City Guide: Santa Barbara

santa barbara california

Last week, I visited Santa Barbara, California for the first time and fell in love. The city is so charming. Filled with beautiful architecture, the red tile roofs, white stucco walls and plentiful ivy makes this city really feel like the California you read about.  We wined and dined our way through Santa Barbara and I for one, can't wait to go back to this charming spot on the California coast! Here is my Santa Barbara city guide!

Where to get coffee

French press- 1101 State Street
A spot that believes in specialty coffee for everyone. Right on state st in downtown SB.

Handle bar - 128 E Canon Perdido St
An adorable spot where road bikers flock to get their morning coffee. Their chai was delish and their bakery case was drool worthy.


Where to stay

Hotel Californian- 36 State St
We stayed at this stunning Turkish/Moroccan inspired property. It's located in the heart of The Funk Zone just blocks from the beach and downtown SB.


We were also recommended...

El Capitan Glamping

The Belmond

Where to eat

Tre Lune- 1151 Coast Village Rd, Montecito
A great spot for a classic, delicious Italian meal.

italian food tre lune montecito california

Bouchon- 9 West Victoria
This lovely French-Californian bistro was beyond delicious. Read about the Foodie Stroll we did with the head chef to help shop for the ingredients for our dinner at the local farmers market below!

Goat tree- 36 State St
Casual all day dining and a gourmet cafe! We got their fresh pressed juices both days, so fresh!


The Lark- 131 Anacapa St
A Santa Barbara institution. Unfortunately, because of our flight delay we missed our first dinner in SB. Everyone says The Lark is a must though! I can't wait to try it on my next visit!

The Bear and The Star- 2860 Grand Ave, Los Olivos
 Owned by Fes Parker and about 30 minutes outside of downtown SB in gorgeous, Los Olivos. True ranch to table cuisine, The Bear and Star is as sustainable as it gets. Bringing together the two states their founder has called home, Texas and California, this is a meal you do not want to miss. (A bunch of photos from our meal below).


Loquita202 State St
Delectable tapas in the funk zone. Don’t pass up the octopus or chicken croquette!

La Superica- 622 N Milpas St
Famous, authentic and delicious tacos. Featured in a Katy Perry music video!

Smithys- 7 E Anapamu St
Our new favorite lunch spot located in downtown SB. So charming, amazing lunch and beautiful outdoor patio!


smithys santa barbara

Where to drink

The Bubble Shack- 2970 Grand Ave, Los Olivos
A sparkling wine tasting room... need I say more?

Grassini Family Vineyards Tasting Room- 24 El Paseo

What to do

Explore The Funk Zone 
A fun, young artist area in downtown SB. Tons of great tasting rooms, cute shops and restaurants. More for wine drinking vs. learning about wine!

Pence Vineyards & Winery
A family owned, working, beautiful ranch.  Known for Pinot noir and Chardonnay.

Destination Vine
Luxury wine tasting explorations. They'll take you to private wineries off the beaten path where you couldn’t normally get into. Highly recommended! We had a great experience with them!

Grassini Family Vineyards
Another gorgeous, family owned winery. They specialize in Cabernet and sauvignon blancs. 

grassini family vineyard

Visit The Presidio neighborhood
This area is for more serious wine tasting. Expect more upscale wines and places to really learn about wine vs. drinking wines.

Spa Majorelle at Hotel Californian- 36 State Street
A stunning spa inside the Hotel Californian. I had the salt stone massage and it was possibly the best massage of my life. Highly recommend.

Rent a Surrey Bike- 24 East Mason Street
 Bike along the beach front path. Be ready for a lot of laughs and a serious leg workout.


Sunset Sailing on The Sunset Kid- 125 Harbor Way #13
Enjoy a sunset cruise and see some seals! If you're lucky maybe some whales too!

sunset sailing

 Farmers Market Foodie Stroll
On Tuesdays or Saturdays you can walk the farmers market with a famous Santa Barbara chef and help do the shopping for the restaurant. At the end of the day, eat a three course meal that you helped shop for at the restaurant! Such an awesome learning experience!

Shopping in Montecito
If you're looking to shop while in SB, a ten minute drive down the road to the beautiful little town of Montecito is your answer! Tons of gorgeous shops and great cafes! We liked, Maison K, K Frank and Whiskey and Leather. 

Visit Ganna Walska Lotus Land in Montecito
Voted one of the top 10 gardens in the world, this is an absolute must see. Only 15,000 people are allowed on the grounds per year so make sure to reserve tickets ahead of time!

Have any questions about Santa Barbara or any place that need to be added to this guide!? Let me know! Can't wait to visit SB again!

xx Ali