A day in Santa Barbara – American Riviera

I’m not saying a day is sufficing to visit Santa Barbara. I’m saying I just had a day to spend in Santa Barbara and there’s a lot you can do in one day, especially in SB. We were able to visit most of the touristy attractions in Santa Barbara.

The impulsive traveler in me decided that we can make a trip to SB from the bay area with a day’s notice. This of course, freaks out my wife. She hasn’t packed, isn’t mentally prepared and YES, we haven’t even made reservations for the night. I earnestly say that I will reserve the hotel once we are enroute. We pack and leave bay area around 3 PM on Friday 23rd 2014. We were in Pismo Beach by around 615 PM and while we passed the beach on US 101S, it was evident that the beach wore the look “Visit me or you’ll regret”!! We stopped at the state beach. Walked on the pier, watched the sun drown into the Pacific behind a fog of clouds.

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

A cloudy evening

A cloudy evening

We went to a Mexican restaurant close to the beach, which served hot & authentic burritos. Over dinner, we make our reservation for the night at Lompoc, CA. As funny as it sounds, it is a real place and it was an hour north of Santa Barbara. We took off to Santa Barbara first thing in the morning.

Santa Barbara is a beautiful town that curves the Pacific coast. The view of the town from the highway 101 is breathtaking. The first stop we make is the WaterFront. It was before 9 AM and the place wasn’t as crowded. We saw a lot of people jogging and walking oblivious to the fact that this will be bustling with camera armed tourists in a few hours. We went to the tourist information center at the waterfront and discussed our plans with the lady. The lady had suggested a few places and asked us not to miss the Mission as there was a street painting festival on the day.

We first did the Red Tile Walking Tour.

View of Santa Barbara from the top of Court House

View of Santa Barbara from the top of Court House

We walked the length of State Street and the wife bought some trinkets. Next stop was Mission Santa Barbara. The place was heavily crowded as it was the day of street painting.



Street painting @ Mission

Street painting @ Mission


There was one street painting that really touched the onlookers. The painter finished writing his caption and the crowd went “Aww…” “Sigh..” “Thats just perfect…”

We took a tour of the Mission. There is a lot of history attached to the place and the video shown inside parts with a lot of this information. Once out, we headed to The Natural Cafe for lunch. Its a great place for vegetarians and vegans.

A good feature of the city is the fact that there are a lot of parking structures and lots which allow you to park free for the first 1.5 hours. We again walked the State Street a bit after the lunch and around 4ish headed to the Waterfront.

This place now was bustling with activity. Tourists, street shops selling stuff from trinkets to kaleidoscopes and street performances. We walked the pier and checked out the shops at the pier. Rented a tandem bicycle and explored the 3 mile length of the waterfront. There were a few suggestions from people to visit the botanical gardens, but we were tired by then. We did the scenic loop from the water front which trails from the waterfront into some hideously beautiful neighborhoods with golf courses.

Returned back to the bay area


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