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Activities & Food in SB

Below is a sampling of the many things to do in Santa Barbara, as well as a list of our favorite restaurants and eateries.

Getting Around Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is accessible by car, bike, or foot, as well as public transportation. One great way to see Downtown is the Waterfront Shuttle, which goes along the beach (starting at the Reception Hall) and then up State St (Main Street) and the shopping district for only $0.25. Santa Barbara has on street parking with a 75 minute time limit, and ample parking lots with the first 75 minutes free and only $1.50/hr thereafter.

Things to do in Santa Barbara 

Santa Barbara activity guide

Santa Barbara map guide

Santa Barbara Arts Show on the Beach, every Sunday from 10am to dusk along the Cabrillo Blvd waterfront.

Santa Barbara Zoo (near Reception site):

Whale Watching:

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum:

Santa Barbara Sea Center on the Wharf:

Stearns Wharf:

Wine Tasting and

Golf - Santa Barbara has a variety of golf courses, learn more here: SB Stuff Golf

Hiking or

LandShark (like the Duck Tour):

Trolley Tours:

Kayak Rentals: many companies, including on East Beach.

Bicycle Rentals: a variety of fun bicycles to rent and ride along the beaches bicycle path, many options along the beach.

Shopping - there is plenty of shopping in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Flavor (a local's dining guide)

1.    Tupelo Junction Café(805-899-3100) 1218 State Street, SB: Very creative menu, fantastic brunch and bloody mary's. Been in many magazines for it’s incredible food. Artsy. Adorable!
2.    Sambo's on the beach (805-965-3269) 216 W. Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara: A local favorite situated across the street from West Beach and the harbor. Great traditional breakfast fare.
3.    Cajun Kitchen (805-965-1004) 901 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara or mid-town near the Montgomery's 1924 De La Vina Street, Santa Barbara - (805) 687-2062: Breakfast with a Cajun Twist.

1.    The Palms(805-684-3811) 701 Linden Ave, Carpinteria (20-min south): You get to cook your own steaks!
2.    Holdren’s (805-965-3363) 512 State Street, SB : Downtown-pricy but awesome!
3.    Chuck's Waterfront Grill (805-564-1200) 113 Harbor Way, SB: In harbor, on the breakwater, Great location.

1.    The Fishouse(805-966-2112) 101 E. Cabrillo Blvd, SB-on beach: Best seafood!
2.    Enterprise Fish Company(805-962-3313)  225 State St, SB-Downtown: Same owners as Fish house, slightly less expensive.
3.    Longboards Grill(805-963-3311) 210 Sterns Warf, SB-On Pier: A must, on the water. Barfood, good tropical drinks.
4.    Santa Barbara Shellfish Company aka "The Crab Shack" (805-966-6676) 230 Stearn's Wharf # A, SB-On Pier: One of our favorites, on the water. Crab, Lobster, oysters, and amazing clam chowder.
5.    Brophy Bros(805-966-4418) On the breakwater next to harbor: A real SB local hangout. A favorite of many. Good food and excellent Bloody Mary’s. Small place and does get crowded. May want to go on off hours.
6.    The Boat House at Hendry's Beach (805-898-2628) 2981 1/2 Cliff Dr, SB-on beach, uptown, closer to the Montgomery's, on a beautiful more "local" beach: Best seafood! Great bar, get a glass of wine and walk the beach. Same owner as The Fishouse and the Shellfish Company.
7.    The Beachside Bar Café 5905 Sandspit Rd, Goleta (15-min North of SB) Phone: (805) 964-7881: Near UCSB and airport. Lots of windows and right on beach.

All American Food
These three restaurants are three of the oldest in town and among the favorites of the locals. Great food, people, and known to have the strongest drinks in town.
1.    Harry’s Plaza Café(805-687-2800) 3313 State Street, SB, Upper State Street: Best bread, salsa, and sour cream appetizer. Sounds strange but sooooooo yummy!
2.    Joe’s Café (805-966-4638) 536 State Street, SB, lower State Street: Also a good fun, chill bar until 10pm on weekend when it fills up.
3.    Restaurant Roy (805-966-5636) 7 W Carrillo St, SB, lower State Street: Great food, chill bar.

SB has some of the best Mexican food in the world!
1.    La Super-Rica Taqueria (805-963-4940) 622 N Milpas St, SB : Amazing authentic Mexican food, a local favorite and one of Julia Child's hang outs.  Very popular and sometimes can have a big line because it’s so good. (sorry no burritos or chips) Green Shack looking building. Totally worth the wait! One of our favorites! Off the beaten path...casual.
2.    Rose Café-2 locations(805-966-3773) 424 E. Haley Street, SB and (805-965-5513) 1816 Cliff Drive. A little nicer atmosphere than Haley: Amazing food.
3.    El Paseo (805-962-6050) 10 E. Paseo, SB: Off of lower State Street. Across from Paseo Nuevo Mall. A little hidden. Great Happy Hour and Margaritas!

High End and Gourmet
1.    Lucky’s(805-565-7540) 1279 Coast Village Road, Montecito: Known for being the only place in town to serve abalone. Yes the same owner as Lucky Jeans!
2.    Montecito Café(805-969-3392) 1295 Coast Village Road, Montecito: Great food, recommend the Veal.
3.    Louie’s California Bistro(805-963-7003) 1404 De La Vina, SB, in the Upham Hotel: Highly recommend. My Family’s favorite place in town. Very cute, small, and quiet. Wonderful owner and food! Great Wines!
4.    Tupelo Junction Café(805-899-3100) 1218 State Street, SB: Very creative menu. Been in many magazines for it’s incredible food. Artsy. Adorable! Fantastic for brunch.

1.    Cold Spring Tavern (805-967-0066) 5995 Stagecoach Rd. Santa Barbara, CA 93105: On Historic Stagecoach Road, off of the San Marcos Pass (HWY154) - the big mountain range behind Santa Barbara. Another family favorite. About a 20-25 minute drive out of SB up Hwy 154. Beautiful views of SB on drive up mountain. Many scenic views especially on a clear day. Can see all of SB including the islands from the top of the mountain.  Used to be an old stagecoach stop. On Sunday’s, the bar area becomes a big biker hang out. Very fun and fabulous food!

Sushi & Japanese
1.    Arigato Sushi (805-965-6074) 1225 State Street, SB, lower State Street. Our absolute favorite sushi restaurant, long lines on the weekend due to popularity. No reservations, but you can put your name and phone number on the list and grab a drink around the corner at Epiphany (1/2 block behind Starbucks)  while you wait for your table or spot at the lively sushi-bar.
2.    Something’s Fishy Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (805-966-6607) 500 State Street, SB, Lower State: So much Fun! They cook right at your table. Hibachi  style!
3.    Shintori Sushi(805-898-0177) 3001 State Street, SB, upper State Street near the Montgomery's, across from Longs Drug Store: Very good special rolls. Small restaurant.
4.    Sushi Teri: (805-963-1250) 1013 Bath St.: Located a few blocks off of State St. in Downtown, good sushi with an outdoor patio, a great place for sushi when Arigato is booked up.

1.    Palazzio Trattoria Italiana(805-564-1985) 1026 State Street, SB: Huge portions! Can also order half portions. Great red wines!
2.    Ca Dario(805-884-9419) 37 E. Victoria, SB: My mom’s favorite! She says you must try the ravioli. Cute and quaint!

1.    Rusty’s Pizza- (3 locations) Downtown - 228 W Carrillo St # F, Santa Barbara - (805) 564-1111, Uptown - 3731 State St, Santa Barbara - (805) 564-1111, And the "Lighthouse" on the beach location - 15 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara - (805) 564-1111: The best and they deliver too! A local favorite.
2.    Giovanni’s- (3-locations) (805-682-3621) 3020 State Street,SB. (805-969-1277) 1187 Coast Village Road, Montecito. (805-684-8288) 5003 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria: My dad’s favorite. Just delicious but they don’t deliver. Worth the drive.

West Coast Fast Food
1.    In and Out- No explanation needed, just the best-In Goleta (15-min North of SB) of Highway 101 at the Turnpike exit.
2.    Carls Jr-Western Bacon cheeseburger is great!-In SB
3.    Presto Pasta- Fast food Italian, but so good.-SB and Goleta

Fun Bars
1.    Wildcat Lounge-15 w. Ortega Street, off of State Street, downtown. Local place. A little techno at times.
2.    Joes-See above
3.    Dargan’s Irish Pub- 18 E. Ortega Street, off of State Street, downtown. Fun and pool tables.
4.    EOS- 500 Anacapa St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101- Loungy type of place. Fire places!