Activities and Attractions of Santa Barbara
Once known as a sleepy California town, Santa Barbara is located just two hours from Los Angeles. Because of its resemblance to slopes along the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy, it has been known as the “American Riviera.” Its year-round sunny weather, mountainous backdrop, coastal attractions, and Spanish-Mexican history attract both enthusiastic tourists and wealthy residents. Old-world architecture and adobe-style houses are characteristic of the area, keeping the area’s cultural heritage alive. Whatever your vacation style, Santa Barbara offers enough variety to suit everyone’s taste. Here is a short list of the activities and attractions the area offers.
Relax at the beach and stroll the waterfront. The scenic waterfront features Stearns Wharf, which is the oldest operating wharf on the west coast. And when it comes to beaches, you have many beautiful areas to choose from. Dog lovers can take their pooch to Hendry’s Beach, while kid-friendly beaches such as Summerland feature a playground in addition to the waterside activities. For visitors seeking a slower pace, rent a beach house just steps from the ocean where you can enjoy daily walks on the picturesque seaside.
Give your credit card a workout downtown at any number of the trendy boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Also check out Coast Village Road in Montecito, which features high-end shops and restaurants. La Cumbre Mall and Paseo Nuevo are also popular choices for the fashion-minded visitor.
Tour the area’s historic architecture. The Santa Barbara Courthouse is evidence that the town’s Spanish heritage is alive and well. Another landmark structure, Santa Barbara Mission–built in 1786–boasts the name “Queen of the Missions” because of its stately bearing and longevity. Take a Trolley Tour around the town to get your fill of adobe and old-world houses.
Adventure-seeking tourists will also flock to the ocean for its more action-packed offerings. Go whale watching, enroll in scuba classes or excursions, or charter a yacht to give you spectacular views of the town from the water.
For a town of its size, Santa Barbara offers numbers cultural attractions as well: museums, art galleries, outdoor cafes, botanical gardens, and theaters. A well-received annual film festival also celebrates and continues the city’s cinematic history. Add to the mix a thriving nightlife, and the town demonstrates itself to be a destination to suit every personality.