Favorite Pastimes

  1. Visit the Santa Barbara Mission. Founded in 1786, the Mission is perhaps best known for its beautiful twin bell towers and is considered the “Queen of the Missions.” 2201 Laguna Street.
  2. Pass through the halls of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Over the years, a number of infamous court cases have been tried here. Built in a Spanish-Moorish style in 1929, you haven’t seen Santa Barbara until you’ve enjoyed the view from the courthouse’s clock tower. The interior architecture of the building is memorable, with historical displays, beautiful hallways and painted murals. 1100 Anacapa Street.
  3. Peruse the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Founded in 1941, the museum includes modern as well as antique collections. 1130 State Street.
  4. Promenade along State Street where you’ll find shops, theaters and historical buildings along the seven-mile stretch of the city’s main street. Enjoy espresso at a cafe, lunch at one of the many restaurants, or enjoy late evening drinks at one of State Street’s nightclubs. And don’t leave town without letting loose at the Wild Cat!
  5. Lotus Land (Montecito). Large estate and first-class botanic garden created by Madame Ganna Walska. The succulent garden is breathtaking. Call for a tour. 695 Ashley Road.
  6. No trip to Santa Barbara is complete without experiencing the beach. Check out East Beach, located near Stern’s Wharf. Nearby, the Sunday art exhibit is held every week and features a variety of artisans selling their crafts. Also, visit the quiet Butterfly Beach (our favorite) located in front of the Biltmore or Hendry’s Beach, where you can grab breakfast or lunch at the Boathouse Restaurant.
  7. Spend the afternoon at Stearns Wharf pier. Built in 1872, the wharf is now home to the Ty Warner Aquarium, a maritime museum, restaurants, and shops. You can also enjoy some wine tasting or pick up some fresh seafood at the fish market on the wharf.
  8. Tour the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. The halls include exhibitions on Chumash Indians and marine life. There’s also a space lab/planetarium. 2559 Puesta del Sol Road.
  9. Take a hike! There’s dozens of very well maintained trails in and around the city. Try Rattlesnake Canyon Trail on Las Canoas Road, a 3.5 mile round-trip hike with a 900 foot gain in elevation. After crossing shallow streams and passing by waterfalls, you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Channel Islands in the distance.
  10. Wine Country: Visit a handful of the 80 wineries located in Santa Ynez Valley, a 45-minute drive from Santa Barbara. Breathtaking vistas overlook valleys and mountains studded with ancient oaks, brilliant wild flowers and magnificent vineyards. Santa Barbara Wine Country is home to some of California’s most sought-after wines. Our faves: Sunstone, Beckman, Curtis, and Foxen Canyon. Don’t forget to stop in quaint Los Olivos for lunch.

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