Between the waves, the mountains, and the city, Santa Barbara has something to do for every kind of visitor! Santa Barbara is known for its Spanish architecture and influence, its wineries and craft breweries, its laid-back surf culture, its array of entertainment and culture options, and all the things you can do outside in the perfect year-round weather! If you're looking for things to do in Santa Barbara, we have your guide!
Santa Barbara can be a challenging place to navigate. Get where you need to go stress-free - schedule a Prontopia local assistant to help you today!
Santa Ynez, called the valley, is home to a wide array of wineries, each nestled on their own peaceful plot. Enjoy events during the summer, local harvest in the fall, laid-back tasting in the winter, and a spring festival to start the whole cycle again. You can find a (long) list of wineries to visit here. Sun Stone, Firestone, Bridlewood, and Demetria are good places to start.
The Arlington Theater hosts comedians, artists, and films. If you visit in January, you can go to any number of events held by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival - maybe you'll even get a photo with Brad Pitt!
The Santa Barbara Mission was founded by the Spanish Franciscans in 1786, and is known worldwide for its beauty. Bring a delicious picnic and enjoy the view of the Santa Ynez mountains in the Mission's rose garden. The Mission stills operates as an active parish church.
The Mission is open daily for self-guided tours from 9:00 a.m to 4:15 p.m. Admission is $12.00 for adults, $10.00 for seniors and $7.00 for youth 5-17.
Photo from @thefunkzone on Instagram
Santa Barbara's Funk Zone is one of its most vibrant and evolving areas. Tucked into a corner between State Street and East Beach, the Funk Zone is home to tasting rooms, breweries, culinary experiences, live entertainment, galleries, and boutique shopping. Catch some live music at Pali Wine Co. or Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., or grab some beer and a bite at Lama Dog, Topa Topa, and The Nook. Try McConnells' famous ice cream at their new Funk Zone location, and grab some tacos at Monys!
Santa Barbara is a beach town - so you should definitely go to the beach! Santa Barbara's most recognizable beach is East Beach, located at the end of State Street and home to Stearn's Wharf. East Beach is next to the Funk Zone, located within walking distance from many popular hotels, and close to playgrounds and cafes. You can walk, run, or bike alongside it. There are also volleyball courts - you could join in on a game!
But the beaches don't end there. For a serene sunset, head over to Butterfly Beach in Montecito, where you can sit on a ledge above the sand and watch the sun go down. If you're a dog lover, go to Hendry's Beach on the Mesa, where everyone in town brings their dogs to run around off-leash. You can also go to The Boathouse for lunch or dinner if you're hungry, and there's a stand with snacks, as well. Leadbetter Beach, down the street, also has a restaurant on the beach, and depending on the time of year offers some good waves for beginner surfers.
The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the best places for whale watching, as its waters are nutrient-rich. Spotting both whales and dolphins is a regular occurrence. Try the Condor Express (a larger boat with an 120-person capacity), the Sunset Kidd (a smaller yacht with a 15-person capacity), Captain Jacks, or Celebration Cruises.
Located just two miles from State Street, the Santa Barbara Zoo offers wildlife experiences for everyone in the family. This 30-acre park is home to over 146 species. Spend the day enjoying exotic views, taking in the wildlife, and walking through the lush park.
The zoo is open every day from 10am to 5pm, occasionally closed for special events. Admission is $19.95 for adults (age 13+) and $11.95 for children (age 2–12). Admission is free for children under two years old. Parking is $11/vehicle.
Photo from @santabarbaramag on Instagram.
Santa Barbara is well-known for its wide variety of cuisine, and there's no better way to experience it all than through a food tour! Try a tour by Eat This Shoot That, or a Funk Zone food tour.
Prontopia is an online service that provides friendly, in-person help from pre-vetted local assistants in city centers in Italy, Spain and the U.S.