The beach, a bustling culinary scene and beautiful architecture might be the usual headliners in Santa Barbara, but the coastal city’s shopping is the unsung star. From the busy downtown to the laidback surrounding beach communities, the area’s retail pursuits abound. You will find boutiques showcasing local fashion designers, home and lifestyle stores offering interpretations of coastal style, and beauty and health spots where you can indulge. Complemented by art galleries and boutique food and wine purveyors, it’s easy to see why the city is a shopping paradise.

State Street

The State Street area is a mix of new shops, local mainstays and up-and-coming designer boutiques.

Photography Photography Dave Lauridsen

State and the surrounding streets have a prevalent indie spirit, with boutiques specializing in everything from home décor to jewellery and accessories tucked between the big names and locally owned standbys.

superChic

1A West Canon Perdido; 1 805/564-2465

superChic is a favourite on the Santa Barbara shopping scene for its eclectic yet highly curated range of furnishings, homeware and objets d’art.

Photography Photography Dave Lauridsen

Owners Brian Callahan and Terry Calhoun left behind San Francisco and careers in fashion (Prada, Louis Vuitton) and floral design to relocate and open this tiny interiors boutique just off State. It’s a favourite of Santa Barbara’s design-conscious denizens for its eclectic yet highly curated range of furnishings, homeware, antiques and objets d’art.

Salt

740 State Street; 1 805/963-7258

In addition to carrying pink-salt–infused skin-care products and decorative candles, Salt also carries slabs of pink salt ideal for cooking.

Photography Photography Dave Lauridsen

Descend the stairs into Salt’s rose-hued lair to find products (facial scrubs and masks, decorative candles, statues) made from 100 percent pure Himalayan pink crystal salt. The shop is also home to a tiny spa, which offers massages and Himalayan salt scrubs. The spa’s salt caves – circular rooms with walls, ceilings and floors made from 45 tons of Himalayan pink salt – are said to relieve allergies, asthma and various skin conditions.

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Rugs & Furnishings

1019 State Street; 1 805/884-1155

Stroll through Rugs & Furnishings and browse among colourful hand-knotted Khotan rugs from northwest China, hammered copper vases from Ghana, and beautiful rugs and hanging lamps from Turkey.

Photography Photography Dave Lauridsen

The plain name of this State Street shop belies the exquisite quality of its goods, sourced from the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Find items such as Bamileke stools – low-slung round stools carved from the trunk of a tree and used by kings in Cameroon during ceremonies. Browse hand-knotted Khotan rugs from the northwest region of China, raw silk scarves from Indonesia, beautiful hanging Turkish lamps and intricate Turkish and Persian rugs.

Diani

1324 State Street, Suite B; 1 805/966-3114

Diani boutique maintains a cool, edgy vibe with its many designer labels on offer – think Isabel Marant, Rag & Bone, and Elizabeth and James.

Photography Photography Dave Lauridsen

Kenya-born, England-bred Caroline Diani launched a fashion revolution in Santa Barbara when she opened her edgy boutique in 2002. Diani is still the favoured stomping ground of the city’s hip and well-dressed, thanks to the brands on offer (Isabel Marant, Rag & Bone and Anya Hindmarch) and the shop’s laid-back vibe. Be sure to stop in at Diani’s sister shoe boutique in the same State Street centre, just a few doors down.

The Funk Zone

In this formerly industrial area between State and Garden streets, just south of the 101 and a few blocks from the sea, old factories and garages now house surf shops, designer boutiques and art galleries. A number of small-scale wineries have set up shop to form their own wine trail, the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail.

Kakoon

116 East Yanonali Street; 1 805/698-7569

Stock up on super-soft sweaters, hand-knit from fine Peruvian alpaca wool, at Kakoon; the shop also offers a custom order service.

Photography Photography Dave Lauridsen

For chic travel wear, stock up on local designer Kate McMahon’s super-soft and warm collection of knits made of baby Peruvian alpaca wool. All of the knits at this shop are crafted by McMahon or her team of two. The shop also provides a custom order service. Kakoon is located in a two-storey gallery and shopping complex in the Funk Zone, so be sure to browse the other outlets before leaving the area.

Raoul Textiles

136 State Street; 1 805/899-4947

Founded by designer Sally McQuillan, Raoul Textiles is a line of mostly Belgian linens that are hand-printed in Santa Barbara. In the expansive, light-filled store and workshop, you’ll find the full collection of designs on everything from throw pillows, notebooks and linen bags to custom sofas and chairs from British fine furniture brand George Smith.

Montecito

The community in which Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is located has some of the region’s best shopping options. Directly behind the Hotel is Coast Village, a strip of jewel-box–like shops and top-notch restaurants that draw locals and visitors alike. And farther up on San Ysidro Road is another stretch of antiques, lifestyle, fashion and food shops to peruse.

Lily

1131 Coast Village Road; 1 805/695-0625

Lily’s small space overflows with stylish knick-knacks such as jewellery made by local designers, silk robes, and decorative trays and mirrors.

Photography Photography Dave Lauridsen

Lily is tiny, but that’s part of the charm of the boutique that overflows with stylish knick-knacks sourced by owner Linda O’Hare. Rifle through this treasure chest and you might turn up jewellery imagined by Ojai-based designer Susan Cummings and made in India with semiprecious gems, silk robes with leopard print lining, mother-of-pearl trays or mirrors from Thailand and Morocco.

Maison K

1159 Coast Village Road; 1 805/969-1676

Maison K owner Kimberly Phillips travels the globe for goods small and large, from dainty ceramics and woven gold necklaces to hand-carved chairs from Indonesia.

Photography Photography Dave Lauridsen

Owner Kimberly Phillips takes several trips a year to source a global mishmash of fine goods for her bi-level Coast Village lifestyle shop. Products range from the small and (carefully) packable (woven gold necklaces and hard-to-find Astier de Villatte ceramics, both from Paris) to the large and room-defining (hand-carved chairs from Indonesia, a massive stone urn from Ghana).

Summerland

Just south of Montecito off the 101, this beach town’s string of antiques shops, fashion boutiques, lifestyle stores and more make it a must for shoppers.

Botanik

2329 Lillie Avenue; 1 805/565-3831

Set in a small 1920s bungalow along Summerland’s main avenue, Botanik is one of the more charming shopping experiences around. Browse the range of furniture and décor, including artisan-crafted ceramic ware from Portugal and handwoven baskets from Tanzania. Botanik’s garden space caters to plant lovers, with succulents, orchids, dwarf olives and gardenias, even vintage oil jars and a stone livestock water basin repurposed as a planter.

Bonita

2330 Lillie Avenue; 1 805/565-3848

Bonita is a local fashionista’s source for all things boho-chic, from crocheted dresses and breezy linen tunics from Swedish brand Odd Molly to Tocca fragrances. Look for handmade suede shoes and leather belts by Los Angeles designer Calleen Cordero, and cowhide and leather totes from Argentine designer and part-time Santa Barbara resident Rocio G.

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