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Santa BarbaraUnited States of America

The American Riviera offers historic adobe architecture, plenty of art galleries, wineries and beautiful beaches. 

Santa Barbara is famous for its expensive hotels, large mansions and trendy boutiques, but it also has beautiful beaches and many museums and festivals dedicated to celebrating the city’s past.

Be sure to visit Santa Barbara’s picture-perfect beaches. Lie on the soft sand and read a book, or grab a board and hit the surf. Conditions are great for beginners, but on the right day there are some good breaks for those of all skill levels.

Marvel at the Franciscan–Spanish architecture of the old Santa Barbara Mission. You’ll find artifacts and documents from old missionaries, a still-operating chapel, and the mission’s impressive and well-kept grounds. For more old architecture, visit the adobe Rafael Gonzalez house or the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Head up the bell tower for great views of the surrounding area. History buffs will also want to check out the Presidio of Santa Barbara, a Spanish fortress from the 1780s.

Learn how modern-day Santa Barbara came about as you wander through the exhibits at the city’s Historical Museum. For a look at the evolution of plant and wildlife in the area and beyond, spend some time at the Museum of Natural History.

Art lovers will enjoy the city’s excellent institutions. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art has an extensive collection of European, American and Asian art, and plays host to some world-class exhibitions. For a look at more recent works, wander over to the Contemporary Arts Forum. This gallery is artist-run and funded, and is dedicated to exhibiting the highest-quality work in the region.

To enjoy other local products, organize a tour of the region’s wineries.

Santa Barbara enjoys the sophisticated charm of a much larger city but maintains a quaint, friendly atmosphere. Throw in a fascinating history, loads of cultural activities and excellent beaches, and it’s not hard to see why it attracts visitors from around the world.

Where to stay in Santa Barbara

Home.

Montecito

4.5/5Wonderful!(179 area reviews)

The pristine beaches and ample dining options are top of the list for many visitors to Montecito. A stop by Los Padres National Forest or Butterfly Beach might round out your trip.

Montecito
A marshland next to a public beach. Situated about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, is being promoted as the "American Riviera" due to her Mediterranean-like climate.

Santa Barbara Beach

4.5/5Wonderful!(1,188 area reviews)

Santa Barbara Beach is known for its stunning beaches, and you can see some sights in the area like Stearns Wharf and Santa Barbara Zoo.

Santa Barbara Beach
East Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, California, United States of America

East Beach

4.5/5Wonderful!(529 area reviews)

East Beach is known for its stunning beaches, and you can see some sights in the area like Santa Barbara Zoo and Chase Palm Park.

East Beach
Santa Barbara showing a coastal town

Downtown

The pristine beaches and ample dining options are top of the list for many visitors to Downtown. A stop by Santa Barbara County Courthouse or Lobero Theater might round out your trip.

Downtown
Santa Barbara Sunset

The Funk Zone

4.5/5Wonderful!(132 area reviews)

Travelers come to The Funk Zone for its beaches, and you can see top attractions like MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation and Santa Barbara Art Foundry while you're in town.

The Funk Zone
Santa Barbara Mission

Upper East

4.5/5Wonderful!(51 area reviews)

While visiting Upper East, you might make a stop by sights like Mission Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Upper East

Top Hotels in Santa Barbara

Chumash Casino Resort
Chumash Casino Resort
4 out of 5
3400 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez, CA
The price is $109 per night from Oct 21 to Oct 22

Situated in Santa Ynez, this spa resort is within 1 mi (2 km) of Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Janeway-Parks Carriage House and Chumash Casino. Gainey ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (1,610 reviews)

"I enjoy my stay. Very friendly staff from beginning of check in entrance to end. Everyone very welcoming. Everything is"…"

Reviewed on Oct 17, 2020

Chumash Casino Resort
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
4 out of 5
633 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $169 per night from Nov 2 to Nov 3

Located in East Beach, this beach hotel is 0.5 mi (0.9 km) from Santa Barbara Zoo and within 3 mi (5 km) of Presidio Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County Courthouse. ...

4/5Very Good! (914 reviews)

"The room, the view, the location and the service were very good"…"

Reviewed on Oct 9, 2020

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Hotel Corque
Hotel Corque
4 out of 5
400 Alisal Rd., Solvang, CA
The price is $105 per night from Oct 26 to Oct 27

Situated in Solvang, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum and Solvang Festival Theater. Hans Christian Andersen Museum and ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (2,025 reviews)

"The staff was pleasant and helpful. We appreciated the protocol put in place to keep the guests safe. The room hadn't been renovated yet but, was in great shape. Bed was comfortable and the bathroom was very clean with plenty of space. We really enjoyed our stay. It was just for one night on our ..."…"

Reviewed on Oct 18, 2020

Hotel Corque
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in Santa Barbara

Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground
Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground
3 out of 5
180 Avenue of Flags, Buellton, CA
The price is $129 per night from Nov 9 to Nov 10

Situated in Buellton, this cottage is within a 15-minute walk of Mendenhall's Museum of Gasoline Pumps & Petroliana and Mosby Winery. OstrichLand USA and Hans ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (332 reviews)

"Had a great time with a group of friends for my 60th"…"

Reviewed on Sep 27, 2020

Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground
Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort
Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort
2 out of 5
3750 Paradise Road, Santa Barbara, CA

Located in Santa Barbara, this family-friendly cabin is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Los Padres National Forest, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Rancho San Marcos Golf Course ...

4.4/5Excellent! (57 reviews)

"It was perfect to spend time with my two boys some bonding time"…"

Reviewed on Nov 21, 2019

Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort
Beach Front Cottage on Miramar Beach!
Beach Front Cottage on Miramar Beach!
Santa Barbara, CA

Located in Montecito, this vacation home is 0.5 mi (0.9 km) from Fernald Point and 2.9 mi (4.6 km) from Santa Barbara Zoo. Butterfly Beach and Casa Del Herrero ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (9 reviews)
Perfect stop on Miramar Beach

"This is our second time staying at this property and its a perfect spot for a small group on one of Santa Barbara's best beaches. The house is really well organized and has everything one needs for a great week's stay right on the beach. Communication with the manager was great and they didn't miss ..."…"

Reviewed on Jul 21, 2020

Beach Front Cottage on Miramar Beach!
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Santa Barbara

The only public transit option in Santa Barbara is its bus network, the SBMTD, which spans the entire city and into Santa Barbara County, as far out as Carpinteria. Taxis are very expensive in the city center, making car rental a more appealing option. If you’re staying close to the center, consider walking or cycling around Santa Barbara. It’s easy to rent a bike in the city. Visit the California Department of Transportation website.Browse Santa Barbara rental cars.

Best time to visit

Like much of California, Santa Barbara has mild weather year round, with highs of around 75 F (24 C) in July and August, and around 65 F (18 C) in December and January. This temperate climate means it’s pleasant to visit throughout the year. Summer is the busiest and most expensive time, so you may prefer to visit in May or September; most of the rain in Santa Barbara falls between December and February.

Popular places to visit in Santa Barbara

University of California-Santa Barbara
Image for University of California-Santa Barbara

University of California-Santa Barbara

4.5/5(586 reviews)

Take a campus tour or just explore the area around University of California-Santa Barbara, a top university in Santa Barbara. Amble around the area's beautiful beaches or seek out the biking trails.

Chumash Casino
Image for Chumash Casino

Chumash Casino

4/5(443 reviews)

Why not roll the dice by visiting Chumash Casino where you can enjoy the games and entertainment of this top casino in Santa Ynez? Check out the casinos and top-notch restaurants in this quaint area.

Santa Barbara Zoo
Image for Santa Barbara Zoo

Santa Barbara Zoo

4.5/5(307 reviews)

Why not visit the animals who live at Santa Barbara Zoo and see why this is a popular attraction in Santa Barbara? Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in the area.

Stearns Wharf
Image for Stearns Wharf

Stearns Wharf

4.5/5(924 reviews)

Explore the waterfront of Stearns Wharf and enjoy other activities such as biking in Santa Barbara. Wander the area's beautiful beaches or simply enjoy one of its top-notch restaurants.

Carpinteria State Beach
Image for Carpinteria State Beach

Carpinteria State Beach

4.5/5(399 reviews)

Nothing says vacation like spending a lazy day at Carpinteria State Beach, a popular beach in Carpinteria. Check out the shops and top-notch restaurants in this family-friendly area.

Santa Barbara Bowl
Image for Santa Barbara Bowl

Santa Barbara Bowl

4.5/5(144 reviews)

Santa Barbara Bowl is a favorite theater with a storied past in Santa Barbara. Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in the area.

Top things to do in Santa Barbara

Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)
Image for Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)

Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)

$40
Per adult
Santa Barbara Funk Zone Food & Photography Tour
Image for Santa Barbara Funk Zone Food & Photography Tour

Santa Barbara Funk Zone Food & Photography Tour

$109
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Urban Adventure Quest - Santa Barbara
Image for Urban Adventure Quest - Santa Barbara

Urban Adventure Quest - Santa Barbara

$19
Per adult
80% of travellers recommend
Santa Barbara Wine and Cupcake Tour
Image for Santa Barbara Wine and Cupcake Tour

Santa Barbara Wine and Cupcake Tour

$159
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Solvang Fun Low Cost Wine Tours
Image for Solvang Fun Low Cost Wine Tours

Solvang Fun Low Cost Wine Tours

$129
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Private Pottery Workshop and Studio Tour in Ojai
Image for Private Pottery Workshop and Studio Tour in Ojai

Private Pottery Workshop and Studio Tour in Ojai

$56
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend

Reviews of Santa Barbara

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1484
5 - Excellent 67.0886075949367%
4 - Good
647
4 - Good 29.249547920433997%
3 - Okay
69
3 - Okay 3.119349005424955%
2 - Disappointing
10
2 - Disappointing 0.45207956600361665%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 0.09041591320072333%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jun 6, 2020

It is a very diverse town, and there is a lot to do

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 6, 2020

Hotel was near shopping, dining and beach.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 4, 2020

It’s a beautiful place to visit. I highly recommend it!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 3, 2020

I love visiting Santa Barbara!

5/5 - Excellent

BHinCA

Jun 3, 2020

I love Santa Barbara. They have closed many of the streets downtown, so that pedestrian traffic moved from the sidewalks to the street, which allows the restaurants to expand their seating onto the side walks, allowing the restaurants to reopen.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jun 2, 2020

Very cute town! Loved Stearns Wharf and the pier

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Cities near Santa Barbara

Photo by Hector N.

Santa Maria

Photo by Hector N.

Buellton

Photo by Stephen Lee

Carpinteria

Photo by Carl Bolstad

Goleta