Santa Barbara is a city in southwestern California that lies a 100 miles distance from Los Angeles. Nicknamed “Riviera of the West”, it lives up to the name by long being a playground for the rich and beautiful, with balmy subtropical weather and beautiful wide beaches. The city is a perfect daytrip from the hectic happenings in L.A., but also has many attractions in its own right to justify a longer visit. The city has retained a certain old-world charm as it has preserved many of its old buidings built in the Spanish colonial style, with white-washed walls and red-tiled roofs. The climate is predictably warm and sunny, which is why many celebrities have chosen the city as the location for celebrating their wedding.
- The Santa Barbara News Press is Southern California´s oldest newspaper, printing since 1855.
- Santa Barbara is home to the largest movie studio of the silent era, the Flying A Studios.
- The popular Mesa Beach is only accessible at low tide as at full tide it is completely submerged.
- Many famous personalities have made their home in Santa Barbara, including Brad Pitt, Ronald Reagan, Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Lopez.
- The local transit system operates the largest fleet of battery electric vehicles in the nation.
Things to Do
Besides enjoying the fabulous weather on the beaches, excellent for sun-bathing, surfing, swimming and playing golf, there are plenty of other things to do in Santa Barbara.
1) Soak up the atmosphere of past times with a visit to the Santa Barbara Mission, the city´s most famous tourist attraction. The building from 1815 combines Spanish and Moorish architecture.
2) The area is famous for its wineries to get on one of the daily tours departing from most hotels. There are a variety to choose from, including the sustainable practice focussed Sustainable Vine, Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours in open air jeeps and I Bike Santa Barbara, which offers single day bike tours of the wine region.
3) Santa Barbara is a shopper´s paradise, offering everything from cool boutiques to popular chain stores along State Street, the main area for shopping in the city.
Santa Barbara´s Food DelightsMany top-class chefs from all over the country are attracted to this high-powered city, and the quality of food here is accordingly good. Latin-themed dishes are most common, and according to the New York Times and Julia Childs, one of the best Mexican restaurants in the country is La Super Rica Taceria on Milpas Street. An unassuming place noticeable by the large queue to get in, but the food here is every bit worth the wait. Pascucci serves up Santa Barbara´s best affordable Italian meals, and the New Orleans-themed restaurant Palace Grill has a great Caribbean coconut shrimp dish. If you really want to blow the budget, go to Downey´s Restaurant which is easily one of the best restaurants in the city.
Getting To and Around Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara Municipal Airport connects with L.A.s LAX via a shuttle flight every day. There are also connecting flights to Denver, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Once in the city, the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District runs buses all over town, as well as shuttle bus services to the waterfront. Taxis are very expensive so best avoided if you´re on a budget. Another way to get around is by bike or inline skating, or by rick-shaw.
Accommodation and Rentals in Santa Barbara
The city has a huge number of hotels and motels where you can relax after a hard day´s shopping, wine-tasting or sight-seeing. There are less budget options available perhaps than elsewhere, however you may be able to save quite a bit by availing of the benefits of a self-catering rental. Here you can cook meals at home and thus save some money for spending on even more shopping and sight-seeing! Fancy a cosy bed and breakfast in town, with a friendly host to give insider tips over coffee in the morning, or would you rather relax in a white-washed cottage by the beach. Either way, staying in one of our rentals will give you a unique perspective on what it´s like to live as a local.