While we certainly hope that your next visit to Santa Barbara is a long and leisurely one, we recognize that not all trips are created equal. Fortunately, we are sure that given even just one day in SB, you’d have plenty to keep you entertained and leave a lasting impression. For visitors pressed on time, here is our guide on what not to miss with only 24 hours in town:
To start the day off right, we recommend a scenic stroll down Stearns Wharf. Just grab a coffee and sunglasses and head across the street from Hotel Milo to find old-fashioned tourist shops, classic ice cream parlors and restaurants specializing in local seafood. If you’ve got time, stop by the The Sea Center or take a break at Deep Sea Winery for wine tasting with a spectacular view. No matter what you chose, make this a top priority on any quick trip to the city!
Brophy Bros. is one of the most famous and popular restaurants in Santa Barbara. Famous for its clam chowder and strong drinks, this is a great pit stop on your way back from Stearns Wharf. Walk along the beach to work up an appetite and detour at The Harbor for a lunch that will set the tone for the rest of the day. Here you’ll find signature Bloody Mary’s, rowdy fisherman and a loyal crowd of locals looking to have a good time.
The Old Mission
As the ultimate cultural stop for the day, we would be remiss not to include The Old Mission of Santa Barbara on this list. An iconic landmark of the city, the Mission has been home to Franciscan friars for 100 years. Actively welcoming people of all religions and backgrounds, this is a necessary stop for everyone, if only for the stunning architecture, historical significance and beautiful rose garden out front.
Although there are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from in Santa Barbara, your trip would be incomplete without a stop at Butterfly Beach. Located in Montecito, locals come here for the calm waters and idyllic views of the city. If you only have one day in town, we highly suggest a visit in the late afternoon and making this your destination to watch a famous Santa Barbara sunset.
Finally, one of the trendiest but also most exciting neighborhoods in Santa Barbara is the very popular and ever-expanding Funk Zone. Jam-packed with local wine-tasting rooms and hip, new restaurants as well as surf shops and art galleries, the area is particularly crowded on the weekends but certainly a must-see. After a long day of sightseeing, we recommend winding the evening down with a reservation at The Lark or Lucky Penny for dinner before concluding the perfect day in SB.