Dozens of images come up when our mind sweetly wanders to the historic mission town of Santa Barbara: palm tress and pleasantries, organic eats, Oprah’s mega-mase, suntans and sand beneath our toes, majestic mountain peaks… the list goes on and on. Our city plays host upscale urbanites, mavens of mellow, and even on-the-fly overnighters. It’s really the ultimate territory to explore for any kind of escape artist. With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to discover some of Santa Barbara’s best-kept secrets for enjoying everything our beautiful beach town has to offer. Whether you’re a spa junkie or a culinary enthusiast, here’s a to-do list spanning from State Street to Montecito that grants the best quest in the West.
Opal Restaurant and Bar
Where: 1325 State St
What: A local’s favorite, opal restaurant and bar infuses an eclectic California cuisine with creative influences from around the world.
The Dish:The expansive menu offers a vast array of options that not only reflect the local flavors of Santa Barbara, but also incorporates unique dishes with exotic flavors. From Chili-Encrusted Filet Mignon, to lemon grass crusted Salmon, homemade pastas, gourmet pizzas, fresh baked breaks, deliciously imaginative salads and homemade desserts, the options are endless. Opal radiates a warm and friendly atmosphere, which reflects the very character of our friendly beach town itself. A full bar also serves innovative martinis and the Wine Spectator award-winning wine list has 40 wines by the glass to pair with each course.
Where: 1311 State St
What: A sister restaurant to Montecito Café, this delightful family owned and operated establishment serves both lunch and dinner in a spacious and warm dining room, which includes features such as a two-story fireplace and natural wood settings.
The Dish: Jane offers several delicious dishes that are sure to satisfy any craving. From creative and flavorful salads to juicy burgers, fresh seafood, to tantalizing desserts such as homemade coconut cake. Patrons can enjoy a romantic meal on the tiny second story patio or share a flat iron steak or a daily fish special at the bohemian communal dining table. Ultimately, this exceptional dining spot represents Santa Barbara’s local flare with its friendly service and innovative cuisine.
Santa Barbara Hikes
Santa Barbara offers some of the best hiking trails in all of Southern California. From mountain hikes, beach hikes, to inland hikes, Santa Barbara has a vast array of trails that are sure so meet the needs of any hiking enthusiast. Popular hikes among locals include: E. Camino Cielo, Ellwood Butterfly Grove, Tunnel Trail, Rattlesnake Trail, Gold Spring Trail, Inspiration Point, and Sand Ysidro Trail.
Float Luxury Spa
When looking for the ultimate Santa Barbara spa experience, look no further than Float Luxury Day Spa. Located downtown on 18 E. Canon Perdido St, this quaint and inviting spa offers everything from massages, facials, body treatments, and waxing in a peaceful and tranquil setting. Featuring a coastal modern design, Float is light and airy, modern and comfortable. You can also enjoy all the facilities form the beautifully appointed locker rooms, to the sky lounge or private garden with reflecting pool and fountain. Whether you are looking for a quick pick me up or a long day of relaxation, this local day spa is sure to inspire rejuvenation and renewal.
Santa Barbara Art Museum
In a city so rich with striking artifacts, a trip to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is definitely in order. Home to world-class art and exquisite exhibitions, this museum showcases a breathtaking collection of artistic treasures from American, Asian, European and more, and is sure to satisfy anyone’s yearning for cultural enrichment. Not only does this intimate space feel more like a teensy gallery than an actual museum, but it also is a lovely way to brush up on the history of the city. You’ll want to check out the pretty pieces that populate this quaint spot. The museum is located downtown on 1130 State Street.
Who doesn’t love shopping around for fresh foodie finds — especially on a cool, coastal afternoon? The Santa Barbara Farmers Market located on 232 Anacapa Street, hosts an array of color-soaked produce every Tuesday and Saturday. It’s a collaborative market with a diverse atmosphere, and supplies eco-conscious customers with tasty, locally grown produce and homemade goodies. This favorite local tradition reflects Santa Barbara’s mantra of living a healthy lifestyle by eating locally grown, organic food while supporting sustainability and environmental preservation.