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Local favorites off the beaten track

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Found this guide helpful

After you have seen all the "to do's" in town, here are a few places and things to do in Santa Barbara that the locals recommend to their friends.

Good for
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Foodie
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

11 Places

4 City Tips

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11 Places

The Historic La Arcada Courtyard

Historic Walking Areas

Casa del Herrero

Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks, History Museums

Brophy Bros.

Restaurants

La Super-Rica Taqueria

Restaurants

Santa Barbara Harbor

Scenic Walking Areas, Piers & Boardwalks, Points of Interest & Landmarks

French Press

Restaurants

Bella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Restaurants

Scarlett Begonia

Restaurants

Ca'Dario Pizzeria

Restaurants

Santa Barbara Art Glass

Art Galleries, Lessons & Workshops

East Beach Grill

Restaurants

Mah_Murrini's City Tips

  • The best view in town is at the old Courthouse and is free. Take the elevator to the top of the clock tower for 360 views. Don't miss fabulous mural room on 2nd floor. Free tours.
  • Every Sunday, there is an Arts and Crafts show along the waterfront starting at the wharf. All artists are required to make their own work and be residents of Santa Barbara County.
  • There is an inexpensive blue and white trolley that will take you up and down State Street and along the waterfront (Cabrillo Blvd) to the zoo.
  • Parking in city lots is very inexpensive (and a lot cheaper than a parking ticket). First 75 minutes free and $1.50 for each hour afterwards. Also, taxis are very expensive.
  • The Historic La Arcada Courtyard
    Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    This is a sweet little "mall" filled with delightful shops. No giant chain restaurants or stores here. Since its founding, the owners have worked hard to keep this a charming arcade a local affair. It is next door to the Art Museum and a half a block from the Granada Theatre.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • My 3 favorites. Santa Barbara Arts carries work by local artists. Petit Valentien is a sweet little French Bistro -- great food and a local flair. Lewis & Clark- sweet retro style!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 149 things to do in Santa Barbara
    • Historic courtyard, locally-owned shops and restaurants 06/11/2018
    • Fun to walk through 06/10/2018
    • The Historic La Arcada Courtyard
    Address:
    1114 State St
    Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2717
    Phone:
    +1 805-884-1938
    Other:
  • Casa del Herrero
    Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks, History Museums
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    This is a beautiful home designed and built by one of Santa Barbara's most revered architects, George Washington Smith. The original owner was from the midwest and was an avid art collector and took up metalsmithing as a hobbyist. The tour includes the house, extensive gardens and workshop.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You must have advance reservations for a tour due to town requirements. The house is in the heart of upper Montecito, so you will need transportation.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 149 things to do in Santa Barbara
    • Beautiful gardens and house, interesting history 06/11/2018
    • The Faberge Egg of Santa Barbara! 22/10/2018
    • Casa del Herrero
    Phone:
    +1 805-565-5653
    Price range:
    US$25 - US$25
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Brophy Bros.
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Seafood, Soups)
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    The food is always good and reliable, as is the service. Do not expect a foodie experience here. This is a casual fish restaurant. What makes this place extra special is the view of the harbor and at dusk the fishermen bring in their catch. There is always a line, so expect to wait, but the adjacent Maritime Museum, fish market and dock can keep you amused while you wait. They also have a bar downstairs and a new giftshop.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • If you don't want to wait for a table, you can always grab a seat inside at the bar or stand at the bar outside. You can also eat there if a space is open.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #37 of 464 restaurants in Santa Barbara
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best fish in SB 14/11/2018
    • Worth waiting 11/11/2018
    • Brophy Bros.
    Address:
    119 Harbor Way
    Santa Barbara, CA 93109-2358
    Phone:
    +1 805-966-4418
    Price range:
    US$9 - US$30
    Hours:
    Sun - Thu
    11:00 - 22:00
    Fri - Sat
    11:00 - 23:00
    Other:
  • La Super-Rica Taqueria
    Restaurants (Mexican, Latin)
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    This place is rumored to be Julia Child's favorite Mexican restaurant in town. The food is always good and inexpensive. Always a line and limited hours.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • If Mexican is your thing, you should also try Rose Cafe on Haley. Rose's is a Santa Barbara institution, right down to the formica tables.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #33 of 464 restaurants in Santa Barbara
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Always a treat 06/11/2018
    • The Best Tacos and Salsa! 01/11/2018
    • La Super-Rica Taqueria
    Address:
    622 N Milpas St
    Santa Barbara, CA 93103-3032
    Phone:
    +1 805-963-4940
    Price range:
    US$1 - US$20
    Hours:
    Thu - Tue
    11:00 - 21:30
    Other:
  • Santa Barbara Harbor
    Scenic Walking Areas, Piers & Boardwalks, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    The pier is at the very end of State Street at Cabrillo. Many local tour operators begin their trips at this intersection. On Sundays, there is a free local Arts and Crafts show with work all by local artists. The blue and white trolley can take you from the pier to the zoo for about 10 cents per person. Great views of the Channel Islands. Just up the street at Yanonali at State, head east and you will find the Funk Zone which is filled with brew pubs, wine tasting rooms, galleries and more.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • The Amtrak train station is a block away and very convenient to the waterfront.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #12 of 149 things to do in Santa Barbara
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Santa Barbara Harbor 06/11/2018
    • Great Scenery and Wharf 04/11/2018
    • Santa Barbara Harbor
    Address:
    132 Harbor Way
    Santa Barbara, CA 93109-2363
    Phone:
    +1 805-897-1962
    Other:
  • French Press
    Restaurants (Cafe)
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    French Press has two locations. One at Anacapa and Cota and their original shop at State and Figueroa. The Anacapa shop is very close to the Saturday and Tuesday Farmers Market. I much prefer the quiet of the Figueroa store. They roast their own beans locally and have great house made pastries with a regularly changing selection. I think they have the best espresso in town.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The back patio is great if you have a dog or want a little more quiet.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #26 of 464 restaurants in Santa Barbara
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Heat coffee 11/11/2018
    • So nice! 06/11/2018
    • French Press
    Address:
    1101 State St
    528 Anacapa St,
    Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2712
    Phone:
    +1 805-963-2721
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    06:00 - 19:00
    Sat - Sun
    07:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Bella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
    Restaurants (American)
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    This is my favorite place to take out of town guests. The food is the best in town with oceanside views and great people watching opportunities. Lots of celebrities stay here and you never know who you will see.lots of dolphins, seals and occasionally whales, too. The service is always outstanding and never rushed.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Request a table outside next to the glass for a fabulous sunset view. They can accommodate special food requests, too. Want guacamole and chips but not on the menu? No problem!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #49 of 464 restaurants in Santa Barbara
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A fabulous anniversary dinner! 04/11/2018
    • They won us back and will shall return 16/10/2018
    • Bella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
    Address:
    1260 Channel Dr
    Santa Barbara, CA 93108-2805
    Phone:
    +1 805-565-8237
    Price range:
    US$15 - US$48
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    07:00 - 15:00
    Wed - Thu
    17:00 - 21:00
    Fri
    17:00 - 21:30
    Sat - Sun
    07:00 - 21:30
    Other:
  • Scarlett Begonia
    Restaurants (American)
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    Tucked in tiny Victoria Court just off State Street, this hidden gem is a great little decidedly non touristy restaurant. It's perfect for small groups and offers both inside and outside dining. The pastries are terrific, made by the owners mom. The salads are outstanding.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Only complaint-the restroom is a bit inconvenient and hard to find.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #63 of 464 restaurants in Santa Barbara
    • 2nd Time Around went from 4/5 to 2/5 - SERVICE ISSUE 04/11/2018
    • Best bacon anywhere 26/10/2018
    • Scarlett Begonia
    Address:
    11 W Victoria St Ste 10
    Santa Barbara, CA 93101-5142
    Phone:
    +1 805-770-2143
    Price range:
    US$30 - US$30
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    09:00 - 14:00
    16:30 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Ca'Dario Pizzeria
    Restaurants (Pizza, Italian)
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    This is Ca'Dario's casual pizzeria. A couple of doors down from their Italian restaurant, this place is my favorite pizza place in town. Very reasonable too!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Easy parking at the Granada pubic parking lot.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #168 of 464 restaurants in Santa Barbara
    • SO GOOD! 05/06/2018
    • Great pizza 09/01/2018
    • Ca'Dario Pizzeria
    Address:
    29 E Victoria St
    Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2605
    Phone:
    +1 805-957-2020
    Hours:
    Sun
    17:00 - 22:00
    Mon - Sat
    11:30 - 22:30
    Other:
  • Santa Barbara Art Glass
    Art Galleries, Lessons & Workshops
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    Fun place to spend a few hours and try glassblowing. This is a small, family owned and run business. The owners are great. You can custom order work too. We had them make beautiful arts and crafts replacement glass for our antique exterior light fixtures. They have done several commercial art glass installations around town, too.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Best to call ahead for an appointment.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 40 Shopping in Santa Barbara
    • Glass Tour 16/11/2018
    • One of our best vacation experiences 15/11/2018
    • Santa Barbara Art Glass
    Address:
    706 E Mason St
    Santa Barbara, CA 93103-3313
    Phone:
    +1 805-965-1541
    Price range:
    US$99 - US$99
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 16:00
    Mon - Sat
    09:00 - 16:00
    Other:
  • East Beach Grill
    Restaurants (American)
    See more photos
    Mah_Murrini Says:

    For view and price, this place can't be beat for breakfast. The sand is right there. Nothing fancy, but good American style food. Order at the counter and grab a seat on the patio.This is another locally owned and operated restaurant.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • This is a quick stroll from the zoo.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #96 of 464 restaurants in Santa Barbara
    • Closed by the City of Santa Barbara 03/03/2018
    • Closed for the foreseeable future 15/02/2018
    • East Beach Grill
    Address:
    1118 E Cabrillo Blvd
    Santa Barbara, CA 93103-3702
    Phone:
    +1 805-965-8805
    Price range:
    US$0 - US$20
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 18:00
    Other:
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