About Santa Barbara

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Santa Barbara courthouse (Photo: Santa Barbara Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Santa Barbara turns a taste of the good life into a full meal. The upscale city on California's Pacific coast offers a rich culinary scene, plus shopping, outdoor pursuits, museums, and more.

The bounty of the surrounding land and sea is celebrated at restaurants in Santa Barbara. Visitors can eat (and drink) fresh and local year-round. Farm tours, fruit picking, and grape-crush parties are a few of the ways visitors can go beyond the table with culinary tourism. And the Santa Barbara wine country is home to dozens of wineries ripe for a wine tasting excursion.


White stucco buildings with red tile roofs—and one of California's most beautiful missions—recall Santa Barbara's early history as a Spanish colony, lending the city a distinctly Mediterranean look. The past and the present meet in Santa Barbara's walkable downtown, where visitors can tour historic buildings and shop or eat along State Street. And those who want time to stand still, if only for a little while, can unwind at the beach.

Getting outdoors is one of the best ways to experience all Santa Barbara has to offer. Take to the ocean for some kayaking, sailing, swimming, fishing, or surfing. Explore miles of coastline while biking or beachcombing. Or hike in the mountains and forests east of downtown.

Flights to Santa Barbara make the destination easily accessible. However, L.A. is less than two hours away by car, so many visitors choose to fly into one of the Los Angeles Area airports and drive up the coast to Santa Barbara.

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