As travel begins again, we know you’re working hard to keep up on all the changes. “What is open? What is closed? Can my clients still experience this destination the same way?” With this itinerary, we hope to reintroduce you to Santa Barbara so you are able to educate your clients on what they can expect during their stay in Santa Barbara.
STATE STREET PROMENADE
The heart of downtown Santa Barbara’s entertainment and retail district has transformed into an expansive 10-block pedestrian walkway. One can now explore, browse, shop, sip, and dine while enjoying the architectural beauty, sights, and sounds of State Street—without car traffic. One of the biggest perks of this enticing reimagining is the abundance of outdoor dining offerings. Many restaurants along State Street have created beautiful outdoor dining spaces. While your favorites are still here, we also have a couple new kids on the block to check out. Here’s our guide to New Restaurants in the Santa Barbara South Coast.
If you want to experience State Street at a little faster pace, jump on one of the newest additions, an electric bike from BCycle. They deliver a best-in-class bike share system for the City of Santa Barbara and are committed to providing an environmentally sustainable transportation alternative for cities.
While strolling or rolling down State Street, keep your eyes open for the new Maker’s Market in Paseo Nuevo and the State Street Promenade Market that runs every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring local artisans for that perfect memento of Santa Barbara.
LOWER STATE STREET
If it’s been more than two years since you’ve visited, you definitely need to see the drastic improvements that have been made on lower State Street, where downtown meets the waterfront at the foot of Stearns Wharf. The new Hotel Californian anchors multiple restaurants, tasting rooms and bars that create a true gateway feeling to the downtown corridor.
URBAN WINE TRAIL
Something that hasn’t changed in Santa Barbara is our delicious wine. Local vintners have outdone themselves yet again by majorly upgrading the line-up of outdoor wine tasting experiences in Santa Barbara. While many wineries previously offered outdoor tasting options, be they overlooking rolling hills and vineyards in wine country or prime patio perches just steps from the beach in downtown Santa Barbara, the recent pandemic presented new opportunities for vintners to create fresh, alfresco experiences that are super safe and just as enjoyable as ever. Don’t miss Grassini Family Vineyards, in the Presidio Neighborhood, for a one of kind opportunity to taste wine on the grounds of Santa Barbara’s birthplace in the 1800’s. If in the Funk Zone, you can’t miss stopping by one of the many wineries that have shifted outdoors. To help you plan a perfect day—or better yet, several days—of wine tasting along the Urban Wine Trail and in Santa Barbara wine country, use this guide as your checklist to safely sip and social distance.
Our city wasn’t the only one to make improvements during COVID-19. Hotels took advantage of this pause in business to upgrade. If you have time, these properties are worth a fresh look:
- Palihouse – Formerly known as the Spanish Garden Inn. The 24-room Spanish Colonial boutique hotel has been rebranded and refreshed with an eclectic design described as “a mixture of vintage preppy and American Riviera®.”
- Mar Monte Hotel, Unbound Collection by Hyatt – formerly known as Hyatt Centric, the refresh is a reincarnation of the historic 1930’s Vista Mar Monte. Mar Monte Hotel has been transformed with modern amenities and design following an extensive renovation project to establish a style of contemporary Santa Barbara.
- The Waterman – Previously the Wayfarer Hotel, it has been rebranded and is now part of Marriott as a Moxy Hotel. It offers clients a hip and modern boutique option in the heart of the Funk Zone.
- Motel 6 – Near Santa Barbara’s East Beach, the nation’s very first 52-room Motel 6 has been updated with bright, colorful retro furnishings inspired by its 1962 origins (when rates were only $6 per night).
- Mason Beach Inn – Reopened with a newly refreshed look offering guests a truly Santa Barbarian boutique hotel experience.
- La Playa Inn – The new kid on the block. After a complete rebuild, La Playa Inn is ready to welcome guests offering a uniquely Santa Barbara experience on the waterfront.
Getting to Santa Barbara is now easier than ever. Here are all the new non-stop ways your clients can arrive into town.
- Southwest Airlines® – We’re thrilled to announce that travelers can now take advantage of five new daily nonstop flights from Las Vegas (3 flights daily), Oakland (1 flight daily), and Denver (1 flight daily).
- American Airlines® – Beginning May 8th, American Airlines® starts seasonal, weekend only nonstop service to and from Chicago, adding to their existing Phoenix and Dallas Fort Worth routes.
- Alaska Airlines® – The long-awaited daily service to and from San Diego begins in late June 2021.
- United Airlines® – Beginning June 3, United joins the non-stop Chicago route with 7 day a week service to and from O’Hare.