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75 Cool Things To Do in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a paradise for those seeking a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and outdoor adventures. From stunning beaches and scenic mountain trails to vibrant art scenes and delectable culinary experiences, the city has something for everyone. This comprehensive guide unveils 75 cool things to do in Santa Barbara, ensuring your visit to this coastal paradise is nothing short of extraordinary.

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  1. Stroll Stearns Wharf: Santa Barbara's iconic pier offers breathtaking views, shops, and seafood restaurants.

  2. Explore the Funk Zone: An artsy neighborhood filled with galleries and vibrant street art.

  3. Hike to Inspiration Point: A rewarding trek in the nearby mountains for stunning panoramic views.

  4. Visit the Santa Barbara Courthouse: Admire the Spanish-Moorish architecture and enjoy the sunken gardens.

  5. Relax at Lotusland: Wander through exotic gardens with rare plants and sculptures.

  6. Wine Tasting in the Funk Zone: Sample local wines in trendy tasting rooms.

  7. Sunbathe at Butterfly Beach: A pristine stretch of sand near the Four Seasons Biltmore.

  8. Take a Harbor Cruise: Enjoy the coastline from the comfort of a boat.

  9. Bike along Cabrillo Bike Path: Explore the shoreline on two wheels.

  10. Catch a Sunset at Shoreline Park: A perfect spot to end your day with breathtaking ocean views.

  11. Visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Art: Admire a diverse collection of art spanning centuries and cultures.

  12. Paddleboard in the Pacific: Experience the thrill of gliding over the ocean waves.

  13. Dine on the waterfront: Indulge in epic cuisine along Cabrillo, on the Wharf, or in the Harbor.

  14. Attend the Santa Barbara International Film Festival: Celebrate cinema with screenings and star-studded events. (February)

  15. Have a purrfect time at the Cat Cafe on State

  16. Indulge in McConnell's Fine Ice Cream: Savor artisanal ice cream flavors at this local favorite.

  17. Take a day trip to the Channel Islands National Park: Discover the unique flora and fauna of these pristine islands.

  18. Enjoy a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl: An outdoor amphitheater with a stunning backdrop of the city.

  19. Go horseback riding in the Santa Ynez Valley: Explore scenic trails on horseback.

  20. Attend the Old Spanish Days Fiesta: Experience Santa Barbara's rich Hispanic heritage with parades and festivities. ( August)

  21. Discover the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum: Dive into the region's maritime history with interactive exhibits.

  22. Take a scenic hike in Los Padres National Forest: Explore the wilderness and enjoy panoramic views.

  23. Visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: A haven for plant enthusiasts with diverse landscapes.

  24. Attend a performance at the Granada Theatre: Experience world-class concerts, ballets, and plays.

  25. Shop on State Street: Explore a variety of shops, boutiques, and restaurants along this bustling street.

  26. Relax at Gaviota Hot Springs: Soak in natural hot springs surrounded by scenic landscapes.

  27. Take a whale-watching tour: Witness majestic whales along the Santa Barbara coastline.

  28. Visit the Ty Warner Sea Center: Explore marine life and interactive exhibits on Stearns Wharf.

  29. Explore the Santa Barbara Historical Museum: Delve into the city's rich history through artifacts and exhibits.

  30. Kayak in the calm waters of Santa Barbara Harbor: Enjoy a peaceful paddle near the waterfront.

  31. Take a scenic drive through the Santa Ynez Wine Country: Visit picturesque wineries and tasting rooms.

  32. Attend the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club: Witness thrilling polo matches in a luxurious setting.

  33. Picnic the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens: A tranquil oasis with vast lawns in the heart of downtown.

  34. Participate in the Summer Solstice Parade: Celebrate the longest day of the year with a vibrant procession.

  35. Take a scenic flight over the coastline: Enjoy a bird's-eye view of Santa Barbara and its surroundings.

  36. Join a local food tour: Sample culinary delights and explore the city's diverse food scene.

  37. Discover the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park: View ancient cave paintings created by the Chumash people.

  38. Experience the Santa Barbara Symphony: Enjoy classical and contemporary music in a world-class setting.

  39. Visit the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum: Explore rotating exhibits featuring rare manuscripts and documents.

  40. Attend the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show: Admire a stunning array of orchids from around the world. ( March)

  41. Relax at Hendry's Beach: A serene spot for beachcombing, dolphin watching, and enjoying the coastal scenery.

  42. Take a sunset cruise: Sail along the coast as the sun dips below the horizon.

  43. Explore El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park: Step back in time at this well-preserved Spanish colonial fortress.

  44. Visit the Santa Barbara Historical Museum: Explore exhibits showcasing the region's cultural and historical heritage.

  45. Take a surf lesson at Rincon Beach: Learn to ride the waves at this renowned surf spot.

  46. Discover the Moxi, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation: Engage in hands-on exhibits and interactive displays.

  47. Take a cooking class: Hone your culinary skills with local chefs.

  48. Attend the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival: Admire intricate chalk art masterpieces on the pavement. (May)

  49. Take a trolley tour of downtown: Enjoy a leisurely ride through the charming streets.

  50. Visit the Carpinteria Seal Sanctuary: Observe seals and sea lions in their natural habitat.

  51. Take a scenic drive through Montecito: Explore the upscale neighborhoods and celebrity homes with a stop at the Rosewood Miramar Beach Bar, Upper Village and Lower Village

  52. Visit the Carpinteria Avocado Festival: Celebrate the region's favorite fruit with food and entertainment. ( October)

  53. Explore Elings Park: Experience the largest park overlooking the city with dog-friendly trails.

  54. Join a bird-watching tour at Lake Los Carneros: Discover diverse bird species in this picturesque setting.

  55. Stop at the Stow House landmark next to Lake Los Carneros

  56. Explore the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens: Encounter exotic animals in a lush, zoo setting.

  57. Take a pottery class: Unleash your creativity with hands-on ceramic art.

  58. Go paragliding at Elings Park: Soar through the sky for an exhilarating adventure

  59. Take a scenic drive to Solvang: Discover the charming Danish village and indulge in pastries.

  60. Go on a photography tour of Santa Barbara's landmarks: Capture the city's beauty through your lens.

  61. Explore the Lizard's Mouth Rock Formation: Hike to this unique rock formation for stunning views.

  62. Take a coastal horseback ride in Summerland: Enjoy the scenic beauty of the coastline on horseback.

  63. Catch some comedy with Comedy Hideaway: Laugh your way through stand-up performances.

  64. Visit the Santa Barbara Public Market: Indulge in a diverse array of gourmet foods and artisanal products. Empty Bowl Thai Food is my go-to

  65. Take a scenic drive through the Santa Barbara Wine Country Loop: Discover hidden gems in the surrounding vineyards.

  66. Attend a live performance at the Ensemble Theatre Company: Experience compelling plays and theatrical productions.

  67. Take a free guided walking tour of the city's architecture: Explore Santa Barbara's diverse architectural styles with an expert guide.

  68. Attend a live performance at the Granada Theatre: Experience compelling plays and theatrical productions.

  69. Take a bike tour of Santa Barbara's historic neighborhoods: Pedal through charming streets with a guide.

  70. Explore the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail: Sample wines from various urban tasting rooms in the city.

  71. Join a guided paddleboarding excursion: Explore the coastline while mastering the art of paddleboarding.

  72. Attend a beachside yoga class: Embrace serenity with yoga sessions on the sandy shores.

  73. Explore the secret beaches of Santa Barbara: Discover secluded spots for a tranquil day by the ocean.

  74. Join a local farmers' market: Indulge in fresh produce, artisanal goods, and live music.

  75. See a movie at the old-time Arlington Theatre


Whether you're an art enthusiast, an outdoor adventurer, a foodie, or someone seeking leisurely pursuits, this coastal paradise has abundant cool things to explore. With this comprehensive guide, embark on a journey to uncover the wonders of Santa Barbara and create lasting memories in this idyllic destination.


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