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Enjoy Some Retail Therapy at Santa Barbara Shopping Centers



Shop 'til you drop! That's why most people go on vacation, right? No? Well, if it's the reason you go on vacation, this is the list for you! Whether you're looking for specialty boutiques, name brand retailers, gourmet eats or quaint souvenirs, Santa Barbara has a shopping center that's the perfect fit.

Santa Barbara has many unique shopping centers, including La Arcada and Victoria Court. Small shopping areas like this are the place to go for a retail experience that includes vintage stores, luxury boutiques and temporary pop up shops. In true Santa Barbara fashion, these more intimate plazas tend to be extremely photogenic, too.

If it's mall shopping you're in the mood for, head to Paseo Nuevo or La Cumbre Plaza. Both offer a nice mix of shopping and restaurants in a pretty outdoor setting. Paseo Nuevo is centrally located in downtown Santa Barbara, putting you in a prime position to continue your shopping adventures on foot.

Looking for a place to grab lunch or stock up on foodie treats? The Santa Barbara Public Market is your dream destination. Dozens of purveyors under one roof make this a must-visit for hungry travelers.

For beachy souvenirs, Stearns Wharf is the place to go. You can drive, bike or walk to Santa Barbara's scenic wooden pier. Browse the shops, watch the sea for dolphins and stop for fresh seafood, all in one very beautiful place. What's more vacation-y than that?


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Camino Real Marketplace is a diverse shopping center with a variety of stores, restaurants and services. Located in Goleta, Camino Real Marketplace is close to the Santa Barbara Airport and the University of California Santa Barbara. Stores include Home Depot, Best Buy, Ulta and many others. You can enjoy a locally brewed beer and watch the game at the Hollister Brewing Co. Or plan an outing with the family and catch a movie at Camino Real Cinema - one of the nicest theaters in the Santa Barbara area. Camino Real Marketplace also has outdoor seating areas for less enthusiastic "shoppers." Parking is free.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Camino Real Marketplace is home to the larger retailers in town, like Best Buy, Home Depot, Ulta and Costco.

Geneva's expert tip: On Sundays, the farmers market finds a home in the Camino Real Marketplace parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Read more about Camino Real Marketplace →


Arguably one of the area's most chic addresses, this stretch of Montecito is home to a variety of top-notch shops and restaurants. If it's upscale and desirable, you're likely to find it here, along with the well-heeled clientele you'd expect. Gourmet foodstuffs, designer clothing, hip home accessories, art galleries, antique shops and plenty of trendy cafes and restaurants line the road. This is the place to go if you're looking to spoil yourself or a special someone. Parking is free but can be hard to find on the weekends. Celebrity sightings are not uncommon, but keep your cool. Remember: they're probably locals and you're on their turf!

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: The stores on Coast Village Road have the best assortment of luxury home brands and designer fashion in the area.

Geneva's expert tip: Park near the Montecito Inn so you can pop in for a refreshing cocktail in a posh setting when all that shopping tuckers you out.

Read more about Coast Village Road →


Victoria Court
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


This shopping center is a hidden gem. A somewhat nondescript entrance on bustling State Street opens up into a maze of small shops and specialty businesses. Victoria Court is home to vintage and secondhand stores, a photography studio, a post office and some of Santa Barbara's best independent eateries. SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, one of the area's larger venues, occupies most of the top floor. Victoria Court has convenient parking to the rear. The first 75 minutes are free; it's $1.50/hr after that. Victoria Court is located downtown near the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, within walking distance of many area attractions.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Victoria Court is easy to miss, but that would be a total shame! There's great vintage shopping to be had here.

Geneva's expert tip: After a little retail therapy, grab lunch at the Scarlett Begonia or Olio Pizzeria.

Read more about Victoria Court →


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Arlington Plaza
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


This sun-drenched plaza is located at the quiet end of downtown Santa Barbara. It is home to several luxury stores, including DIANI Boutique and Treat, a high-end beauty supply retailer. Renaud's Patisserie & Bistro serves up the area's finest croissants and is open for breakfast and lunch. If you're in the mood for fresh Mexican food, snag a table at Carlitos Cafe Y Cantina and order the rock shrimp soft tacos. Enjoy a margarita or pisco sour on Carlitos' shaded patio and listen to some live music. Arlington Plaza is located near additional shopping, restaurants, parks and theaters. Parking is free.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: If you want to shop like a local, Arlington Plaza is the place to go. It's VERY Santa Barbara.

Geneva's expert tip: Arlington plaza is your destination for luxury gifts and high-calorie, delicious foods. You've been warned.

Read more about Arlington Plaza →


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Loreto Plaza is a wonderful shopping center on upper State Street that doesn't look like much. A large parking lot and a row of shops. People who don't know better drive past it all the time, on their way to the freeway or even other shopping centers. But just stop for a minute (or an hour) and here's what you'll find: the area's best bookstore, a wonderful nursery, a gourmet grocery store, a bakery with the tastiest croissants in town, a legendary local restaurant and so much more! There's even a shoe repair shop and a travel store. This is a true local secret, so if you've just moved to town or if you're in Santa Barbara for an extended stay, be sure to put it on your to-do list.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: This shopping center on upper State Street is a local favorite. Stop for gourmet groceries, amazing croissants and the best bookstore in town.

Geneva's expert tip: Don't miss the nursery on the corner. It has a wonderful selection of easy-to-care-for air plants.

Read more about Loreto Plaza →


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Built in 1872 to handle incoming freight and passengers, Stearns Wharf is one of the coast's oldest wooden piers. These days, following renovations in 1982, the wharf is a magnet for tourists, who come to gaze out on the Channel and shop its various venues. There are great souvenir stores, as well as a wine tasting room and a museum. Eateries also share space, and you'll even catch sight of locals plying the waters for fish, along with boats coming in to unload the day's successes. At times in its past, the wharf has been used by the Navy (during WWII) and by gambling companies. Make sure to see the dolphin fountain that marks the entrance.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Stearns Wharf is your best bet for quality Santa Barbara souvenirs. If you happen to see a pelican while you're there, so much the better!

Geneva's expert tip: Bring your parking lot ticket with you to have it validated at one of the shops or restaurants on the pier.

Read more about Stearns Wharf →


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La Cumbre Plaza


La Cumbre Plaza is one of Santa Barbara's two outdoor malls. Lush landscaping and pretty architectural details create a Mediterranean feeling, while a host of stores and restaurants provide plenty of outlets for your hard-earned cash. Sears and Macy's anchor either end of La Cumbre Plaza. Other retail options include Willliams-Sonoma, Tiffany's, J. Crew and Pottery Barn. Grab a coffee at Starbucks for a caffeine boost or stop at Panera if you're feeling peckish. La Cumbre is also home to a grocery store, fitness studio and local wine shop. Located on upper State Street by residential areas and other shopping centers. Free parking.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: La Cumbre is ideal for one-stop shopping. You can get groceries, pick out a new outfit and eat a tasty meal all in one visit.

Geneva's expert tip: Check out La Cumbre's Facebook page for seasonal deals and special events, like free electronic waste recycling dates.

Read more about La Cumbre Plaza →


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La Arcada
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


This quaint, character-filled shopping venue is as good for relaxing as it is for shopping. Marked by a multi-faced, chiming clock, the entrance leads to a variety of pleasant shops, cafes, restaurants and art galleries. If the folks accompanying you don't want to browse, they'll be pleased to admire La Arcada's landscaping, fountains and many bronze statues. Plus, there are plenty of benches where you (and they) can catch your breath before moving on. And did we mention the turtle pond? Yes, there's a turtle pond. Located in the heart of downtown, this is one shopping destination you don't want to miss.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: La Arcada is probably the prettiest shopping center in all of Santa Barbara, and it's jam-packed with specialty stores.

Geneva's expert tip: Take your picture with one of La Arcada's signature bronze statues. It's not cheesy; all the locals do it, too!

Read more about La Arcada →


Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants


Of course boutique shopping is lovely - especially when you're visiting a new city - but sometimes you just need to find a set of shops that satisfies the whole family. A place where you can find shoes for Mom, gadgets for Dad, toys for the kids and pick up whatever else you forgot to pack. Maybe you can even have a little lunch (possibly even al fresco, weather permitting). Enter Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara's premier outdoor shopping mall. A lovely collection of the shops and department stores you know and love, mixed with dining opportunities for every palate. And when you're all shopped out, stop by the centrally located movie theater for some well deserved R&R.

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Paseo Nuevo is the place to go for a beautiful, outdoor shopping experience right in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.

Geneva's expert tip: Take advantage of convenient parking at affordable hourly rates in the lot directly underneath the mall.

Read more about Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants →




This Santa Barbara shopping center is a must-visit for hungry people and food enthusiasts. Part of a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown, this indoor spot contains an artisanal grocery area, as well as over a dozen specialty merchants. There's a cheese store, a butcher, a cupcake shop and so much more, packed into one inviting, continuous space. Many of the merchants sell prepared food that you can enjoy in the market or take to go. Get Thai noodles at Empty Bowl or a fresh plate of spaghetti at The Pasta Shoppe. Or sit down for a plate of oysters from Santa Monica Seafood. There's free parking under the building!

Recommended for Shopping Malls and Centers because: Fourteen gourmet food purveyors under one roof makes this a dream destination for anyone with taste buds.

Geneva's expert tip: Plan your shopping trip around lunch or dinner time, so you can enjoy a meal after stocking up. There's also a wine and beer bar!

Read more about Santa Barbara Public Market →


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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

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