Old Spanish Days Fiesta is an annual celebration of our city's heritage and pioneers. There are a lot of things to love about this festival, but we have highlighted a few of the best reasons to love Fiesta.
It seems funny that Summer Solstice comes so early in the summer and yet it marks the longest day of the year. Doesn't it feel like August nights are longer than June nights?
Santa Barbara loves a parade (or two or three) but our Summer Solstice Celebration is a local's favorite not to be missed. Check out the reasons we think it's a one of kind affair.
If your Memorial Day weekend was anything like mine, you're probably having difficulty shaking off the leisure and sheer glee of it all. Between hiking, biking, and leisurely sipping rosé on a Funk Zone Sunday, it was bliss. I ran into one of my oldest friends who has long since moved away while getting ice cream at the Santa Barbara Public Market (see #9) and developed a sunburn while doing #2 and #3. It was a perfect weekend— one so perfect that I've developed a lengthy new list of my favorite ways to revel in our beautiful city.
Photo by Leela Cyd
Memorial Day weekend marks the 28th I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival at the Old Mission in Santa Barbara. Artists converge on the plaza to create colorful and creative works of art in chalk.
Photo Credit: http://www.imadonnarifestival.com
The Granada Theater is (and continues to be) the only 8 story building in Santa Barbara and is the anchor for our vibrant downtown arts district. Home to the Santa Barbara Symphony, Opera Santa Barbara, State Street Ballet and Santa Barbara Choral Society, this historic theater also features year-round national and international artists and performances on tour.
When the Granada Theater was built in 1924, many community members were offended by the idea of such a monstrosity.
Santa Barbara has no shortage of paseos, or ambling, often artistic, passages and promenades that connect spaces. The prevalence of our Spanish Colonial architecture lends itself well to these walkways throughout town. And while many are even unknown to locals, perhaps the most picturesque, and therefore visited is the outdoor mall called La Arcada.
Just off State Street (Santa Barbara’s Main Street) between Anapamu and Figueroa Streets is a gem of a destination. La Arcada was designed in 1926 by architect Myron Hunt and is dripping with charm and details.
The City of Santa Barbara boasts an impressive 360 acres of developed parkland and 1,183 acres of open space parkland. Pocket parks dot our neighborhoods and provide much needed play space for families living in the urban core. But how’s this for a community claim to fame? Santa Barbara is home to the largest privately funded public park in America, Elings Park. This park is a gem.
Locals know that the best time on the beach can be winter time, when most of the visitors have left, the Channel is crisp and clear, and the water birds have arrived. It is the perfect time for long walks in the sand.
The most intriguing winter visitor is the Black Skimmer. You can often find hundreds of them hang out on the beach. The best place to find them is on the West Beach sand spit where Mission Creek flows into the ocean just left of Stearns Wharf.
Each holiday seems to have certain colors associated with it. For Easter, it’s the pastel colors – spring greens, pale yellows, pinks, and lavenders. At Thanksgiving we think of golds and oranges – the colors of turning leaves.
Christmas is unabashedly red – intense red – the right color to warm us at this time of year when nights are long and dark.
Santa Barbarans and our visitors are blessed by a myriad of trails weaving their way through what we refer to as the Front Country, the ocean-facing slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
A truly iconic spot for Santa Barbara hikers is the exposed clearing at Saddlerock 2.75 miles from the trailhead. An almost 180 degree ocean view coupled with a large rock formation perfect for perching entices people daily.
Looking up at the stony face of the Santa Ynez Mountains, one sometimes gets the impression that the mountains are impenetrable. But studying a good map, you see that there are several canyons which provide access, at least into the foothills. They bear such names as Rattlesnake, Sycamore, Cold Springs – narrow canyons each with its own trail and stream which continue to carve out ever- deepening canyons.
The most important of all of them is Mission Canyon with its stream, Mission Creek. Unlike smaller streams, it runs year-round. And rather than hiking up an arduous trail, there’s a road that provides easy access by car.
Look for the signs directing you to the 72-acre Santa Barbara Botanic Garden which is devoted exclusively to the native plants of California.
Cool temperatures are coming and daylight savings is ending in Santa Barbara. Longer nights and the crisp temperatures of fall are slowly replacing the days of summer sunshine that were so full of festivals and celebrations. To be fair, Santa Barbara’s mild climate doesn’t undergo the intensity of East Coast winters, but we have our own quiet version of the seasons. October evenings leave enough sunlight and warmth to eek out the last bit of revelry before dinner.
The beloved Santa Barbara County Courthouse is a designated National Historic Landmark and one of the most photographed buildings in the country. The Spanish Colonial Revival structure we know today was designed by William Mooser III and completed in 1929.
Alongside the charming Spanish colonial architecture and stunning coastal geography, there’s a surprising abundance of public art scattered around Santa Barbara. If you can pull yourself away from Santa Barbara's museums and galleries, you'll find everything from towering street-side murals to smaller pieces tucked away in courtyards and paseos. It is hard to take a step in this incredible city without stumbling across a fantastic piece of art.
The Tuesday Farmers Market in the 500 and 600 blocks of State Street is one of our favorite markets in the Santa Barbara area. It is quintessential Santa Barbara—where international students, tourists, families and busy office workers all end up on a Tuesday evening, gathering produce and sampling juicy fresh fruits among the shops and restaurants of downtown.