel Islands.

Santa Barbara Mission

The Santa Barbara Mission is over 223 years old and she’s considered the queen of the whole chain of missions. Founded by Franciscan Friar Fermin de Lasuen, the mission is absolutely gorgeous and deserves the title of queen. The luscious green lawn out front and the plush rose garden make for a perfect picnic location. Take a lengthy and informative tour of the mission and then head outside for a game of catch and a pleasant lunch in the sun. There are plenty of people watching opportunities and lots of fun dogs are always around. If you’re lucky you might catch a marriage proposal.

With the mountains in the background, this is a touristy spot with lots of photo happy friends frolicking around. Make sure you plan a visit to the mission on your Santa Barbara vacation. Also, if you happen to be visiting during Memorial Day weekend, you have to check out the Y Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival that happens right out side. Have to!

Nightlife

Oh, the nightlife. The nightlife in Santa Barbara is wild. Wild and crazy and worth experiencing. Due to Santa Barbara’s college age demographic and plethora of vacationers looking for a good time, the bars and clubs in Santa Barbara are plentiful. We’ve got something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a pretty frilly cocktail, a stiff martini, a place to shake your groove thang, a place to take a load off, a place to catch a sporting event, something classy, something trashy, and everything in between, Santa Barbara has something for you. From Irish pubs to Mexican grills, to American cafes, we’ve got the eats to appease your drunken appetite as well. We’ve got venues with live music and venues with incredible djs. Grab some peanuts at James Joyce, catch a game at Madison’s or the Santa Barbara Brewing Company, twirl around the pole at Sandbar, or take an Irish car bomb at Dargan’s. But whatever you choose, have fun, and drink responsibly.

Oh, and if you really want to get crazy, rent out the LandShark. Don’t ask. Just check it out.

Biltmore Wall

The Biltmore Wall isn’t that incredible, but it’s planted across from The Biltmore Hotel, which is the epitome of incredible. The wall separates the beach from the road and it’s a hot spot for couples, a prime location to sit and watch the sunset. Also a great photo op. The Coral Casino is to the left and you can take the bike path up over the hill and pop out on East Beach for some beach volleyball.

For a romantic evening, grab some dinner to go and head to the wall for a picturesque view and memorable evening. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can head down the road and check out the pig lady’s house. Her house is decked out in thousands upon thousands of collectible pigs. It’s worth taking a picture. Just head down Butterfly Lane and the pig lady’s house is at the end on the right. Seriously, go check it out.

Santa Barbara Courthouse and Sunken Gardens

The architectural design of the Santa Barbara Courthouse is superb. It’s a historic landmark and worth visiting when you’re in town. Lots of weddings occur in the glorious mural room and lots of naps and studying have been had in the sunken gardens.

Everything involved in this building is intricate and immaculate. You can spend hours admiring the beauty and then spend hours lounging in the plush tufty grass of the gardens. There’s even a jail wing. Although there aren’t any prisoners, it’s still pretty neat. You can also climb to the top of the clock tower and take a look at the red tile roofs of the surrounding buildings. Santa Barbara is a beautiful place. And not just the ocean, but the buildings as well.

Red Tile Walking Tour

Starting at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, this informative tour takes you through downtown, teaching you about the historical architecture of the city. The self-guided tour takes you on a twelve-block walk introducing you to the majority of Santa Barbara’s historic landmarks as well as some really good eateries.

Take some photos and enjoy this beautiful city from a structural point of view. You’ll really be impressed. The following site also has some other really great things to do without car free in Santa Barbara.

The Arlington Theatre and The Granada Theater

Go see a show at The Arlington. Whether you see a movie, a broadway show, concert, or speaker, you’re bound to have a pleasant experience. The Arlington is a historic theatre that has ornate interior design with a splendid little courtyard. The sweet sound of running water in the fountain will soothe you through the ticket line and because it’s a theater, of course, there’s a concession stand. Sometimes you can even buy alcoholic beverages before the show.

Take a break from the shopping and hit up The Arlington. It’s right off State Street across from The Granada. The Granada’s a hot spot for shows as well. It’s actually called The Granada-Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts. So it’s kind of a big deal. Check out a ballet or a symphony, concert or musical. Whatever the weekend, chances are you’ll find something pretty remarkable at The Granada. It just went under renovation and re-opened not too long ago, so you really must stop by.

Gibraltar Rock

Shh. Letting you in on a secret here. Gibraltar Rock is a magical place at the top of a mountain overlooking all of Santa Barbara. It’s quite the adventure to get there, but it’s worth every hairpin turn and car-sick weeble wobble down in your tummy. There’s lots of rock-climbing available and if you drive a little ways up the road, you can find the para-gliding launch spot.

The rock is pretty spectacular, mainly because there’s a built in bench on the edge of it. For those of you that like a good thrill, it’s fun to grab some food and sit on the ledge with your legs dangling over the cliff. Exhilarating. Enjoy the view, let the wind whip your hair a little, take some pictures, and heckle the rock-climbers.

If you’re really into hiking you can take the Rattlesnake Canyon trail all the way to top and it will spit you out right next to Gibraltar Rock. The hike is about eight miles round trip. And it’s pretty strenuous, so bring some water and snacks. The view at the top makes the entire trek worth every bead of sweat and twitching muscle.




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