Santa Barbara is renowned as one of Southern California’s favorite vacation destinations, so you’ll probably have quite a few guests knocking on your door throughout the year. If you’re at loose ends about how to keep them entertained, let them experience the following recommended Santa Barbara attractions, a visit just won’t be complete without them:
Santa Barbara Zoo
With over 500 animals spread over 30 acres, there’s plenty to see at this zoo, considered to be one of the more famous Santa Barbara attractions. Families with kids will enjoy exploring the place and observing the animals,which are mostly housed in natural, open settings. There are also miniature train rides that circle the zoo’s perimeter. A state-of-the-art education facility and media center called the Discovery Pavilion is on schedule to be completed in early 2014.
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Founded by the Franciscan Order in 1796, this mission with its unmistakable church and beautifully landscaped grounds is a legacy of Santa Barbara’s historic past. Guided tours are available, which takes visitors to the church, cemetery, museum, and the gardens.
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
This landmark building is often referred to as one of the most striking examples of Spanish Colonial architecture, which also influenced the design of most of the Santa Barbara houses in the area. The courthouse, Mural room, and grounds are open to the public, while climbing to the top of the Clock Tower will reward visitors with panoramic views of the city.
The majestic Santa Ynez Mountains form the backdrop of Santa Barbara’s spectacular natural setting and serve as an inviting reason to go hiking and appreciate the views. Santa Barbara has numerous hiking trails, and among the most popular are the trails located in the Mission Canyon area, which head to other trails such as the Seven Falls and Inspiration Point trail. The Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, which is an attraction in itself, offers more than 6 miles of pleasant, meandering trails within its verdant grounds.
The numerous beaches located along the city’s coastline count as among the top Santa Barbara attractions, and are the main reason Santa Barbara is often referred to as the “American Riviera.” East Beach is easily the most frequented, while Leadbetter Beach is the haven of surfers, but quiet and secluded gems can also be found, like Arroyo Burro Beach and El Capitan State Beach.
The Santa Ynez Valley produces the finest pinot noir, chardonnay and Syrah vintages which visitors can experience first-hand. Numerous wineries offer tours of their facilities, and tourists can go on wine tasting tours along the Santa Barbara Urban Trail, a route that takes them to various wineries like Au Bon Climat, Grassini Family Vineyards, Kalyra, Santa Barbara Winery, Summerland, and many more.
Santa Barbara is certainly no slouch in the cuisine department, with over 400 restaurants to choose from, serving food ranging from regional specialties to a variety of global cuisine. Take your guests to the finest of dining establishments that include Bouchon Santa Barbara, a recipient of several industry awards and offers Wine Country cuisine; The Hungry Cat, the hip Santa Barbara version of its bigger Hollywood sibling with American Seafood sensibilities; Miro, which serves extraordinary New American cuisine and features stunning views of the Pacific Ocean; Olio e Limone, where sophisticated Sicilian cuisine is spotlighted; and The Stonehouse, which is located at the San Ysidro Ranch and serves regional cuisine with vegetables directly harvested from their on-site garden.
If you’d like to learn more about Santa Barbara living or you’re interested in Montecito, CA real estate and other choice properties in the area, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me; I look forward to hearing from you.