Everywhere you look in Santa Barbara there is some history to take in. Santa Barbara celebrates its heritage with a variety of attractions that focus on history and art native to the region. Take a look at these Santa Barbara attractions for a historical journey!
El Pueblo Viejo District
When visiting Santa Barbara, you have to check out the downtown neighborhood, the El Pueblo Viejo District. This historic area features building designs and artwork that is evocative of the city’s heritage. Expect to find red tile roofs and beautiful ironwork. El Pueblo Viejo District is home to many of the city’s historic attractions, making it easy to stop at a few all in one day. Also, don’t forget to check out the many unique shops and restaurants while you’re in the neighborhood!
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
One of the more popular and historic buildings in Santa Barbara is the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. This historic landmark was erected in 1929 and still functions as the county’s courthouse to this day. The building was designed in the Spanish-Colonial style for which Santa Barbara is known and boasts a red tile roof, elegant gardens, and a four-faced clock tower. As you tour the facility you will notice beautiful hand-painted murals that come to life. Even with the courthouse still operating, it is open for free daily tours. Drop-in tours are welcome Monday through Friday during the week from 8:00 AM to 5:00PM and on weekends from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. You will be provided with views of the incredible architecture and also a historical view into the county’s history.
One of the most exciting way to dive into the rich history of Santa Barbara is to explore the historic theatres in town. The Arlington Theatre has been open for nearly 100 years and first opened up as a movie palace. This historic theatre continues to host award winning plays, dance productions, independent films, and unique comedy productions every year. You can also catch the Santa Barbara International Film Festival here every February. Another historic theater to see in town is the Granada Theater found in the downtown neighborhood. You can catch ballet and symphony productions that feature national and international tours. There are several more historical theaters in town such as The New Vic and Riviera Theatre that offer a look into the history of the performing arts found in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara Historic Museum
One of the best ways to understand the history of Santa Barbara is by visiting the Santa Barbara Historic Museum. This historic attraction is found in the El Pueblo Viejo District and is one of the oldest institutions in the city. The Santa Barbara Historic Museum shares its extensive collection of artifacts, paintings, textiles, and decorative arts to its visitors. Each exhibit focuses on over 500 years of history found in the area with Mexican, American, and Spanish influences to be seen. The signature exhibit of the museum is The Story of Santa Barbara. This exhibit focuses on how the region evolved from the home of the Chumash people to the capital of the performing arts. You can also see the onsite historic pueblo buildings that date back to 1817 and 1836. The Sala Gallery features artwork that rotates every few months to offer a fresh selection to view. The Santa Barbara Historic Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sundays from noon to 5:00 PM; admission is only $7 for adults and free for children under 18 years of age.
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Santa Barbara also has a vital history with the Santa Barbara Harbor. Come see how the local community connects with the sea by visiting the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. This interactive museum features an array of exhibits including preserved artifacts, films, and pieces of art. Many of the exhibits are hands on letting your family understand the importance of the shore including its kelp forest and how to sail. The multimedia Munger Theater showcases a variety of films that further enhance the experience. Last but certainly not least, visitors will want to make sure to step out onto the harbor. You will be treated to panoramic views of the harbor and the local murals on display. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is open Thursday through Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
More History to Explore in Santa Barbara
As you can see, there are plenty of historical attractions to visit during your stay in Santa Barbara. Enjoy your stay by reserving one of our exclusive vacation rentals in the city. You will be close to all of these wonderful attractions while enjoying luxurious amenities.
There isn’t a lovelier place on the coast than Santa Barbara to spend Valentine’s 2020 with the one you love most. The longer you stay, the better, because there’s always something to do here! When it comes to the holiday itself, here are a few romantic ideas you can surprise your significant other with on your Santa Barbara vacation:
A Night of Classical Music at the Granada
Get dressed up and come out to see a night of classical music. The show will be conducted by Christian Reif, whose conducting talents have been widely acknowledged by critics, and performed by the starring cellist, Thomas Mesa. The program begins with work from a Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer and will include works by the famed Tchaikovsky and Mozart as well. This is a truly classy date to take anyone on for Valentine’s Day, and it gives you an excuse to dress up nicely too and really go all out.
Laugh the Night Away at Improv
One of the best things you can do with someone you love is to laugh with them. Do something zany and fun with your Valentine’s Day this year by attending one of the most unique types of comedy shows out there: improv! The Santa Barbara Improv Workshop will be putting on a long-form show in Jefferson Hall on Saturday, February 15th at 7:30pm, and you’ll want to be there. At the end of the night, you’ll even get a chance to give improv a shot yourself by joining the troupe onstage for an “open jam session.”
Double Dolphin Valentine’s Cruise
One of the most romantic things you can do together is to take a boat ride out over the ocean. The sea has an inherently romantic appeal, and it’s not hard to see why once you’re out there in the salt spray and the rolling waves and looking back at the sparkling Santa Barbara skyline. This year close out your Valentine’s Day with a sunset voyage hosted by Double Dolphin Cruises. You’ll get appetizers, bottomless champagne, an expert tour of the local waters, a fun date night for you and your loved one, and an absolutely breathtaking view of the sunset. Tickets for this event are $75.
Choose a Romantic Rental for Your Santa Barbara Vacation
Whatever Valentine’s events you decide to participate in while you’re here in town, the most memorable place you go in Santa Barbara will be the vacation home you stay in. Get ahead of the Valentine’s rush by heading over to our catalog and picking yours today for an unforgettable Santa Barbara vacation.
As the winter season looms on the horizon, pack your suitcases and prepare for a magical winter getaway to the Californian seaside. Come visit us in Santa Barbara in winter, where the weather is nice all year round. We have a sweet deal when it comes to the winter climate. Not only that, but Santa Barbara will be bursting soon with winter activities like holiday events, surf season, migrating monarchs, and more.
There are a thousand different ways to spend your days here in Santa Barbara in winter. Wake up early in the brisk Californian sunrise and head out for an ice skating date at Goleta. A little north of the city you’ll find Olde Fashioned Christmas, a yearly celebration at the Los Olivos wine community, complete with treats, train rides, and Santa. Spend your evenings on the town shopping, listening to live music, drinking cocktails, and more at the Santa Barbara Night Market, which only runs for a limited time during the winter season, starting after Black Friday.
Santa Barbara in winter is the perfect time of year to go exploring in the natural environment that surrounds us here. We’re situated in a golden spot between mountains and wine country and the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. Take a day hike in the Santa Ynez Mountains, or take a boat ride out to Channel Islands to hike some of the most beautiful trails on the entire west coast. This time of year is the best time to go whale watching too, and best of all, the beautiful monarch butterflies make their migration between November and February.
Delicious Food & Drink
Fill your winter days with the best food and drink that Santa Barbara has to offer. Try one of our favorite spots for Californian cuisine: Opal. If you want to try some mouthwatering craft beer, head over to Third Window Brewing. If you really want to treat yourself, splurge on an evening of fine dining at The Lark Santa Barbara (a classy and aesthetic establishment built from a former fish market) to make a grand holiday memory.
Get Started on Your Santa Barbara in Winter Getaway
Winter is right around the corner, so why not get started on planning your winter getaway by booking our fantastic Downtown Paradise? Santa Barbara is ready for your arrival, and here at Paradise Retreats you’ll find a plethora of cozy and spacious rental homes that are perfect for the winter season. Get in touch with us today at 1-805-275-1851 to get started.
Known as “Queen of the Missions,” Santa Barbara is perhaps most famous for the Spanish architectural style that has influenced the city since its birth. It truly sets Santa Barbara apart from all other cities in America and gives it a unique and vibrant personality that is reflected in each and every shop. Check out some of the most unique shops in Santa Barbara:
This is a locally owned bookstore is one of the most quaint shops in Santa Barbara, but it’s really so much more. It’s a cozy relic of days gone by when bookstores were a little more plentiful. They have a wide selection of literature here, along with fun products like t-shirts and wall art. Their main objective revolves around keeping their stock handcrafted, ethical, original, sustainable, and local.
909 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Whiskey & Leather
With an evocative name like this, you’d expect a bold experience walking in, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Whiskey & Leather. Browse the modern styles of men’s and women’s fashion, sift through eclectic accessories, and find artful home goods at one of the top shops in Santa Barbara.
1101 Coast Village Rd A, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Santa Barbara Museum of Art Store
You won’t find knick-knacks or cheap souvenirs here. Museum art stores can be one of the most interesting places to shop (after you visit the museum, of course!), and you’ll become captivated by the many unique applications of the art featured in the museum into mediums that you can take home with you and put on display. If you love art, this is the shop for you.
1130 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Old Wharf Trading Co.
Find this gift shop on Stearn’s Wharf, a long, deep-water pier at the crossroads of State Street and Cabrillo. While you’re strolling the Wharf and enjoying the view of the ocean and the crisp Pacific breeze, duck into Old Wharf Trading Co. This is more than your average oceanside gift shop. The products are of high quality, and you’ll find a wide selection of clothing and fun knick-knacks. What’s better than a treasure you got from a shop perched over the ocean itself to remember your visit to Santa Barbara by?
217 Stearns Wharf # A, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
The Most Unique Shops in Santa Barbara and Rental Homes
Santa Barbara is a wonderland of one-of-a-kind experiences. Even your rental home will be unique and unforgettable when you stay with Paradise Retreats. Get in touch with us today at 1-805-275-1851 and we’ll help you take the first step in choosing the right rental. We offer an array of vacation rentals, including properties with a pool like our magnificent Villa Mariposa!
For a taste of the refined California lifestyle filled with sprawling desert mountains, golden sand beaches, excellent wine, and fresh caught seafood, there’s no better place to spend your time than in our elegant coastal city of Santa Barbara. Often referred to as The American Rivera, the Golden State aesthetic meets Mediterranean style, with blanched white buildings and red-tiled roofs that pay homage to Santa Barbara’s Spanish colonial heritage. Our lovely city is host to a plethora of beautiful sights, and below we’ve created a friendly guide to help jumpstart your sight-seeing with some of our most scenic Santa Barbara sights!
Shop and Dine with Sweeping Views at Stern’s Wharf
With origins dating back to 1872, this seaside gem holds the title for California’s oldest operating wooden wharf, and is host to boutique shops, casual and fine dining restaurants, as well as the departure point for Celebration Cruise Tours. Shop for nautically inspired souvenirs and gifts at Old Wharf Trading Company, dine at The Harbor Restaurant for fresh seafood, and get a scoop at The Great Pacific Ice Cream Company. When you’re done exploring Santa Barbara sights, stop by to indulge in a glass of wine at Conway Family Wines Deep Sea Tasting room for panoramic views of the harbor and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Stern’s Wharf is just southeast of downtown at 217 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.
Take a Catamaran to the Channel Islands
If you’re standing on the shores in Santa Barbara, you might spy some low-lying islands in the distance. The Channel Island National Park is often referred to as “the Galapagos Islands of North America”, and its five volcanic rock islands are home to crystal clear, tropical-like waters, an abundance of wildlife such as sea lions and brown pelicans, as well as a variety of other marine life and seabirds. Island Packers runs daily tours from nearby Ventura Harbor, and once you’re there you can explore it up close and personal with a guided kayak journey exploring sea caves from Channel Islands Adventure Company on Santa Cruz Island. You can find Island Packers just south of Santa Barbara at 1691 Spinnaker Dr #105B, Ventura, CA 93001.
Explore Santa Barbara Sights at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
This 78-acre museum is open year-round and showcases a variety of over 1,000 native Californian plants through five miles of trails that are accessible to hikers of all skill levels. This diverse landscape can take you from tranquil Redwood groves to a cactus filled desert all in one journey and features several scenic stops such as the historic 1807 Mission Dam, a Japanese Teahouse, and fantastic views of the San Ynez Mountains. You can locate the garden at 1212 Mission Canyon Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.
These are just a few of the scenic spots our lovely costal city has to offer. To come visit us and see them all, contact one of our reservation specialists to start planning your Santa Barbara vacation today! We have a large portfolio of vacation rentals, including spacious homes with a private pool like Villa del Oceano.
When you come to Santa Barbara, it’s probably because you love the beach, you love city life, and you love finding little adventures to fill the day. Some of the best adventures you can take here are the guided Santa Barbara tours offered in town by the friendly locals who just want to share the best of Santa Barbara. Check out our favorites:
Historic Santa Barbara Food Tasting Tour
Take a gourmet tour of the best eateries that Santa Barbara has to offer with Santa Barbara Eating Tours. This is a great way to get your steps in between all the different delights you’ll try, which means you can let go and stay in shape at the same time! You’ll also get to see the sights, like local landmarks, architecture, and historic buildings in the downtown district.
Wine & Chocolate Walking Tour
This is a zany way to fill the day, hosted by Totally Cali Tours. You’ll get to taste delicious wines while learning about their history and the history of the local wine scene and all the most famous winemakers. Along the way, you’ll also get to taste artisanal chocolates and other mouth-watering confections. It’s a chocolate and wine lover’s dream.
Ghost Tours of Santa Barbara
Take a risk on a wild activity! Take this tour offered by Santa Barbara Ghost Tours and you’ll get to see all the rumored haunted places here in town and hear all the backstories behind these alleged hauntings. Whether you believe in it or you find it all silly, it’s a fun time, and you get to learn a lot of local history while you’re out and about from your knowledgeable guide.
Private Charter Boat Tour
With Santa Barbara Sailing Charters you can take a private tour, just for you and your family, or you and your friends, or even you and a loved one. This is a great way to get intimately acquainted with the ocean. You’ll get to see wild sea life in its natural habitat, and with this small charter boat and your dedicated friendly guide, it’ll be a quiet and serene experience.
Experience Santa Barbara Tours with Paradise Retreats
Regardless of whichever awesome tours you take, you’ll want somewhere comfortable to call your own while you’re in town. Just give us a call today and we’ll help you get started on finding your rental home! We offer a large selection of vacation rentals, including properties with their very own pool.
So you’re planning some things to do in Santa Barbara and you have 48 hours to fill, but just aren’t sure how to do it? There’s no problem when staying in a Paradise Retreats vacation escape, because our helpful staff just lives for challenges like this one. Because we love our guests, we have compiled this list on how to best spend your 48 hours in Santa Barbara!
While It May Be Tempting to Sleep a Little Longer
When the sun begins to awaken you with its rays, you more than likely will be tempted to pull the pillow over your head and go back to sleep—but don’t! You only have 48 hours in paradise, and we’re going to fill as much of those waking moments as possible. Besides, you want to start your day out right with a hearty and filling breakfast at the Scarlett Begonia! Serving their famous Yukon Gold Cinnamon Roll and a large selection of breakfast goodies, their foods will keep your “engines” stoked for the next few hours of adventures.
After all that good food, a hike through the canyons of Parma Park will help burn off the extra calories consumed, and the views from the trails that traverse the park will feed your soul. Located off Stanwood Drive, it’s places like this that continually remind us that we do live in Paradise.
A quick lunch at Pickles & Swiss will stave off hunger pangs, but eat light; you want to save room for tonight’s romantic dinner at Bouchon Santa Barbara. The afternoon of your first day is meant for relaxing at Ledbetter Beach and resting your tired feet. Don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do in Santa Barbara in day 2.
Day 2 – Things to do in Santa Barbara
Day two is also divided into two parts, with the morning spent at Stearns Wharf. Start with breakfast at On the Alley, then continue the morning by visiting the stores and shops that make the Wharf so popular! Pick up souvenirs for your family, a cute new bikini for you, and if the mood strikes, check out the fishing equipment for rent at Stearns Wharf Bait & Tackle. Fishing off the pier is allowed, and who knows, you may even catch tonight’s dinner! Families with children will love spending the afternoon at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Hang around until 5PM and the animals get really active for feeding time!
As the Sun Sets on Another Gorgeous Day in Santa Barbara
Dinner on the patio of your Paradise Retreats home away from home is a grand experience, especially if you’re grilling up the catch of the day. Watch the sun set over the mountains in the background as you chat with your family about your fun-filled 48 hours in paradise and be thankful that you were able to spend a good portion of your time in one of the most comfortable and stylish vacation homes in all of California. Reserve yours today!
Most people know that Santa Barbara is a beautiful place with incredible weather year-round; however, that is often the extent of their knowledge. People who visit the area come to find that this is only the surface of what you will find. With each new exploration, you will find more and more to love about the area. Here are a few interesting Santa Barbara facts.
The Mountains are Not Your Typical Mountains
The area features a beautiful mountain range in the Santa Ynez Mountains just to the north of the city. It may take a while to realize, but this mountain range is unique because it runs from east to west. This sets it apart from almost every other mountain range in the world, as they typically run from north to south. Throughout the mountain range, you will find endless fun, from great hikes to pools and waterfalls.
Some of the Best Wine in the Country
Remember the odd mountains in the area? Well their odd orientation results in some of the best land for harvesting grapes for wine in the entire country. The Santa Ynez Mountains and the valleys that speckle the area are full of vineyards and wineries that create some of the most delicious wine you will find anywhere. While Napa Valley gets most of the press, this is where some of the most unique wines are created.
They Take Farmers Markets Seriously
You may think that wherever you are from is enthusiastic about farmers markets, but in Santa Barbara, these events are not taken lightly. You can find a farmers market every single day of the week, each of which features unique products straight out of this vibrant community. The markets pop up all over the area, but you will not want to miss the downtown markets that take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
You Can Find Spanish Influence Everywhere
Many people think of Florida when they think of Spanish influence in the United States, but California, and Santa Barbara in particular, was settled by the Spanish hundreds of years ago. You can find evidence of this in the amazing architecture. One of the most lasting and beautiful examples is the Old Mission Santa Barbara. The Mission was founded in 1786, with the current structures being built in 1820. Exploring the mission with one of the amazing tours here is a wonderful way to spend a day.
Santa Barbara Fact: It is Home to the Most Beach Camping on the Coast
The community takes full advantage of the beautiful place where it sits. One of the many ways they accomplish this is in offering endless beach camping opportunities. A great example of this is Refugio State Beach, where you will find 85 campsites right by the beach. This surely offers an amazing way to spend a weekend.
This information does not begin to scratch the surface of this vibrant community in this beautiful place. If you truly want to learn about what makes it all so special, then a visit is in order. Make your next trip a Santa Barbara trip. Oh, and another Santa Barbara fact: this was the first place in the country to grow avocados.
Santa Barbara is normally depicted as a beautiful coastal area with sunshine and sandy beaches, but believe it or not, every once in a while, there are Santa Barbara rain clouds. These clouds force us to seek alternate plans from lounging on the beach. But much of what makes this area great is the multitude of other outdoor activities not requiring sunshine. Here are a few ideas for fun on those less than perfect beach days.
Go to the Beach
Even if it’s raining, you can still enjoy the beach. Grab an umbrella, raincoat, and some boots and head down to the water’s edge. There is plenty to do at the beach even when the sun is not shining. As long as it’s not raining hard, take a walk, hunt for shells, play Frisbee, or make sandcastles. For your safety, stay out of the water, but otherwise enjoy your time in the sand!
Hang Out with Painters Like Monet
If you rather spend the day out and about, go downtown to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. This renown museum features works by Dali, Monet, and Rousseau among more modern masters. You won’t find better company anywhere. Take a look at some of the most influential works of art available at this amazing museum.
Grab Some Quality Craft Beer
Probably the best activity on this list—in our humble opinion, anyway! Head to The Press Room and enjoy a frothy pint in this cozy, local bar, or pull up a stool at the James Joyce and enjoy a drink while watching the world pass by on busy State St and shell a few peanuts; they have barrels of them there to kick up your feet.
Eat Like a Local Even in the Santa Barbara Rain
The locals do this every other day of the week, so why should a Santa Barbara rainy day be any different? If you’ve just left the James Joyce, make a sharp right turn and head directly into Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop for a hearty taste of England. Joe’s Cafe and the Dutch Garden Restaurant are two other solid choices for delicious, heaping servings of warm comfort food. There are so many restaurants in the Santa Barbara area that are amazing; these are just a few to get you started.
Santa Barbara is one of the best vacation destinations in the country and provides numerous things to do both in Santa Barbara and in the surrounding area. Santa Barbara and the surrounding area have a deep history that creates really interesting attractions. Whether you are looking to grab a drink or see a show, there are plenty of Santa Barbara night activities for the night owl on vacation.
Santa Barbara Brewing Company
The Santa Barbara Brewing Company is the oldest brewery in the Santa Barbara area and provides you with everything you could want and more out of an amazing bar. The brewing company lies just a few blocks from Stearns Wharf and features not only craft beer options, but also amazing food options as well. This brewpub uses their brewing spirit to create incredible and unique craft beers and uses some of these beers to create even better food. The Santa Barbara Brewing Company has a collegiate feel, but more reminiscent of the days where you hung out in perfect little bars and attempted to become a beer snob. There are seven beers on tap year round and several different rotating beers with guest taps for trying new favorites.
When you enter Café Zaytoon, you are welcomed to a hidden oasis in the center of Santa Barbara. This amazing café is the best place where you can experience fresh and tasty Lebanese cuisine at any time of day. Café Zaytoon has an amazing garden you can enjoy with your special guests that is complete with the sounds of the waterfall, the glow of little lights and the warmth of a fire. The best part of this Santa Barbara night activity is definitely the atmosphere. A great attraction to visit on vacation is somewhere that you can escape the stresses of life and be transported to another world; the garden at Zaytoon does just this. You will experience the exotic tastes of their menu, hear interesting and new music on their patio, and be transported to another far off time and place.
Rori’s Artisanal Creamery
One thing you need on vacation is a great dessert. After you have walked around the beautiful area and seen Santa Barbara, drive down to Rori’s and pull up a chair for some delicious artisanal ice cream. Try any one of their rotating flavors and experience ice cream bliss.
Great Homes to Return To After These Santa Barbara Night Activities
These three attractions are great for families, couples, singles and groups of people who love to experience Santa Barbara. Try one of these on your next vacation.