With so many unique and unexpected things to do in Santa Barbara, California, it’s no wonder why it’s the playground of everyday fun-seekers and South Cali’s rich and famous alike. Santa Barbara is not just a collection of attractions to discover, it’s a whole new lifestyle just waiting to be enjoyed. Only minutes from our fine Santa Barbara hotel you can lounge on a sparkling beach with a good book in one hand and a refreshing cocktail in the other, only the gentle sounds of the ocean keeping you company.
No matter how you like to live it up on vacation, Santa Barbara has you covered. Shoppers will find no end to the selection in our popular malls and boutique communities, and avid golfers have a wide choice of nationally recognized private and public courses. History buffs have plenty to explore as charming Mission Revival architecture has influenced the entire city. Of course, if a little outdoor fun is all you need, Santa Barbara will blow you away with thrilling mountain tours, whale watching, and so much more.
We’re also a great choice if you’re planning to visit the University of California Santa Barbara, as one of the only full-service Santa Barbara hotels near UCSB. Only two miles away, UCSB is one of the nation’s premier public universities.
Tip: Parking is plentiful city-wide, but to avoid driving in an unfamiliar city you can take the Electric Shuttle. The shuttle offers service to many key destinations and the fare is only $0.25 one-way. That’s right, for a quarter you can take a quick tour of the city!
Here are some more fabulous things to do in Santa Barbara, California:
State Street/Downtown – A lively community where the pedestrians take over, you’ll enjoy unusual boutiques and first-rate dining
El Paseo – “California’s First Shopping Center”, this gorgeous outdoor mall nestles upscale shops into romantic Spanish courtyards
Paseo Nuevo – a modern shopper’s paradise complete with restaurants and a theatre
Santa Barbara Mission – One of the signature things to do in Santa Barbara, the mission was built in 1786 and still serves as a place of worship today. It has been expanded to include a museum and self-guided tours are offered daily. An astounding historical experience and nationally-recognized landmark.
Stearns Wharf – First built in 1872, the wharf is California’s oldest wooden dock. Shops, dining, and history.
Santa Barbara Courthouse – Another fine example of Franciscan architecture. Visit the tower for an unbeatable view of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Mountains.
The Presidio of Santa Barbara – A military installation built by Spain in 1782 containing some of the oldest-standing buildings in California.
Santa Barbara Zoo – Small in size but not in surprise. The diverse collection of animals and attractive grounds of the zoo have made it a well-respected name in the zoological world.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art – The fascinating exhibits span the globe.
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum – Active exhibits like a Sports Fishing Simulator set this museum apart.
Whale Watching – Exciting whale and marine animal watching tours
Trolley Tours – The Santa Barbara Trolley Company hosts 90-minute tours of the entire city highlighting all the best destinations in town. Check out the “Kids Ride Free” offer.
The Land Shark – This unusual tour takes place on an amphibious vehicle. Discover the lively streets of Santa Barbara before splashdown in the harbor.
Wine & Mountain Tours – Load up in a canopied Jeep® and explore the refreshing back country. Several routes available through Santa Ynez Mountain and the wine valley.
University of California, Santa Barbara – Take a campus tour of one of the nation’s top 30 public universities.
Windhaven Glider Rides – Soar thousands of feet above the Santa Ynez Valley in a silent, pilot-controlled glider.
Solvang – A traditional Danish Village about 26 miles from Santa Barbara. Extraordinary architecture, championship golf, and world-class wineries are just the start of the fun.
Wine Country – With over 60 wineries and vineyards in Santa Barbara County, the wine culture of the Santa Ynez Valley is growing into one of California’s most respected with several products that compete yearly with the best of Napa Valley. The region is especially well-known for Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. In town, you can find self-guided wine tasting maps or simply take a prearranged wine tasting tour offering a sample of the region’s very best.