Sightseeing in Santa Barbara

For seven years in a row, I’ve traveled to Santa Barbara for a conference I plan there for work.  It’s such a beautiful, unique place. Despite visiting so many times, I rarely have time to explore and enjoy the city. This year my event happened to fall on Columbus Day weekend, so Scott flew up Friday night and we stayed through Monday. The weather was perfect and after a stressful couple weeks, it was nice to enjoy California wine and food, get some pool time in, and take in Santa Barbara’s beautiful vistas.

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Every year I stay at the Harbor View Inn, located right on State Street and across the street from the beach and pier. It’s hard to beat the location, and the hotel itself has that unique Spanish/Santa Barbara feel. The rooms are spacious and have patios or balconies with great views.  And after seven years, I FINALLY had time to enjoy the heated pool and hot tub at the hotel.

Here’s a few snaps of the hotel, located right at the corner of State and Cabrillo.

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This little canal runs through the hotel property.

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Sun-drenched patio surrounded by palm trees? Yes please!

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On Sundays, dozens of local artists set up shop along Cabrillo Boulevard as part of the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show. You can find everything from paintings to pottery to jewelry. Last year I bought a necklace/earring set from a vendor named Sylvie Terrell. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it that I bought another necklace from her this year.

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One of my favorite things to do in Santa Barbara is just stroll State Street with all its cute cafes and shops. This year I finally made it far enough up State to see the historic Santa Barbara Courthouse. We went up the observation tower for the best views of Santa Barbara.

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I have to throw in a pic of this flower shop we stumbled across. It made me feel like we’d stepped back in time. I love the pink exterior and retro sign.

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We couldn’t go to California without enjoying some great wine, so we stopped by AVA Santa Barbara, one of the many tasting rooms on the Urban Wine Trail. It was $10 for five pretty generous tastings. Here’s a link to all the wineries in the area: urbanwinetrailsb.com/wineries/.

Of course we had a lot of great meals as well while we were there. Below are some of my favorites in downtown SB, combined from years past.

Jane
1311 State Street
http://janerestaurantsb.com/
Five start restaurant with prices that aren’t outrageous. Try the Sangria and save room for the to-die-for coconut cake.
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Sambo’s
216 Cabrillo Boulevard
www.thxforvisiting.us
Casual breakfast spot across from the beach with generous portions—try the pancakes!

Eladio’s
28 W. Cabrillo Boulevard
www.harborviewinnsb.com/default.aspx?pg=eladios
Normally I’m not a huge fan of hotel restaurants, but Eladio’s is surprisingly tasty and has gorgeous views of the ocean and pier. They also have some good happy hour specials.

Carlito’s
1324 State Street
www.carlitos.com
Mexican food with a nice outdoor seating area on upper State.You can see below the generous portions!
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Casa Blanca
330 State Street
http://casablancasb.com/
Good Mexican food at reasonable prices.

Natural Café
508 State Street
http://thenaturalcafe.com/
I love this place for a quick, cheap lunch with lots of vegetarian options!

Enterprise Fish
225 State Street
www.enterprisefishco.com/santabarbara/
The grilled artichoke appetizer was so delish I’ve been replicating it at home for the past couple years.

Mony’s Mexican
http://www.yelp.com/biz/monys-mexican-food-santa-barbara
Mony’s is the definition of a hole-in-the-wall, but just read the yelp reviews to see that they serve the best tacos in town. They’re only open until 4:30p though and closed on Sunday (which we learned the hard way).

Tomorrow I’m going to post about a really special place we visited while in SB!

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