Santa Barbara Travel Guide
Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean on California's Central Coast, just 90 miles north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara offers exceptional ocean views and is distinguished by its Hispanic architecture. Its red-tiled roofs stand out against the green hills, whose slopes gradually soften to give way to sandy beaches all around the bustling harbor. You will not find many places as strikingly beautiful or well-kept as this little beach town. And let’s not forget, this is wine country too. Some of the best wineries in America are located near Santa Barbara, and they all have tasting rooms in town to choose your favorites.
The Black Sheep
Black Sheep Restaurant
Come as you are, and find great food. The Perez family created The Black Sheep restaurant with a promise to use the freshest of ingredients from the most sustainable sources. Global in scope, The Black Sheep's menu features Latin, Asian, and Italian flavors but relies heavily on classic French technique. Chef Robert’s restaurant is one of the only places in town where you can eat sweetbreads, ramen, and Peruvian potato tacos all in one sitting! Ruben Perez, Robert's son and business partner, has worked hard to cultivate a welcoming environment where guests feel genuinely taken care of and appreciated, and where people can be themselves and feel like they are home. As a family, they hope to create a uniquely unforgettable culinary experience in an unpretentious, fun, casual environment.
Bibi Ji is one of the newest restaurants in Santa Barbara, but it’s already the most exciting. This modern Indian restaurant (by way of NYC and SF) is located right on State Street in a neon-light-covered space that works for anything from date night to a group dinner to solo drinks at the bar. We’d drive up from LA just for the uni with biryani rice, but as long as you’re here, you should go ahead and order the full $50 chef’s tasting menu - it gets you eight of the best dishes on the menu, including an entire curry sampler platter and two different desserts. This restaurant serves some of the best Indian food in Southern California, and you shouldn’t just daydream about going - go ahead and make it a reality.
Ignite your mind at MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, Santa Barbara’s one-of-a-kind destination for hands-on scientific and creative experiences. Located in the flourishing Funk Zone neighborhood, MOXI invites kids, families and curious minds of all ages to explore more than 17,000 square feet of immersive activities. From the Giant Guitar where you can study your favorite riffs to the Wind Column Workshop where you can conduct test flights, MOXI’s interactive approach to science, technology and the arts inspires experimentation and discovery. Unlike museums with a look-but-don’t-touch philosophy, every exhibit at MOXI encourages you to play, engage and participate. Step into the Foley Studios to record sound effects to a movie clip, launch an air rocket in the courtyard or build a racecar and send it down the test track. Flex your creative muscles in the Innovation Workshop, a makerspace where you’ll find supplies ranging from low-tech popsicle sticks and glue to a high-tech 3D printer to design an invention of your own. Your trip to MOXI isn’t complete without a visit to the rooftop Sky Garden, where you can compose a wind- and sun-powered symphony, walk across the glass Sky Deck and enjoy a panoramic view of Santa Barbara from the mountains to the ocean.
UCSB Arts & Lectures
UCSB Arts & Lectures
Founded in 1959, UCSB Arts & Lectures is the largest and most influential arts and lectures organization between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This nationally recognized, award-winning program brings exceptional cultural and artistic experiences to Santa Barbara with lively and varied programming featuring world-class performing artists and big thinkers. A&L annually presents more than a hundred events, ranging from concerts, dance and theater performances to talks by groundbreaking authors, comedy shows and film series at UC Santa Barbara and area venues. Visit their website to find out who is appearing this season!
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Saxon Holt (PhotoBotanic.com)
Explore California’s unique natural landscape at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, a 78-acre living museum designed entirely with California-native plants. Five miles of easy walking trails crisscross the wild-crafted gardens, so you can venture from a towering coastal redwood forest to an inland cacti-filled desert in just one hike. Take in sweeping views of the San Ynez Mountains and Santa Barbara’s Channel Islands and wander among more than 1,000 plants, trees and flowers that exemplify the diverse botanical beauty of the region.
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