Santa Barbara is a small southern California county which is home to the Santa Barbara University which makes of this city a paradise for college kids, and it combines beach, surf and impressive sights. Here’s a list of places and things to do in Santa Barbara:
Santa Barbara Bowl
This venue is one of many people’s favourites to listen to live music. The place is small and it’s located on a hill, which creates an intimate environment with a spectacular view. This is a fantastic place to see shows too. It’s an intimate environment that reminds you of the Hollywood Bowl, located in a beautiful part of town, just a short taxi drive or stroll from downtown Santa Barbara. It’s very easy to get there from your hotel, if you’re staying in one.
SoHo Restaurant & Music Club
Another place that the locals really enjoy when it comes to listening to live music. There you can can see live bands 7 days a week as you enjoy a menu full of authentic Californian food.
Left Coast Books
This library and art gallery is located in Goleta, 15 minutes away from Santa Barbara, but it is definitely worth the ride there since it has a very complete collection of old and new books, as well as an art gallery with temporary expositions related to art books.
Warbler Records & Goods
On the historic district of Santa Barbara you can find Warbler Records & Goods, the perfect store for music lovers and many other things. Here you can find new and used vinyl records, compact discs, cassette tapes, lamps, books, turntables and a virtually endless selection of products chosen by the owners themselves. You can visit their website at http://www.warblerrecords.com
Madame Ganna Walska was a famous opera singer who loved plants, which is why she made a big botanic garden in her mansion, close to Santa Barbara. Before she died, she decided to leave her garden open to the public so that everybody could enjoy a garden that was one of a kind. The different sectors of the garden are very diverse and artistically creative when it comes to botanical and organic depth. It’s important to make a reservation before you go, which you can do on their official website (http://www.lotusland.org/).
This pier is one of the greatest attractions in Santa Barbara. The broad variety in restaurants and stores, and the beautiful view that accompanies the ride make this visit almost obligatory. You can also find the Ty Warner Sea Center, a museum in which you will be able to learn about maritime life in a fun and interactive space. You can walk through the docks, enjoy the sunset, and take gorgeous pictures. From this spot you can contemplate the beautiful beach and the many different bird species that flutter around, and later go have an amazing seafood lunch.
Arroyo Burro Beach Park
Known locally as Hendry’s Beach, this beach is perfect for sea lovers. It doesn’t matter if you want to fish, make a campfire, jog, make a picnic or surf, in this place you will be able to fulfill all of your dreams. It is an excellent choice if you have kids, since it’s a place for safe diving, amateur surfing and there are many different trails to explore. Besides, the Watershed Resource Center offers educational programs that highlight the importance of protecting beaches and the California coast. After playing for a while in the sunlit sand, you can spend some time relaxing in the shade at the picnic area and the playground.
Santa Barbara Scenic Drive
If you’re going to take a car, everything will be just fine. If you’re not, it will be worth it for you to rent one, so you can get to know the scenic drive of Santa Barbara. Just imagine the sun shining on top of you, the wind blowing and the sight of miles and miles of palm trees, oceans and mountains that will join you as you enjoy a completely Californian scenery.
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Missions are buildings that the Spaniards used as first steps in their conquest of California. They had a mainly religious and military use, and all of them had a very similar style: big arches, tile roofs and columns. Currently very few of those missions are in use and Santa Barbara’s is one of them. Enjoy a stroll through the halls and get to know the region’s history a little better.
Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum
The Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum is located inside a shopping mall, but this shouldn’t confuse you since it’s one of the city’s best hidden treasures. To get to know more and find out about the exhibition dates you can visit their official website at http://www.mcasantabarbara.org