I was lucky enough to visit my old hometown of Santa Barbara a few weeks ago. I lived there for about 10 years before I moved back up to the Bay Area. It’s been years since I’ve visited and it was SO fun to be back. You’ve probably heard of it from watching movies like Sideways or It’s Complicated. and it’s really just an all around gorgeous place. I mean…beach + wine country = paradise, am I right?
It’s amazing how much it’s changed since my last visit. The Funk Zone was non-existent when I was there last, so it was great to be able to check it out for the first time. I created a fun itinerary for you guys with a great mix of some of my new and old favorites 🙂 Here’s two days in Santa Barbara, California for under $500.
One of the best almond milk lattes I’ve ever had. Seriously. So rich and creamy. $4
This is an old favorite, my friend used to call this the $12 toast store. But it’s delicious and worth a visit 😉 $12
SANTA BARBARA ZOO
Santa Barbara’s zoo is definitely a must-do. It’s a great smaller sized zoo, that’s not too overwhelming. The kids will love sliding down the turf hill on pieces of cardboard. And getting to feed the giraffes is an opportunity not to be missed! $24
Wildwood Kitchen is located in a new super fun cluster of buildings called the Mill. I had the pleasure of having lunch there. I got a cup of chili and a salad and it was delicious. I’d love to go back and sample some more of their fare though. It’s inventive, tasty and just all around fun. And their decor doesn’t hurt either 😉 $17
I happened upon all of this gorgeousness when arrived for lunch (at Wildwood Kitchen) a bit early. I had to be dragged away from this gorgeous home decor store and all of it’s drool-worthy goods. I could spend a looong time in here checking out every detail 😉
This place is SUCH a find. If you’ve ever traveled to Santa Barbara before you’ll understand just how hard it is to find reasonably priced places to stay. This is a steal AND it’s super chic. It’s actually a high-end hostel with private rooms available. I stayed in a private room and it was perfect. There’s even a murphy bed custom built into the headboard so you can change your queen or king bed into a bunk bed. Arden loved that feature 😉 We had french doors that opened onto a patio and was just a few steps from the pool. They have a full kitchen available for your use, as well as a great breakfast spread that’s all included. And let’s not forget a giant Jenga and Connect 4 set in the game room. I’m definitely staying here again; it’s an absolute jem. $161
BIKES ON THE BEACH
After checking in, why not check out the beach? You’re only a couple of blocks away and there’s a great bike lane that runs parallel to the beach. I used to meet up with friends after work and go for a nice sunset walk. But you know what would be more fun? Renting a tandem bike or surrey! $20
This is Santa Barbara’s newest “it” restaurant apparently. I made reservations on Open Table ahead of time, but we still ended up getting seated outside “next to a heater with cozy blankets”. Queue *eye roll*. But even sitting outside on a suuuuper windy night didn’t damper my taste buds. This place is seriously delicious and worth it, even when freezing your bum off 😉 $60
Another great local coffee option! $4
Oh I’m all about my acai bowls lately. It’s definitely the latest trend. Forget smoothies, forget juicing. Go with one of these beautiful bowls instead 😉 $10
double dolphin whale watching sail
The Double Dolphin is an institution in Santa Barbara. Highly recommended 🙂 I’ve been on their cruises a few times now and it’s always a great time. Whale watching is always a must do in my book and the Double Dolphin and their crew do such a great job. $40
Butterfly Beach is actually in Montecito, a small town just South of SB. But it’s one of my absolute favorite beaches to go to. Back when I used to live in Santa Barbara, I used to got to Butterfly Beach after work and just walk until the sun would set. I’d walk to Miramar Beach where there’s a ton of gorgeous beachfront homes and just zone. Good times, good memories. Anyways, point is…it’s beautiful. Check it out 🙂
This place is also a recent addition to Santa Barbara. Such a fun concept and definitely worth a visit. So many cool shops, there’s something for everyone 🙂 $15
THe blue door
Let’s venture back to the Funk Zone, shall we? How fun is this perfectly-curated, vintage shop? I love stores like this, chock-full of unique finds, fun tchotchkes and furniture full of character. A hipster’s paradise 😉
THE urban wine trail
This is what makes the Funk Zone absolutely the best. Wine tasting galore and in such great environments. This was all new to me since I last visited SB and what a sight to see. I love that you get experience the Santa Barbara wine scene without even leaving Santa Barbara proper.
After doing some good wine tasting nothing’s better than a tasty and filling dinner. Mesa Verde is a newish plant-based restaurant on the scene. I kind of regret eating there….because after having dinner there, I’m going to CRAVE it. Gah! I wish I could eat there again soon! It was omg so tasty. Even if you aren’t vegan, you’ll find some pretty amazing (and scrumptious) dishes. Next time I go…I’m ordering all of the desserts. Seriously. All of them. 😉 $40
mcconnell’s ice cream
Ahh, McConnell’s is pretty much synonymous with Santa Barbara. They’ve been around forever. You know why? Because their ice cream is dabomb.com *cringe* yes, I just said that, but seriously. It’s tasty. Go eat some. $5
This post in partnership with Visit Santa Barbara.
* Image via