Fit, savvy and fun, Santa Barbarians appreciate the numerous beaches, bike paths and sidewalks dotting their community. Follow in their footsteps – or bike tread – from the main entrance of Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, and sample some of what makes this coastal city one of California’s best. Wine, art and birds are just a few of the highlights.
Butterfly Beach is directly across the street (Channel Drive) from the Biltmore. A mix of packed sand, rugged cliffs and California surf, this local favourite welcomes walkers and joggers. It’s also a lovely spot to catch a sunset, since it’s one of the few west-facing beaches in the area.
Tucked in an exclusive neighbourhood, the Biltmore lies about a half mile from charming Montecito. Walk northeast (go left) from the Biltmore’s driveway onto Channel Drive. Roughly a half mile farther, Channel Drive intersects with Montecito’s main drag, Coast Village Road. Dotted with clothing boutiques, jewellery stores, independent restaurants and art galleries, it’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon – or dinner, at the very least.
Lucky’s serves excellent steaks and seafood. Italian restaurant Trattoria Mollie has earned praise from Oprah and President Obama for its homemade pasta. While in town, perhaps you’ll run into one of the Hollywood stars who live here – Oprah, Rob Lowe and Michael Douglas among them.
Photography Mike Perry / Alamy Stock Photo
It’s an arresting sight when giraffes raise their heads above the foliage surrounding the Santa Barbara Zoo. Observe them from the Cabrillo Bike Path, or better yet, pay the admission to see otters, lions, penguins, elephants, gorillas, snow leopards and more than 500 other animals in this lush garden setting.
Beach cruiser rental
Enjoy an authentic California adventure with a beach cruiser rental from the Biltmore. Turn right out of the driveway, pedalling parallel to the coast, and wind around the Santa Barbara Cemetery, dubbed the “Best Last Place” due to its amazing views of the Pacific. Then pass the Andree Clark Bird Refuge on your right, and keep your eyes open for black-crowned night herons, red-winged blackbirds, gulls, ducks and geese.
Between the zoo and popular Stearns Wharf at State Street, the Cabrillo Bike Path passes icons of coastal California. Depending on the time of day, you could catch a beach volleyball game or helmeted youngsters perfecting ollies at the skate park. Count on views of swaying palms and crashing waves.
Photography Chuck Place / Alamy Stock Photo
State Street holds loads of shopping, dining and wining pleasures. Here, you’ll find well-known brands Betsey Johnson, Coach, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and others. To the east between State and Garden and Yanonali and Mason streets, the Funk Zone boasts Santa Barbara’s eclectic shopping side.
Margerum Wine Company is one of many wineries tucked off State Street. Located at 813 Anacapa Street, this tasting room features the vintages of Doug Margerum. As one of the leaders of winemaking in Santa Barbara, Margerum encourages other winemakers, of which there are now at least 15 on the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail. Margerum specialises in three wines: Sybarite sauvignon blanc, Uber syrah and M5 – a blend of syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, counoise and cinsault grapes from nine of the top vineyards in Santa Barbara county.
A former post office, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art houses more than 27,000 pieces of art. It continually earns recognition as a top museum, organizing blockbuster exhibitions, such as the “Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912.” Its permanent collection includes a selection of antiquities rivalled in the western U.S. only by those housed at the J. Paul Getty Museum, as well as masterpieces of French Impressionism and an outstanding show of 2,600 Asian artworks in a variety of media.