When to visit
- Very Favourable
What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
This small coastal city has been immortalized in the TV show of the same name. As you stroll through its streets, we bet you'll find yourself humming Peabo Bryson's 1984 hit, "If Ever You're in my Arms Again"...
Your primary activity while you're in Santa Monica: relaxation! By the side of the pool or on the white sandy beach, enjoy the lush decor that surrounds you.
Several catastrophic fires burned parts of the city over the last century. While some historic buildings remain, much of the city has been rebuilt in the Spanish Colonial style. Some of the mansions are owned by movie stars seeking to escape the madness of Hollywood. Keep your eyes open!
State Street is the main thoroughfare and central axis of Santa Barbara. If you feel like shopping, this is the place to go with more than 325 shops and boutiques of all kinds.
It is also a very lively street with dozens of restaurants and cafes.
The oldest wooden pier in all of California, Stearn's Wharf has been seen in many movies and is located right at the end of State Street.
Like many old waterfront wharves, it is occupied by restaurants and shops.
Where to eat
- $ Inexpensive
- $$ Moderate
- $$$ Upscale
- $$$$ Fine dining
South Coast Deli ($)
The South Coast Deli is an interesting and economical place to go for some of the best sandwiches in Santa Barbara. Not only do they serve incredible sandwiches, they also offer gourmet salads prepared using the freshest ingredients.
The Chapala Street restaurant is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The East Carrillo Street location has the same hours but is also open Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Savoy Cafe & Deli ($$)
This excellent local restaurant has one of the best salad bars in town. Paul and Kathy Shields concoct fresh, delicious dishes using local organic produce, make their own baked goods, and even offer gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Something to please everyone!
Open Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Los Agaves ($$)
Los Agaves is well known in the Santa Barbara region for its excellent Mexican cuisine. The restaurant's owner, Carlos Luna, is inspired by countless recipes that his grandmother used to prepare for him back in Guadalajara, Mexico. Everything is made fresh in-house every day: the tamales, the tortillas, and the salsas. There are no canned products.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Arigato Sushi ($$-$$$)
You may have to wait for a table at this trendy sushi restaurant, as locals line up early for the wildly creative combination rolls and other delights. All the dishes are fresh and artfully presented. The menu features traditional Japanese dishes as well as innovative creations such as shellfish sushi pizza and Hawaiian sashimi salad.
Open Sunday-Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Toma Restaurant ($$$$)
Located directly across from the ocean, Toma is Santa Barbara's premier destination for Italian-inspired Mediterranean handcrafted cuisine. The menu offers a unique array of classic dishes with a fresh modern twist, from the starters to dessert. Toma prides itself on its warm friendly service and comfortable atmosphere. Reservations are recommended.
Open daily for dinner from 5 p.m.
A warm, inviting ambiance and friendly, professional, service come together to create an authentic Santa Barbara wine country dining experience. The menu features gourmet dishes whose very descriptions will make your mouth water.
Open daily from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
*** Hours may vary ***
Summer Solstice Celebration
Dates: mid-June 2021
The Summer Solstice Parade started in 1974 as a birthday celebration for well-known local artist and mime Michael Gonzales. Today in addition to the parade the festival includes concerts, street food, and arts and crafts vendors. A colourful art festival celebrating the beginning of summer!
Old Spanish Days Fiesta
Dates: August 4-8, 2021
This festival honours the history, customs, and traditions of the Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and early American settlers that comprise the rich cultural heritage of Santa Barbara through authentic music and dance. Thousands of visitors from around the world come to the festival to participate in various activities and learn about these fascinating cultures.
- Very Favourable