Today I’m sharing a new travel guide for a perfect three day weekend in Santa Barbara, California! SB is such a cute little beach town, with great food, wine, and views. Enjoy!
Santa Barbara Itinerary: Friday Afternoon
Check-In. There are plenty of hotels and lovely places to stay in Santa Barbara, but for this weekend we stayed in a beautiful house courtesy of InvitedHome. It was absolutely perfect for our group—stunning views, plenty of space, and everything you could need in the kitchen. Once we checked in to our InvitedHome we almost felt like we could have just stayed there all weekend and soaked up the views, it was that inviting. But, downtown Santa Barbara was calling us! The Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara is also another great option to stay at! But, downtown Santa Barbara was calling us!
Lilly’s Tacos. You can’t have a proper Santa Barbara trip without getting tacos and Lilly’s (though somewhat divey) is known for having the best tacos in SB. My favorite was the marinated pork.
Santa Barbara Winery. I love this cute little wine tasting room! It’s probably my favorite in the Funk Zone. If the weather is nice, the patio is lovely. And the back tasting room with market lights and wine barrels are equally pleasant. The wine is delish, and if you’re with a group I’d recommend getting a bottle to share and then hopping somewhere else in the Funk Zone, rather than doing a tasting, so you get more bang for your buck. But if it’s just you and your boo the tasting is a great way to go. Be sure to explore the Urban Wine Trail in Santa Barbara too!
Santa Barbara Roasting Company. At this point in the day, I needed a little pick me up, so we got nitro draft cold brew (so hipster, so I felt right at home), which totally hit the spot.
Sunset Views. There are a lot of great places to catch the sunset, including the cocktail bar at Bacara, the restaurant at the Four Seasons, or the beach. But we chose to watch the sunset from the comfort of our InvitedHome. Did I mention the views were beautiful?
The Lark. If you don’t make reservations at The Lark during our Santa Barbara trip (be sure to call in advance), you’re doing it wrong. The food was absolutely amazing and one of the sommeliers there and at Les Marchands (the winery next door) was one of the subjects in the documentary SOMM. Be sure to get the crispy brussel sprouts and the lamb ribs. In. Freaking. Sane.
Santa Barbara Itinerary: Saturday
Brunch. Saturday morning we had brunch and bloody mary’s on the deck at our InvitedHome, which was so relaxing. If you’re looking to go out for brunch, State and Fig was a spot that we didn’t get to try but came highly recommended.
Arroyo Beach. There are plenty of beautiful beaches to hang out in Santa Barbara. I’m partial to Arroyo Beach because the last time I was there I swam with a pod of dolphins close to shore. Which basically made my life, because I’m obsessed with dolphins. When you do go to the beach, don’t be alarmed if you leave with a black gunk on your feet. It’s tar, it’s natural, and it’s what Jack Johnson sings about in his song Bubble Toes. Use a paper towel and oil (baby or canola oil will do) to remove it.
Sunset Sail. A sunset sail is a great way to get out on the water and see Santa Barbara’s beautiful coastline from a different perspective. Be sure to book tickets in advance, especially if you want to do this cruise during sunset, rather than day time (which I highly recommend)! Santa Barbara Sailing has drinks for purchase and snacks available onboard. If you want the best seat in the house, once you’re on the boat head up the stairs in front of the captain’s area. You’ll have seats and unobstructed views.
The Nook. For dinner, head to The Nook for delicious burgers, crab cakes, or tacos.
Santa Barbara Itinerary: Sunday
Los Olivos Cafe. If you’re heading out of town on Sunday and driving back up north (like we were), stop at Los Olivos Cafe for lunch. Everything was delicious, and there are a couple of other wineries nearby (I’ve heard that one does wine and cupcake pairing. I’m down.). If you’re looking to do brunch in SB before heading out, I’ve heard Santa Barbara FisHouse also does a fabulous Sunday brunch.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this travel guide and that it’s helpful if you’re planning a trip to Santa Barbara! If you’ve been before, are there any travel tips you’d add?
If you plan on spending more than three days in Santa Barbara, I highly recommend enjoying art at the gorgeous art galleries in town as well as walking from State Street Santa Barbara to Stearns Wharf to go whale watching! You should also visit Montecito which is the city next door to explore some of their wine tasting rooms and butterfly beach. I also recommend taking a mini road trip up north on a wine trail to go wine country!
The best time to visit Santa Barbara is between the months of March to May or September to November.
Santa Barbara can get expensive depending on what activities you plan on doing.
Yes, Santa Barbara is safe and the crime rate is below the national rate.
Santa Barbara can get as cold as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.