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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 10 attractions in Santa Barbara

#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

Trip ideas

Top activities in Santa Barbara

Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour
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Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour
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Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour

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$230.10
Small-Group Santa Barbara Wine Tour to Private Locations - Max 7 Guests
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Santa Barbara Trolley Tour

Santa Barbara Trolley Tour

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Santa Barbara Vineyard to Table Taste Tour by E-Bike
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Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Barbara
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Wine Tasting Tour from Santa Ynez Valley
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Santa Barbara Small-Group Wine Tour to ONLY Private Vineyard Estates & Wineries
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Santa Ynez Wine Country Shuttle

Santa Ynez Wine Country Shuttle

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Santa Ynez Valley Cupcake and Wine Tour
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Santa Barbara

star-5
Active and fun way to see the city
Debbie_K, Jun 2022
Santa Barbara Kayak Tour with Knowledgeable Guide
Santa Barbara provides gorgeous views from the water and this is a wonderful way to see it.
star-5
Great to learn about SB history & layout
William_C, May 2022
Santa Barbara Trolley Tour
Good to see city layout plus top areas to visit later.
star-5
Ask for Andrei!
Marti_M, Apr 2022
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
Great way to see Santa Barbara!
star-5
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!!
star-5
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.
star-5
Electric experience (no pun intended :-)
Lynn_D, Jan 2022
City & Sand Electric Bike Tour
This was the best way to see the town.
star-5
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
star-5
Fantastic day
Mike_H, Sep 2021
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
Best way to see Santa Barbara.
star-5
Enjoyable.
Beth_S, Aug 2021
Kayak Tour of Santa Barbara with Experienced Guide
Nice to see Santa Barbara from a different view.
star-5
GREAT DAY!
LISA_H, Jul 2021
Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour
It was a great way to see and learn about Santa Barbara.
star-5
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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Tour of Santa Barbara going back in time with stop at Santa Barbara Mission
Lisa_M, Jun 2022
Santa Barbara Trolley Tour
Are one 15 minute stop at the Santa Barbara Mission was beautiful pleasant treat to see how well preserved this 10th of the 21 Spanish Missions that were built here in California (1818-1820 completed).
star-5
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.
star-5
Excellent!
Fuerstenau03, Aug 2021
Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour
Great way to see Santa Barbara.
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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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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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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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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."

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
PDT (UTC -8)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
Frequently Asked Questions
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