You’ll find plenty of activities and attractions, from total relaxation to thrilling adventures. Having a car with you makes for a great storage spot. One of the great things about Santa Barbara is that there are loads of fun things to see and do, no matter what time of the year you are traveling.Throughout the year, you and your family can enjoy such activities as horseback riding, hiking, whale watching, kayaking, windsurfing, boating, jet skiing, sport fishing, and a whole lot more. The museum focuses on science and technology and is a great place to bring your children over a weekend. Address: Between Santa Barbara Harbor and Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA, USA. Whether you are here for a full-on sightseeing excursion or just to have a good time, there are plenty of options available. It’s not that people here are against development or change — they just want to make sure that it’s done right, for the sake of the city & future generations. Santa Barbara offers many beautiful beaches whether you want to just kick back and relax, take a stroll or splash in the surf. The Santa Barbara Mission is located in the downtown area and easy to reach from State Street. Somewhere based on fictional characters, summer holiday themed, and many look like they came straight out for the fantasy book. Planning a trip to other areas of California soon? You might not be able to believe your eyes when you see this majestic artifact. Find things to do in Santa Barbara, including wine tasting, shopping, golfing, surfing, museums, dining and more. Taking a ride on the Lil’ Toot is one of the most fun things to do in Santa Barbara, California. The Moreton Bay Fig Tree is one of the lesser-known Santa Barbara attractions that you can visit for absolutely no charge today. Plan your next getaway to Santa Barbara. East Beach—which extends from Stearns Wharf to the Andree Clark Bird Refuge—is Santa Barbara's most popular beach and a great place to people watch on weekends. Unlike many popular tourist spots, Lotusland is situated on private property. The Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation, known also as MOXI, is one of the new additions to the Santa Barbara, California attraction list. The fire destroyed much of the home’s most lavish rooms, including an organ room, an observatory, and multiple bedrooms. Plenty of whale watching cruises are available to take you through the ocean, where you can potentially spot over 27 different species of dolphins, whales, and marine life. Stop in over a weekend and walk around to really take in all the amazing exhibits on display. You’ll also get to have a delicious and healthy organic lunch during the store. With so many opportunities to make this an unforgettable trip—like sea kayaking through caves in the Channel Islands, a painting class that walks you through the art of watercolors and wine, a relaxing visit to the underground salt caves, and world class wine tasting—the postcards might have to wait. The superb Santa Barbara Zoo is one of the top things to do in Santa Barbara with kids. The seed was then planted, creating the gigantic and imposing wonder of nature that we know now. Wakfu the Santa Barbara County courthouse to find lavish tiles, resplendent ceilings that are hand-painted to perfection, and chandeliers wrought delicately from iron. It might not be your typical Santa Barbara tourist spot, where else in California, or in the entire country, are you going to see such an eclectic collection? Moreton Bay fig trees, known scientifically as Ficus macrophylla trees, are not actually native to Santa Barbara, but to Australia. Be prepared to travel responsibly and bring a face mask. You can find a wide variety of different items here, including pistachios, fresh berries, olives, and olive oil, and much more. Santa Barbara is a cool coastal city that’s all about life by the sea. You’ll love our lists detailing the best things to do in Sacramento & things to do in San Francisco! You can also join in on community events taking place within the building’s compound or climb to the top of El Mirador tower, which stretches 85 feet into the sky. But you can visit all those attractions through land, and they’re quite near to each other. Though it has changed over the years, you can still view a couple of its original structures mainly the Cañedo Adobe and El Cuartel. Again, if you’re a bit of a Shopaholic and I looking for where to go in Santa Barbara, this is definitely a good bet. Planning a road trip around California? Within the building, you can also find a museum that is packed with artifacts and art from all the times. Address: 2559 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden was first opened in 1926, though it has a history dating far back to 1806. The Arroyo Burro Beach Park has been around from as early as 1947, beginning at just 6 acres and slowly growing over time. Discover 9 hidden attractions, cool sights, and unusual things to do in Santa Barbara, California from Lotusland to The Mural Room. Old Mission Santa Barbara is an incredibly elegant and graceful attraction that was completed back in 1786. The most popular things to do in Santa Barbara with kids according to Tripadvisor travellers are: Chaucer's Bookstore; Santa Barbara County Courthouse; Santa Barbara Sportfishing Charter; Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo; Condor Express Whale Watching; See all kid friendly things to do in … If you love shopping, Paseo Nuevo is one of the best places to go in Santa Barbara, California. Scenic Railroads in Santa Barbara; Walking Tours in Santa Barbara; Water Sports in Santa Barbara; Kayaking & Canoeing in Santa Barbara; Waterskiing & Jetskiing in Santa Barbara; Hiking & Camping Tours in Santa Barbara; Running Tours in Santa Barbara So if you’re in Santa Barbara, California this weekend, you should definitely check this place out. You can even spot the Santa Ynez Mountains in the background. Whale watching is one of the top fun things to do in Santa Barbara, California. Shoreline Park gives you the best of both worlds. There isn’t much left of Chumash Indian history in Santa Barbara, California, but a slice of it can be found in the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park. Address: 113 Harbor Way #190, Santa Barbara, CA 93109, USA. Due to the museum’s commitment to education, lots of informational activities are available to participate in. Every single toy displayed in the museum is interesting and individual, often made from different materials and crafted in different designs. Standard sessions run for about 45 minutes, but there’s more you can do then just set in a cave. Once the longest deep-water pier, not just in Santa Barbara, but between SF and LA, taking a stroll along this significant piece of the area’s history is a good option if you’re looking for what to do. If you’re a believer of healing crystals, then there’s, even more, to be gained from a stay in the Salt Cave of Santa Barbara. Here are the best things to do in Santa Barbara during your getaway, including a botanic garden and an outstanding hike Go to the content Go to the footer Close Much of the Lobera is dedicated to presenting jazz performances, so if you’re a fan of the genre and are near the area, why not spend a night basking in the wonderful music and rich experiences of this theatre? It sits on the popular State Street, where it is home to more than 17 different businesses, an educational facility, and a market specifically for Santa Barbara shellfish. The Santa Barbara Farmers Market is one of the best places to go if you are interested in local products, fresh produce, and other fun things to see. You cannot go wrong with Santa Barbara! Stearns Wharf was finished in 1872 and is now the oldest of its kind in California, being the only wooden wharf that continues to be used in this modern day. Its many limbs sprawl out from it, winding up and sideways, and you may be tempted to climb it, but do keep in mind that this is not allowed! The Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum & Library is arguably one of the most distinct Santa Barbara attractions. There are a number of fun activities that you can do while you are here. This outdoor shopping mall is packed with renowned chain stores, cute boutiques, and quaint cafes that are decorated with a variety of fountains and potted plants. The Casa del Herrero is an official National Historic Landmark and is listed on the country’s National Register of Historic Places. The views from the rooftop are amazing also.” Santa Barbara Getaway Score: 10/10. The Arroyo Burro Beach Park is an extremely popular location for a wide range of water activities. Due to its location, it is much less likely to be packed like sardines when you go to catch some sun. While you’re at it, there are plenty of sights to see as you explore the wide-reaching vineyards. It is dedicated to preserving the interesting and rich history of the Santa Barbara coast and does so through the use of a wide range of exhibits, artifacts, and even events. With blue whales and humpback whales appearing between May and November, and gray whales appearing during the standard Southern and Northern immigration types. So yeah, there are plenty of things to do in Santa Barbara. It’s true that if you’re looking for the best things to do in Santa Barbara, you might not necessarily think of a beach or a park, but this 14.6 acre spot is more than worth a visit or two. Some of these crystals even date back over 200 million years. The grounds of the current mission are located on the crest between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. A number of historical buildings litter of the compound, and a bar and tavern remain open for you to visit if you like. For those who want to go on a vacation to have a really good time, the Funk Zone is one spot in Santa Barbara that you just can’t miss. This doesn’t just include art exhibits, but also a library, an auditorium, a cafe, and a store. In fact, after the fire raged, all that remained was the home’s stone skeleton. Santa Barbara is just over 90 miles from Los Angeles, about 218 miles from San Diego and about 325 miles away from San Francisco. These food walking tours will take you through State Street and the downtown area of Santa Barbara. Before we talk about all of the activities, let’s talk about parking. Check out the best things to do in Palm Springs & things to do in San Diego! It spans across 12 acres of the famous Mission Creek, and exhibits are divided among multiple different buildings which are backdropped by an oak-filled woodland. There are plenty of activities that you can enjoy on the beach, including playing volleyball at one of the several courts available. Its large, open spaces and lush gardens of palms and native plants impart the feel of a botanical garden, making it a lovely place to stroll around. Near these many enticing spots in El presidio, you can also find an observation tower spanning two stories, a Heritage Garden packed with old era plants, the famous Whittaker Orchard, and what remains of the outer defense walls. Address: 217 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA. Since then, the home was turned into a Santa Barbara landmark, so although it is still owned privately, it cannot be developed or restored. Paseo Nuevo is both an indoor and outdoor mall with Spanish-style ceramic tiles. All things to do in Santa Barbara; Popular Santa Barbara Categories. There’s so much for the kids to do and yet they practically have to drag me away! The Salt Cave of Santa Barbara isn’t exactly one of the more popular tourist attractions around California, but it is full of such unique charm that is more than worth dropping in. Planning a California road trip? Address: 1250 Orchid Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93111, USA. Madame Wolska herself collected these eclectic bits of fauna throughout the course of her life, and also received many as gifts from her fans and friends. Address: 1212 Mission Canyon Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA. But it’s not just lavish green the visitors can enjoy in this California garden. Now, this lesser-known feature of Santa Barbara’s history remains preserved. It is easily one of the most enjoyable points of interest in this California region for those who enjoy a bit of sun and surf with an extra helping of nature. From there it was easy to hop on a boat for a sunset boat cruise. Run by Brian Hope and Scott Bull, these tours involve a personal experience were these two owners and sommeliers drive you in a luxury vehicle, bringing you to some of the finest wineries and vineyards that Santa Barbara has to offer. While you’re here, you can purchase one of hundreds upon hundreds of different orchid types that are available for sale. Knapp’s Castle lays concealed within the hills of Santa Barbara, California. One of the most popular beaches is Butterfly Beach in Montecito, which is a great spot to catch the sunset. Today, the ruins of Knapp’s Castle remain, and it is one of the most popular places to visit by hikers touring Santa Barbara. Today, within the home, a museum has been curated, holding multiple antiques that can be dated all the way back to the 15th century. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less good, as many people believe East Beach hosts the greatest stretch of ocean that you can find in all of Santa Barbara. The 10 best restaurants in Santa Barbara When leaving your home or hotel, there are plenty of things to do around Santa Barbara... and even more things for you to eat. Address: 740 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA. Address: 1400 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108-2880, USA. There are so many tourist attractions, points of interest, sights to see, and stuff to do in Santa Barbara. The most opportune time to visit this location is probably on Tuesday or Saturday when you can find it on Anacapa Street. You will join a small tour group of fewer than 10 people throughout a day of adventure as the tour guides take you to all the greatest places to visit in Santa Barbara for wine. Of the three major Beaches that you can find in Santa Barbara, the least crowded is probably the East Beach. Whale watching is one of the top fun things to do in Santa Barbara, California. You’ll be able to see fossils, a nature trail, and old books in the library. Address: 1387 E Valley Rd, Montecito, CA 93108, USA. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History can be found near the old Santa Barbara Mission, where it sits in wait on Puesta Del Sol. You can use your rented cave to take a nap, meditate, lounge in a zero gravity chair, or just enjoy the relaxation of the ambient music surrounding you. This is a great one-of-a-kind sight to see while you are in Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, the original chapel was destroyed in an earthquake in 1812, and the new church that you see today was finished in 1820 by Chumash Indians. Use this list to track down notable statues, culturally significant sites and modern murals that pay homage to Santa Barbara’s local art scene. Visiting other areas of California? The Lobero Theatre of Santa Barbara, California puts on many interesting shows that are a must-see for any entertainment lover. Surrounding the complex is the gorgeous La Huerta Historical Garden that looks like it was ripped straight out of a Colonial setting. Address: 651 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA. Now, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art encompasses 60,000 square feet of land. It was originally built back in 1886, where it’s served as a stop for stagecoaches and was basically a way station connecting Santa Barbara, California to other regions, near and far. There are plenty of wineries in Santa Barbara, California. Among the many items on display, you can view seaplanes, cannons, interactive maps, paintings, and a lot more. With its pale pink columns and pink roofed towers, the mission oozes sweetness and innocence. Address: 33 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA. Stearns Wharf is often considered to offer some of the top sights in all of Santa Barbara, with spots that overlook the breathtaking harbor and the many stretches of beach that rush across the region. Are you looking for top tourist destinations? For over a hundred years Santa Barbarians have understood how special this place is, and what it takes to keep it special. Smeared over a sandstone wall, these colorful images are a bit of a Santa Barbara mystery. But if you persevere and travel up the steep and winding road, you will soon find yourself at historically rich cave entrance that makes for good sightseeing. It offers many things to see, including drawings, books, records of horticultural activity, and other fascinating tidbits of history. Address: 1100 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art holds a collection of nearly 30,000 different kinds of works, sourced from Europe, Asia, and across America. With a name that directly translates to “house of the blacksmith”, Casa del Herrero, which is a short 9-minute drive from Santa Barbara, was built in 1925, around the era of the Spanish Colonial Revival. The Mission was established in 1786 by Franciscan friars. This museum has a simple goal: to educate visitors regarding the natural history of Santa Barbara. The garden has been around for nearly 100 years and even includes a stand of majestic California Redwoods that stretch hundreds of feet into the blue skies above. But even if you aren’t fortunate enough to spot any whales, you will still be able to see other forms of marine animals, such as sea lions, dolphins, and orcas. You can easily spot this large fig tree very close to the famed Amtrak station. Murals line the walls of this Santa Barbara district, and if you come here at night, you’ll be able to find plenty of delicious alcoholic drinks, artistic displays, and more. Address: Yanonali Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA. You may also go for a picnic, enjoying a swim, or even borrowing a beach wheelchair for those in need of extra mobility. If you don’t get creeped out easily, you might even enjoy the shockingly lifelike iterations of dolls that you will see. You can also go on guided tours through the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum that provides you with additional information and lots of fun facts. Address: 500 Ninos Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, USA. Explore the opulent mural room to discover more about the history of the area, or take a walk outside the courthouse to find a sunken garden full of plants from over 25 countries. The estate specializes in temperature tolerant orchids that can easily grow outdoors. Immediately I felt pulled to the Santa Barbara Harbor. It can be quite an enjoyable journey, as kids can go up to the boat wheelhouse in order to help the captain. This is also a great place to bring your kids, as there are many educational programs and activities available. He eventually sold the home in 1940, and just 5 weeks later, it was largely destroyed in a forest fire. The estate covers 11 acres, made up of the home itself and the formal gardens. From hiking to beach-hopping, the city has many budget-friendly options suitable for backpackers like myself. Santa Barbara is known for its hefty prices and chic hangouts. Encompassing more than 30 acres, the zoo occupies a beautiful setting on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can get a real Tree by examining the double towers (which are unusual in mission structures), a facade inspired by Roman design, and a variety of sculptures and art dating back to the Colonial era. It provides incredible views of the coastline of Santa Barbara, but also giving you a glimpse into the bustling city. Unlike many other historical landmarks, Casa Del Herrero has not changed significantly in the past decades. Santa Barbara Zoo Situated in the heart of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Zoo boasts more than 500 animals and spectacular ocean views. Santa Barbara’s stately Spanish-Mediterranean architecture is adopted from the regal Santa Barbara Mission, one of 21 missions Spain built in the late 1700s to gain a foothold in what is now California. Fall in love with Santa Barbara. The Funk Zone is one of the top tourist attractions in Santa Barbara, California for a good party. It is the largest tree of its kind not just in California, but also in all of America. Be sure to check out our list of things to do in California! The Santa Barbara Orchid Estate is located very close to the ocean, upon 5 acres of land. The remote North Country beaches are some of the best options for kayaking, or you could paddle in the area around Stearns Wharf. This museum was first opened in 1916, making it the oldest of all the museums in this California city. As far as state parks are concerned, this Santa Barbara one is rather small. 04 of 08. Each cave is lit in a subtle and gentle manner, with pink Himalayan salt crystals enrobing the entire room. Of course, there is also the centerpiece of this museum: a whale skeleton that spans 74 feet! A backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains provides an even more picturesque appearance to the entire wharf. That’s probably why Sustainable Vine Wine Tours are so popular in the area. Just remember to pace yourself, drink water and don’t overdo your tour. Address: CA-154, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA. But there is more than just that to explore. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful missions in all of California and is open daily for self-guided tours. Elaine Peterson / Shutterstock. We spent a couple of days in the city, but what we needed was a week to soak it all in. Visitors are welcomed in this must-do California stop, and it’ll be all too easy for you to believe that you have stepped into a fantasy novel. Tons of one-of-a-kind attractions and exhibits are on display at this Santa Barbara Museum. Consider this a must-do if you’re visiting the area with children. Santa Barbara airport also offers daily flights from many locations in California and other West Coast cities such as Las Vegas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.. When you visit, you will be taken aback by just how whimsical and breathtaking this magical and traumatic botanical garden is. Travelers favorites include #1 East Beach, #2 Old Mission Santa Barbara and more. Tours are available to follow, but you can also just wander on your own. It’s a gorgeous, clean beach with plenty of space for people to spread out. What’s the Word: A recent review from Yelp says, “This place is awesome! Once upon a time, this interesting location was an industrial spot, but artists began to move in and turned it into a lively, artistic, and exciting hipster area. It’s a great way to get a taste of the flair and personality of Madame Walska herself foot. Butterfly Beach is lined with hotels and dream houses at the top and has a long strip of beach with multiple sets of stairs to enter from. El Presidio de Santa Barbara is one of the most popular historical points of interest in Santa Barbara, California. You can also step into the Sky Gallery on the rooftop, which offers plenty of amazing views of the mountains, large telescopes to observe the sky with, and exciting water features. If you like you can even book a private tour instead of a group one. Traveling to Santa Barbara? This includes a giant guitar that you can strum, sound overdubbing booths, an Innovation Workshop, a customizable mosaic selfie, and a toy car race track. Even better, East Beach is fairly near to other Santa Barbara attractions! Shopping is one of the things Santa Barbara visitors do most often, according to surveys done by the visitor's bureau. Thinking of a road trip around California? Fortunately for those of us on a budget, there are many things to do in Santa Barbara that won’t break the bank! Spanning across 37 acres, this exotic garden was once owned by Madame Ganna Walska, a famous opera singer from Poland. You can book a session to stay within this relaxing and calming cave. Its compound is largely composed of lush botanic gardens displaying rare exotic plants including succulents, ornamentals, trees, and more. Santa Barbara isn't much for snow, but we do have our own indoor ice rink! State Street, Santa Barbara's main street is also its busiest shopping area. Visitors can also enjoy walking through the Comandancia, the chapel (which has been reconstructed), old Lieutenant rooms (also reconstructed), and the Padre’s Quarters. 4 Things to do in Santa Barbara, CA. Here are the 30 best and fun things to do in Santa Barbara, California, one of the most beautiful places to visit in the US. It’s also just across from Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. Cold Spring Tavern is a great place to drop by on a weekend night. If you’re a real foodie, the Santa Barbara Tasting Tours are probably the most fun and definitely among the top things to do in Santa Barbara, California. It was finished in 1916 by Union Carbide founder George Knapp and was, once upon a time, a wealthy and opulent home to the chemical magnate. #SeeSB. So if you’re looking for what to see in Santa Barbara and you love history, this might be a good bet. The family is well known for being orchid collectors and propagators, and you can see their love for these breathtaking flowers in this Santa Barbara location. It is currently the only mission in all of California that continues to be lived in by Franciscans, making it one of the best places to visit in California.