Santa Barbara is one of the most interesting places to visit, and if you are planning a relaxing vacation, then this place should be on the top of your list. This city has a number of historical sites, and the rich cultural heritage will give you endless things to explore. This city is filled with interesting spots and has amazing views so you will be able to enjoy these with your family and have a memorable time here. This list of the top tourist attractions in Santa Barbara will help you plan your vacation without forgetting any place to visit.
Let's explore Santa Barbara points of interest and 15 best things to do in Santa Barbara:
1. State Street
This Street is where you will get an authentic feel of the city and its culture. Here you will find numerous shops, restaurants, boutiques, movie theatres, departmental stores, and eateries serving delicious local food. You will see several tourists here since every tourist who comes to this town will surely visit this area. The lower part of the street leads to the waterfront and the harbor if you wish to get a shore side view and a nice walk by the shore. You can easily spend several hours here and not get bored. Explore the various shops and boutiques, and you will surely find many interesting things.
2. Mission Santa Barbara
Also known as Santa Barbara Mission was founded by the Franciscan Order. The interiors of the church have remained unchanged since the beginning, and the art collection here is mostly of colonial origin and from the neoclassical and baroque era. The art pieces were mostly brought from Mexico and South America. Some of the unique installations are the three stone statues depicting Saint Barbara as well as the virtues of charity and faith. This is the only sculpture that was created by the indigenous California Indians. Due to its history and cultural value, it is considered as California’s “Crown Jewel.”
3. Santa Barbara Zoo
This zoo is located at a point from where you can see the mountains and the sea, which makes it a worthy trip to here. Spread over 30 acres of land, this zoo is a popular spot for locals as well as tourists. This small zoo is home to more than six hundred animals including Californian Condors and capybara. You can either choose the guided tour or listen to the mini-lectures in front of the enclosures. There is also a children’s play area which is often full of happy and excited kids. The animals in this zoo are well taken care of, and your kids will surely enjoy the trip to this zoo.
4. Stearns Wharf and Santa Barbara Waterfront
The Stearns Wharf is undoubtedly the most beautiful wharfs on the coast of California. You will find a number of souvenir shops and restaurants that served delicious and fresh seafood. The SB Shellfish Co serves amazing lobster bisque and other full lobster dinners at a reasonable price. Earlier this wharf was served a major purpose I shipping between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The construction of the Harbor restaurant was a significant landmark since it became the backbone of the wharf economically. Thus, if you ever visit this city then do not miss this picturesque wharf.
5. Santa Barbara Botanical Garden
This botanical garden is located in the Mission Canyon and spread over an area of 78 acres. This garden contains more than a thousand rare and indigenous species of plants and flowers in their natural habitat. Apart from various species of plants, there are other things to view such as the Mission Dam which is a historic building, a Japanese Tea House which serves real Japanese teas and a Tea Garden. The garden offers a great view and beautiful landscapes which are worthy of being photographed. If you want to have a long peaceful walk then this the perfect place to be at.
6. Santa Barbara Museum of Art
This museum is built in a building that was earlier a post office. After a number of renovations, this museum is a prominent spot in the city and popular among the tourists for its art collection. The entrance to this museum is through Ludington Court which is a dramatic piece of architecture. In this museum artworks of various artists and from various regions congregate to make this place interesting and delightful. The museum contains several amenities such as an auditorium with a seating capacity of 154, a store, a library which has more than 50,000 books and a Family Resource Center. The number of art exhibits is about 27,000 which spans over 5000 years and originate from parts of Asia, America, and Europe. A trip to this museum will surely be a learning experience.
7. Shoreline Park
If you need a break from the hustle of the city and require an area to enjoy the outdoors, then the Shoreline Park is the perfect place for you. This park is very popular among the locals, and tourists seldom miss this spot if they visit this city. In this park you can take part in a lot of activities such as cycling, kite flying, running, among others. There is also a lake within the park where you will find small sailboats and longboards. If you want to have a quick bite, then a waterside café located there will satisfy your hunger with delicious and freshly made snacks. You can also explore the Rengstorff House since it is the oldest house in Mountain View. This is a perfect place for a family trip, and you can spend some quality time getting involved in various activities.
8. Santa Barbara Classic Wine Tours:
This trip is for those who enjoy premium wines and would like to know about the process. This tour consists of visiting four wineries and a picnic lunch. A guide will be with you at all times and tell you all about the process of converting the grapes into exquisite wine. The picnic is a classic California Wine Country picnic and includes options such as stuffed olives, roasted nuts, chocolates, cheese, artisanal sandwiches and many other things. You will surely enjoy the entire tour, and your love of wine will be satisfied for sure.
9. Douglas Family Preserve
Also known as the Wilcrox Property, this is a park that is spread over 70 acres of area by the ocean. The location of this park is suitable for carrying out various outdoor activities, and there are many trails for hiking. The park contains a lot of animals and birds which you can see on a walk through the park. There are spots in the park which provides you opportunities to see whales and dolphins in the ocean. This park is a pet-friendly area, and so you can bring your pet dog and allow it to walk off leash. This is a perfect place to spend time with your family and friends in the tranquility of the park.
10. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
If you are in need of a cup of good coffee without spending a fortune then this place will be a good choice. You will find a variety of coffee here including cappuccinos and iced coffee. You can also grab a bite from a menu containing hamburgers, sandwiches. The popularity of this place is due to the price of the beverages and the taste.
11. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
If you are interested in natural history and want to know more about it then you must visit this place. This place was built to ignite a sense of curiosity within you for the nature and its history of thousands of years. You will find more than three million historic objects preserved here which include fishes, plants, mammals, birds and geology of the Channel Islands and Pacific Coast. This is a nice place to explore and learn about the history of the planet.
12. Tamira Restaurant
This restaurant will satisfy all your craving for traditional Indian food. This restaurant serves authentic North Indian dishes in a homely atmosphere. Dishes include chicken and vegetable samosas, chicken kebabs, chicken tikka, tandoori bread and a variety of rice dishes. You can also opt for premium wines and beers. So if you want to have a delicious Indian meal with a glass of wine, then this is the place.
13. Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
This is a very popular place, and you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities here including fishing, kayaking, and hiking and also enjoy the oak music festival. You can also enjoy camping here since this is the best camping ground in the area.
14. Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Visiting a courthouse might not seem so interesting, but this courthouse has rich architectural design and the intricate tile mosaics and a spectacular view of the city and the ocean. The courthouse is a popular destination for tourists, and you can get a guide to walk you through all the historical facts and stories of this building.
15. East Beach
The East Beach is the best beach among the three beaches in this city to enjoy the sun without a crowd. Even locals agree that this is the best stretch of land by the ocean due to its clean sand and ample parking space. If you want to enjoy a splash in the water or simply lay down under the sun, this beach is the most suitable for you.
These are a few of the things you can do in this city. Once you visit this city, you will take back a lot of memories, and you will never be bored in this place.