I was lucky enough to visit a very good friend in California this past summer. I had a week to spend at the beach, drink wine, go window shopping, and try amazing foods with the locals. Short-lived as it was, I took a week to digest and compile a mini list of must-see places in Santa Barbara.
1. The Old Mission
Set on the mountain side, The Old Mission still stands as beautiful as it did in the late 1700’s. The rose garden directly next to it makes for a perfect evening on the lawn looking at the stars with your loved ones.
If you travel at the right time, you might be able to catch one of the chalk festivals that occur annually. The above image is from one of the artists that attended the festival in late May 2016. Seeing as my trip occurred in late August, I took this picture and realized that the drought saved this work of art.
You can read more about The Old Mission here.
2. State Street
I’m a little bias with this one, because I’m addicted to shopping. Almost as much as I am addicted to coffee (misspelled words are probably due to my lack of caffeine today).
Seriously though, shopping is my guilty pleasure and State Street has it all. For the foodie it has pubs, restaurants, authentic bakeries, artisan chocolate shops, and ethnic cuisine. For people more like myself, it has local and brand name stores. It’s not 5th Avenue in New York City, but this street does the job if you need cheap deals or expensive shoes. State Street also has several movie theaters for the traveler that wants to take a break for two hours.
One place I adored and recommend checking out is Salt. It is a Spa, but walk-ins are welcome and the retail items are superb! Between lamps and soaps it’s hard not to feel relaxed just walking in. As far as services go, I experienced a 50 minute self-meditation in the salt cave. I left the spa after an hour feeling really rejuvenated and it changed my lifestyle completely.
3. The Stearns Wharf
The Strearns Wharf is a massive dock protruding into the ocean. There a different shops, but not nearly as many as State Street. It also hosts many restaurants that give people the chance to eat so close to the sea. The pier also is also home to a small psychic service run by Madame Rosinka and her sister–I do believe. I don’t have a personal opinion of how my experience went, but if anything a palm-reading was crossed off my bucket-list.
4. Knapp’s Castle
Let me just point out that it is a rope swing in the above picture. Why wouldn’t you want to visit this destination just to try out this iconic swing.
Knapp’s Castle is a deteriorating structure that overlooks the hills in which you just climbed by car for 30 minutes. The castle and natural beauty makes for a great photo while waiting for the sun to set.
If you aren’t sure about heights, let me just say the environment is a nice change from the industrial scene and you can’t notice your up that high in the mountains unless you are trying to go over the edge.
It’s a perfect spot for those that love nature shots and sunsets. Many couples travel to this for engagements and even photo shoots. Despite being a little bit of a drive, the sunset is worth the commute. Don’t forget each sunset is different so you’ll never have the same experience twice. Knapp’s Castle was by far my favorite excursion.
That completes my list, Friend.
Please comment if you have ever visited or lived in Santa Barbara and tell me your favorite place within or near this beautiful city. Cheerio, until our next adventure together!