Shop Sunny Santa Barbara like a Pro

Locals in Santa Barbara like to shop. After all, there are summer BBQs, beach weddings, charity galas, bike races and much more to prepare for, each with their own dress code and necessary accessories. Fortunately, this charming resort town has numerous venues to suit every (real or imagined) need, from small, locally owned boutiques to nationally beloved department stores.

Visitors often don’t know where to begin when they first arrive in Santa Barbara. State Street is very long with only a small portion of it dedicated to shops and restaurants. To make things a little trickier, our beautiful Spanish style architecture subtly camouflages some of the busiest retail hubs. Add in the fact that many boutiques are tucked away on nearby side streets, and you’ve got yourself a real puzzle.

Luckily, you’ve also got this list, including some of our most unique shops, so you can experience your very own "only in Santa Barbara" shopping adventure. Pick up a new bikini at A Tropical Affair or snap up a unique souvenir at Plum Goods

Even though this list focuses on shops in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, it's important to remember there are other great shopping zones, too, specifically in the neighboring areas of Montecito and Summerland. Both are just a short drive away!


If you have a soft spot for elegant outdoor living in general - and succulents in specific - make a bee line for Botanik in the sleepy beach town of Summerland, just south of Santa Barbara. Botanik is home to the prettiest planted succulent arrangements under the sun, as well as a variety of charming outdoor furniture, dishware and a lovely assortment of books. This is just the place to go if you're searching for a unique hostess gift or something pretty to spruce up your own outdoor living space. Free parking out front with many other great shops in easy strolling distance.

Looking for a standout gift? Do you enjoy antiques, jewelry and whimsical home goods? You do?! Well then Lewis & Clark is the destination for you. Located in the charming La Arcada courtyard, this small shop is packed with treasures that you'll want to take home with you. There are Santa Barbara cookbooks, charming aprons and tea towels in addition to stacks of dish ware, fun accessories and a wonderful selection of cards. After October, Lewis & Clark becomes your one-stop Christmas shop, too, showcasing a collection of hand blown holiday ornaments that would be hard to find elsewhere. Truly a unique shopping experience that you shouldn't miss!

Wendy Foster is a gorgeous, high-end women's fashion boutique located in the center of downtown that epitomizes Santa Barbara style. Look for classic shapes in luxury fabrics as well as seasonal pieces with a Southern California-vibe. In addition to apparel, Wendy Foster also carries jewelry, scarves, handbags, scented candles and a limited assortment of lingerie. If you love designer fashion but a splurge isn't in your budget, don't miss the sale racks at the store; they're always home to phenomenal deals. Anchoring one corner of Paseo Nuevo mall, Wendy Foster is close to additional shopping, restaurants, parks and movie theaters. Park in the underground lot.


Vinyl records still exist. Better yet, new ones are constantly in production. But where do you go to buy them? Why, the local record store, of course. Enter Warbler Records & Goods, Santa Barbara's most awesome (in this expert's opinion) music shop. Here you will find stacks and rows and heaps of new and used vinyl, to suit almost every musical preference. What? You don't have a record player? Don't fret, they sell those, too. And let's not forget the "Goods" portion of their name. The front of the shop boasts a thoughtfully curated selection of interesting things, from lamps and books to stationery and other sundries.

A store for shoppers of all ages, whether you're a group of art afficionados or not. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art Store is home to an assortment of treasures and souvenirs that you won't find anywhere else. Of course there are wonderful art books, but there are also fun children's toys, family games, home decor pieces and handcrafted jewelry collections. Although attached to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, you don't have to pay admission if you just want to pop in and do a little shopping. Located on a charming block of State Street with many other fun shops and restaurants nearby.

For those with a love of all things vintage, Punch Interieur is a little slice of heaven right on State Street. The candy colors and sparkling surfaces might momentarily overwhelm your senses upon arrival, but as soon as you eyes adjust and have time to focus... oh my, what fun there is to be had. From antique furniture to vintage clothing to retro toys, every piece is lovingly hand picked by Punch's carefully selected vendors, whose distinct tastes are reflected in every beautifully merchandised booth. This shop also has a great - and frequently hilarious - selection of greeting cards.

Plum Goods
Photo courtesy of Plum Goods

Plum Goods is Santa Barbara's only store that features recycled, handmade, and fair trade goods exclusively. Owner Amy Cooper believes you should "love where you live - your home, your town, your planet - and love what you give - of yourself, to yourself, and to others." To bring her vision to life, Cooper sources merchandise high and low (and local), ensuring that her shop is absolutely brimming with treasures. At any given time, you will find this unique boutique stocked with art, textiles, glassware, jewelry, toys, cards and home furnishings that are 100% lovely... and 0% granola. Visit Plum Goods whenever you need to find that perfect gift. The friendly staff will even help you brainstorm!

Lovebird is an adorable boutique that features locally crafted jewelry and other beautiful (and often affordable) adornments for women. Owner Jennifer Scarbrough designs and makes most of the jewelry pieces herself, giving you the opportunity to walk away with a truly unique Santa Barbara souvenir. Leather, gold, silver, pearls and other precious elements are commonly used in her collections. Bohemian luxe fashions are carefully curated to compliment the jewelry. Gauzy tunics and blouses mingle with party dresses and beach coverups. With two small, gem-filled shops in the downtown area, you're never far from an opportunity to fall in love. Park in nearby city lots.

DIANI Boutique
Photo courtesy of Lola Boutique

A calm haven for beachy fashionistas, DIANI Boutique specializes in quality, fashion forward women's apparel with a sophisticated yet relaxed vibe. Designer pieces by Cynthia Vincent, Lemlem, Theory, Isabel Marant and many more hang from gorgeously simplistic racks in an open and airy setting. Owner Caroline Diani opened the original DIANI Boutique in 2002 with the belief that "good design is timeless." In 2007, she expanded her retail presence with DIANI Shoes - just footsteps away in the very same shopping center - to make sure her loyal clientele have all their needs met, head to toe. Free parking out front.

A Tropical Affair Lingerie & Bikinis
Photo courtesy of Heather Taylor

If you're in search of an itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny, yellow polka dot bikini (or pair of frilly panties), this boutique is the place to be! A shopping mainstay in Santa Barbara for over a decade, A Tropical Affair carries designer lingerie and swimwear brands from around the world. Its sunny, seashell bedecked interior - complete with bamboo fixtures, pink silk cabanas and comfortable seating aka "man chairs" - makes it the perfect place to drop in for a little pick me up or a whole new Santa Barbara wardrobe! Don't worry if you're not in the mood... to take your clothes off, that is. A Tropical Affair also carries sandals, jewelry and great bridal gifts.


Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva