Santa Barbara is known for...
What do Oprah, John Cleese, Drew Barrymore, and Justin Bieber have in common? They all have (not so humble) homes in sunny Santa Barbara. The rich and famous have long escaped the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles by driving up the coast to visit - or stay - in this more relaxed beach town. For one thing, it’s beautiful. For another, the locals don’t bat an eyelash when a star appears among them... unless that star cuts in front of us in line at La Super-rica!
Santa Barbara has earned a reputation as the “American Riveria” because of its Mediterranean climate and stretches of sandy shores. Publicly accessible white sand beaches run along the inviting coast, perfectly suited to almost every imaginable recreational activity - from bicycling to kiteboarding. Locals take full advantage of Santa Barbara’s most famous natural asset by using the shoreline to stage weddings, craft fairs, music festivals, and more. Each beach has its own personality; spend a lazy Sunday with the beautiful people at Butterfly Beach or try to catch some surf at Rincon.
Our unique combination of ocean breezes, rolling foothills, and shallow valleys creates a haven of microclimates, responsible for one of the most diverse grape producing regions in the country. Famous for our (legendarily fickle) pinots, Santa Barbara is also home to many Bordeaux and Rhone varietals. For a Dionysian sampling, schedule a daytrip to Santa Ynez to visit the vineyards and tasting rooms. Rather stay within city limits? Let our Urban Wine Trail take you to wineries within easy walking, biking, or - let’s be honest - inexpensive cab fare distance of most downtown locations.
4. Red Tiles:
The ubiquitous red tile roofs of Santa Barbara are practically inescapable. After a devastating earthquake in 1925, the majority of the city was rebuilt, taking inspiration from the Spanish style of the California Missions. Spanish red tiles cover the roofs of most downtown buildings, creating a scenic vista from higher vantage points, like the legendary 360-degree view from the clock tower at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Start at the Courthouse to begin the easy, twelve block Red Tile Walking Tour developed by the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
Santa Barbara’s coastal location and temperate climate make it a natural home for lush foliage and gorgeous blooms. Pack a picnic and spend a lovely afternoon in the legendary sunken gardens of the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to take a tour of the native floriculture and learn about sustainable agricultural practices. Or schedule a trip to Lotusland to admire the extraordinarily curated gardens of deceased opera singer Madame Ganna Walska - a place where giant cacti rise and tumble toward earth, water lilies bloom in placid pools, and blue leafed plants crowd together in a fantastic monochromatic display.