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The 5 Best Things To Do In Santa Barbara

The 5 Best Things To Do In Santa Barbara

Discover the top 5 must-do activities in Santa Barbara, from historic missions to beach lounging and indulging in great food. Team


2 min read

November 07, 2023

Santa Barbara, often dubbed the “American Riviera,” embodies coastal luxury with its Mediterranean climate, palm-lined shores, and Spanish colonial heritage. With its charm and relaxed elegance, this city offers a plethora of activities that can cater to any visitor's interests. Whether you're looking for cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, or a place to simply unwind, here are the five best things to do in Santa Barbara.

1. Explore the Historic Santa Barbara Mission

No visit to Santa Barbara would be complete without a trip to the iconic Mission Santa Barbara. Founded in 1786, this “Queen of the Missions” offers a glimpse into California’s early history. With its grand facade and lush gardens, the mission is a place of cultural and historical significance. Take a self-guided tour to marvel at the ancient artifacts, the beautifully preserved church, and the serene cemetery and mausoleum where early settlers are laid to rest.

2. Wander Through the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Nestled within the Santa Ynez Mountains, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a 78-acre living museum designed to showcase California’s native plants. Meander through an array of gardens, from desert landscapes to redwood forests, all while enjoying the spectacular backdrop of the mountains. The garden’s trails offer not just a feast for the eyes but also a tranquil retreat for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

3. Savor the Flavors on a Santa Barbara Gourmet Food Tour

Santa Barbara's culinary scene is a paradise for foodies. Embark on a gourmet food tour to sample the best local dishes this coastal town has to offer. From fresh seafood caught daily in the Pacific to farm-to-table eateries that highlight organic produce from the region's rich agricultural surroundings, your taste buds are in for a treat. These tours not only allow you to indulge in a variety of culinary delights but also give you a taste of the local culture and history as you stroll through the bustling markets and charming streets of the downtown area.

4. Enjoy the Sun at East Beach

East Beach is quintessential Santa Barbara. It’s where the mountains meet the sea, and palm trees line the sand. This beach is perfect for those who want to soak up the sun, play a game of beach volleyball, or paddleboard in the Pacific. The gentle waves and broad sands make it ideal for families, while the nearby Stearns Wharf offers dining and shopping options. As the sun sets, the beach becomes a favored spot for evening strolls and watching the sky transform into a canvas of color.

5. Discover the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

For those who appreciate the arts, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art presents a dynamic collection that spans across cultures and centuries. With over 27,000 works of art, including classical pieces from Europe, Asia, and America, as well as contemporary exhibits, the museum caters to diverse artistic tastes. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and workshops, making it a center for creative community engagement.

Santa Barbara is a city that invites visitors to dive into its rich tapestry of nature, culture, and leisure. Whether it’s the tranquility of a seaside stroll or the enriching experience of exploring local history and art, this coastal haven offers a myriad of opportunities for creating memorable experiences. These top activities are just a starting point for what is sure to be a delightful journey through the heart of California's most enchanting coastal city.

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