Probably Santa Barbara’s most famous attraction, the beautiful Santa Barbara Mission was founded in 1786 and is considered the “Queen of the missions.” It is home to a community of friars and has an active parish. Visit the museum and gift shop and explore 12 acres of peaceful gardens.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Santa Barbara’s beaches as one of the main attractions. After all, this is the American Riviera. Unmatched natural beauty abounds and there is no shortage of beach spots to surf, tan, shop and relax. Check out this list of 10 of the best beaches in Santa Barbara.
This hands-on museum is a hit with kids and an ideal spot to take young, inquisitive minds for an afternoon of interactive experiences in science and creativity. The museum calls itself a space for fun first and where learning happens in the process.
No trip to Santa Barbara is complete without a stroll – or many – down State Street. Shop, grab lunch or dinner at one of the many cafes and restaurants, enjoy an ice cream cone and while you leisurely walk down this pedestrian friendly street that finishes at the beach.
Where State Street finishes, Stearn’s Wharf begins. There is an abundance of activities on the pier to enjoy, from light fishing, shopping, wine tasting, restaurant-going, and of course, enjoying the breathtaking coastline views. Make time to vvisit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History – Sea Center, located right on the pier.
If you’ve spent any amount of time in Santa Barbara, you’ll no doubt have witnessed the Land Shark driving down State Street full of happy party-goers on their way back from a 90-minute land and sea tour. This amazing boat/vehicle has the ability to go on both water and sea and is a popular activity for private parties.
Visit the museum that Albert Einstein visited himself and said, “I can see that this Museum has been built by the work of love.” Founded in 1916, these beautiful grounds aim to connect people to nature. It covers all aspects of natural history, from mammals to marine life, astronomy to paleontology and more.
Home to 27,000 works of art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art even includes classical antiquities and Impressionist masterpieces rivaled by few other museums on the West Coast. Art lovers will appreciate the museum shop where one can buy art replicas, jewelry, books and more. There’s also a museum café.
Whether you’re with your sweetheart, friends or chaperoning your youngster to their first rock concert, an evening at the Santa Barbara Bowl is one to remember. This outdoor amphitheater offers an unforgettable night of music under the stars and hosts some of the world’s most famous musicians. Check out the website for show listings and dates.
Santa Barbara indeed has something for everyone – skaters included. Skater’s Point is right on the beach and is free! There is no vertical ramp but there is a small bowl. Check out Skate Saturday’s, which are Saturday morning hours when kids 12 and under have the park to themselves.
Famous the world over, the Santa Barbara Zoo is known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos. Located on 30 acres of lush botanic gardens across the street from the ocean, it is home to more than 500 animals.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is considered a living museum. They offer docent-led tours for a relaxing and refreshing afternoon of enjoyment spent on the Garden’s 78 acres filled with the diversity of California’s diverse flora.
Enjoy a day hike through the Santa Ynez Mountain trails with vistas of the ocean on the horizon. Our backyard offers a range of hiking trails for the seasoned or novice hiker. Get in your uphill workout or opt for an easy-going hike and enjoy a picnic.
Eat and drink your way through Santa Barbara; you’re on vacation! These intimate tasting tours offer guests a glimpse into the town’s best cafés, bakeries and eateries. Foodies will love the options: Choose from Downtown food tours, wine tours or a Funk Zone food tour where guests explore off the beaten path food outlets in the hip corner of Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara is definitely a bike town. So, do as the locals and jet around town by bicycle. There is no shortage of rental locations, meaning you’re sure to find a rental spot close to your rental property.
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Tiffany Haller – Compass Real Estate Broker – Owner of Haller Coastal Homes (website)