On any vacation to Santa Barbara, it is safe to bet on great weather. Known for its year-round sunshine and temperate climate, it would be unusual for a trip to be spoiled by rain. However, just in case you do find yourself in a California downpour, here are our recommendations for how to make the most of a rainy day in SB:
If you wake up to rain on your next visit, we suggest forgoing a rigid schedule and taking the day to relax and move slow. So, what better way to start your morning than with an extended, leisurely breakfast? If road conditions are safe, take Highway 154 to Cold Spring Tavern for a cozy meal by the fire. If you’re looking to stay in town, try Tupelo Junction for a warm atmosphere and some cajun breakfast. We recommend the berry French toast or one of their popular scrambles.
Another excellent way to spend an afternoon in Santa Barbara indoors is to visit a couple of the excellent museums open daily. Downtown, there is the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which has 27,000 works of art coming from all over the world. Further uptown, next the Old Mission, is the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History which explores and provides info on the flora and fauna in Southern California, and it offers plenty of interactive exhibits to keep you busy for hours.
Watch a Movie
Although a classic solution to cold weather, we also suggest going to a movie if you’re looking to stay indoors. Fortunately, with some of the charming theaters in SB, this choice can be as much about escaping a storm as it is about experiencing the city. Head to the Riviera Theatre for an old-fashioned, single-screen theater playing international and independent films. For the latest blockbuster, check out the beautiful and historic Arlington Theatre downtown.
There’s something enticing about being near the ocean in a storm, so on a dark and gloomy day head to Stearns Wharf to experience coastal rain. First, warm up with a cup of clam chowder or some fresh seafood at Santa Barbara Shellfish Company located at the end of the pier. After that, check out the Sea Center, also located right on the wharf, for an indoor activity that is fun, informative and unique to Santa Barbara.
Go Wine Tasting
Although the Funk Zone in Downtown Santa Barbara is not inside, the density of wineries lining these side streets is such that you can easily navigate between them without getting too wet. With so many tasting rooms and varieties of libations, it would be easy to spend an entire afternoon here. Try Corks n’ Crowns on a rainy day for excellent white and red flights as well as a living-room vibe complete with leather chairs and a fireplace.