Katy Perry’s Must-Visit Places in Santa Barbara

Photo by Eric McCandless, © 2024 Disney, courtesy of ABC/Visit Santa Barbara

American pop sensation and American Idol judge, Katy Perry, has deep roots in the idyllic coastal city of Santa Barbara. On February 18, 2024 at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET), as American Idol’s latest season premieres with a special episode on ABC, viewers will get an insider’s tour of Perry’s hometown.

This guide showcases locations in Santa Barbara that hold significance in connection to Perry. From charming local eateries to revered community treasures, this “California Gurl” knows all the best spots in town.

Perry’s journey to stardom began with humble beginnings, busking for change or the occasional avocado at the weekly Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Markets. The upcoming American Idol episode features her busking on State Street, reminiscent of her early days as an artist. 

As a teenager, she attended Dos Pueblos High School and embraced quintessential beach-town activities like roller skating, skateboarding and surfing. Throughout her formative years, Perry honed her craft at the Music Academy of the West, a cherished institution that she holds near and dear to her heart. The American Idol episode features an audition at this renowned academy, highlighting her deep ties to the community.

From her childhood favorite taco joint, La Super-Rica Taqueria, immortalized in her song and video, “This Is How We Do,” to the vibrant nightlife hotspot, Wildcat Lounge, mentioned in the same track, Perry’s musical catalog is rich with hometown love. The singer also shot the music video for her popular 2010 song, “Teenage Dream,” in Santa Barbara. Even her 2018 concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl featured shoutouts to beloved local joints like East Beach Tacos, Rusty’s Pizza and Blenders In the Grass

In a 2013 Vogue article, the singer talks about her love for Montecito’s Lotusland, a 37-acre botanic garden filled with exotic flora. According to the interview, Perry hadn’t visited this popular destination before her stardom, but is now an enthusiast of the lush grounds.

Perry and her fiancé Orlando Bloom once enjoyed a date at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, particularly the “Butterflies Alive!” exhibit, open May through September. With nearly two dozen species of butterflies fluttering around the beautiful garden, it’s no surprise that this spot makes for a unique and romantic date setting, even for the stars.

Further underscoring her ties to the community, Perry’s nonprofit Firework Foundation supports MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, fostering a connection between her philanthropic endeavors and the vibrant, science-focused activities the local museum offers.

A guide to Katy Perry’s Santa Barbara wouldn’t be complete without a look at what resorts she’s visited for inspiration during your next visit to The American Riviera®. On multiple occasions, the singer was spotted enjoying the romantic grounds of San Ysidro Ranch. In 2021, Perry was photographed for the cover of L’OFFICIEL at Rosewood Miramar Beach.