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Best of Santa Barbara Guide

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Santa Barbara
Nestled between the shrub-covered slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the clear blue shores of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is California at its best. Mission Santa Barbara is an example of 18th-century religious architecture, boasting beautiful grounds and a wonderfully detailed interior. Work up an appetite with a walk through Shoreline Park, then dine above the water on Stearns Wharf. Fig trees, parks, waterfalls, and botanical gardens round out Santa Barbara’s natural beauty.

All things to do » Things to do

Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Designed by William Mooser III in the Spanish-Moorish architectural style, this working courthouse is surrounded by landscaped gardens and lawns.
Attraction type: Architectural buildings; Government buildings; Historic sites; Observatories & planetariums
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Lotusland
Lotusland
Owner description: Lotusland is a globally renowned 37-acre estate and botanic garden situated in the foothills of Montecito, California. It  is home to 3,200 different types of plants from around... more Owner description: Lotusland is a globally renowned 37-acre estate and botanic garden situated in the foothills of Montecito, California. It  is home to 3,200 different types of plants from around the world. The estate gardens were created by Madame Ganna Walska, who owned the property from 1941 until her death in 1984. The fascinating life and career of Madame Ganna Walska culminated with 43 years of designing unusual display gardens with exotic plants. In her writings she described herself as "an enemy of the average" - truly a woman of unique accomplishments, philosophies and imagination. Lotusland  is home to several extraordinary collections including rare cycads, cacti, palms and euphorbias. Additional gardens feature ferns, aloes, lotuses, water lilies, bromeliads and cactus garden with more than 300 species.Lotusland's  philosophies addresses the ecology of the garden, employing management practices that promote the health of the individual plants and the garden as a whole. Reservations are required to visit. less
Attraction type: Gardens
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Santa Barbara Waterfront
Santa Barbara Waterfront
Owner description: The Santa Barbara Waterfront is a gem within the City of Santa Barbara. Visitors can stroll from beach to beach by foot or bike, park in convenient waterfront parking lots, and... more Owner description: The Santa Barbara Waterfront is a gem within the City of Santa Barbara. Visitors can stroll from beach to beach by foot or bike, park in convenient waterfront parking lots, and experience Santa Barbara Harbor & Stearns Wharf. From boating excursions to standup paddle boarding, day fishing to excellent museums, fabulous restaurants to sweets, you can find everything you need to spend the day at the our waterfront. Managed by the City's Waterfront Department, our mission is to provide the community with a quality Waterfront for recreation and commercial use, along with mooring and landside services for boating. Approximately 252 acres of tidelands and submerged lands is managed by the Department. The area encompasses the Harbor and Stearns Wharf and the beaches within the city limits. These lands belong to the State and are held in trust by the City in order to provide preventative maintenance, capital improvements, parking services, staffing, public safety, slip and visitor boat services, special events, public education and more. less
Attraction type: Piers & boardwalks
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Reagan Ranch Center
Reagan Ranch Center
Owner description: The Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa Barbara, California is open to the general public for tours and visitation Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. These... more Owner description: The Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa Barbara, California is open to the general public for tours and visitation Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. These galleries feature original Reagan Ranch artifacts matched with state-of-the-art, interactive, multimedia exhibits that highlight the history of Ronald Reagan’s quarter-century at Rancho del Cielo and the accomplishments of his presidency.Over six hours of dynamic multimedia exhibits provide access to exclusive speeches, interviews, radio addresses, and original video presentations. The centerpiece of the gallery is a 28-foot-long interactive “timeline” that gives users the ability to explore the “Western White House” during the 1980s. less
Attraction type: Museums
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Santa Barbara Scenic Drive
Santa Barbara Scenic Drive
Attraction type: Scenic drives
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All places to eat » Places to eat

McConnell's Ice Cream
McConnell's Ice Cream
Ranked #1 of 459 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Price: $2 - $10
Cuisines: Ice Cream
Dining options: Late Night
Toma Restaurant and Bar
Toma Restaurant and Bar
Ranked #2 of 459 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Cuisines: Italian, Californian
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Late Night
Handlebar Coffee Roasters
Handlebar Coffee Roasters
Ranked #3 of 459 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Cuisines: Coffee Shop
Cadiz
Cadiz
Ranked #4 of 459 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Price: $8 - $25
Cuisines: Italian, Seafood, Spanish
Good for: Local cuisine, Outdoor seating
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Downey's
Downey's
Ranked #5 of 459 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Price: $28 - $80
Cuisines: French, Seafood, Contemporary, Californian
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night

All accommodations » Where to stay - Budget

The Wayfarer
2.5 of 5
The Wayfarer
$135 - $379
Ranked #5 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
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Creekside Montecito
Creekside Montecito
$160 - $185
Ranked #4 of 22 Santa Barbara B&B and Inns
Marina Beach Motel
Marina Beach Motel
$155 - $253
Ranked #9 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
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All accommodations » Where to stay - Midrange

Harbor House Inn
3.0 of 5
Harbor House Inn
$192 - $344
Ranked #3 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
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Canary, a Kimpton Hotel
4.0 of 5
Canary, a Kimpton Hotel
$323 - $641
Ranked #8 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
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Castillo Inn at the Beach
2.5 of 5
Castillo Inn at the Beach
$128 - $212
Ranked #10 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
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All accommodations » Where to stay - Luxury

Simpson House Inn
4.0 of 5
Simpson House Inn
$358 - $600
Ranked #1 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
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Spanish Garden Inn
4.0 of 5
Spanish Garden Inn
$326 - $531
Ranked #2 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
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San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property
5.0 of 5
San Ysidro Ranch, a Ty Warner Property
$753 - $2,359
Ranked #4 of 54 Hotels in Santa Barbara
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.