What to Do in Santa Barbara: Top Activities & Sights

what to do in santa barbara

Greetings, fellow travelers! Today, I want to share with you the top activities and sights in the beautiful coastal city of Santa Barbara. With its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture, Santa Barbara offers a little something for everyone.

Are you ready to embark on a memorable adventure in Santa Barbara? Let’s dive into the must-see attractions, exciting entertainment options, and relaxing spa activities that await you in this enchanting destination.

Key Takeaways:

  • Explore Santa Barbara’s natural beauty, from the scenic beaches to the breathtaking views at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.
  • Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene by visiting art galleries, museums, and theaters.
  • Enjoy exciting attractions and entertainment options, such as visiting the Santa Barbara Zoo or embarking on a guided tour.
  • Indulge in spa and wellness activities to relax and rejuvenate amidst Santa Barbara’s peaceful atmosphere.
  • Plan your visit to Santa Barbara and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Exploring Santa Barbara’s Natural Beauty

Santa Barbara is a true gem when it comes to natural beauty. The city offers a plethora of attractions that allow visitors to immerse themselves in its stunning landscapes. From architectural wonders to serene gardens and picturesque beaches, Santa Barbara has something to captivate every nature lover.

One of the must-see landmarks in Santa Barbara is the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. With its striking Spanish-Moorish architecture and beautifully manicured gardens, it is a feast for the eyes. Take a leisurely stroll through the courthouse and admire the intricate details and stunning views from the clock tower.

The Old Mission Santa Barbara is steeped in history and offers a glimpse into the area’s rich cultural heritage. Explore the mission grounds and marvel at the beautiful architecture of the church. Discover the history of the Franciscan friars and the role they played in shaping the region.

If you’re a nature enthusiast, a visit to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a must. This tranquil oasis showcases a remarkable collection of native California plants. Take a leisurely walk along the scenic trails and immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the garden.

And of course, Santa Barbara is blessed with beautiful beaches that are a true delight for visitors. Whether you choose to stroll along the iconic Stearns Wharf or relax in Shoreline Park, the coastal views and warm sand between your toes will leave you mesmerized.

Must-see attractions in Santa Barbara

Immerse Yourself in the Arts and Culture of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a hub for arts and culture in Central California. The city offers a plethora of attractions that showcase its vibrant arts scene and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore numerous art galleries, museums, and theaters, providing ample opportunities to appreciate and engage with various forms of artistic expression.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. It features a diverse collection of artworks from different periods and cultures, offering an enriching experience for visitors of all interests. From paintings to sculptures and beyond, the museum provides a comprehensive representation of artistic excellence.

If you’re interested in live performances, the Granada Theatre is a prime venue to catch world-class shows. From musicals to concerts and ballet performances, this historic theater hosts a wide range of productions that cater to different tastes. Prepare to be captivated by the talents and artistry of renowned artists.

For a glimpse into the city’s history and architectural marvels, venture to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. This iconic landmark boasts impressive Spanish-Moorish architectural details and stunning murals that showcase the city’s heritage. Stroll through the beautiful gardens and take in the breathtaking views from the clock tower for a truly memorable experience.

Throughout the year, Santa Barbara hosts a myriad of festivals and events that highlight its vibrant culture. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a prominent event that attracts film enthusiasts from all over the world. It features a diverse selection of films and provides a platform for emerging and established filmmakers to showcase their work. Another notable celebration is the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, a week-long extravaganza that pays homage to the city’s Hispanic heritage through parades, performances, and traditional cuisine.

Santa Barbara’s arts and culture scene is both vibrant and diverse, offering a plethora of attractions that cater to all interests. Immerse yourself in the artistic wonders of the city, and you’ll discover a world of creativity and inspiration.

Enjoy Exciting Attractions and Entertainment in Santa Barbara

Beyond its natural and cultural attractions, Santa Barbara offers a range of exciting entertainment options for visitors. Whether you’re an animal lover, history enthusiast, or adventure seeker, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant coastal city.

1. Santa Barbara Zoo

A visit to the Santa Barbara Zoo is a must for animal lovers. Get up close and personal with a variety of fascinating creatures and learn about their conservation efforts. From playful primates to majestic big cats, the zoo offers an immersive wildlife experience that will delight visitors of all ages.

2. Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

For those interested in history and maritime culture, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is a must-visit. Explore exhibits that showcase the rich maritime heritage of the area, including shipwrecks, historic artifacts, and interactive displays. Gain a deeper understanding of Santa Barbara’s seafaring past and its influence on the city’s identity.

3. Guided Tours

Embark on a guided tour to discover the highlights of Santa Barbara. Whether you choose a trolley tour to explore the city’s historic landmarks or a wine tasting tour to savor the flavors of the region, these guided experiences provide a fun and informative way to immerse yourself in Santa Barbara’s attractions.

4. Outdoor Adventures

For those seeking adventure, Santa Barbara offers a host of outdoor activities. Go kayaking along the picturesque coastline, ride your bike through scenic trails, or catch some waves while surfing. With its stunning natural surroundings, there’s no shortage of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beauty of Santa Barbara.

best things to do in Santa Barbara California

Whether you’re exploring the Santa Barbara Zoo, immersing yourself in maritime history at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, joining a guided tour, or embarking on outdoor adventures, Santa Barbara offers an abundance of exciting attractions and entertainment options. Dive into the vibrant culture and adventure-filled experiences that await you in Santa Barbara, California.

Relax and Unwind with Spa and Wellness Activities

In addition to its many attractions, Santa Barbara is a great destination for relaxation and wellness. The city offers a range of spa and wellness activities, providing visitors with the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate their mind, body, and spirit.

1. Yoga Classes on the Beach

Immerse yourself in the serenity of Santa Barbara’s beautiful beaches by participating in yoga classes conducted right on the sandy shores. Feel the gentle ocean breeze, listen to the soothing sound of the waves, and find inner peace as you flow through yoga poses. This unique experience combines the benefits of exercise, mindfulness, and nature.

2. Luxury Spa Experiences

Treat yourself to a pampering and rejuvenating spa experience in Santa Barbara. The city is home to a variety of luxurious spas that offer an array of treatments, from massages and facials to body wraps and aromatherapy. Indulge in some well-deserved self-care and emerge feeling refreshed and revitalized.

3. Rejuvenating Hikes in the Surrounding Mountains

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and embark on a rejuvenating hike in the beautiful mountains surrounding Santa Barbara. Explore scenic trails, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and soak in stunning panoramic views. This invigorating outdoor activity allows you to connect with nature while recharging your body and mind.

4. Grounding Yoga Classes

Find your center and reconnect with your body through grounding yoga classes. Santa Barbara offers a variety of yoga studios that focus on techniques such as grounding, meditation, and deep stretching. Immerse yourself in a serene atmosphere and experience the calming effects of yoga on your overall well-being.

5. Luxurious Spa Treatment

Indulge in a luxurious spa treatment in Santa Barbara, where top-notch spas offer a wide range of pampering options. From hot stone massages to deep tissue therapy, there’s something for everyone seeking ultimate relaxation. Allow the skilled therapists to melt away your stress and tension, leaving you feeling completely rejuvenated.

Experience the ultimate relaxation and wellness in Santa Barbara, a destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, peaceful atmosphere, and rejuvenating activities.

santa barbara must-see attractions


Santa Barbara is a truly remarkable destination with a wide range of activities and attractions that cater to every visitor’s interests. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to explore the city’s natural beauty, an art lover interested in immersing yourself in the vibrant arts and culture scene, or simply seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, Santa Barbara has something for everyone.

For those who love adventure, Santa Barbara tours offer unique opportunities to explore the city’s natural wonders. From stunning hikes through the Santa Ynez Mountains to exhilarating kayaking experiences along the coastline, there are endless ways to connect with nature and make lasting memories.

If you’re in the mood to indulge in art and culture, Santa Barbara won’t disappoint. Immerse yourself in the local arts scene by visiting galleries and museums, enjoy performances at the Granada Theatre, or take part in one of the city’s many festivals that showcase its vibrant culture.

And let’s not forget about relaxation. Santa Barbara’s serene beaches, luxurious spas, and wellness activities provide the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Unwind with yoga on the beach, indulge in a pampering spa treatment, or simply soak up the sun while enjoying the stunning coastal views.

So whether you’re seeking adventure, culture, relaxation, or a combination of all three, Santa Barbara is the ideal destination. Explore Santa Barbara tours, immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene, and make the most of your time in this beautiful coastal city. Plan your visit today and create unforgettable memories in Santa Barbara.


What are some popular activities and sights in Santa Barbara?

Popular activities in Santa Barbara include city tours, wine tastings, visits to parks, and walking tours. Must-see sights include the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Old Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and the beautiful beaches.

What are the top attractions in Santa Barbara?

The top attractions in Santa Barbara include the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Old Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and the city’s stunning beaches.

What can I see in Santa Barbara that showcases its natural beauty?

Santa Barbara offers several attractions that showcase its natural beauty, such as the Santa Barbara County Courthouse with its Spanish-Moorish architecture and gardens, the Old Mission Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. The city’s beautiful beaches, including Stearns Wharf and Shoreline Park, are also worth visiting.

What can I do in Santa Barbara to immerse myself in its arts and culture scene?

Santa Barbara is home to numerous art galleries, museums, and theaters. You can visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, enjoy performances at the Granada Theatre, and explore the impressive architecture and murals at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. The city also hosts various festivals and events that showcase its vibrant culture, such as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

What are some of the best things to do for entertainment in Santa Barbara?

Santa Barbara offers a range of entertainment options, including a visit to the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum for history and maritime culture enthusiasts, and guided tours like trolley tours and wine tasting tours. Outdoor activities like kayaking, biking, and surfing are also popular.

Where can I unwind and enjoy spa and wellness activities in Santa Barbara?

Santa Barbara offers a range of spa and wellness activities, such as yoga classes on the beach, luxury spa experiences, rejuvenating hikes in the surrounding mountains, and indulgent spa treatments. The city’s natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation and wellness.

Are there any tours available to explore Santa Barbara?

Yes, Santa Barbara offers various tours to explore the city and its attractions. You can take trolley tours to see the highlights, participate in wine tasting tours to experience the region’s renowned wineries, and embark on guided tours that provide a fun and informative way to discover Santa Barbara.