48 Hours in Santa Barbara
Friday - Checking In
Whether you are driving up from LA, or flying into Santa Barbara directly, arriving is a truly gorgeous scenic experience. If you are able, arrive before dark so you can soak in the views along the 101. There are so many incredible places to stay while in Santa Barbara. Here are a few of our favorites. If you are looking for the ultimate luxury getaway we recommend The Rosewood Mirimar Beach, or the Belmond El Encanto. If you are in search of a waterfront experience, The Rosewood is for you. Located in Montecito, this luxury hotel is equipped with everything you need from incredible dining options, a pool, spa and a convenient location, especially if you are coming from south of Santa Barbara.
The Belmond El Encanto is a long-time favorite hidden away in the hills of Santa Barbara, allowing for panoramic views of the city from above. The Spanish-Colonial style of this hotel is truly timeless. Enjoy Santa Barbara from the comfort of your own bungalow with a private entrance. You are just a quick drive from downtown and a quick walk to the restaurant where you can enjoy cocktails and dinner with a view.
Both hotels have excellent restaurants and we recommend enjoying dinner there after a day of traveling. If you are looking to head downtown to see the local scene, we recommend Jane for an elevated, California-inspired meal.
The Rosewood Mirimar Beach
The Belmond El Encanto
Saturday - Exploring Santa Barbara
Before breakfast, we recommend grabbing a cup of early morning coffee at Handlebar or Dune. For a true local experience, stop into the farmers market on SB & Cota St to peruse local produce and meet local makers. After coffee and a walk, head to Jeannine’s for breakfast. We recommend the Montecito location. Be sure to try their challah french toast. You won’t regret it!
After breakfast, head to the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens to walk off your meal. If you are ready to get some shopping in, skip the Botanic Gardens and walk downtown Montecito, popping into boutiques like Maison K, Allora by Laura, Angel and Whiskey & Leather.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Santa Barbara without exploring the coastline. We recommend booking a sail and sip tour with Coastal Concierge. It’s the perfect way to see Santa Barbara from the water. Consider a sunset sail for the ultimate romantic experience.
Before dinner, we recommend stopping into The Good Lion or Test Pilot for a cocktail. If craft cocktails are your thing, these two locations are a must-visit.
For dinner, we recommend The Lark, Loquita, or Bouchon depending on what sparks your interest. The Lark specializes in upscale American cuisine, located in the heart of the Funk Zone. Loquita serves Spanish-style tapas if you are looking for plates to share. Bouchon is a great option if you are looking for dine-dining and French-inspired cuisine. In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.
After dinner, be sure to save room for dessert and head to McConnell’s for world-famous ice cream. The salted caramel chip is always a great go to!
Sunday - Downtown
On your last day in Santa Barbara, we highly suggest starting your day with breakfast at Scarlette Begonia for a traditional brunch experience, tucked away in a gorgeous courtyard downtown. After brunch, explore State Street and the surrounding stores. There is no shortage of boutiques to shop here.
After strolling State Street and doing some shopping, it’s time for lunch. There is too much good food in this city to leave underfed! There is no shortage of Mexican food in Santa Barbara. If you are coming from a location that is lacking in this department, try one of these three restaurants, La Super Rica, Money’s, or Los Agaves. All of these options offer traditional Mexican food that you’ll be craving long after you are gone!
If you are looking to skip on Mexican food, we recommend stopping into the Lucky Penny for a wood-fired pizza. After lunch, explore the Funk Zone and the local winery scene. Consider stopping into Riverbench, they have the best champagne, the Santa Barbara Wine Collective, or Pali Wine Co. If you are more of a beer person, just don’t tell anyone in Santa Barbara. Head straight to Figueroa Mountain Brewing, or Llama Dog.
Before leaving, be sure to visit the Santa Barbara Courthouse. It is a gorgeous location for last minute photos and admiring Santa Barbara’s unique architecture. It is the perfect location to end your weekend in Santa Barbara.