By Bastien Julien (France), Aline Helsen (Belgium), Fernanda Pardo Puente (Chile)
Santa Barbara, also known as the American Riviera, is a great place to spend your holiday with the family. It might not sound as famous as L.A or San Francisco, but this characteristic makes Santa Barbara so special.
It’s a small and quiet city and is perfect for every age. There are a lot of activities to do during the whole year. We’re going to make you a list about how you can spend your days in Santa Barbara. Of course it depends on your age, what you’re able or what you’re unable to do.
For everyone and for free
1) Santa Barbara County Courthouse
This Spanish-Moorish architectural masterpiece was completed in 1929 and features giant hand painted murals, gorgeous tile work, and rare art. The 80-foot clock tower is free and open to the public and offers a panoramic view of the city, beachfront and mountains. Beautiful gardens surround the property.
2) Inspiration Point
Known as one of the most famous hikes in Santa Barbara, Inspiration Point Trail is an activity to share with your whole family. What makes this trail so special is that you will only discover the specular view at the top of the mountain. We not only recommend you do it if you want to enjoy the sunset, but also if you want to start your weekend with a great adventure that will help you to discover Santa Barbara from another perspective. Most people agree that the trail is aptly named. You will not waste your time – just do it.
3) Enjoy a Moment At The Beach
You will probably find your favorite beach here in California. Why? In fact, all the beaches in Santa Barbara are different.
If you want to spend a few moments at the beach after eating at a restaurant, you can go to West Beach, enjoy a moment on the pier, or on the harbor.
If you like to play volleyball, you should go to East Beach where you will find more than ten courts to play with your friends or with American people who really like this place.
Finally, if you want to spend a day at the beach away from the downtown area, you might go to Butterfly Beach (Montecito) or Isla Vista Beach (Goleta). Those two places are relaxing and beautiful.
4) Skater’s Point
Santa Barbara’s popular skateboard park called Skaters Point is located at the beach, just east of Stearns Wharf. Its location makes the place very popular in Santa Barbara. This is a really good attraction, both if you would like to improve your skateboarding skills, or just watching some talented kids.
For everyone but not for free
5) Sunset Cruise with Santa Barbara Sailing Center
This is an opportunity to see beautiful sea life and enjoy Santa Barbara’s breathtaking sunset. I would recommend doing this during the summer or taking a warm sweater with you in the winter, because when the sun goes down it can get cold.
6) Santa Barbara Zoo
If you like animals, this is an awesome excursion for the family. It’s really easy to find. You can go by car, bike, or a shuttle.
7) Whale Watching With Santa Barbara Sailing Center
This is an amazing opportunity to see blue whales, gray whales, humpback whales, orcas, and dolphins up close! It’s one of the most spectacular things to do here in Santa Barbara. Prices can vary between $50 and $99, depending on the season and your age.
8) Restaurants and Nightlife
Santa Barbara is also known for its Mexican cuisine. Therefore, you can find a lot of Mexican restaurants here like Sandbar, Carlitos, and Baja Sharkeez. Sandbar is located close to Santa Barbara’s nightlife so you will find a lot of young people there having a drink. Baja Sharkeez is a place where you can find Mexican food and watch sports at the same time, every corner of the restaurant has a television in order to not miss a single match, of course there are also other good restaurants like Aldo’s, and Arnoldi’s.
Tonic Nightclub, EOS Lounge, Wildcat Lounge, Velvet Jones, Blind Tiger, … Santa Barbara counts many places to party with your friends. Going to one of those places can be a nice occasion for you to meet American people and discover how they have a good time.
10) Wine Tasting
With over 15 years of local wine industry experience, Wine Canyon Tours gives you an informative exploration of the gorgeous Santa Barbara backcountry. You’ll get the opportunity to taste California’s best wines while enjoying breathtaking views.