Welcome to the American Riviera®...Where Life Itself is a Fine Art
Santa Barbara. Sun-drenched, relaxed and nestled seductively between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Sample the world-class hotels and resorts and delectable restaurants that tempt even the well-seasoned traveler. Check out our event calendar and discover plenty of things to do . From State Street and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the Channel Islands and the wine country , Santa Barbara is one of America's best-kept secrets.
Santa Barbara and Montecito, Population: 104,154
Also known as the American Riviera®, Santa Barbara is nestled between the Santa Ynez mountains and a sweeping shoreline overlooking the nearby Channel Islands. Its unique southfacing position results in a temperate climate with sunshine from dawn to dusk. The city of Santa Barbara and the Montecito area are known for their exceptional beauty and have a world-renowned flair, much of it reflected in the area's architectural mix of Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial, Monterey, Moorish, and Islamic styles. Montecito is home to many beautiful estates with every form of architecture and landscaping.
Use this quick-reference page to find information on a variety of Santa Barbara–related topics. It's designed as a sort of mini-encyclopedia all about this city and county. This is where to find everything from Santa Barbara's time zone, climate, and general dress "code" to contact numbers and websites for the air, rail, and bus lines that can bring you to Santa Barbara—and the transportation providers who can take you around once you're here.
LOCATION, POPULATION & GEOGRAPHY
It is illegal in California for anyone under 21 years old to consume alcohol in any quantity. To purchase alcohol in a bar, restaurant, or store, you must be able to produce photographic identification that proves your age. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a serious offense in California. A person is considered legally drunk when the concentration of alcohol in his or her blood is at or above .08%.
In California, the driver and all passengers must wear their seatbelts at all times when traveling in a car. Any child too small to be protected by a seatbelt must be secured in a child safety seat.
California law prohibits smoking in restaurants, bars, theaters, auditoriums, museums, and most other public buildings.
For all life-threatening medical, fire, and police emergencies call 911.
For nonemergency calls dial the following numbers:
CURRENCY & BANKING
|Santa Barbara County boasts miles and miles of supremely beautiful beaches. And your visit to Santa Barbara really can't be said to be complete without spending some time enjoying one of Santa Barbara's most magnificent attractions. The array of activities possible at the beaches here is almost limitless, from sand volleyball and kite-flying to tidepooling, swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, biking, picnicking, whale-watching, and more. Amenities can include restrooms, showers, and on-duty lifeguards in peak season.|
|Dining in Santa Barbara is an experience like no other. The dining scene here combines several delectable elements: an extraordinarily beautiful setting; an emphasis on the very freshest local ingredients; world-class training, expertise, and dedication to excellence among the county's chefs; and the variety of fare, from Santa Maria style barbecue to Santa Barbara Wine Country gourmet to peerless nouvelle cuisine. Mixed together, these ingredients have made Santa Barbara nationally famous as a dining destination.|
|Santa Barbara is a truly year-round destination for active visitors. The weather here is so perfect virtually all year long that you have the option of outdoor recreation any day you choose. And the county's hugely varied topography ranges from warm, clean sand and ocean waves to rugged mountains and wilderness areas. In Santa Barbara, you are within minutes of world-class venues for surfing, kiteboarding, scuba diving, hiking, rock climbing, hang-gliding, and much, much more.|
|If you're traveling with your family, you will find Santa Barbara County a matchless destination. Here, museums and historical and cultural attractions pride themselves on taking a kid-friendly approach without sacrificing any of their appeal for adults. Active and outdoor options cover a huge range of possibilities. And you can rent everything you'll need right here, from bikes (families love the surrey-topped four-person quads) and tents to surfboards, sailboats, and kayaks. Instruction is also available.|
|Shopping in Santa Barbara is more than beautiful shops brimming with quality merchandise. The stores include national and international retailers, one-of-a-kind boutiques, art galleries, trendy hot spots, and outlets. But this gorgeous natural setting, permeated by ocean air and year-round sunshine, is part of the pleasure. So are the shop-lined cobbled walkways and paseos that meander into courtyards brilliant with bougainvillea and calmed by softly splashing fountains. Yes, shopping here is truly a sensory experience.|
|Santa Barbara County is a veritable paradise of artistic, cultural, and entertainment options. The Spanish-Moorish architecture and historic adobes and missions are internationally famous. The arts are celebrated in an array of art galleries, public murals, and performance spaces. The museums highlight everything from photography to local, regional, maritime, and natural history. And the county is renowned for its film festivals, writing conferences, annual events, and world-class ballet, opera, classical music, modern dance, and theater.|
|Internationally respected wine guru Robert Parker has declared that within the next decade, Santa Barbara's Wine Country will “rule America.” It's that good. It's also still largely undiscovered, although its starring role in 2004 Oscar®-winning film Sideways changed that somewhat ( download a self-guided tour map of the actual filming locations, or click here to request your free copy). The fact is that this wine country is uncrowded, sophisticated without being pretentious, and spectacularly beautiful.|