Santa Barbara, Calif. — The arrival of spring and summer months in Santa Barbara’s South Coast brings not only longer days and a profusion of colorful flowers along city streets and foothills, but new experiences for visitors and resources to support stays in The American Riviera.
Read on for a preview of Santa Barbara’s new direct flight, Visit Santa Barbara’s relaunched website, seasonal event highlights like the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival and CycleMAYnia, and more.
Located just 90 miles north of Los Angeles, dreamy Santa Barbara is easy to get to — and difficult to leave, as visitors soon find they’ll need more than a day to experience everything the region has to offer.
TRANSPORTATION, TOURS AND TOURISM
Visit Santa Barbara’s website relaunched
Visit Santa Barbara recently relaunched its website, SantaBarbaraCA.com. The new site showcases the Santa Barbara South Coast’s many offerings, from upcoming festivals to new attractions, while serving as an indispensable tool for trip planning. Key new features include a refreshed look, enhanced search and navigation, state-of-the-art responsive design and interactive maps. New itineraries and a new section titled “Next Month in Santa Barbara” provide concrete ideas for upcoming travel.
American Airlines flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Santa Barbara
On June 2, American Airlines will begin non-stop service from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Santa Barbara Airport (SBA). American Airlines last operated the DFW-SBA route in 2009. Dallas/Fort Worth (the second largest U.S. airport hub) marks the seventh major city with non-stop service to Santa Barbara, joining Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Flights depart daily from DFW to SBA at 10:50 a.m.
MIKE the Bike — mobile visitor kiosk
Visitors to Santa Barbara may now see MIKE the Bike, a vibrant orange bicycle, cruising along downtown streets. An initiative of Downtown Santa Barbara, the Mobile Information Kiosk Explorer is used by its State Street Team to deliver maps to visitors and to greet cruise ship passengers at Sea Landing. MIKE the Bike will be instrumental this summer as part of the weekend Downtown Host program. Custom designed by Bike Friday, the bike was assembled by Bici Centro, the bicycle kitchen that’s part of the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. Downtownsb.org
App tours of Santa Barbara
Two new app-based tours of Santa Barbara put sightseeing prowess in the palm of your hand. Tours4Mobile recently launched self-guided walking tours of the Santa Barbara Waterfront and Old Mission Santa Barbara to Stearns Wharf. The tours were created by professional travel writers with local expertise and the app alerts users to nearby deals. Seeker offers wine tasting packages of the Funk Zone and Stearns Wharf: Visitors simply show their mobile devices at area tasting rooms and receive tasting flights, glasses, cheese plates and more. Visit Tours4Mobile
FOOD AND DRINK
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.’s fifth anniversary
Named the fastest growing craft brewery of the Inc. 5000 list last fall, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. recently celebrated its fifth year in the biz. In the past three years alone, the family-owned brewery has grown by a phenomenal 893 percent. With four taprooms in Santa Barbara County, including its flagship brewery in Buellton, Santa Barbara, Los Olivos and Santa Maria, Fig shows no signs of resting on its laurels. In the works: A new restaurant in Buellton and a new brewery in Munich. Figmtnbrew.com
Los Agaves Restaurant named to Yelp list
Los Agaves Restaurant was named one of Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2016. Based on more than 10 years of restaurant reviews, the list honors businesses that are so highly rated by the Yelpers that they’ve earned the status of “must try within this lifetime.” Family-owned and operated, Los Agaves (ranked No. 16) celebrates the authentic flavors and foods of Mexico with a contemporary twist. Signature dishes include Molcajetes, Chiles Norteños and Fajitas del Mar. Los Agaves has three locations in the Santa Barbara South Coast. Losagaves.com
New wine appellation: Los Olivos District
The Los Olivos District became Santa Barbara County’s sixth official American Viticultural Area (AVA) or wine-growing appellation. Bordered by the AVAs of Happy Canyon and Ballard Canyon, the 22,820-acre region encompasses the cities of Solvang, Los Olivos, Ballard and Santa Ynez. The AVA’s moderate warmth, gently sloping terrain and consistent soils provide a fertile environment for Bordeaux grapes, as well as Rhone, Italian and Spanish varietals. Nearly 50 commercial vineyards and 13 wineries, including Brander, Buttonwood and Gainey, are located in the region. LosOlivosDistrict.com
“Discover the French Art de Vivre” Workshops
Based around the idea that living well is an art form, a new workshop series brings together several pleasing pastimes: cooking, plein air painting and eating well. The day begins at a scenic private estate with a lavish breakfast buffet and mimosas. An art class and a cooking class follow, and the experience culminates in a relaxed al fresco lunch paired with Santa Barbara County wines. French native the former executive director of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market leads the cooking class, while a renowned Santa Barbara painter teaches painting. Marketforays.com
ARTS & CULTURE:
I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival, May 28 to 30
Using chalk pastels of many colors, artists transform the pavement outside Old Mission Santa Barbara into 150 vibrant, large-scale images each Memorial Day weekend. Some are original designs, while others are renderings of famous period paintings. A benefit for Children’s Creative Project, the festival features live music, food booths and more. “Madonnari” means street painters in Italy, where street-painting festivals originated, and artists ranging from professionals to schoolchildren provide visitors a patchwork of creativity to enjoy. IMadonnarifestival.com
SBCAST (Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology)
SBCAST is a creative incubator and live/work artist community that opened in February in downtown Santa Barbara. Supporting multidisciplinary collaborations in art, science and technology, the collective hosts public exhibitions in its gallery spaces, interactive art events and workshops. Up to 18 artists in disciplines ranging from movement arts to sculpture may live at SBCAST at one time. Located on Garden Street, just steps away from Art From Scrap and the Community Arts Workshop, and with tie-ins to the local Burning Man community, the complex solidifies the neighborhood’s emerging identity as a creative corridor. SBCast.org
Free outdoor Summer Film Series, July 6 to August 26
The free series returns with “Bogie & Bacall,” a thrilling lineup of film classics centered around the great Hollywood romance of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Watch these luminaries ignite the screen with their fiery chemistry in classics ranging from The Maltese Falcon to Casablanca. Screenings take place outdoors under the stars most Friday nights at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden and Wednesday nights at UCSB Campbell Hall. Presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and the Community Services Department of Santa Barbara County. ArtsandLectures.ucsb.edu
Music Academy of the West Summer Festival, June 13 to Aug. 6
Music Academy of the West’s 69th annual Summer School and Festival presents a rich mixture of masterclasses, recitals and concerts featuring 140 talented fellows and 70 faculty. Mosher Guest Artists include flutist Emmanuel Pahud, baritone Thomas Hampson and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who will perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in two special community concerts, followed by Dvořák’s New World Symphony. The opera event of the summer is a new production of Smetana’s comedic masterwork, The Bartered Bride. Special events include a piano recital by Jeremy Denk, a concert by Takács Quartet, Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony conducted by New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert and more. MusicAcademy.org.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s 75th Anniversary
Since its opening in 1941, the museum has amassed nearly 28,000 works of art in its permanent collection, from paintings and prints to photographs, bronzes, and textiles, spanning more than 5,000 years of human history, from Asia to the Americas. An exhibit of Highlights of the Permanent Collection celebrates the museum’s 75th anniversary in 2016. Opening on April 17 are “Lewis deSoto: Paranirvana (Self-Portrait)”, the installation of a massive inflatable Buddha sculpture and “Puja and Piety,” featuring Hindu, Jain and Buddhist art from the Indian subcontinent. sbma.net
ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES:
Stage 3 Amgen Tour Preview, April 24
Ride with a champion on April 24 during a public preview of 2016 Amgen Tour of California’s Stage Three (officially coming to Santa Barbara May 17). Cyclist Jens Voigt, finisher of 17 Tour de Frances, invites fans to ride all 105 miles of the critical Queen Stage with him, from Thousand Oaks to Gibraltar Road. Also participating will be four-time U.S. National Road Race Champion Freddie Rodriguez. Three weeks before the pros tackle the road, this open-to-the-public ride features a climb up recently resurfaced Gibraltar Road, with spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Participants can join Jens in shouting his classic mantra “Shut Up, Legs” during the toughest moments. AmgenTourofCalifornia.com
CycleMaynia, May 1 to 31
CycleMAYnia, the South Coast’s Bike Month, is packed with 30 fun bicycling events in May tailored for people of all ages and abilities, ranging from organized bike rides, social gatherings and youth activities to workshops and bike-to-work events. A few highlights include Bikepacking Explored, the Tour de Tent, a Handling Skills class, bike breakfasts and the biggest party of all — Celebrate CycleMAYnia. The activities are organized by community members with coordination from Traffic Solutions, the county-wide rideshare organization. CycleMAYnia.org
Butterflies Alive! returns, May 21 to Sept. 5
More than a thousand free-flying butterflies will fill a garden of lush greenery as visitors walk among them in this highly popular, interactive butterfly exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. A large netted area houses the flowers, plants and fruits the butterflies need to survive. Visitors walk shoulder-to-wing as different species flit by. A downloadable Butterflies Alive app includes an identification guide with photographs, tips about butterfly behavior and suggested camera angles for the most memorable shots. sbnature.org
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s 90th anniversary, April 1 to May 1
The oldest botanic garden in California dedicated to native flora, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2016 with a rainbow of parties, planting-day events, painting classes, photography seminars and more. Enjoy family days, a look at creatures that inhabit the garden, restoration days, book signings and more. A party the first weekend in May features tours of five new gardens — including a new children’s maze — food and docent talks. A new conservation building spotlights native Channel Islands plants. sbbg.org
Bead Elements & Design Show, May 6 to 8
Visitors can romance the stones, and so much more, when 250 superbly skilled artisans converge on the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort for the annual Bead Elements & Design Show. Craft artists and designers will display and sell beadwork, hand-cut jewels, dyed silks, Australian opals, metalwork, pearl knotting, soldered creations, clothing, Egyptian scarabs, fused glass, leather and vintage antiques. Admission is $10 and covers all three days. Attendees may take part in 150 workshops on techniques ranging from jewelry design to bead-making at all skill levels. Beadelements.com
Milo Uncorked wine tastings
Hotel Milo Santa Barbara, an oceanfront Independent Collection hotel, has launched a new wine-tasting series called “Milo Uncorked.” Each session features a premier Santa Barbara County winery, with winery staff on hand to discuss the characteristics of the wines. The tastings are complimentary to hotel guests and take place in the lobby and courtyard overlooking the Pacific Ocean from 4 to 6 p.m. on select dates from March to July. A selection of bottles from participating wineries will be available for purchase. HotelMiloSantaBarbara.com
ABOUT SANTA BARBARA
Voted “Best Beach Town” by Sunset magazine in its inaugural travel awards in 2015 and one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “30 Best Small Cities in America” in its Readers’ Choice Awards, Santa Barbara is located just 92 miles north of Los Angeles and 332 miles south of San Francisco, on the Pacific coastline. Visitors can arrive via scenic Highway 101, train, bus or by flying into Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). For travel and accommodation information and to request a free copy of the official Santa Barbara Visitors Magazine, contact Visit Santa Barbara at (800) 676-1266 or (805) 966-9222, email [email protected] or visit SantaBarbaraCA.com. Visitor information is also available at the Visitor Center, 1 Garden St. (at Cabrillo Boulevard).
FOR MEDIA ONLY
High-res photos available at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gt2f8lewuzenf37/AABWjZbDsRu_doPcMWCUBl0Sa?dl=0. Contact [email protected] for additional images.
Stay informed about Santa Barbara news with Visit Santa Barbara’s Media Center and press releases. Just getting to know Santa Barbara? The Media Field Guide is a great place to start. Planning a research visit? Use the Press Trip Request form to get the process started. Follow Visit Santa Barbara on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily updates, and for on-the-go information about dining, wine, accommodations, events, attractions and more.