Lush, sun-drenched, relaxed and nestled seductively between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Santa Barbara is one of America's best-kept secrets.
One of Santa Barbara’s most cherished assets is its colorful history - a mix of Spanish, Mexican, Portuguese and American Indian influences blended with some film-industry flavor. Santa Barbara visitors and residents alike still enjoy many gifts from our past like the Spanish Revival architecture seen in the Santa Barbara Courthouse, archeological sites like the Chumash Indian ruins surrounding the Old Mission, and silent-era Hollywood lore from our days as “the backlot by the sea.”
Often called the American Riviera, with our special itinerary recommendation, you will bask in sun-filled gardens and gorgeous scenic views of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and then stroll in the open-air shopping plaza La Cumbre Plaza.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a place of beauty and serenity, of education, research and conservation, of history and stewardship. We welcome you to visit and enjoy the unique native California plants exhibits in beautifully designed landscapes. With beautiful vistas to the Santa Ynez Mountains and to the Channel Islands, tranquil trails through the redwoods and along Mission Creek, a wide variety of educational opportunities, and a remarkable historic landmark status, the Garden is a wonderful place to spend the day. Public tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm, and Mondays at 2 pm. No charge with Garden admission or membership. Tours are led by a knowledgeable docent and generally last for one hour. Admission to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is currently $10 with discounts available to groups of 10 or more. Bonus Tip: Parking is free!
La Cumbre Plaza is a beautiful outdoor shopping experience with over 60 shops, eateries and department stores. With a prominent location in the heart of the American Riviera, La Cumbre Plaza is the exclusive Santa Barbara home to such popular retailers as Tiffany & Co., Marmalade Cafe, Pottery Barn, J.Crew, Williams-Sonoma, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Louis Vuitton and more. Bonus Tip: La Cumbre Plaza’s management office great services, offering over 50 gift card brands including Mall Visa® Gift Cards, for every occasion.
Insider Tip: The best tour of Santa Barbara is a walking tour – and it’s free!
The Santa Barbara Red Tile Walking Tour encompasses 12 blocks within downtown Santa Barbara. The tour includes 17 stops and 22 historic adobes dating from the 1700s through the 1800s. Many of the structures were built in the Spanish-revival and Moorish styles that were mandated by community leaders after the earthquake of 1925. Check out Beyond the Rooftops, a podcast of the Red Tile Walking Tour, hosted by John O'Hurley from Seinfield fame.