Sometimes called the "Pacific Riviera," Santa Barbara is one of California's oldest cities. Red-tile-roofed architecture combines with a Mediterranean climate to bring to mind seaside towns of France and Italy.
You can plan your Santa Barbara weekend getaway in a jiffy using the resources below.
Scenes from Santa Barbara
Enjoy some of our best shots in this Santa Barbara Photo Tour
Will You Like Santa Barbara?
Santa Barbara has been popular as a getaway from the Los Angeles area for years. It's a good place for going to the beach, romantic escapes and relaxing weekends.
Best Time to Go
Thanks to its protected, south-facing location, Santa Barbara has some of California's best weather any time of year. Nevertheless, it's more likely to be rainy here in winter than at other times of the year. It's also so popular that it's quite crowded in summer, and local hotels fill up around UCSB's orientation, homecoming and graduation.
Don't missEvery weekend, an arts and crafts show springs up along Cabrillo Blvd. The quality of goods here is high, the vendors friendly and the people-watching excellent.
5 More Great Things to Do in Santa Barbara
- Wander the Waterfront: The palm-lined beach here is a great place for a walk or run. On Stearns Wharf, you'll find the Sea Center, restaurants and shops.
- State Street Shopping: Follow State Street away from the waterfront and you'll find a lively street scene with good shopping, dining and people-watching.
- Rent Some Wheels: It's easy to find places renting skates, bicycles and surreys and everyone loves taking them along the waterfront.
- Wine Tasting: The Santa Barbara area produces some fine chardonnays and pinot noirs.
- Mission Santa Barbara: One of California's oldest and most authentic missions, this is a good place to get a look at the state's history.
Isn't It Romantic?
The glitterati have been going on romantic getaways to Santa Barbara since the early twentieth century, on and off screen. It's got plenty of places for a romantic stroll or a candlelight dinner - and you can't beat the private cottages at San Ysidro Ranch for a private little tryst.
Annual Events You Should Know About
Even if you don't have a student in school here, you may want to check the university calendar so you can avoid crowds during their big events.
Santa Barbara has more festivals than you can imagine.
A weekend getaway is a great time to enjoy a leisurely brunch. The Brown Pelican has great views of Hendry's Beach. Our favorite Sunday lunch spot is Cold Spring Tavern, a former stagecoach stop that's been around since 1865. You'll find it about 15 to 20 minutes north of town off Highway 154. Look for the sign on the right side of the road.
For the most authentic Mexican food north of the border, head to La Super Rica Taqueria at 622 N. Milpas Street, one of chef Julia Childs' favorite Santa Barbara spots.
- Santa Barbara's hotels get filled to capacity almost every weekend. If you show up without reservations, you'll wish you hadn't.
- Parking in Santa Barbara can be a hassle. Leave your vehicle parked and take the Downtown-Waterfront Shuttle that runs along State Street and the Waterfront instead.
Where to Stay
Check our recommended hotels and campgrounds.
Where is Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is located 95 miles from Los Angeles, 219 miles from San Diego, 420 miles from Sacramento and 337 miles from San Francisco.
Take the Train Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner Line stops in Santa Barbara.