Santa Barbara Travel Guide

santa barbara travel guide
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As you may already know, I grew up in Santa Barbara, California. Often described as the American Riviera, with mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, it really is one of the prettiest towns in the country. Factor in the perfect California climate, classic Spanish architecture, and a vibrant food & wine scene… you’re basically in paradise. I feel incredibly lucky to call it home, and to get to visit as often as I do.

I received a bunch of requests asking for recommendations when visiting Santa Barbara, so I thought it may be helpful to put together a little travel guide. It’s and idyllic destination for anybody of any age, traveling with family, friends or solo, looking to relax or be active – Santa Barbara really has it all.

Santa Barbara Travel Guide


the biltmore santa barbara
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Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara $$$$

The ultimate luxury experience. Lush gardens, incredible spa and dining, beautifully appointed rooms and cottages, right across from the ocean. 

Belmund El Encanto $$$

Luxury hotel with the best views in town. Beautiful rooms, grounds and pool, excellent restaurant and bar scene.

Hotel Californian $$

Brand new hotel right in the heart of Santa Barbara, walking distance from the beach and downtown shopping area. Also boasts a great rooftop.

The Wayfarer $

Part of the Funk Zone, this a hip, yet affordable option in a fun location with plenty of wine tasting and eating options near by.


les marchands santa barbara
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D’Angelo BreadBree’oshTre Lune


La Super RicaLos Arroyos MontecitoCava


Ca’DarioPane E VinoTattoria Mollie

Steak House



Brophy Bros.Blue Water GrillSanta Barbara Shellfish Company


Oliver’s of Montecito

Wine Bar

Les Marchands


Sakana Sushi Bar



Contemporary American

The LarkHonor Bar


santa barbara travel guide
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Along Coast Village in Montecito for boutique eateries and shopping.

On Butterfly Beach, especially lovely to watch the sunset (and then go across to The Biltmore for a drink).

On the Stearns Wharf for views, wine tasting, a sea center and amazing crab at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company.


The Funk Zone for hip galleries, wine tasting, eateries, shops and live music.

Lotusland, a botanic collection with spectacular gardens.

El Presidio, a historic preservation featuring original Spanish architecture, right in downtown Santa Barbara.

The Courthouse, a stunning building with incredible views and muraled rooms worth seeing.

Old Mission, a cultural and historic landmark also featuring beautiful rose gardens.

The Santa Barbara Zoo, right across from the beach it’s a perfect place to take the family.


Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Museum of Contemporary Art

MOXI, Museum of Exploration and Innovation

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum


Classes at Barre3, bright and airy studio right in the downtown area.

Water sports at the Santa Barbara Harbor (paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, jet skiing, etc.)

Rent bikes to take around town.

Hike some of the city’s spectacular trails.

I’m very excited to partner with Hinted to bring you my best of the best in SB. For those of you who don’t know, Hinted is like a personal registry. You can create lists hinting anything you want to buy, see or do. Plus you can view others’ lists too! So let’s say you have a birthday coming up, create a Hinted list for your family and friends to shop from. (It also tells you when anything on your list has gone on sale!). Planning a special trip? Hinted can help you put together your dream itinerary of places to stay, eat and visit.

For an easy, linked up guide to my favorite SB spots, check out my Santa Barbara Hinted List – either online or through the app. And make sure to follow me, so I can follow you back! I’m telling you, once you start Hinting lists, it becomes addicting. It’s like shopping without any of the guilt!

What are some of your Santa Barbara favorites? Let me know, so I can add them to the list!

xo Cristina




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