Santa Barbara

Last Updated: 7th Jun 2012

Santa Barbara on the coast of California is the Beverly Hills for hippies.

No question about it, Santa Barbara is a beautiful city that cannot be beat for Chilled Californian Chic. Even the tourists here are hard to pick as they all seem too cool to whip out their cameras and take photos of the beautiful streets and buildings and beachfront.

This small town on the California coast, is home to a true felling of calm, peace and relaxation that so suits the beach lifestyle.

Shopping

The main street, State Street, is filled with loads of great shopping, restaurants and cafes while a short stroll off to the side turns will reveal pushbike riding locals going about their daily business without a care in the world.

State Street is also home to loads of cafes and bars that also exude this cool vibe and places like the James Joyce, Sharkeez and the Sand Bar are great for a quiet way to ease yourself into the afternoon or to just sit back, relax, enjoy a corona or coffee and do a little people watching.

Beaches

The beachfront is home to Stearns Wharf and it’s worth the stroll out to the end of the pier for some great views of the palm-tree lined California coastline as well as the city set against the mountains in the background.

Culture

For the insatiable culture vultures there is the still operating Franciscan monastery and old mission, widely proclaimed as being one of the best in California and also a key piece in California’s Spanish heritage. Most people however prefer just to take a stroll along States Street down to the pier and soak up the vibe that makes Santa Barbara a favorite of even the Californian natives.

Santa Barbara is an afternoon stop on many Contiki Tours visiting the West Coast of the USA.

“Santa Barbara is home to awe inspiring beauty. Often referred to as the ‘American Riveria’, the beautiful beaches set against the sharp contrast of the tree covered mountains serve one of the most picturesque backdrops I have ever seen. The blue water and white sandy beaches border the town that is home to a wide array of shopping – from surf shops to mainstream retailers and small boutiques, theses retailers flood this city’s main street. Have lunch on the pier, soak up the sun with a cocktail at a fabulous restaurant, rent a bike to see a lot in a short time, or spend the day visiting any of the historic structures (i.e. the Santa Barbara mission) that tell the story of the Santa Barbara of yesterday.”

- Ellen Nowakowski, Tour Manager, USA

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