Otherwise known as “The American Riviera,” Santa Barbara is a seaside port town on the lower end of the Central Californian coast. About 80 miles north of Los Angeles and about 5 hours drive from San Francisco, Santa Barbara and the neighboring Santa Ynez Valley make excellent day trips or vacations in themselves for those that want to experience the best of California beaches, fantastic local wines, and rustic luxury. While the “funk zone” houses more than a dozen critically acclaimed wineries, the numerous spas, high-end boutiques, and Michelin-rated restaurants fill State Street (the main drag in town), while others still grab a surfboard or kayak and hit the water. Ultimately, though, the main charm of the city lies in walking the palm-tree and eucalyptus-lined streets, enjoying the incredible sunshine and weather.
How to Get to Santa Barbara
Cruise ship shuttles dock right astride Cabrillo Blvd., right in the middle of the action. It’s an easy walk to the bottom of State Street where all business in Santa Barbara emanates from. Walk East (Yes, East – Santa Barbara is actually a south-facing port) one block past State Street to Anacapa where the “funk zone and wine-tasting adventures begin,” or consider renting a bike and exploring at your leisure.
One Day in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is small enough to get a good sampling of what it has to offer in a day. Spend the morning walking up and down State Street in order to satisfy your window-shopping urge, then head over to the Santa Barbara Courthouse to see this beautiful structure in action. Climb the stairs to the top to get a unique perspective on your host city. Then take the $0.25 electric shuttle back down State Street to Stearn’s Wharf, where you can eat some locally caught seafood. Have a glass of wine on the deck, or rent bikes and visit the nearby bird-refuge – it abuts the highly celebrated Santa Barbara Zoo, which is small but beautiful.
A coastal Californian city, the currency here is the dollar. There are
numerous ATMs and Banks on State Street if you need to exchange some