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45 miles S of Solvang; 105 miles S of San Luis Obispo; 92 miles NW of L.A.
It's been called the American Riviera, and Santa Barbara delivers the gracious good life amid sun-splashed stucco and red-tile roofs under swaying palms. A pitch-perfect climate doesn't hurt: This California gold-coast community is serendipitously tucked between Pacific beaches and the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Feel the cooling ocean breeze on sandy beaches or browse the boutiques lining downtown State Street. Say hello to the giraffes at Santa Barbara Zoo before relaxing over a meal at a waterfront restaurant.
Things to Do
Up at Mission Canyon explore miles of meandering trails past scented wildflowers, redwoods and California cacti at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Closer to town, the 18th-century hilltop Old Mission Santa Barbara overlooks Santa Barbara and beyond and is still home to a community of Franciscan friars. The rich collections of early-20th-century American and French paintings at Santa Barbara Museum of Art include major works by Matisse.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Downtown theaters stage Broadway musicals and the sumptuous Granada Theatre resonates with overtures and arias from the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Opera Santa Barbara. Head to Lower State Street to sip margaritas at a chic cocktail lounge or relax to the sounds of live jazz with a glass of chilled wine at a bistro tucked off a downtown alleyway.
Restaurants and Dining
Dine alfresco in the downtown and Santa Barbara Harbor districts on regionally inspired dishes like smoked Santa Barbara albacore carpaccio and local venison served with aromatic cumin and green peppercorns. Brophy Bros. Clam Bar and Restaurant packs 'em in with marina views as well as reliable cioppino and locally caught white seabass. You won't have to travel far for a first-rate bottle of wine: The Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County produces fine pinot noir, chardonnay and Syrah vintages.
Santa Barbara's California sun nurtures the outdoors life. Get a game going on one of several volleyball courts at the city's popular East Beach, or head to the white crescent of Arroyo Burro Beach County Park, to the west, for great waves for surfing and bodysurfing. See the sparkling ocean from two wheels as you roll along the beachside pathway on a rented bike. At Santa Barbara Harbor you can rent kayaks, take a sailing course or charter a boat.
With American Airlines flights to Santa Barbara, it's easy to plan a relaxing weekend in this gorgeous California destination. From strolling along picturesque beaches to savoring outstanding food and wine, there is a wide range of things to do in Santa Barbara to help you slow down and enjoy your getaway.
Thanks to its envious location along the California coast, many of the activities in Santa Barbara revolve around its miles of beautiful beach. Take a romantic stroll, search for seashells with the family or bring along a blanket for a beachside picnic you won't soon forget. Surfing, kayaking and more outdoor activities offer even more options. Santa Barbara is also home dozens of public parks and picnic areas where you can enjoy the year-round pleasant weather. Two of our favorites are Stevens Park, featuring hiking trails that wind through San Roque Canyon and let you access the Santa Ynez Range, and the small neighborhood Hilda Ray Park, which is more secluded yet offers amazing views of Santa Barbara and the mountains (the picnic tables and playground are great bonuses). The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, which covers more than 60 acres, has the native flora you'd expect to find. But it also has walkways that take you through a meadow, a canyon, a redwood forest and over a historic dam. It also offers breathtaking views of the Channel Islands.
After spending time walking, hiking, surfing, kayaking or rock climbing, you'll be ready for one of our other favorite things to do in Santa Barbara: Sampling local cuisine! Santa Barbara is home to more than 400 restaurants, giving you plenty of options from which to choose. Many eateries offer locally sourced food and wine (the local seafood is especially delectable), along with outdoor seating so you can truly appreciate the appeal of The American Riviera.
Looking for more reasons to get away here? Consider the shopping (everything from well-known luxury brands to boutiques showcasing local artisans), an abundance of art galleries, and year-round arts events and festivals. It's the perfect place to escape for a peaceful respite, and American Airlines makes it easy to fly to Santa Barbara. Start planning your trip today.
|Summer Solstice Parade & Festival||21 - 23 Jun 2013 (annual)||Santa Barbara|
|Santa Barbara French Festival||Jul 2013 (annual)||Oak Park|
|Old Spanish Days Fiesta||Aug 2013 (annual)||Santa Barbara|
|Music Academy of the West Summer Festival||Jun - Aug 2013 (annual)||Santa Barbara|
|Harbor and Seafood Festival||Oct 2013 (annual)||Santa Barbara Harbor|
|Santa Barbara Beer Festival||Oct 2013 (annual)||Elings Park|
|Parade of Lights||Dec 2013 (annual)||Santa Barbara|
|Santa Barbara International Film Festival||Jan - Feb 2014 (annual)||Santa Barbara|
|Santa Barbara International Orchid Show||Mar 2014 (annual)||Earl Warren Showgrounds|
|Santa Barbara Fair & Expo||Apr 2014 (annual)||Earl Warren Showgrounds|
|Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant||Seafood||Santa Barbara||2||3|
|La Super-Rica Taqueria||Mexican||Around Town||1||2|
|Pan e Vino||Italian||Around Town||2||2|
|Stacky's Seaside||Deli/Bagels||Around Town||1||1|
|Tupelo Junction Café||American Regional||Around Town||2||3|
|bouchon||American Regional||Santa Barbara||3||3|
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