And I am back! This week I took a 2 hour drive up the coast to Santa Barbara. I have been to Santa Barbara lots of times before, my mom went to college there and absolutely loves it, so I was more familiar with where to park and where to go. What I really love about Santa Barbara is the shopping. There are so many cute little stores on State Street (the sort of main street of Santa Barbara) that sell antiques, records, and vintage clothes. One of my favorites in this record store called ‘Just Play Music’ that is super super tiny and filled to the brim with records and old t-shirts. Now let me tell you, this is my absolute favorite store in all of Santa Barbara and every single time I am in the city, I have to visit this place. For being so small, they have an amazing collection of records from so many different artists and genres. This trip I was incredibly lucky to find a copy of Low by David Bowie, which I have been looking for soooooo long. I really should have stayed away from this store because I had just gotten paid, so I will admit I spent a bit more than I should have. But I just really needed that Pinkerton shirt ok!
How cute is this store though!
After the record store I took some time to just walk down State Street and window shop for a while. Santa Barbara is hugely influenced by Spanish architecture, as much of Southern California is, which makes it incredibly beautiful. Another favorite store is called ‘Find your Feet’, and they literally only sells socks. They have some crazy designs like socks with pugs or the Mona Lisa on them! In addition to having amazing stores, Santa Barbara also has incredible restaurants! If you want some amazing Mexican and some crazy fresh seafood there are so many choices! Seriously, you can chose just about any restaurant on State Street and you will get an incredible meal (trust me I have eaten at just about every one of them)!
A quick example of the Spanish architecture!
Another thing I love about Santa Barbara is the beaches! The beaches here are similar to Los Angeles in that they are really wide, giving lots of room for people to spread out on the beaches. Also the main beach has volleyball courts already set up, so anyone can go and play there. A weird thing about the Santa Barbara beaches is that offshore you can see oil rigs, that are currently in use. This means that if you dig through the sand enough (like I used to do when I was younger) the sand gets more tar like because of the oil. It’s one of those weird Santa Barbara quirks that you get used to if you visit enough times.
Here is the main beach in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is overall actually a really small area. Most of the touristy activities are around State Street or near the beach. This means that you can easily do a day trip to Santa Barbara and not be pressed for time trying to fit everything in. If you do make the trip up there, I would save some time for a tour of the mission, especially if you have never seen one before. Having the luxury of growing up in Southern California, I have been able to see a lot of the missions that were built and learn about them in depth (seriously in 4th grade it felt like we were learning about missions the entire year!) Because of this, I wasn’t able to go on a tour of the mission this time, but it should definitely be on your list of stops!
I really do love this style of architecture
Before I forget, I wanted to include some tips on parking, because as this still is Southern California, parking is a giant hassle. Santa Barbara is nice in that they have public lots scattered throughout the main town area. You get 75 free minutes of parking, and what I do is go back and leave the parking structure before my 75 minutes are up and just drive to a different lot to get more free parking. If you are okay with setting a timer and moving your car a couple blocks every hour, this is a great way to avoid having to pay anything for parking!
So that is all for this week! I will be back soon with another adventure!
Here is what State Street looks like!
Yes, another beach picture!
Even the main mall has this Spanish style architecture!