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Things to do in Santa Barbara

Things to do in  Santa Barbara

Welcome to Santa Barbara

Just a quick drive up from Los Angeles lies the city of Santa Barbara, also lovingly referred to as “The American Riviera.” This seaside town earns its nickname through its beautiful coastline, miles of pristine beach and the two green hills that wrap around the city; all of which lend an air of health and beauty to the Spanish-tiled roofs which line the streets.

Top attractions in Santa Barbara for Spring

#1
Old Mission Santa Barbara

Old Mission Santa Barbara

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One of the most famous Catholic monuments in the state, Santa Barbara’s Old Mission is one of the longest continuously operating missions in California. Visit this beautifully constructed 1786 outpost to find stunning stonework, impressive columns, and two domed towers, as well as plenty of Native American and Spanish colonial history.More
#2
Solvang

Solvang

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Just over the hill from sunny Santa Barbara lie the Santa Ynez Valley and the small, Danish-style town of Solvang. Founded in 1911 by a group of Danish teachers, Solvang (Danish for “sunny field”) is now a bustling hub of activity, ripe with wine-tasting rooms, a fairy-tale-esque downtown, and all sorts of quirky shops.More
#3
Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

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The white-walled Santa Barbara Courthouse is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and is considered one of the most beautiful public buildings in the US. The hand-painted frescoes, sunken gardens, and 85-foot (25-meter clock tower draw many visitors.More
#4
Funk Zone

Funk Zone

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Once a tangle of industrial warehouses and scuba shops, this waterfront district just off Santa Barbara’s main drag has morphed into a hip haven for foodies, wine lovers, and urban explorers. Art galleries, restaurants, microbreweries, and wine tasting rooms now fill the walkable neighborhood, making it a popular gourmet destination. More
#5
Stearns Wharf

Stearns Wharf

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California’s oldest working wharf, Santa Barbara’s Stearns Wharf is home to restaurants and an aquarium. It’s a great place for a sunset stroll in the city.More
#6
Santa Barbara Waterfront

Santa Barbara Waterfront

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Santa Barbara is known as the American Riviera, and visitors can enjoy the best of the California coast along the waterfront here in Santa Barbara city. From the boardwalk to the harbor, there’s plenty to see and do here.More
#7
Santa Ynez Valley (SYV)

Santa Ynez Valley (SYV)

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One of the most prized wine regions of California's Central Coast, the Santa Ynez Valley is a fertile landscape of hillside vineyards and forested valleys nestled against the backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains. More than 120 wineries make it a popular wine-tasting destination from Santa Barbara and other towns on the “American Riviera.”More
#8
Montecito

Montecito

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One of the most idyllic enclaves on California's central coast, this upscale community has long been a haven for celebrities seeking refuge from the daily grind of Los Angeles. Mansion-studded mountains spill into the sea, and a sleepy yet luxurious vibe prevails among Montecito’s boutique shopping and dining destinations.More
#9
Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA)

Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA)

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Small but beautiful, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) is renowned for its extensive collection of French and English 19th- and early 20th-century art, as well as modernism and photography exhibits. It also housesPortrait of Mexico Today, the only intact mural in the US by celebrated Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros.More
#10
State Street

State Street

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The heart of Santa Barbara, State Street delights visitors and locals alike with its lively downtown ambience. Spend a couple of leisurely hours wandering the tree-lined boulevard, stopping by shops, galleries, and wine tasting rooms.More
#11
Leadbetter Beach

Leadbetter Beach

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One of the most beautiful beaches near downtown Santa Barbara, Leadbetter Beach is often filled with windsurfers, joggers, and sunbathers. Its light surf makes its an excellent spot for low-key and beginning surfing. It’s one of the more scenic spots close to the city, with an expansive golden sand beach and grass lawn. There are also facilities for picnicking and barbecue, as well as public restrooms and showers.Often sailboats can be seen cruising just off the coast from Leadbetter, as it’s located next to the Santa Barbara Harbor. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours. For these reasons, it is one of the more popular public beach areas. Though it can be crowded, it is often bustling with activity compared to other spots on the coast. It’s considered by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches in California.More
#12
Shoreline Park

Shoreline Park

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Shoreline Park is a 15 acre coastal park west of Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara, CA. It is a popular place to come for picnics and has individual picnic tables, a group picnic area, barbeques, park benches, a playground, sidewalks, and stairs that access the beach. Many people also come here to walk, jog, roller blade, and play Frisbee. The park offers spectacular views of the Santa Barbara coastline, the city itself, the Channel Islands, and the Santa Ynez Mountains. If you're lucky, you might even see some whales or dolphins.Mesa Beach, which is connected to Shoreline Park, is narrow and rocky, and it is often covered due to the tides, especially during the winter months. During the winter, the waves often crash against the cliffs which has been eroding the shoreline. During the summer, there is more packed sand and the beach sees more visitors. Free parking lots are located near the park.More
#13
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG)

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG)

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The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG) is a beautiful natural conservatory featuring over 78 acres (31.5 hectares) of lush greenery, with over 1,000 species of rare and indigenous plants. Guided tours are free, and a walk among the oaks, boulders, and dusty trails makes for an enjoyable dive into California flora.More
#14
Santa Barbara Zoo

Santa Barbara Zoo

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On a 30-acre (12-hectare plot overlooking the ocean, Santa Barbara Zoo is home to over 140 different species, which live in habitats designed to mirror their native environments. Adults and children will both find plenty to enjoy here.More
#15
Santa Barbara Cruise Port

Santa Barbara Cruise Port

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Smaller but no less well-positioned on the California coast, the Santa Barbara Cruise Port offers a less chaotic alternative to nearby Los Angeles and San Francisco. Home to charming shops, restaurants, and attractions—including the Urban Wine Trail—sunny Santa Barbara is the ideal place for a spot of relaxation.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Santa Barbara

Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour
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Small-Group Santa Barbara Wine Tour to Private Locations - Max 7 Guests
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Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour
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Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour

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Santa Barbara Trolley Tour

Santa Barbara Trolley Tour

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Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara
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Santa Barbara Kayak Tour
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Santa Barbara Kayak Tour

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Santa Ynez Valley Biking and Wine Tasting Tour
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Santa Barbara Vineyard to Table Taste Tour by Bike
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Santa Ynez Wine Country Shuttle
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Santa Ynez Wine Country Shuttle

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Santa Barbara Small-Group Wine Tour to ONLY Private Vineyard Estates & Wineries
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Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Ynez Valley
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Coastline Kayak Tour near Santa Barbara
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Santa Barbara Surfing Day Lesson
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Santa Barbara Moke Rental

Santa Barbara Moke Rental

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Recent reviews from experiences in Santa Barbara

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Ask for Andrei!
Marti_M, Apr 2022
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
Great way to see Santa Barbara!
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Great experience
Fahimeh_A, Apr 2022
Santa Barbara Trolley Tour
I got to see so many places and scenic views of Santa Barbara in a 90-minute tour!!
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Beautiful tour with...
Murray_H, Apr 2022
Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour
This tour is wonderful way to way to see the Santa Barbara area.
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Electric experience (no pun intended :-)
Lynn_D, Jan 2022
City & Sand Electric Bike Tour
This was the best way to see the town.
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Outstanding Tour!
Dianne_F, Mar 2022
Private Walking Tour of El Pueblo Viejo in Santa Barbara
He also provided information about other sites to visit.
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Girls trip
Anonymous, Nov 2021
Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour
Linda was very informative on the history of Santa Barbara, we really enjoyed the food and wine and getting to see a bit of the city
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Fantastic day
Mike_H, Sep 2021
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
Best way to see Santa Barbara.
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Enjoyable.
Beth_S, Aug 2021
Kayak Tour of Santa Barbara with Experienced Guide
Nice to see Santa Barbara from a different view.
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GREAT DAY!
LISA_H, Jul 2021
Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour
It was a great way to see and learn about Santa Barbara.
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Fun time on the water. Beautiful views
Valerie_V, May 2021
Kayak Tour of Santa Barbara with Experienced Guide
Wonderful way to see Santa Barbara and the hills from the water.
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Great Times!
Camper45343888145, Apr 2019
Santa Barbara Wine Country Tour
Only downfall was one of the owners of the wine stops was upset we were wearing matching t-shirts (since this was a bachlerotte) - this killed the vibe.
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Excellent!
Fuerstenau03, Aug 2021
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
Great way to see Santa Barbara.
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Wonderful family bike tour of Santa Barbara
Jennifer_D, Nov 2020
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
We got to see the giraffes at the zoo and Butterfly beach.
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First trip to Santa Barbara
Kim_H, Apr 2021
Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour
We had a great experience on the Santa Barbara food tour yesterday, it was really neat to see all the little hidden nooks that held wine tastings and local eateries.
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Kayak tour
Jobana_P, Aug 2020
Kayak Tour of Santa Barbara with Experienced Guide
Gave us some great tips on where to go and what to see while here in Santa Barbara.
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SANTA BARBARA electric bike tour
robert_r, Oct 2020
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
He gave us recommendations for restaurants and other activities.
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Weather was beautiful and this was a...
Maryann_S, May 2016
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
Weather was beautiful and this was a great way to see Santa Barbara!
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A fun adventure with a friendly guide, but pricy
Genene_S, Aug 2021
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
Electric bikes are very popular and a great way to see the expansive Santa Barbara area, while enjoying the outdoors and getting some exercise too.
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Biking Bliss!
Nikki, Mar 2021
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
What a fun way to see so many cool parts of Santa Barbara!
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Super Fun day
Tonya_J, Nov 2020
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
I can’t think of a better way to see Santa Barbara and enjoy the outdoors!

All about Santa Barbara

When to visit

If basking on the beach ranks high on your itinerary, Santa Barbara summers are postcard perfect. It’s also the city’s most lively time, with buzzing open-air cafés and a decadent lineup of music, food, and wine festivals. If you don’t mind wearing layers, visit in the spring for a quieter—and cheaper—way to experience the "American Riviera."

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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