Santa Barbara, California: Wikis


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City of Santa Barbara
—  City  —

Nickname(s): The American Riviera
Location in Santa Barbara County and the state of California
Coordinates: 34°25′33″N 119°42′51″W / 34.42583°N 119.71417°W / 34.42583; -119.71417Coordinates: 34°25′33″N 119°42′51″W / 34.42583°N 119.71417°W / 34.42583; -119.71417
Country United States
State California
County Santa Barbara
 - Mayor Helene Schneider
 - Senate Tony Strickland (R)
 - Assembly Pedro Nava (D)
 - U. S. Congress Lois Capps (D)
 - Total 41.4 sq mi (111.6 km2)
 - Land 19.0 sq mi (54.6 km2)
 - Water 22.4 sq mi (57.0 km2)
Elevation 49 ft (15 m)
Population (2007)
 - Total 89,456 (city proper)
 Density 4,865.3/sq mi (767.2/km2)
  201,058 (2000, metro area)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 93101-93103, 93105-93111, 93116-93118, 93120-93121, 93130, 93140, 93150, 93160, 93190, 93199
Area code(s) 805
FIPS code 06-69070
GNIS feature ID 1661401

Santa Barbara is a city in Santa Barbara County, California, United States. Situated on an east-west trending section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply-rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the sea. Santa Barbara's climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city is sometimes referred to as the "American Riviera."[1] As of the census of 2000, the city had a population of 92,325 while the contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, had an approximate population of 220,000.

In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city has a robust economy which includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for fully 35% of local employment.[2] Education in particular is well-represented, with five institutions of higher learning on the south coast (the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, Antioch University, and the Brooks Institute of Photography.) The Santa Barbara Airport serves the city, as does Amtrak. U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angeles to the south and San Francisco to the north. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forest, which contains several remote wilderness areas.



The history of the city begins at least 13,000 years ago with the ancestors of the present-day Chumash. Evidence for a Paleoindian presence includes a fluted Clovis-like point found in the 1980s along the western Santa Barbara County coast, as well as the remains of Arlington Springs Man, found on Santa Rosa Island in the 1960s. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 Chumash lived on the south coast of Santa Barbara County when Portuguese explorer João Cabrilho sailed through the Santa Barbara Channel in 1542, anchoring briefly in the area. In 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino gave the name "Santa Barbara" to the region, in gratitude for having survived a violent storm in the Channel on December 3, the eve of the feast day of that saint.


Spanish period

1993 santa barbara mission.ogg
Video of the Mission in Santa Barbara in (1 minute, 29 sec.)
Mission Santa Barbara, known as "the Queen of the Missions," was founded in 1786.

A land expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá and accompanied by missionary Padre Junipero Serra visited in 1769, but did not stay. The first permanent European residents were Spanish missionaries and soldiers under Felipe de Neve and again accompanied by Serra, who came in 1782 to build the Presidio and Mission. They were sent both to fortify the region against expansion by other powers such as England and Russia, and to convert the natives to Christianity. Many of the Spanish brought their families with them, and those formed the nucleus of the small town – at first just a cluster of adobes – that surrounded the Presidio. Mission Santa Barbara was dedicated December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara.[3] The Mission fathers began the slow work of converting the native Chumash to Christianity, building a village for them on the Mission grounds. Many of the natives died in the following decades of diseases such as smallpox to which they had no natural immunity.[4]

The most dramatic event of the Spanish period was the powerful 1812 earthquake and tsunami, one of the strongest in California history, which destroyed the Mission as well as the rest of the town; water reached as high as present-day Anapamu street, and carried a ship half a mile up Refugio Canyon.[5][6] Following the earthquake, the Mission fathers chose to rebuild in a grander manner, and it is this construction that survives to the present day, the best-preserved of the California Missions.

The Spanish period ended in 1822 with the end of the Mexican War of Independence which terminated three hundred years of colonial rule. The flag of Mexico went up the flagpole at the Presidio, but only for 24 years.

Mexican and Rancho Period

After the secularization of the Missions in 1833, immense amounts of land formerly held by the Church were distributed by the Mexican governors of California to various families in order to reward service or build alliances. These land grants commenced the "Rancho Period" in California and Santa Barbara history. The population remained sparse, with enormous cattle operations run by wealthy families. It was during this period that Richard Henry Dana, Jr. first visited Santa Barbara and wrote about it in Two Years Before the Mast.

Santa Barbara fell bloodlessly to a battalion of American soldiers under John C. Frémont on December 27, 1846, during the Mexican-American War, and after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo it became part of the expanding United States.

Middle and late 19th century

Change came quickly after Santa Barbara's acquisition by the United States. The population doubled between 1850 and 1860. In 1851, land surveyor Salisbury Haley designed the street grid, famously botching the block measurements, misaligning the streets;[7] wood construction replaced adobe, as American settlers moved in; and during the Gold Rush years and following, the town became a haven for bandits and gamblers, and a dangerous and lawless place. Charismatic gambler and highwayman Jack Powers had virtual control of the town in the early 1850s, until driven out by a posse organized in San Luis Obispo. English gradually supplanted Spanish as the language of daily life, becoming the language of official record in 1870.[8] The first newspaper, the Santa Barbara Gazette, was founded in 1855.[9]

While the Civil War had little effect on Santa Barbara, the disastrous drought of 1863 ended the Rancho Period, as most of the cattle died and ranchos were broken up and sold. The building of Stearns Wharf in 1872 enhanced Santa Barbara's commercial and tourist accessibility; previously goods and visitors had to transfer from steamboats to smaller craft to row ashore. During the 1870s, writer Charles Nordhoff promoted the town as a health resort and destination for well-to-do travelers from other parts of the U.S.; many of them came, and many stayed. The luxurious Arlington Hotel dated from this period. In 1887 the railroad finally went through to Los Angeles, and in 1901 to San Francisco: Santa Barbara was now easily accessible by land and by sea, and development was brisk.[10]

Early 20th century to World War II

Just before the turn of the century, oil was discovered at the Summerland Oil Field, and the region along the beach east of Santa Barbara sprouted numerous oil derricks and piers for drilling offshore. This was the first offshore oil development in the world; oil drilling offshore would become a contentious practice in the Santa Barbara area to the present day.[11]

Santa Barbara housed the world's largest movie studio during the era of silent film. Flying A Studios, a division of the American Film Company, operated on two city blocks centered at State and Mission between 1910 and 1922, with the industry shutting down locally and moving to Hollywood once it outgrew the area, needing the resources of a larger city. Flying A and the other smaller local studios produced approximately 1,200 films during their tenure in Santa Barbara, of which approximately 100 survive.[12][13][14]

During this period, the Loughead Aircraft Company was established on lower State Street, and regularly tested seaplanes off of East Beach. This was the genesis of what would later become Lockheed.

The earthquake of June 29, 1925, the first destructive earthquake in California since the 1906 San Francisco quake, destroyed much of Santa Barbara and killed 13 or 14 people. The low death toll is attributed to the early hour (6:23 a.m., before most people were out on the streets, vulnerable to falling masonry). While this quake, like the one in 1812, was centered in the Santa Barbara Channel, it caused no tsunami, and most of the damage was caused by two onshore aftershocks. It came at an opportune time for rebuilding, since a movement for architectural reform and unification around a Spanish Colonial style was already underway. Under the leadership of Pearl Chase, many of the city's famous buildings rose as part of the rebuilding process, including the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, sometimes praised as the "most beautiful public building in the United States."

During World War II Santa Barbara was home to a Marine base, at the site of present-day UCSB; a Navy installation at the harbor; was near to the Army's Camp Cook, present-day Vandenberg Air Force Base; and contained a hospital for treating servicemen wounded in the Pacific Theatre. On February 23, 1942, not long after the outbreak of war in the Pacific, a Japanese submarine surfaced offshore and lobbed 16 shells at the Elwood Oil Field, about 10 miles (16 km) west of Santa Barbara, in the first wartime attack by an enemy power on the U.S. mainland since the War of 1812. Although the shelling was inaccurate and only caused about $500 damage to a catwalk, panic was immediate. Many Santa Barbara residents fled, and land values plummeted to historic lows.

After World War II

After the war many of the servicemen who had seen Santa Barbara returned to stay. The population surged by 10,000 people between the end of the war and 1950. This burst of growth had dramatic consequences for the local economy and infrastructure. Highway 101 was built through town during this period, and newly built Lake Cachuma began supplying water via a tunnel dug through the mountains between 1950 and 1956.[15]

Local relations with the oil industry gradually soured through the period. Production at Summerland had ended, Elwood was winding down, and to find new fields oil companies carried out seismic exploration of the Channel using explosives, a controversial practice that local fishermen claimed harmed their catch. The culminating disaster, and one of the formative events in the modern environmental movement, was the blowout at Union Oil's Platform A on the Dos Cuadras Field, about eight miles southeast of Santa Barbara in the Santa Barbara Channel, on January 28, 1969. Approximately 100,000 barrels of oil surged out of a huge undersea break, fouling hundreds of square miles of ocean and all the coastline from Ventura to Goleta, as well north facing beaches on the Channel Islands. Two legislative consequences of the spill in the next year were the passages of the California Envirnomental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); locally, outraged citizens formed GOO (Get Oil Out).[16]

Santa Barbara's business community strove to attract development until the surge in the anti-growth movement in the 1970s. Many "clean" industries, especially aerospace firms such as Raytheon and Delco Electronics, moved to town in the 1950s and 1960s, bringing employees from other parts of the U.S. UCSB itself became a major employer.[16] In 1975, the city passed an ordinance restricting growth to a maximum of 85,000 residents, through zoning. Growth in the adjacent Goleta Valley could be shut down by denying water meters to developers seeking permits. As a result of these changes, growth slowed down, but prices rose sharply.[17][18]

Four destructive fires affected Santa Barbara during this time: the 1964 Coyote Fire, which burned 67,000 acres (270 km2) of backcountry along with 150 homes; the smaller but quickly moving Sycamore Fire in 1977, which burned 200 homes; the disastrous 1990 Painted Cave Fire, which incinerated over 500 homes in only several hours, during an intense Sundowner wind event; and the November 2008 Tea Fire, which destroyed 210 homes in the foothills of Santa Barbara and Montecito before being put out.[19]

When voters approved connection to State water supplies in 1991, parts of the city, especially outlying areas, resumed growth, but more slowly than during the boom period of the 1950s and 1960s. While the slower growth preserved the quality of life for most residents and prevented the urban sprawl notorious in the Los Angeles basin, housing in the Santa Barbara area was in short supply, and prices soared: in 2006, only six percent of residents could afford a median-value house. As a result, many people who work in Santa Barbara commute from adjacent, more affordable areas, such as Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Ventura. The resultant traffic on incoming arteries, particularly the stretch of Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara, is another problem being addressed by long-range planners.[20]

In 2006, in a controversial move, the city's major news daily, the Santa Barbara News-Press, fired, or accepted the resignations of, a large portion of their newsroom staff. The departing reporters and editors claimed that the ethical standards of the newspaper had slipped, in particular that owner Wendy McCaw inappropriately inserted herself into content decisions. Some of the staff, including columnist Barney Brantingham, joined the competing Independent. News-Press management described the departures as having occurred over "differences of opinion as to direction, goals and vision."[21]


Street scene in Santa Barbara
The coastline of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is located about 90 miles (140 km) WNW of Los Angeles, along the Pacific coast. This stretch of coast along southern Santa Barbara County is often referred to as the "American Riviera" because its geography and similar climate to that of the French and Italian Rivieras.[1] The Santa Ynez Mountains, an east-west trending range, rise dramatically behind the city, with several peaks exceeding 4,000 feet (1,200 m). Covered with chaparral and with sandstone outcrops, they make a famously scenic backdrop to the town. Sometimes, perhaps once every three years, snow falls on the mountains, but it rarely stays for more than a few days. Nearer to town, and directly east and adjacent to Mission Santa Barbara, is a hill known locally as the "Riviera," traversed by "Alameda Padre Serra" (shortened APS), "Father Serra's pathway." The hillside, made accessible by the advent of the automobile early in the 20th century, is now built with relatively expensive homes. A spectacularly beautiful area looking south toward the Pacific and the Channel Islands and having sunrise to sunset views, Santa Barbara became the winter destination for the titans of post-Civil War America. Private railroad cars clustered on the sidings at Santa Barbara. The Potter Hotel overlooking Santa Barbara's West Beach was a world renowned resort. Owners of industry visited Santa Barbara and chose Santa Barbara hillside locations for their grand estates. Others preferred the beach and built palatially there, from Sandyland Cove, Padaro Lane, the city beaches, and west to what is now Goleta.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.4 square miles (107.3 km²), of which, 19.0 square miles (49.2 km²) of it is land and 22.4 square miles (58.1 km²) of it (54.17%) is water. The high official figures for water is due to the city limit extending into the ocean, including a strip of city reaching out into the sea and inland again to keep the Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) within the city boundary.

The architectural image of Santa Barbara is the Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture adopted by city leaders after the 1925 earthquake destroyed much of the downtown commercial district. The residential architecture of Santa Barbara is predominantly California bungalows built in the early decades of the 20th century, with many Victorian homes adorning the "Upper East" and Spanish style homes designed by well known California architects in Santa Barbara and on estates in Montecito and Hope Ranch. The city has passed ordinances against billboards and regulates outdoor advertising, so the city is relatively free of advertising clutter.


Santa Barbara experiences a cool Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) characteristic of coastal California. Because of the city's proximity to the ocean, onshore breezes significantly moderate temperatures, resulting in warmer winters and cooler summers. In addition, the Santa Ynez mountains create a rain shadow. As a result, Santa Barbara receives higher rainfall in the winter than other cities in the same area; summers are unaffected due to the presence of offshore high-pressure systems. Snow sometimes covers the Santa Ynez mountains but is totally unknown on the ground of the city. Only few flakes were recorded in 1939.

Climate data for Santa Barbara
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 17.8
Average low °C (°F) 7.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 105.2
Source: Intellicast[22] 2010-02-25


As of the census[23] of 2000, there were 92,325 people*, 35,605 households, and 18,941 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,865.3 people per square mile (1,878.1/km²). There were 37,076 housing units at an average density of 1,953.8/sq mi (754.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.04% White, 1.77% African American, 1.07% Native American, 2.77% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 16.37% from other races, and 3.85% from two or more races. People of Hispanic or Latino background, of any race, were 35.02% of the population. (*This number was revised to 89,600 when it was discovered that a dormitory population outside the city was erroneously included in the 92,325 figure.[citation needed])

There were 35,605 households out of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.8% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.8% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,498, and the median income for a family was $57,880. Males had a median income of $37,116 versus $31,911 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,466. About 7.7% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.8% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over. If one compares the per capita income to the actual cost of living, the number of people living below the poverty line is considerably higher.

In 2006, according to the California State Department of Finance, the population of Santa Barbara (now 89,548) had been surpassed by that of Santa Maria, which had thus become the most populous city in Santa Barbara County. Santa Maria's growth can be attributed to its cost of living, Santa Barbara's limited growth policies, and more available land area for Santa Maria([1]).

Santa Barbara, looking towards the harbor from the top of the County Courthouse, showing the distinctive red-tiled roofs


As with most cities, Santa Barbara has a range of neighborhoods with distinctive histories, architectures, and cultures. While considerable consensus exists as to the identification of neighborhood names and boundaries, variations exist between observers. For example, real estate agents may use different names than those used by public utilities or municipal service providers, such as police, fire, or water services. The following is a list of neighborhoods with descriptions and comments on each.

  • The Mesa stretches 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from Santa Barbara City College on the east to Arroyo Burro County Beach (or "Hendry’s/The Pit" to locals) on the west. This is considered to be a desirable neighborhood due to its proximity to the ocean as well as the college.
  • The Riviera encompasses an ocean-facing hillside extending approximately two miles (3 km) span between Mission and Sycamore Canyons. For the past 65 years it has been known as "the Riviera" due to its resemblance to slopes along the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy. Most of the area has curving streets with mature trees and foliage, and most of the topography of the Riviera is relatively steep.
  • The Westside ("west of State Street") lies predominantly in the lowlands between State Street and the Mesa, including Highway 101, and also reaches down to Cliff Drive, incorporating Santa Barbara City College.
  • The Waterfront
  • Lower State Street is the part of town most popular with tourists. It is usually defined as stretching from Anapamu to either the intersection with 101 or Stearns Wharf. It features primarily commercial properties, as well as a thriving nightlife.
  • Upper State Street is a residential and commercial district which includes numerous professional offices, and much of the medical infrastructure of the city.
  • San Roque is located northwest of the downtown area and north of Samarkand. It is a good spot for families within the Hope School District. This area is said to be a constant 5 degrees warmer than the coastal areas, due to its greater distance from the ocean than other Santa Barbara neighborhoods, and being separated from the sea by a low range of hills to the south, occupied by the Mesa and Hope Ranch. San Roque is also the most popular spot for Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween.
  • Samarkand currently has approximately 630 homes on 184 acres (0.74 km2) with a population of about 2000 people. The name Samarkand comes from an Old Persian word meaning "the land of heart’s desire." It was first applied to a deluxe Persian-style hotel that was converted from a boy’s school in 1920. Samarkand later became identified as its own neighborhood located between Las Positas, State Street, De La Vina, Oak Park and the Freeway. Earle Ovington built the first home here in 1920 at 3030 Samarkand Drive. As a pilot, Ovington established the Casa Loma Air Field with a 1,500-foot (460 m) runway that was used by legendary pilots, Lindbergh and Earheart.
  • Hope Ranch is an unincorporated suburb of Santa Barbara, west of downtown. As of the 2000 census, the area had an approximate population of 2,200. The neighborhood occupies a hilly area immediately adjacent to the coast; the highest elevation is 691 feet (211 m). Hope Ranch is one of the wealthiest areas in California; the median price home was $2.61 million in 2006.
  • Noleta is an informal name for the unincorporated suburban area west of Santa Barbara. It is bounded on the east by Santa Barbara and Hope Ranch, on the west by Goleta, on the north by the Santa Ynez Mountains and on the south by the Pacific Ocean, and largely includes the zip codes 93105, 93110, and 93111. Approximately 30,000 people live in the area. The area is called Noleta because of its history of voting "no" on incorporation with the City of Goleta (i.e. "no" to "Goleta"), and as a pun on the more famous neighborhood "North of Little Italy" in New York City. Residents have the address of Santa Barbara.


Performing arts

Santa Barbara contains numerous performing art venues, including the 2,000 seat Arlington Theatre, the largest indoor performance venue in Santa Barbara; the Lobero Theatre, a historic building and favorite venue for small concerts; the Granada Theater, the tallest building downtown, originally built by contractor C.M. Urton in 1920, but with the theatre remodeled and reopened in March 2008; and the Santa Barbara Bowl, a 4,562 seat amphitheatre used for outdoor concerts, nestled in a picturesque canyon northwest of Santa Barbara at the base of the Riviera.

The city is considered a haven for classical music lovers with a symphony orchestra and many non-profit classical music groups (such as CAMA). The Music Academy of the West, located in Montecito, hosts an annual music festival in the summer, drawing renowned students and professionals.

Current event listings can be found at Santa Barbara Performing Arts League [2]

Tourist attractions

A view of a Santa Barbara sunset looking over the ocean.

Santa Barbara is a year-round tourist destination renowned for its fair weather, downtown beaches, and Spanish architecture. Tourism brings more than one billion dollars per year into the local economy, including $80 million in tax revenue.[24] In addition to the city's cultural assets, several iconic destinations lie within the city's limits. Mission Santa Barbara, "The Queen of the Missions," is located on a rise about two miles (3 km) inland from the harbor, and is maintained as an active place of worship, sightseeing stop, and national historic landmark. The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a red tiled Spanish-Moorish structure, provides a sweeping view of the downtown area from its open air tower. The Presidio of Santa Barbara, a Spanish military installation built in 1782, was central to the town's early development and remains an icon of the city's colonial roots.

Also famous is the annual Fiesta (originally called "Old Spanish Days"), which is celebrated every year in August. The Fiesta is hosted by the Native Daughters of the Golden West and the Native Sons of the Golden West in a joint committee called the Fiesta Board. Fiesta was originally started as a tourist attraction, like the Rose Bowl, to draw business into the town in the 1920s.

Flower Girls and Las Señoritas are another attraction of Fiesta, as they march and participate in both Fiesta Pequeña (the kickoff of Fiesta) and the various parades. Flower Girls is for girls under 13. They throw roses and other flowers into the crowds. Las Señoritas are their older escorts. Many Señoritas join the Native Daughters at the age of 16.

For over 40 years the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show has been held on Cabrillo Blvd., east of Stearns Wharf and along the beach, attracting thousands of people to see artwork made by artists and crafts people that live in Santa Barbara county. By the rules of the show, all the works displayed must have been made by the artists and craftspeople themselves, who must sell their own goods. The show started in the early 1960s, and now has over 200 booths varying in size and style on any Sunday of the year. The show is also held on some Saturdays that are national holidays, but not during inclement weather.

In recent years, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival [3] (SBIFF), another local non-profit, has also become a major draw bringing over 50,000 attendees during what is usually Santa Barbara's slow season in late January. SBIFF hosts a wide variety of celebrities, premieres, panels and movies from around the world and runs for 10 days.

The annual Summer Solstice Parade draws up to 100,000 people ([4]). It is a colorful themed parade put on by local residents, and follows a route along State Street for approximately one mile, ending at Alameda Park. Its main rule is that no written messages or banners with words are allowed. Floats and costumes vary from the whimsical to the outrageous; parties and street events take place throughout the weekend of the parade, which is invariably the first weekend after the solstice.

Surfing is as much a part of Santa Barbara culture as Art. Three time world champion Tom Curren, 10 time world champion Kelly Slater, and other popular surf icons such as Jack Johnson call Santa Barbara home. Local surfers are known for going north to The Point, or south to Rincon.

Other tourist-centered attractions include:

  • Stearns Wharf – Adjacent to Santa Barbara Harbor, features shops, several restaurants, and the newly rebuilt Ty Warner Sea Center.
  • Rafael Gonzalez HouseAdobe residence of the alcaldé of Santa Barbara in the 1820s, and a National Historic Landmark.
  • Santa Barbara's Moreton Bay Fig Tree – a giant Moreton Bay Fig, 80 feet (24 m) tall, which has one of the largest total shaded areas of any tree in North America
  • Burton Mound – on Mason Street at Burton Circle, this mound is thought to be the Chumash village of Syujton, recorded by Juan Cabrillo in 1542, and again by Fr. Crespí and Portolá in 1769. (California Historical Landmark No. 306)
  • De La Guerra Plaza (Casa de la Guerra) – Site of the first City Hall, and still the center of the city's administration. (California Historical Landmark No. 307) Also the location of the Santa Barbara News Press.
  • Covarrubias Adobe – Built in 1817; adjacent to the Santa Barbara Historical Museum on Santa Barbara Street. (California Historical Landmark No. 308)
  • Hastings Adobe – Built in 1854, partially from material recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Winfield Scott. (California Historical Landmark No. 559)
  • Hill-Carrillo Adobe – Built in 1825 by Daniel A. Hill for his wife Rafaela L. Ortega y Olivera; currently at 11 E. Carrillo St.
  • Cold Spring Tavern
  • El Paseo Shopping Mall – California's first shopping center.
  • Santa Barbara Zoo


With its abundance of seafood, awareness of farming methods, and nearby wineries, Santa Barbara has many restaurants. In 2008, the Santa Barbara Dining Guide listed 674 separate restaurants in the region.[25]


Many artists make Santa Barbara their home, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is home to a significant permanent collection. Other art venues include the University Art Museum on the UC Santa Barbara Campus, various private galleries, and a wide variety of art and photography shows. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is located immediately behind the Santa Barbara Mission in a complex of Mission-style buildings set in a park-like campus. The Museum offers indoor and outdoor exhibits and a state-of-the-art planetarium. The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is located on De La Guerra Street and offers free admission. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is located at 113 Harbor Way (the former Naval Reserve Center Santa Barbara) on the waterfront. The Contemporary Arts Forum, located on the top floor of Paseo Nuevo shopping mall, contains exhibits of new works in all media. The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum (free admission) houses a collection of historical documents and manuscripts. Two open air museums here are Lotusland and Casa del Herrero, exemplifying the American Country Place era in Santa Barbara.


Santa Barbara has three adjudicated, general circulation newspapers: the daily Santa Barbara News-Press, with a circulation of about 28,000, the unaudited Santa Barbara Daily Sound, published 5 days a week, and Santa Barbara Independent, a weekly with 40,000 audited circulation [26]. The New York Times Company sold the News-Press in 2000 to local resident Wendy P. McCaw. Other media available include Edhat Online Magazine Edhat, an aggregation of citizen news and links to other media websites, Pacific Coast Business Times, a weekly business journal covering Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties[5]; Santa Barbara Life [6]; Noozhawk, a local news website, Builder/Architect Gold & Central Coast Edition; and Shape of Voice[7], a non-profit youth created publication which focuses on social justice and youth issues, and City 2.0, a local citizen blog network and news headline aggregation website. Local television stations include KEYT 3, an ABC television affiliate; KPMR 38, a Univision affiliate; Santa Barbara Internet TV [8], and Santa Barbara Channels; and 17 (Community Access) and 21 Arts & Education [(formerly owned by Cox cable)]. Although Santa Barbara has radio stations including KJEE (92.9 mHz), The Vibe:Hip Hop y Mas 103.3, KTYD (99.9 mHz) and KLITE 101.7 owned by Rincon Broadcasing, some Los Angeles radio stations can be heard, although somewhat faintly due to the 85-mile (137 km) distance. Santa Monica-based NPR station KCRW can be heard in Santa Barbara at 106.9 mHz, and San Luis Obispo-based NPR station KCBX at 89.5 mHz and 90.9 mHz. Last, but certainly not least, there is the radio station housed on the UC Santa Barbara campus and funded by the students of UC Santa Barbara, KCSB-FM at 91.9 mHz - which is the only non-commercial radio station based in Santa Barbara.


A view of Santa Barbara from the Santa Ynez Mountain Range

Santa Barbara has many parks, ranging from small spaces within the urban environment to large, semi-wilderness areas which remain within the city limits. Some notable parks within the city limits are as follows:

Some notable parks and open spaces just outside of the city limits include:

The first Motel 6, in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara's many tourist attractions have made the hospitality industry into a major player in the regional economy. For example, Motel 6 was started in Santa Barbara in 1962.


Santa Barbara Public Library.

Colleges and universities

Santa Barbara and the immediately adjacent area is home to several colleges and universities:

High schools

Secondary and Primary School students go to the Santa Barbara and Hope district schools. There are also a variety of private schools in the area. The following schools are on the south coast of Santa Barbara County, including the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, and contiguous unincorporated areas.

Carpinteria High School, 9-12, Rincon/Foothill High School, 9-12 (CUSD)

Junior high/middle schools

Santa Barbara Middle School Carpinteria Middle School, 6-8 (CUSD)

Elementary schools

  • Adams Elementary School, K-6
  • Cesar Estrada Chavez Dual Language Immersion Charter School, K-6
  • Cleveland Elementary School, K-6
  • Cold Spring Elementary School, K-6
  • Crane Country Day School, K-8
  • El Camino Elementary School, K-6
  • Foothill Elementary School, K-6
  • Franklin Elementary School, K-6
  • Harding Elementary School, K-6
  • Hollister Elementary School, K-6
  • Hope Elementary School, K-6
  • La Patera Elementary School, K-6
  • Marymount School, K-8
  • McKinley Elementary School, K-6
  • Monroe Elementary School, K-6
  • Monte Vista Elementary School, K-6
  • Montecito Union Elementary School, K-6
  • Mountain View Elementary School, K-6
  • Open Alternative School, K-8
  • Peabody Charter School, K-6
  • Roosevelt Elementary School, K-6
  • Santa Barbara Charter School, K-8
  • Santa Barbara Christian School, K-8
  • Santa Barbara Community Academy, K-6
  • Vieja Valley Elementary School, K-6
  • Washington Elementary School, K-6

Canalino School, K-5 (CUSD) Aliso School, K-6 (CUSD)

Private schools


Santa Barbara is bisected by U.S. Route 101, an automotive transportation corridor that links the city to the rest of the Central Coast region. The Santa Barbara Airport offers commercial air service. Amtrak offers rail service through the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner trains at the train station on State Street. The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) provides local bus service across the city, and Greyhound bus stations are located downtown and in nearby Goleta. Electric shuttles operated by MTD ferry tourists and shoppers up and down lower State Street and to the wharf. Santa Barbara has an extensive network of bike trails and other resources for cyclists, and the League of American Bicyclists recognizes Santa Barbara as a Silver Level city. Ventura Intercity Service Transit Authority (VISTA) bus service offers connections south to Ventura and west to Goleta. The Clean Air Express bus offers connections to Lompoc and Santa Maria. In addition, Santa Barbara Car Free promotes visiting and exploring the area without use of a car.

Sister cities

Dingle, Ireland, was established as a Santa Barbara Sister City in Spring 2003.

Puerta Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, became a Sister City in 1972.

San Juan became a Sister City in 2000.

The Toba City/Santa Barbara affiliation was begun in 1966, and there have been several visits by citizens and officials of both cities.

Weihai, in Shandong Province, China, became a Sister City to Santa Barbara in 1993.

Santa Barbara, looking northeast from above Santa Barbara City College, towards the harbor
Santa Barbara, looking west-northwest from the County Courthouse tower, with Mission Santa Barbara and San Marcos Pass in the distance

See also



  • Baker, Gayle. Santa Barbara. Harbor Town Histories, Santa Barbara. 2003. ISBN 0-9710984-1-7
  • Birchard, Robert S. Silent-Era Filmmaking in Santa Barbara. Arcadia Publishing. 2007. ISBN 0-7385-4730-1
  • Graham, Otis L.; Bauman, Robert; Dodd, Douglas W.; Geraci, Victor W.; Murray, Fermina Brel. Stearns Wharf: Surviving Change on the California Coast. Graduate Program in Public Historical Studies, University of California, 1994. ISBN 1-883535-15-8
  • Tompkins, Walker A. Santa Barbara, Past and Present. Tecolote Books, Santa Barbara, CA, 1975.
  • Tompkins, Walker A. It Happened in Old Santa Barbara. Sandollar Press, Santa Barbara, CA, 1976.
  • Tompkins, Walker A. Santa Barbara History Makers. McNally & Loftin, Santa Barbara. 1983. ISBN 0-87461-059-1

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Santa Barbara article)

From Wikitravel

Stearn's Wharf, Santa Barbara
Stearn's Wharf, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara [1] is located geographically less than 100 miles from hyper-metropolitan Los Angeles but feels light years away from the noise and congestion of its huge neighbor to the south, which helps explain why the upper crust of Southern California have long favored the coastal retreat as both a getaway destination and the perfect place for a second (or sometimes first) home. With a temperate climate and lush natural environs, the "Riviera of the West" is perfect for a day trip, with its wide, perfect beaches, highly rated wineries, and a large variety of shopping and dining choices, or a much longer stay, with a highly active local culture of volunteerism and fund-raising (not to mention the very high number of wealthy people) that enables the town of just 90,000 residents to enjoy the sort of cultural and social amenities which are usually found only in much larger cities.

Although the common perception of Santa Barbara is as a playground for the rich and famous, the reality is more middle-America than you might think, with an average income only slightly higher than California as a whole, and a diverse ethnic makeup and heritage. Notable for its California Mission-style architecture (a long-standing local ordinance ensures that all commercial construction follow the Mission theme, which results in a plethora of red-tiled roofs and faux adobe supermarkets), local residents are intensely proud of their city's roots and traditions, and a number of hugely popular festivals throughout the year celebrate the many cultures found within the city limits.

Get in

Santa Barbara is served by a relatively small but popular airport, an Amtrak train station, and Greyhound buses.

By plane

Santa Barbara Municipal Airport [2] (IATA: SBA), located in the neighboring town of Goleta, provides access to LAX through a shuttle service that flies between the two airports several times per day. There is also service to San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and other destinations. Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District's Route 11 bus links the airport with downtown Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara Train Station
Santa Barbara Train Station

Amtrak, housed in a historical landmark on lower State Street, provides service on both the Pacific Surfliner [3] (San Luis Obispo to San Diego) and Coast Starlight [4] (Seattle to Los Angeles).

By bus

The Greyhound [5] station is also located in downtown, on the corner Carrillo and Chapala, near the local bus transit center.

By car

If arriving by car, be aware that there is only one major highway in or out of Santa Barbara, US 101; downtown Santa Barbara can be accessed via the Garden St. exit, while the beaches can be found off the Cabrillo Blvd. off ramp. Traffic patterns here are almost the complete opposite from the famous Los Angeles grid lock as the 101 can come to a grinding halt on Sunday afternoons.

Get around

Santa Barbara's core is cozy enough that simply walking from one destination to another is quite possible. Especially on the weekends, State Street is full of people walking up and down the street.

There is also a healthy public transit system in place here. The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (SBMTD) [6] runs buses all over Santa Barbara proper, as well as neighboring Goleta and Montecito. Routes and fares are on their website. The SBMTD also runs a special shuttle service between downtown and the waterfront, leaving every fifteen minutes during the day.

Along the waterfront, many businesses offer bicycle or inline skate rentals for exploring the beach areas, and "rickshaw" taxis are also a common sight.

Budget and Hertz car rental outlets are present at the airport terminal for easy car rentals, but several other rental agencies are located in Santa Barbara; call around for best rates.


For a city the size of Santa Barbara, the number of "must-sees" is quite astonishing.  This is only a partial list:

  • Karpeles Museum, 21 West Anapamu St., (805) 962-5322, open 7 days a week, 10 AM to 4 PM, [7]. The Karpeles Library is the world's largest private holding of important original manuscripts & documents. Among those items on permanent display in the museum is an original Stone copy of the Declaration of Independence, a replica of the globe used by Columbus (sans the Western Hemisphere), handwritten scores by a dozen leading composers, and the computer guidance system used on the first Apollo lander flight to the moon.
Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara
  • Santa Barbara Mission, 2201 Laguna St. (from downtown State St., turn east onto Mission St. and follow signs pointing toward the Mission,) (805) 682-4149, [8]. Self-guided tours available daily from 9AM to 5PM. Known as "The Queen of the Missions," Santa Barbara's "Old Mission" is a superb example of California's Franciscan Spanish architecture. The tenth California Mission to be constructed, Mission Santa Barbara today is both a scenic wonder and a fine anthropological study of original native culture in the surrounding area. Well worth a visit, be sure to take note of adjacent pottery kiln and tanning vat ruins. $4 for adults.
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta Del Sol Road (follow signs from SB Mission), [9]. Open 10AM to 5PM daily. (805) 682-4711. This large, well-presented natural history museum is - literally - a hidden treasure. Highlights include eleven exhibit halls focusing on regional natural history, and a life-size Blue Whale skeleton, as well as a rare skeleton of a pony-sized "pygmy mammoth." $6 for adults. Admission is free on the last Sunday of every month except September.
  • Stearns Wharf, located at the end of State Street along the Waterfront, [10]. This picturesque 1872 wharf - the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco - has tons of history. Badly damaged several times by fire, Stearn's Wharf has been repeatedly rebuilt and restored and today features more than a dozen shops and restaurants, and one of the best views in California from the end of its pier. The Wharf was also once owned by Hollywood legend James Cagney. Free.
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State Street. Open Tuesday-Sunday 11AM to 5PM. (805) 963-4364, [11]. A remarkably well-provisioned museum considering the size of the town it resides in, Santa Barbara's main art museum features a strong collection of Roman antiquities, as well as an impressive lineup of classical European and modern art. Frequently rotated exhibitions are among the strongest in California. Adults: $7. Free admission on Sunday.
  • Santa Barbara Zoo, 500 Ninos Dr. Open 10AM to 5PM all year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and some private events. (805) 963-5695, [12]. Small but well-represented with over 600 animals, the zoo has provided entertainment for all ages since 1963 and is the largest zoo between Los Angeles and San Francisco (unless you count the Monterey Aquarium). Adults 13-59: $10. Children 2-13 and Seniors 60+: $8. Children under 2: Free.
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, open all year. Situated on a point somewhat west of Santa Barbara proper (but still part of the city), UCSB is commonly listed as one of the top public universities in the United States. Known for its high science programs and top scholars, it also houses a great Marine Biology department, Dance/Theater/Music programs, and much more. The campus itself is regarded as one of the more beautiful campuses among the UC system (perhaps due to its location). Head to the top floor of the campus library for one of the best views of the whole campus. Much of the campus, especially the areas near the beach, is undeveloped open space, and includes a man-made lagoon. Head to the UCen or the nearby college town of Isla Vista for food. From downtown, take Highway 101 north to Highway 217, and go past the airport exit. Admission is free to the campus, but parking costs, and parking restrictions are heavily enforced.
  • Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1212 Mission Canyon Road (Follow signs from Old Mission), 805 682-4726, [13]. 9AM-5PM Nov-Feb, 9AM-6PM Mar-Oct. Located on 65 acres in the foothills just above the city, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden features exquisite exhibits of California native plants displayed in beautiful landscaped settings. Walk along a meadow, through a canyon and redwood forest, across a historic dam, and along ridge tops that offer sweeping views of the Channel Islands. Established in 1926 as an educational and scientific institution, the Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in California dedicated to the study, conservation, and display of native flora. $8 adults, $6 seniors/teens/military with id, $4 children 2-12, under 2 free.  edit
  • Santa Barbara Courthouse[14] Visiting the Courthouse is a must for any Santa Barbara visitors. The tower will provide great views of the city and the ocean. Visitors may see this working courthouse any time during the business day (8AM to 5PM M-F) or during the weekends (10AM to 4:30PM).


Although Santa Barbara is an atypical coastal town, it offers the typical Southern California variety of outdoor activities, from surfing to whale-watching.

  • Beaches, along the waterfront. Santa Barbara's most popular beach, East Beach, is a pristine stretch of blindingly white sand framed by postcard quality palm trees, surrounding hills and nearby harbor. For less crowded beachcombing, try nearby Leadbetter Beach, or further up the road, isolated Arroyo Burro (known to locals as Hendry's Beach,) where dog lovers bring their pets to frolic in a no-leashes-needed surfside dog park. Hendry's Beach is also home to a nudist beach, where one can often see a frolicking nude man pass by. Even more isolated is Butterfly Beach, tucked away in a cove beneath the high-toned Biltmore Hotel in Montecito.
  • Golf, Santa Barbara has numerous private and public golf courses located in and around the city. Hidden Oaks, Twin Lakes, and Ocean Meadows are nine-hole courses that provide budget prices for a round of golf. For those wishing to play 18 holes without spending a lot, the Santa Barbara Golf Club, located at 3500 McCaw, provides reasonably priced rounds. For those wishing to spend more, Sandpiper Golf Course, located north of Goleta on Hollister, or Rancho San Marcos, located about 15 miles up the 154, provide a world class golf experience.
  • Hiking, from the Mesa to the Santa Ynez Mountains, the unique geography of Santa Barbara provides amazing opportunities to see panoramic views and abundant wildlife. Hiking guides and maps are easily obtained at any local bookstore, well-equipped newsstand, or selected stores in tourist-heavy locations such as downtown. Examples include the Douglas Family Preserve, a great off-leash open space that often serves as the backdrop for numerous weddings, and East Camino Cielo Road off of Highway 154, which has several spots one can park and find a little trail to hike on, or even just sit and enjoy the view.
  • Eagle Paragliding, (805) 968-0980, [15]. Santa Barbara offers year-round flying, and some of the best flying in the United States. You can fly solo on your first day at Elings Park. Tandem Flights are also available from the Mountains, the Beach, or the Elings Park Training Hill.
  • Surfing. There are numerous beaches in the area fit for surfing and several companies that rent surfboards. Although the surf tends to be much smaller in the summer, it is perfect for beginners. There are also several nice long board breaks that are suitable year round.
  • Wine Tasting. The Santa Barbara back country has a great collection of wineries, most of which are part of the Vintner's Association [16]. Just pop up to Solvang or Buellton and enjoy. The region takes responsible consumption very seriously, and since the February 2008 launch of the CHP Designated Driver Program, DUI checkpoints have been frequent. Consider hiring a limo or signing on for a wine tour.
  • Wine Tours, Daily wine tasting excursions depart from most area hotels, and you can pick from several different approaches. The Grapeline Wine Country Shuttle (888) 8-WINERY, [17] offers a flexible day aboard deluxe shuttles. Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours offer a rugged outing in open air jeeps. Sustainable Vine (805)698-3911, [18] focuses on the producers employing sustainable practices.
  • An easy walking tour. Find some free parking on the side streets from Cabrillo Boulevard after passing State Street (i.e. on Bath Street and Yanonali St). Then walk on the sidewalk or the beach to State Street. At the intersection of Cabrillo Boulevard and State Street you will find the pier which will give you great views of the city. After walking on the pier, take State Street up past the train station. Shops and restaurants line up State Street up and down providing a great visitor experience. Take a right on West Carillo St and go one block and then take a left on Anacapa St. This should get you to the Santa Barbara Courthouse (details above under See) opposite the public library Main Branch, where you can enjoy the pleasant views from its tower. Next, walk up the street to Anapamu St and take a left. This will put you back on State Street. If you're not tired yet you can keep walking up State Street to Mission St and take a right. If you follow the street to Laguna St and take a left and after three blocks take a right on Los Olivos. This will get you to the Santa Barbara Mission. After visiting the the mission and the delightful rose garden in front of the Mission, you can walk back to Cabrillo Boulevard or just take the shuttle back to the waterfront.
  • Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Held annually towards the end of January/beginning of February, the film festival welcomes some of the biggest names in Hollywood with awards ceremonies and world premier screenings.
  • Santa Barbara Adventure Co., 805-898-0671, [19]. If you want to go on a guided adventure, check out the SB Adventure co. They offer several different kayaking trips including ones out to the Channel Islands as well as wine tours, bike trips and surf lessons. $35-$145.  edit
  • Channel Islands Kayaking (Channel Islands National Park), [20]. Close to the California mainland, yet worlds apart, Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was.  edit
State Street
State Street

Santa Barbara is a shopping paradise. State Street alone offers more than a mile stretch of everything from trendy boutiques to popular chain stores like Borders Books and Restoration Hardware. El Paseo (812 State St.,) on downtown State Street, is an upscale mall that bills itself as "California's First Shopping Center," while lushly themed and nearby Paseo Nuevo (651 Paseo Nuevo) offers Nordstrom's, Macy's, and more than 50 specialty shops. Whatever you're looking for, you'll likely find it on State Street. There is plenty of parking downtown with the first 75 minutes free in most lots (except at the beach). A good bet is the parking structure on Ortega. Walking or taking a bus in is also a good bet, but taxis are extremely expensive.

Some Local stores of note:

  • The Italian Pottery Outlet 19 Helena Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93103. Located one block east of State Street at the beach in the "Funk Zone". A family owned business, the Italian Pottery Outlet has been in this location for more than 15 years. They carry the largest collection of Italian Pottery in the west and at discounted prices. Phone toll free 877-496-5599 or check out their website at [21]


Latin-themed dishes are, quite logically, the order of the day in Santa Barbara, and the town's Mexican food ranks with any other town in California. The town's elevated cultural status attracts high-powered chefs from all over the world, and the selection and sheer variety of local fare is quite astonishing for a community of 90,000.  Here are just a few of Santa Barbara's culinary choices:

  • La Super Rica Taqueria, 622 N. Milpas St., (805) 963-4940. Once tabbed "Best Mexican Food in the Country" by the New York Times. You won't come here for the atmosphere. There is no sign on the building, and seating is first come-first served, but you'll be happy you stood in the long line forming outside the door once you taste what's served up here. Julia Child claimed this her favorite Mexican restaurant (or even all-time favorite place to eat, according to some accounts), saying, "Everything is incredibly fresh. The salsas are wonderful." $5-$15.
  • The Natural Café and juice bar, 508 State St., 5892 Hollister Ave, Goleta, (805) 962-9494 (), [22]. Mon-Sun 11AM-9PM. Outdoor, sidewalk dining that is healthy and good. If there is a vegan/vegetarian in the group, they will be happy here. Part of a small regional chain.  edit
  • Café Buenos Aires,1316 State St., Serves the tastiest parts of the tastiest animals. Good Argentinian beef; the empanadas are great. Chicken, pork, all good. Definite focus on meat here. Good mojito's. The outdoor dining is nice in almost all weathers-it has heaters although not every seat feels the warmth. Pretty courtyard with lighted fountain (the water is a bit dirty and it splashes on the tables next to it). Live Argentinian band some nights, beautiful music.
  • Woody's BBQ, 5112 Hollister Ave. Serving delicious BBQ in Santa Barbara for 19 years and voted Santa Barbara's Favorite BBQ For 19 Years In A Row!
  • Super Cuca's Taquería,2030 Cliff Dr., 966-3863; 626 W. Micheltorena St., Big burritos, vegetarian recommended even for those die-hard carnivores.
  • Rudy's Restaurant, Six in town, one in Paseo Nuevo. Very good tamales, chimichangas and burritos. Charming family-owned business.
  • Pascucci, 729 State St., Santa Barbara's best affordable Italian food.
  • The Habit, 216 S. Milpas St., 962-7472; 628 State St., 892-5400. Stop by for a sidewalk burger.
  • Panino, 834 Santa Barbara St., Good variety of sandwiches.
  • Los Arroyos, 14 W. Figueroa St., off State, 962-5541; 1280 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, popular and very good Mexican food.
  • Chuck's of Hawaii, 3888 State St., 113 Harbor Way, (805) 564-1200, A great cut of beef. Try anything with artichokes.
  • Cajun Kitchen, 901 Chapala St., 1924-A De la Vina St. Very popular breakfast and lunch place. The best breakfast in town. Delicious sausages. Good price.
  • The Palace Grill, 8 E. Cota St. This place celebrates the cuisine of New Orleans. It has a fun, yet laid back atmosphere with great service. Try the Caribbean coconut shrimp!
  • Palazzio's, 1026 State St., Generous portions of pastas and salads. One entree and a half salad is enough to feed up to three people. Every fifteen minutes waiters walk around with freshly baked garlic rolls that are to die for.
  • Arigato Sushi, 1225 State St., Unbelievably good sushi.
  • East Sushi & Thai, 1208 State St. Across the street from Arigato, very good and a lot less crowded than Arigato.
  • Cold Spring Tavern, 5995 Stagecoach Rd., Stop for lunch on your way out to wine taste -- off the 154. Great location and great food. Fun atmosphere on weekend nights with live music. Dinner is more expensive, $17-29.
  • Brophy Bros., Breakwater at the Harbor, great seafood, known for clam chowder, the setting cannot be beat.
  • Montecito Café, 1295 Coast Village Rd., Montecito. Try the coconut cake.
  • Lucky's, 1279 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, Steakhouse with some of the best food in town in a prestigious setting. Reservations are a must!
  • Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, 1260 Channel Dr., Montecito. When on an expense account, grab brunch here.
  • Elements, 129 E. Anapamu St. Great view of Courthouse with innovative food. Lunch is mid-range, however, dinner is more on the expensive side. Element's has been featured twice on the Food Network!


In addition to Santa Barbara wine tasting, the region is also full of bars. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your preference), many of them cater to crowds of students from the nearby university. You won't find many dive bars here, and expect to pay a dollar or two more per drink than you would in your typical San Francisco or LA bar. Thursday nights are the official college night of downtown bars. The drinks are cheap, and UCSB is home to some the most attractive people in California (or the country, for that matter). Really any bar on lower State Street is Fun on Thursday nights to relive those college days.

  • Rooftop Bar at Canary Hotel, Carillo St. and Chapala. Top of Canary Hotel. Great sunset bar as you overlook the mountains, the mesa and the harbor. Very nice. Hotel Guests only.
  • The James Joyce [23], 513 State Street. (805) 962-2688.  Open 10AM-2AM daily. Yes, it's an Irish pub, or "A Traditional Irish Bar." Free peanuts, a fireplace and dixieland jazz bands on the weekend. Guinness flows freely.
  • Dargan's Irish Pub & Restaurant 18 E Ortega St, Sportsbar with Irish music. Good Lambstew.
  • Santa Barbara Brewing Co. 501 State St., Microbrewery, TVs. Decent food.
  • Sharkeez, State Street. This sportsbar has a lot of TVs. Well drinks are usually around $1 on Thursdays.
  • Elsie's, 117 De La Guerra. Neighborhood beer and wine joint with good music. Meet the locals out back in the outdoor smoking area or over rounds of pool inside.
  • Wilcat Lounge, 15 W Ortega St. Danceclub.
  • Joe's, State Street. Stiffest drinks on State St. Have a couple at the beginning of the night.
  • Roy's Carrillo and State. Good "off State St." bar. Serves great food late at night, focus on local ingredients. Price fix menu with everything at around $25.
  • Bogart's Cafe, 1114 State St #14 (at E Figueroa St), (805) 965-8001‎. Tucked away. Serves a good pour.  edit
  • SOhO Restaurant and Music Club 1221 State St. Jazz/live music club above Victoria Court.
  • Santa Barbara Pub Crawls, [24]. Pub Crawls along Santa Barbara's State Street, stopping at the best bars and clubs downtown has to offer. $30 for 6 bars, 8 drinks, and no lines or cover ALL night! Check our website for the weekly meeting spot and for contact information.  edit


Santa Barbara has a huge number of hotels and motels, ranging from Motel 6 to Fess Parker's astonishing Doubletree Resort. One thing you won't find here is dives. Prices are before tax, allow another 10% taxes.

  • Santa Barbara Pub Crawls, (new meeting spot each week), [25]. Weekly pub crawls along Santa Barbara's State Street, stopping at the best bars and clubs downtown has to offer. $30 for 6 bars, 8 drinks, and no lines or covers ALL night. Check the website for weekly meeting spot! $30.  edit
  • Motel 6 Santa Barbara - Beach, 443 Corona Del Mar, +1-805 564-1392, [26]. Basic simple hotel room with bed, private bath, and TV. $91.99. This was the world's first Motel 6.
  • Motel 6 Santa Barbara - Goleta, 5897 Calle Real, Goleta, +1-805 964-3596, [27]. Located on US 101 at Fairview Ave in Goleta, which is to the west of Santa Barbara proper and closer to UCSB and the airport. $75.99-78.99.
  • Presidio Motel, 1620 State Street, "+1-805" 963-1355, [28]. This sweet motel is run by a charming young couple, with a foible for mid-century design. Free wireless internet and some books on design or art are likely to be part of the rooms set up, as much as TV and a coffee and muffin in the morning. $109+ for king-size bed.
  • Santa Barbara Tourist Hostel, 134 Chapala Street, +1-805 963-0154, [29]. Amazingly, an inexpensive backpacker two blocks from the beach and one block from the State Street buzz. Basic breakfast and wifi internet in the lobby included. Bed in a shared room $23-30, private double room with shared bath $59-95, private double room with private bath $69-95, rates in all cases a function of day (weekends, summer, festivals are more expensive).
  • Avania Inn of Santa Barbara, 128 Castillo St., [30]. A Newly Remodeled hotel featuring Pillow Top Beds, 32" LCD HD TV's. Free Breakfast, Free Parking, Free Internet. Located 1 block from the Beaches.
  • Brisas Del Mar, Inn at the Beach, 223 Castillo St., [31]. A Mediterranean-style villa two blocks from the beaches and yacht harbor.
  • Coast Village Inn, 1188 Coast Village Road, +1-800 257-5131, [32]. Located in the tony Montecito area on the city's east side. Breakfast included. Basic room $169, Suite with kitchen $259, deluxe suite with two bedrooms and kitchen $469. Midweek rates as low as $99, also check for internet discounts of about 20% off. Take 101 to the Coast Village Road exit.
  • Country Inn by the Sea, 128 Castillo Street, +1-805-963-4471 [33]. Located 1 block to the waterfront and beach. King beds, Jacuzzi Rooms, Queen Beds and 2 Double Beds. Free breakfast and cookies and milk every evening. Heated Pool & Spa, his and hers Sauna.
  • The Eagle Inn , 232 Natoma Avenue, +1-805-965-3586, [34]. Santa Barbara bed and breakfast. King or queen size bed, private bath, whirlpool tub, fireplace, balcony/patio, high speed Internet, etc. Free on-site parking, complimentary continental breakfast.
  • Hampton Inn Goleta, 5665 Hollister Ave., +1-805-681-9800,[35]. Hampton Inn, located in the heart of Old Town Goleta less than 10 miles from Santa Barbara, offers king and queen hotel rooms and suites including complimentary beverages and breakfast.
  • Holiday Inn Santa Barbara Goleta Hotel, 5650 Calle Real, +1-805 964-6241, [36]. The usual corporate range rooms with twin beds, queen beds, and king beds. $117 per night with advance purchase, $129 regular, $141 with breakfast.
  • Hotel Santa Barbara, 533 State Street, +1-800 549-9869, [37]. "European-style" hotel smack in the middle of Santa Barbara's busy downtown shopping area. $129-$219, ask about midweek specials.
  • Ramada Santa Barbara, 4770 Calle Real, +1-800 654-1965, Fax: +1-805 964-0075, [38]. Spa and golf packages. Free wired and wireless internet, free continental breakfast. $99-119.
  • Old Yacht Club Inn, 431 Corona Del Mar Drive, (805) 962-1277, [39]. 14 Suite Bed and Breakfast on East Beach in Santa Barbara. Charming Inn with Fireplaces, Whirlpool Tubs & Bicycles only steps to the Beautiful Santa Barbara Wine Valley. $169 - $459.  edit
  • Canary Hotel, 31 West Carrillo Street, Phone: 805-884-0300 Fax: 805-884-8153, [40]. A boutique hotel near State Street in downtown Santa Barbara. Amenities include function space for meetings and wedding receptions, spa service, and dog friendly accommodations.
  • El Encanto Hotel and Garden Villas, 1900 Lasuen Road, +1-800 393-5117, Fax: +1-805 687-3903, [41]. Good views and a favorite with the glitterati, like Diane Lane, Barbara Streisand, and Sharon Stone.
  • Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort, 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard, +1-800 879-2929, +1-805 564-4333, [42]. 24-acre oceanside resort. Starting around $255 for a two queen bedded room, up to $735 for a Presidential Suite with whirlpool bath. Add $25 for breakfast for two adults. Enter off Calle Puerto Vallarta.
  • Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore, 1260 Channel Drive, Tel +1-805 969-2261 Fax +1-805 565-8323, [43]. Spanish Colonial with red roof tiles and adobe on Butterfly Beach in exclusive Montecito.
  • Harbor View Inn, 28 W. Cabrillo Blvd., [44]. Boutique 4-diamond family friendly beachfront hotel. All rooms and suites have a patio or balcony.
  • Montecito Inn, 1295 Coast Village Road, [45]. Boutique lodging located two blocks away from Montecito's Butterfly Beach. Originally built in 1928 by Charlie Chaplin as an escape to paradise for his closest friends.
  • Pacifica Suites, 5490 Hollister Avenue, +1-800 338-6722, Fax: +1-805 683-4121, [46]. All-suite hotel adjacent to the beautifully restored Sexton House, an 1880's architectural landmark. Meeting space and conference facilities. $169-$209.
  • San Ysidro Ranch, 900 San Ysidro Lane, (805) 565-1700, [47]. "Hotel ranch," with room, suite and villa accommodations, dining, day trips to local beaches and wineries, guided hiking.
  • Simpson House Inn, 121 East Arrellaga St., +1-800 676-1280, [48]. A historic Italianate Victorian manor considered one of the best preserved and restored homes of its era in California. Guestrooms inside the estate house, private English style cottages and four rooms in the Carriage House. Landscaped gardens, wood-burning fireplaces and personalized service. All rates include daily gourmet breakfast, evening wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres and complimentary parking. Rates from $235 to $615.

Get out

Although Santa Barbara is somewhat geographically isolated, with only one major route in or out of the city, the surrounding area is rife with fascinating side-trips.

Santa Barbara Wine Country
Santa Barbara Wine Country
  • Wine Country. North on US 101 in the Solvang region.
  • Los Olivos. About 50 miles north of Santa Barbara on Highway 154. This is a cute little one horse town with about 20 local winery tasting rooms lined up on Grand st. A great place to go wine tasting without having to drive a zillion miles from winery to winery.
  • Solvang. Located approximately 40 miles north of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang is a gingerbread town. What must have started several decade back as a small "Little Denmark" tourist trap has grown into an entire town and surrounding community obsessed with its own overwhelming Danishness. Every sign, roof, light post and pothole is Danish-themed here, and reports of wandering bands of drunken men in plastic Viking helmets are firmly founded in reality. Take Highway 101 north/west to Buellton (the home of the original Pea Soup Anderson's), exit at the Highway 246 offramp and follow the destination signs to Solvang. If you're up for a twisty drive, take Highway 154 (also known as the San Marcos Pass) back to Santa Barbara at sunset and enjoy an unforgettable view.
  • Lake Cachuma. Beautiful Lake Cachuma Recreation Facility is located approximately 20 miles north of Santa Barbara and offers RV hookups, tent camping, and yurt camping. The Lake also provides fishing, boating, sailing, and lake cruising. No swimming and/or body contact with the water is allowed because the lake is used as a reservoir by the city of Santa Barbara. The Lake's location along highway 154 (the San Marcos Pass) makes it an excellent rest stop on the way up to Solvang from Santa Barbara.
  • El Capitan Canyon, 11560 Calle Real, Santa Barbara CA 93117, tel +1 866 352-2729, [49]. An interesting combination of rustic cabin camping and high-end spa. $145-$345, about 5% lower in Nov-April. A few kilometers west of Santa Barbara on Highway 101 near El Capitan State Beach.
Routes through Santa Barbara
San Luis ObispoGoleta  N noframe S  CarpinteriaLos Angeles
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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