Santa BarbaraUnited States of America

The American Riviera offers historic adobe architecture, plenty of art galleries, wineries and beautiful beaches. 

Santa Barbara is famous for its expensive hotels, large mansions and trendy boutiques, but it also has beautiful beaches and many museums and festivals dedicated to celebrating the city’s past.

Be sure to visit Santa Barbara’s picture-perfect beaches. Lie on the soft sand and read a book, or grab a board and hit the surf. Conditions are great for beginners, but on the right day there are some good breaks for those of all skill levels.

Marvel at the Franciscan–Spanish architecture of the old Santa Barbara Mission. You’ll find artifacts and documents from old missionaries, a still-operating chapel, and the mission’s impressive and well-kept grounds. For more old architecture, visit the adobe Rafael Gonzalez house or the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Head up the bell tower for great views of the surrounding area. History buffs will also want to check out the Presidio of Santa Barbara, a Spanish fortress from the 1780s.

Learn how modern-day Santa Barbara came about as you wander through the exhibits at the city’s Historical Museum. For a look at the evolution of plant and wildlife in the area and beyond, spend some time at the Museum of Natural History.

Art lovers will enjoy the city’s excellent institutions. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art has an extensive collection of European, American and Asian art, and plays host to some world-class exhibitions. For a look at more recent works, wander over to the Contemporary Arts Forum. This gallery is artist-run and funded, and is dedicated to exhibiting the highest-quality work in the region.

To enjoy other local products, organize a tour of the region’s wineries.

Santa Barbara enjoys the sophisticated charm of a much larger city but maintains a quaint, friendly atmosphere. Throw in a fascinating history, loads of cultural activities and excellent beaches, and it’s not hard to see why it attracts visitors from around the world.

Top Hotels in Santa Barbara

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
4 out of 5
633 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is CA $350 per night

Located in East Beach, this beach hotel is 0.5 mi (0.9 km) from Santa Barbara Zoo, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Presidio Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County ...

4/5Very Good! (966 reviews)

"Despite the numbers of guests at the hotel, it is always very quiet. The beds are really comfortable too."…"

Reviewed on Jul. 6, 2020

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Chumash Casino Resort
Chumash Casino Resort
4 out of 5
3400 East Highway 246, Santa Ynez, CA
The price is CA $147 per night

Situated in Santa Ynez, this spa resort is within 2 miles (3 km) of Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Janeway-Parks Carriage House, Gainey Vineyard and ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,579 reviews)

"Staff were very helpful and friendly... easy acess to resort and the best part was pool was open with restrictions."…"

Reviewed on Jul. 13, 2020

Chumash Casino Resort
Hotel Corque
Hotel Corque
4 out of 5
400 Alisal Rd., Solvang, CA
The price is CA $146 per night

Situated in Solvang, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum and Solvang Festival Theater. Hans Christian Andersen Museum and ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (3,237 reviews)

"The hotel was amazing in every aspect. Beautiful well maintained. The rooms large and comfortable . The staff friendly the pool area relaxing. The location fantastic"…"

Reviewed on Jul. 14, 2020

Hotel Corque

Popular places to visit in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Image for Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

4.5/5(12 reviews)

See the best views of Santa Barbara and enjoy a stunning variety of architectural styles at the city’s historic courthouse.

Top things to do in Santa Barbara

Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)
Image for Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)

Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)

CA $55
Per adult
Join-In Social Wine Tour w/Lunch from Solvang or Santa Ynez.
Image for Join-In Social Wine Tour w/Lunch from Solvang or Santa Ynez.

Join-In Social Wine Tour w/Lunch from Solvang or Santa Ynez.

CA $175
Per adult
Santa Barbara Wildlife & History Kayaking Tour
Image for Santa Barbara Wildlife & History Kayaking Tour

Santa Barbara Wildlife & History Kayaking Tour

CA $84
Per adult
Smartphone-Guided Presidio Wine Walk with Tastings
Image for Smartphone-Guided Presidio Wine Walk with Tastings

Smartphone-Guided Presidio Wine Walk with Tastings

CA $88
Per adult
Original Downtown Food Tour
Image for Original Downtown Food Tour

Original Downtown Food Tour

CA $149
Per adult
98% of travellers recommend
Play with Clay at Firestick Pottery
Image for Play with Clay at Firestick Pottery

Play with Clay at Firestick Pottery

CA $78
Per adult

Reviews of Santa Barbara

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
46
5 - Excellent 63.013698630136986%
4 - Good
26
4 - Good 35.61643835616438%
3 - Okay
1
3 - Okay 1.36986301369863%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Mar 22, 2020

Beautiful! We toured around and the views are breathtaking.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 3, 2020

Loved samta barbara

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jan 26, 2020

Wonderful climate. Beautiful beach and ocean setting plus the wharves were filled with great eateries. All the history in the city was very interesting.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jan 24, 2020

I love this city. Might be one of my favorite in California.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Nov 13, 2019

What a great city with fabulous people

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Sep 21, 2019

Very pretty clean city

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Santa Barbara

Image for Six Great California Wine Areas Not Named Napa

Six Great California Wine Areas Not Named Napa

Six Great California Wine Areas Not Named Napa

Cities near Santa Barbara

Other places like Santa Barbara