Skip to main content

Top things to do in Santa Barbara

Attractions, tours, and activities in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara: the city's best neighborhoods

Find a great area to stay in Santa Barbara

About Santa Barbara

Including tips for the best time to visit Santa Barbara

Sandwiched between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is a popular holiday destination in the United States. You’ll find miles of beaches, marine terraces, Spanish-style homes and a vibrant art scene, all rolled into one, as you travel to this sun-drenched city.

The ocean breeze in Santa Barbara serenades beachgoers while the waves lend themselves to water sports enthusiasts. The Butterfly Beach in the Montecito area is a local favourite. Here, you can sunbathe and swim or try high-octane activities like surfing, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. To spot some dolphins and whales while you stroll along the shore, head to Arroyo Burro Beach. If you’re looking for some quiet time amid sea cliffs, walk down a bougainvillea-lined route and a stairway leading to Mesa Lane Beach.

As you wander around the streets of this Californian city, you’ll come across Spanish-style landmarks, such as the Santa Barbara County Courthouse – a massive whitewashed building with red tile roofs. The grounds and gardens of Mission Santa Barbara is another notable structure worth exploring, and so is the historic Amtrak Station Santa Barbara.

A variety of cultural and historical experiences await at Santa Barbara. A visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara will take you through the creative artworks and design installations. You can learn about the region’s geological and ecological diversity through state-of-the-art exhibits at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.


From $125 per night

Next weekend

From $466 per night

Most popular time to visit October-December
Cheapest time to visit January-March
Local currency USD
Average weekend price $311 per night
Average weekday price $309 per night
Average stay 1 night

Points of interest in Santa Barbara

Stay near the top sightseeing spots in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara reviews

What other travelers say about Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara is a gorgeous place.

October 1, 2023

Santa Barbara is a gorgeous place. Thanks to, we found a fantastic hotel that checked all of our boxes and left us room in our budget for lavish dining and spa day. My recommendation for visitors is be prepared to spoil yourself and spend. There are many romantic places to go in the hills and along the coast. For activity seekers, Santa Barbara has a lot of recreation options. For history buffs, there are fine museums. But, be prepared to spend money to get the luxurious and glamorous experience that makes Santa Barbara and Montecito the northern enclave of the Hollywood rich and famous.

Easka United States of America

Santa Barbara is beautiful, and a bit weird.

September 28, 2023

Santa Barbara is beautiful, and a bit weird. It even smells good there! There are numerous small parks, much greenery, beautiful homes, lots of restaurants, and of course, the beach. Beware - many one-way streets, and the main street is closed to traffic for several blocks. But still, it's pretty much paradise.

Laurel United States of America

It is a must to visit their museum.

September 26, 2023

It is a must to visit their museum. It had a great variety of interesting exhibits, art, an outdoor full scale dinosaur experience and a butterfly pavilion. Eat at Joe's for the best pancakes!!! The Fish House restaurant was excellent. It is like maybe visiting another country when visiting Santa Barbara.

l United States of America

Beautiful beach and pier with great food.

September 20, 2023

Beautiful beach and pier with great food. A nice walk along the marina and harbour wall was a good start to the day. There are plenty of shops and restaurants along State and food we were spoiled for choice. A great 2 night break

Sharon United Kingdom

I lived in Santa Barbara for about 16yrs.

September 18, 2023

I lived in Santa Barbara for about 16yrs. It’s always the best to re/visit my favorite town. There is always something to do. Biking on the boulevard. Taking in the Zoo near the beach front. A boating expedition. Go to a live music performance.

McSweeney United States of America

A lovely hotel in a very tranquil setting.

September 6, 2023

A lovely hotel in a very tranquil setting. The hotel is tucked away in the Santa Barbara hills with a lovely ocean view. Our stay was the perfect experience to allow us to unwind and reconnect. We will definitely be back.

Anonymous United States of America

Popular places to stay in Santa Barbara

Stay in some of the best accommodations Santa Barbara has to offer

Other attractions and activities in Santa Barbara

More things to do and see in Santa Barbara