Last month I went to Southern California for a week. It was an amazing trip- I spent a week in one of my favorite places with an awesome travel companion- my mom. We stayed in Santa Monica (outside of LA on the Pacific coast) for a few days and then headed up north to Santa Barbara (a two hour amazing coastal drive). This was my first time in Santa Barbara and I truly fell in love. Tiny sailboats dot the ocean water’s edge while the sun sets next to enormous mountains. It is breathtaking. Here are a few of my favorite places to eat, stay, and things to do in this wonderful town.
The Inn at East Beach (1029 Orilla Del Mar, Santa Barbara CA 93103, 805-965-0546)
Only two blocks back from the ocean, this hotel has a Melrose Place-vibe and pretty much the nicest staff I’ve ever encountered. The Inn kindly hosted my mom and I and upon arrival, we were given great restaurant recommendations and activity ideas. They have a heated pool in the center of the establishment, plus free wifi, parking, and beach amenities. Not only is the hotel a great value, it also has a wonderful relaxed feel and is a short walk to Chase Palm Park. Ask for Christina or Frank- they’ll help you out!
Backyard Bowls (331 Motor Way)- For the tasty acai bowls- perfect in the morning, for lunch, or pretty much anytime of day. I ate 3 bowls in 2 days.
Adama (428 Chapala Street)- For the vegan gelato because it is crazy delicious. This healthy restaurant also has tasty vegan entrees like the jackfruit enchilada (above) or the gluten-free pot pie (below).
Sandbar (514 State Street)- for the atmosphere (a cozy outdoor patio dotted with bulb lights and fire pits), fresh fruit margaritas, and extensive tequila selections. Go by 8:30 for dinner, this place turns into a nightclub at 10.
Alchemy Arts Center (35 West Haley Street) -Also home to a wellness center, spa, and yoga studio, this small cafe has an interesting vegan menu. Get the iced coffee with freshly made almond milk and a goji berry ball.
Run: Start at Stearns Wharf pier (it’s quieter and less crowded in the morning) and run through Chase Palm Park up onto Channel Drive. This is hands down the best view I have ever had on a run. The path along Channel Drive sits on a cliff next to the ocean. It’s breathtaking (bring a phone for pictures).
Shop: State Street– an outdoor shopping mall with Kitson, Nordstrom, and tons of other cute stores.
Walk: Downtown Santa Barbara onto the side streets off of State Street- lots of interesting architecture, great spots for coffee, and breathtaking mountain views.
Drive: Over the mountains to Lake Chachuma which sits about 25 minutes outside of town. The lake is beautiful, but my favorite part of this activity is the ocean views you get driving through the mountains.
See: Stearns Wharf. Go for a stroll, stay for the sunset. Bring a camera.