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Things to do in Santa Barbara

Things to do in  Santa Barbara

Welcome to Santa Barbara

Just a quick drive up from Los Angeles lies the city of Santa Barbara, also lovingly referred to as “The American Riviera.” This seaside town earns its nickname through its beautiful coastline, miles of pristine beach and the two green hills that wrap around the city; all of which lend an air of health and beauty to the Spanish-tiled roofs which line the streets.

With over 300 days of sunshine per year, Santa Barbarians can typically be found outside, either in the city's parks, on the water, or window-shopping along the popular State Street. The area is also known for its excellent wine, and many of the local wineries have banded together to form a wine trail in the industrial heart of the city.

Top 10 attractions in Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara Waterfront

It should come as no surprise that a city hailed for its beautiful coastline should consider its waterfront the #1 tourist attraction in the area. With a variety of restaurants, boating and sport fishing tours, a bird sanctuary, bike path, and a beautiful promenade connecting the Waterfront to the rest of the downtown area, the Santa Barbara Waterfront is, without a doubt, one of the glittering gems of Santa Barbara.More

Stearns Wharf

Embodying beauty, rustic charm, tourism, and a feel of the ocean, Stearns Wharf is Santa Barbara’s number one tourist attraction. Built by lumberman John P. Stearns in 1872, Stearns Wharf has a long and decorated history including naval appropriation and one great conflagration which all but destroyed it. Nowadays the pier is a bustling center for shops, restaurants, and fishermen.More

Shoreline Park

Shoreline Park is a 15 acre coastal park west of Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara, CA. It is a popular place to come for picnics and has individual picnic tables, a group picnic area, barbeques, park benches, a playground, sidewalks, and stairs that access the beach. Many people also come here to walk, jog, roller blade, and play Frisbee. The park offers spectacular views of the Santa Barbara coastline, the city itself, the Channel Islands, and the Santa Ynez Mountains. If you're lucky, you might even see some whales or dolphins.More

Leadbetter Beach

One of the most beautiful beaches near downtown Santa Barbara, Leadbetter Beach is often filled with windsurfers, joggers, and sunbathers. Its light surf makes its an excellent spot for low-key and beginning surfing. It’s one of the more scenic spots close to the city, with an expansive golden sand beach and grass lawn. There are also facilities for picnicking and barbecue, as well as public restrooms and showers. Often sailboats can be seen cruising just off the coast from Leadbetter, as it’s located next to the Santa Barbara Harbor. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours. For these reasons, it is one of the more popular public beach areas. Though it can be crowded, it is often bustling with activity compared to other spots on the coast. It’s considered by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches in California.More

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

After the great earthquake of 1925 ruined much of the city, an opportunity arose to give this beloved city by the sea something that would reflect the areas culture and beauty; something that would both honor and impress its residents. Designed in Spanish-Moorish style and completed in 1929, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is now one of the main tourist attractions on a visit to the American Riviera.More

Old Mission Santa Barbara

Also known as the Santa Barbara Mission or simply “The Mission,” Mission Santa Barbara has come to be more than just a Catholic outpost; it has come to represent all that is historic and cultural in Santa Barbara. A Spanish mission founded by the Franciscan Order in 1786 and built upon a hill overlooking the valley, The Mission, with its beautiful construction and commanding position on the landscape, is a long-standing Santa Barbara favorite. Rich in history, the missions of California were Spanish colonial outposts and served to help colonize the area. Known for its rolling lawns and rose garden, which are open to the public year round, Mission Santa Barbara is one of the longest continuously operating missions in California. It still takes parishioners to this day, thus maintaining the longest unbroken tradition of choral singing among the California missions.More

Santa Barbara Zoo

The most beautiful zoo in the world? While this might sound like a bold statement, the lions with their oceanfront view wouldn’t likely quibble about it. Located on 30 acres right across from the ocean, this small zoo has repeatedly been voted one of the best in the nation, particularly for children.More

Funk Zone

The Funk Zone is a hip, artistic neighborhood in Santa Barbara, CA, and it has become a haven for artists, artisans, wine makers, and chefs. Visitors will find plenty of artisan shops, art galleries, hip eateries, award-winning microbreweries, and a craft distillery, and many of them are located in aged warehouses and forgotten scuba shops. There are countless tasting rooms and a few specialty wineries. Five of the wineries located in the Funk Zone are part of the Urban Wine Trail, which is a group of wineries in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley.More

State Street

The heart of Santa Barbara, State Street delights visitors and locals alike with its lively downtown ambience. Spend a couple of leisurely hours wandering the tree-lined boulevard, stopping by shops, galleries, and wine tasting rooms.More

Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA)

Small but beautiful, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) is renowned for its extensive collection of French and English 19th- and early 20th-century art, as well as modernism and photography exhibits. It also houses Portrait of Mexico Today, the only intact mural in the US by celebrated Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros.More

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