Though barely boasting a population of 100,000, the somewhat sleepy-but-stunning city of Santa Barbara packs a punch when it comes to things to see, eat and do. Tucked into the foothills between mountains and sea, you simply can’t beat the views or friendly surf-swank feel of this town. Somewhat newly reemerging along the famed waterfront is the aptly named Funk Zone, so-called for its historically artsy, creative tenants throughout the (now converted) warehouse-heavy neighborhood.
The genuine Mediterranean ambiance at Loquita will leave you convinced you’ve buzzed over to Barcelona for the evening. This gorgeous, sophisticated tapas-forward restaurant is a hot spot for date night, or for sharing heaps of paella with a crowd.
The more airy, casual cousin of Les Marchands (located next door), Santa Barbara Wine Collective provides plenty of space to sprawl out. Offering a cross-section of local wines to sample (hence, the Collective), this easygoing tasting room is a sure-fire spot for private events and group gatherings.
Foolproof for your late morning coffee fix, yummy sammies and curbing your nighttime pizza cravings, the Italian-inspired Lucky Penny is a local favorite. Expect superb people watching amidst the bustling courtyard seating.
A magnet for local celebrity-enclave Montecito and LA-dwellers alike, this warm, energetic dinner scene offers some of the most exquisite food in Santa Barbara. With a seasonal, ever-evolving menu, everything you eat (and imbibe, for that matter) will leave you craving more.
Part hotel, part hostel, this uniquely Santa Barbaran-style lodging (note: clean white stucco, red-tiled roof) is friendly, laidback and located a handful of blocks from practically everything. Take a break from wining and dining by slipping into the pool, partaking in Sunday morning yoga or heading to the harbor for sushi and boat-scoping.
With 20 revolving beers on tap and 4 wine varietals to choose from, Lama Dog has the ultimate beverage selection. Pair your beer with goodies from resident fancy street-food joint, The Nook, serving up burgers, fish dishes, and plenty of vegan/vegetarian options.
Sweetly French and oh-so-chic, Les Marchands is a classic wine bar and merchant in the heart of the Funk Zone. Consider it the perfect place for lazily sharing a bottle on the patio or stockpiling your favorite wines.
The carb-heavy, in-house counterpart to SB Wine Collective, Helena Avenue Bakery is a disarmingly charming artisan bakery with daily-made breads and treats. Stop here for pastries or check out the picnic counter for tasty grab-and-go delicacies.
Whether it’s leather goods, jewelry or apothecary you’re looking for, the Guilded Table has you covered. This artisan market featuring a variety of local purveyors is the perfect place for picking up gifts for friends back home.
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