Considering I spent almost 3 months of 2012 living in Santa Barbara, California otherwise known as the ”American Riviera” I thought it was about time that I shared some of my SB favorites.
About 145 km north of Los Angeles beautifully located between the Pacific Ocean and the steeply rising Santa Ynez mountain range is Santa Barbara. A charming mediterranean-looking town with sun-drenched palm-lined beaches, world-class wineries only a short drive away, as well as a general appreciation for taking life at your own pace. From the bustling State Street, with numerous shopping outlets and eateries to the wilderness in Los Padres National Park, in Santa Barbara there is always something to do.
The lifestyle is very much relaxed, but active. It is all about health and exercise. The food is fresh, organic and locally grown, and every Tuesday afternoon State Street turns into a Farmers Market.
People are out shopping in five fingers, doing yoga on the beach, kayaking in the harbour, running with the baby stroller or out hiking.
If you’re looking for a decent cup of coffee, and no I’m not talking about Starbucks coffee…the only place worth going to would be French Press on State Street, they’ve also recently opened up a second one on Anacapa Street.
With the Mexican influence you’ll be sure to find some good mexican food in Santa Barbara. There are few things Californians take seriously and tacos is one of them. The hidden Dolphin on Anacapa street is simply terrific! And it hurts me that I didn’t stumble upon it until my final week in Santa Barbara. It is a true taqueria and a real hidden gem, make sure to pay it a visit!
And nothing tastes as good as a breakfast burrito after a morning surf session. And the best place to get them is, The Cantina in the student town of Isla Vista. And the best part is that they serve them all day long! And venture into the student universe of UCSB is always a bit of an experience…surfers on bikes, people hot boxing it in a car, somebody walking around in their pyjamas in the middle of the day, furniture on the roof, and while you’re sitting outside in the sunshine enjoying the burrito of your life you’ll be sure to see at least one person doing the walk of shame.
No visit to Santa Barbara is complete without a day trip (or several) among the vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley. Beautiful scenery and world class Pinot Noir, I have a hard time thinking of a better way to spend an afternoon. And sure a lot of the wineries have tasting rooms in town as well, but it just isn’t quite the same…And you wouldn’t be able to finish the day with a tri-tip sandwich while listening to great live entertainment at the Cold Springs Tavern. Established in 1865 this is a well known and popular spot for locals and tourists alike, located on highway 154 about 20 minutes drive from SB it is well worth a visit!
Have you ever been to Santa Barbara? What was your impression?