A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
Santa Barbara has it all! We have awesome views, great museums, incredible dining opportunities and lots of enjoyable activities.
Sunrise - Slip into The Fess Parker Santa Barbara Hotel - a DoubleTree Resort by Hilton and climb to the Plaza del Sol rotunda. You can observe the sunrise over the Rincon and as there is no traffic on Cabrillo Blvd, hear the waves and the seals barking. (Free) Other choices would be the wharf and anywhere along East Beach. (Yes, the ocean is east of the city at this point, something that my father would never accept)
Sunset – A walk on Arroyo Burro Beach or above to the lookout point at the Douglas Family Preserve will reward you with a glorious sunset.
Walk with dogs – Elings Park, Arroyo Burro Beach and the Douglas Family Preserve are all dog friendly.
Hike – The trail up Rattlesnake Canyon isn't too strenuous and is very rewarding. A walk along the beach at low tide can take you from Santa Barbara to Hope Ranch or in the other direction to Montecito.
Biking – There are miles of biking trails throughout the area. You can bike from Ventura all the way above Goleta. The city has a significant number of bike lanes in the downtown corridor. I have maps available.
Music – Wow! So much and so varied. We have an incredible symphony that plays in the newly renovated Granada Theater which also houses the opera, ballet and various traveling shows. For a more casual atmosphere I like Soho which has a wide variety of music nightly, low cover with food and drink. Thursday evenings in the summer, you can almost always find me on a blanket as a large number of Santa Barbarians gather for a free concert put on by the City Recreation Department at Chase Palm Park.
Theater - There are many amazing theater companies and actors in town. Check out their offerings and schedules. Center Stage (a variety of shows), Garvin (City College affiliated), Ensemble (a professional company at the New Vic theater), Marjorie Luke (at SB Jr. High - many free to the public), Granada and Arlington (traveling shows) and PCPA (summer theater under the stars in Solvang.)
Sports – Santa Barbara is a great place to walk, bike, and play. Every summer we host Semanica Nautica, Santa Barbara's annual sports festival includes activities such as ocean swimming, age group and masters swimming, fishing, water polo, volleyball, beach biathlon, 15k road race, cycling, sailing, lawn bowling, spearfishing, adaptive paddling, tennis, water polo, inline hockey, basketball, gymnastics, softball, semipro baseball, tug-of-war and the perennial favorite, the Krazy Kardboard Kayak Race! There are kayaking races, rentals, sailboat rentals, whale watching year round. There is tennis (and lessons) on the city courts, dances (and lessons) at the Carrillo Rec center.
Museums – The incredible SB Art Museum while getting an earthquake retrofit still offers some lovely exhibits with docent tours at 12 and 1 daily. The Natural History Museum has planetarium shows and Chumash artifacts. The Maritime Museum offers some super interactive displays while the Ty Warner Sea Center has a touch tank where you can pull sea creatures up from below the pier to study. The History Museum boasts 400 years of Santa Barbara history beautifully displayed. Lastly, the Moxi, Santa Barbara's newest near the train station is the place for science made fun.
Coffee Houses - What better place to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee than in Santa Barbara with our warm weather and outdoor cafes. We have the nationals such as Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Peets all of which are excellent; however, there are some great local spots such as the Daily Grind (2001 De la Vina and 2912 De La Vina), Santa Barbara Roasting (Paseo Nuevo and lower State at Gutierrez), and Vices and Spices on upper State at Ontare.
Ethnic Food – Santa Barbara is known for its Latino influence. We have some awesome Mexican restaurants such as La Super Rica (622 N. Milpas), Los Agaves (600 N. Milpas & 2911 De La Vina), Super Cuca’s Taqueria in the Albertson’s parking lot on the Mesa. A little more “up scale” would be Viva next to the turtle fountain in La Arcada,
Asian– Ichiban for Japanese (1812 Cliff), Madame Lu (3524 State St.) for a great luncheon buffet, Your Choice (3404 State St.) for Thai. IGrill for Korean BBQ, For dim sum on Saturday and Sunday go to China Pavilion.
Seafood – You can’t beat Santa Barbara for great seafood. I especially like the Beachside Restaurant at Goleta Beach near UCSB, Enterprise Fish (225 State St.) and the Endless Summer Bar and Cafe at the Breakwater.
Breakfast–Moby Dicks (end of the wharf – great view as well)