Santa Barbara – also known as The American Riviera – is a picturesque coastal city located in California, around 150 km north of Los Angeles. This beautiful town has much to offer: From pristine beaches, to breathtaking hiking trails, to verdant vineyards, to elegant streets and chic restaurants. All of these with eternal summer vibes! One day is for sure not enough to visit everything, but if you are planning a day trip to Santa Barbara, here is what you should definitely do.
1. Have breakfast at Jeaninne’s Bakery
Jeaninne’s Bakery is a family-owned stylish bakery and café where you can enjoy amazing pastries and nutritious dishes. All their food is made of natural wholesome ingredients. The bakery has four locations in Santa Barbara (downtown, Montecito, uptown, and Goleta); all of them are beautiful, but the most suggestive ones are in downtown or in Montecito.
Try their Classic Eggs Benedict served on an English muffin, and their homemade Jeannine’s Own Granola served with mixed berries and yogurt.
- Downtown: 15 E. Figueroa St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101
- Montecito: 1253 Coast Village Rd, Montecito, CA 93108
- Uptown: 3607 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
- Goleta: 7060 Hollister Ave, Suite 105, Goleta, CA 93117
2. Relax at the beach
In Santa Barbara there are plenty of beautiful sandy beaches from which you can choose. If you love surfing or paddling, opt for Leadbetter Beach. If you’re looking for a chic location to sunbathe or swim, go to Butterfly Beach. This beach is located in Montecito – the Santa Barbara’s luxury neighborhood – and is the perfect place to watch the sunset and the sunrise. If your pet is traveling with you, go to Arroyo Burro Beach. Arroyo Burro, also called Henry’s Beach by the locals, is a dog-friendly beach located off of Cliff Drive. It is the only beach in Santa Barbara were dogs are allowed off leash. If you want to stay close to downtown, go to East Beach, situated east from Santa Barbara’s wharf.
3. Taste a glass of California wine
Thanks to its particular climate and variety of soils, Santa Barbara’s territory has perfect grape-growing conditions. This is why the city boasts some fine world-class wines that you definitely have to try. Throughout the city, you’ll find dozens of tasting rooms and wineries with limitless options: From Burgundian grapes, to Rhone grapes, to Bordeaux heavyweights.
As you probably won’t have enough time to go too far from the city center, go to the Grassini Family Vineyards Tasting Room. This award-winning tasting room is located in the heart of downtown and is run by a family with Italian origins. There, you will enjoy 100% estate-grown wines in a wonderful patio soaked in the sun.
5. Go shopping on State Street
State street is a pedestrian friendly downtown with a great diversity of shopping and dining options. From chic boutiques, to national and international brands, from American street food to fine Italian restaurants… There’s something for everybody on Santa Barbara’s State Street.
Visit “Paseo Nuevo”, an outdoor shopping center with more than 50 stores, terraces, courts, and paseos. Stop also by “La Arcada Plaza”, which features the best collection of locally owned shops, restaurants, and galleries in an elegant garden setting with sculptures and a fountain.
If you’re a little hungry, grab an ice cream at McConnel’s Fine Ice Cream (their cookies & cream flavor is amazing!) or, for a healthier option, try a smoothie at Blenders In The Grass.
6. Have dinner on Santa Barbara’s Stearns Wharf
You can’t leave Santa Barbara if you haven’t seen its harbor and Stearns Wharf, the oldest working pier of California. Dinner time is the perfect moment to head down to the wharf and taste some fresh local sea food with an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. Stop by the Shellfish Company, located right on Santa Barbara’s pier and order the crab and the clam chowder.
7. Watch a performance at the Granada Theatre
Built in 1924, The Granada Theatre is a historic landmark located in the heart of Downtown Santa Barbara. It is a premier live performing arts venue for regional and national touring productions that highlights the importance of performing arts for Santa Barbara’s community. The Granada Theatre presents not only live shows, but also films in its 4K HD resolution cinema system.
8. Sleep at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Resort
This luxury resort covers an area of 78 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There, you will enjoy two beaches, three pools and a spa in a unique coastal landscape. The resort offers numerous activities such as golf, tennis and horseback riding.