With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains on the other, Santa Barbara is one of the most coveted destinations for sunny skies, a mild climate and its own sophisticated brand of California cool. To help plan your next getaway, we asked Katie Allen at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara to share her tips for experiencing the very best of this idyllic coastal city.
Shopping Santa Barbara
A shopping spree is not complete without stopping by Wendy Foster in Montecito and in downtown Santa Barbara. These boutiques are full of local designer apparel and jewellery. Allora by Laura is another luxurious everyday style destination. For a more handsome wardrobe, K. Frank is great for casual or contemporary clothing.
Lucky’s on Coast Village Road is a great place to start. Order the Grass Skirt Martini – it’s a secret martini only locals know about. Then head over to Bouchon, which is known for its food, service and inviting ambiance. They pride themselves on their work and delivery, every time.
Concerts, crafts and performing arts
For concerts, the Santa Barbara Bowl is a great outdoor amphitheatre. Entertainers travel from around the world to play in this venue, with breathtaking views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean. On Sundays, stroll along Cabrillo Boulevard for the Arts and Crafts show to get a real idea of Santa Barbara’s local culture. The Granada Theater has been entertaining Santa Barbarians since the 1920s. It’s a local landmark that makes any evening entertainment much more memorable.
Photography Playful Photo / Thinkstock
The Santa Barbara Zoo is in a wonderful location that overlooks the Andree Clarke Bird Refuge, with great views of the Santa Barbara coast. Ride the red train around the grounds and see more than 400 animals in their natural habitat. Don’t skip the gorilla exhibit! Riding bikes or surreys that can fit the whole family is another great way to spend the afternoon. Families can ride along Santa Barbara’s coastal bike path and stop by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, where children can pet starfish and learn about the wonders of the sea.
For those seeking an unforgettable experience, stand-up paddle board lessons are offered right in front of the Resort at Butterfly Beach. And horseback riding on the beaches of Santa Barbara is definitely a way to remember this destination. Santa Barbara Horseback Rides offers beach rides in Summerland (sunset beach rides are their most popular), ocean bluff rides and mountain rides.
At sunset, go over to Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club, adjacent to the Resort, for Sunset Happy Hour at Tydes. You can enjoy specialty cocktails on their elevated deck with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. If you’re lucky, you might see pods of sea life pass by. And be sure to take someone special to Franceschi Park, located on the beautiful Riviera overlooking all of Santa Barbara. This park is a beautiful place for a picnic.
Tee up for golf
If you want to improve your golf game, take a lesson with DJ at Sandpiper Golf Course. Sandpiper is one of the most spectacular courses in Santa Barbara, overlooking the ocean, with meticulously groomed greens. Designed by William F. Bell, this course has been rated in the top 25 public golf courses in the nation by Golf Digest.
Wine country tours and tastings
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Book the Wine Tour Package at the Resort for a full-day VIP pass to Santa Barbara’s best wineries. Begin with a leisurely breakfast for two in your guest room or at the ocean-view Bella Vista. Afterwards, your knowledgeable “Coastal Concierge” guide will pick you up from the Resort and escort you to the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley for a memorable day of wine tasting.
Personalized to your tastes and interests, the scenic five-hour excursion provides an unparalleled hands-on tasting experience, including exclusive access to vineyards and tasting rooms, and a gourmet lunch in a vineyard setting overlooking breathtaking vistas. Another option for exploring wine country is within a majestic, one-of-a-kind dude ranch. Circle Bar B offers scenic horseback riding, spa services, home-style dining, and much more.
The Grape De Vine is a signature treatment at the Resort’s Spa, and perfect after a day touring wine country. First, toxins are extracted with a body scrub of grapeseed, native to Santa Barbara wine country. Dull skin is gently exfoliated, releasing a natural glow. The anti-oxidizing and relaxing benefits of grapeseed are enhanced with a full-body massage featuring rose and lavender essential oils.
A perfect day in Santa Barbara
Start off with a local, farm-fresh breakfast at Jeannine’s Restaurant, just a short walk from the Resort. If you’re up for an adventure, talk to our Concierge about renting a beach cruiser and head downtown to soak in the galleries and museums, check out the shops, and grab lunch or a wine tasting before coming back to the resort for a Spa appointment.
If your appetite is looming, dine in the Ty Lounge, or “wine down” with a tasty glass of wine paired perfectly with your own cheese plate. This is an ideal way to end a full day of sight-seeing and experiencing the buzz of beautiful Santa Barbara.