Care & Car-Free in Santa Barbara

With so much to see and do in Santa Barbara, your instinct may be to hop in your car each morning without even thinking about it. But, luckily for you, the city boasts a number of care- and car-free activities, each of which offers their own unique brand of fun, and none of which involve parking meters. Check ’em out!


Car Free with the Santa Barbara Trolley
See the sights of Santa Barbara all day along aboard an open-air trolley. Photo Credit: J. Sinclair

Be charmed as you see all of Santa Barbara’s sights, with a ride on one of the open-air trolleys that traverse the city continuously throughout the day. You’ll cruise the waterfront from Santa Barbara and make your way up to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Enjoy the sights like the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Montecito’s Coast Village Road and the El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. After ending your ride, grab a bite to eat or glass of wine at a sidewalk café.

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Beach Cruisin’

Whether your taste in wheels leans toward a beach cruiser, road bike, scooter, moped, rollerblades or a surrey—better known as a bicycle built for, well, up to eight!—Wheel Fun Rentals has you covered. With its convenient location on Cabrillo Boulevard, adjacent to the end of Santa Barbara’s famed State Street right where it hits the beach, you’ll be off on your adventure immediately. Take advantage of that starting point by following the long, paved bike path built into the sand. You’ll wind your scenic way from East Beach to the harbor, past Leadbetter Beach and all the way up to Shoreline Park, which offers a great spot to stop and take in a truly incredible view of the city and coastline, dotted with surfers and sunbathers, paddleboarders and pelicans. If you’re lucky, you may even score a glimpse of a pod of dolphins, or a lovely, lone whale cruising through the channel.


If easy-going electric bikes are more your style, stopover at any BCycle dock around downtown Santa Barbara to rent your ride. Take a memorable trip through the many city streets and revel in Santa Barbara’s iconic Spanish-Moorish style architecture. Pop by Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants for a little retail therapy at one of the many boutiques, then grab lunch up State Street at the Santa Barbara Public Market, where there’s a little something to meet everyone’s tastes. The flexibility and relaxed vibe that accompanies renting electric bicycles are unmatched!


One thing you’ll quickly notice about Santa Barbara is that its streets were made for walking. From Cabrillo’s beachfront promenade to State Street’s wide sidewalks and the open-air Paseo Nuevo mall, to tucked-away enclaves like La Arcada and the famed art- and wine-saturated Funk Zone, getting a serious taste of Santa Barbara is often as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. With little boutiques, specialty shops, galleries, bars and restaurants peeking from every corner, plan to play it by ear, follow your nose and change directions according to whatever catches your eye. To see the city from a different, on-foot perspective, check out these free walking tours throughout Santa Barbara. If you need to stop and refuel during your journey, forego the usual suspects and go where the locals go: Check out the Dune Coffee Roasters or Handlebar Coffee Roasters for an artisanal cup of joe. Above all, remember that in this friendly, casual city, you’ll never go wrong if you let your instincts chart your course.

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Santa Barbara Trolley Company

Welcome aboard Santa Barbara Trolley Tours. With over 30 years in service, we know Santa Barbara! Let our experienced Santa Barbara native drivers guide you through Santa Barbara’s hot spots! We offer fully-narrated tours packed with…

Wheel Fun Rentals

There's no better way to explore Santa Barbara than with Wheel Fun Rentals. We have two locations to serve you. Our flagship store at 24 E Mason Street is stocked with our iconic surreys, city bikes and other pedal powered fun, while our Electric…

Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center

Paseo Nuevo is open daily! View our website for current Hours.  Paseo Nuevo is Santa Barbara's premier outdoor shopping destination in the heart of downtown! Complimentary disposable face masks are available up on request…

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Celebrate 5,000 years of human history and creativity on a visit to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA). First opened in 1941, the Museum is located in the heart of downtown in a stately building that was once the Santa Barbara Post Office.…

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Founded in 1916 as the Museum of Comparative Oology, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has evolved to include more than 3.5 million specimens covering every aspect of natural history—from mammals, birds and marine life to geology,…

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