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How to Spend 1 Day in Santa Barbara

How to Spend 1 Day in Santa Barbara

With museums, Spanish colonial sites, and gorgeous coastline, Santa Barbara offers plenty to see and do. Fortunately, it’s compact enough that you’ll be able to get a taste of what this city has to offer in just one day. Here’s how.

Morning: Go Back in Time

Start off your morning with a visit to the Old Mission of Santa Barbara, a Franciscan mission built in 1786 and arguably the city’s most important historic site. Inside the property, visitors will find art and artifacts, recreations of period rooms (including a priest’s quarters and a kitchen), and gardens and courtyards. 

From the Mission, it’s a quick jaunt north to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to experience its collection of exhibits detailing the natural life of the Santa Barbara region.

Afternoon: Head to the Beach

After visiting the museum, go straight down to Stearns Wharf to try out local seafood while taking in great views. Popular dining options include The Harbor Restaurant and the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. 

From the wharf, make your way to Leadbetter Beach, a scenic stretch of sand that’s loved by sunbathing tourists and locals alike. Here you can learn how to surf or stand-up paddleboard. Alternatively, travel west to the 15-acre Shoreline Park, which mixes manicured parklands with rugged coastline and offers views of the Channel Islands in the distance.

Night: Take In Dinner and a Show

As night falls, grab an early dinner and then head to The Granada Theatre, located downtown on State Street. Dating to the early 20th century (and extensively renovated in the late 1990s), this historic theater hosts the bulk of the city’s important cultural events: The State Street Ballet, the Santa Barbara Choral Society and CAMA, the Opera Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Symphony all operate out of the theater. 

If you’ve got energy leftover after a show, wrap up the evening with a trip to the Funk Zone, a trendy arts district full of art galleries, boutiques, breweries, and wine bars.

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6 Tours and Activities | All Santa Barbara Tours

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Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour

Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour

star-5
Explore Santa Barbara by electric bike, covering plenty of ground on a morning or afternoon excursion. Ride your easy-to-use beach cruiser to key landmarks such as State Street and the Santa Barbara Mission as your knowledgeable guide shares the city’s history during this Santa Barbara bike tour. Have your camera ready as you glide along the renowned Pacific coastline. Numbers are limited to five people, ensuring personalized attention and a small-group experience.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$95.00
From
$95.00
Taking safety measures

Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour

Downtown Santa Barbara Food Tour

star-5
Walk right past the crowds on this food tour in Downtown Santa Barbara. Your guide leads the way as you pop into five to six tasting locations and one wine tasting room. Savor dishes and drinks locals have made a staple in their everyday lives, and learn about other places to eat and drink during your stay. If you have any food allergies or aversions or do not drink alcohol, please let us know in advance so we can do our best to accommodate.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$99.00
From
$99.00
Taking safety measures

Santa Barbara Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Santa Barbara Scavenger Hunt Adventure

star-2
Make Santa Barbara your game board with a 3-hour scavenger hunt adventure for a team of 2–5 people. Use a smart phone to follow a series of locally-themed clues that lead to fun challenges with your friends and family. Trace a 2-mile route past historic monuments, seaside neighborhoods and hidden gems to get an insider's look at the city. Rack up points to compete against prior scavenger hunt teams, or simply enjoy the self-guided tour at your own pace, with plenty of stops to eat, drink and sightsee.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$20.52
Price varies by group size
From
$20.52
Price varies by group size

1-on-1 Private Surf Lesson in Santa Barbara

1-on-1 Private Surf Lesson in Santa Barbara

star-5
Catch your very first wave or fine-tune your turns with a 2-hour private surf lesson in Santa Barbara. Practice paddling out, reading the waves and popping as you surf along with a professional coach, and learn to stay safe and have fun in California’s legendary waves. Enjoy the convenience of an all-inclusive lesson, and soak up the coastal sunshine as you take your surfing skills to the next level.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$145.00
From
$145.00

Santa Barbara Surfing Lesson

Santa Barbara Surfing Lesson

star-5
Ride the waves near Santa Barbara like a pro during this introductory surfing lesson. Get the hang of surfing fundamentals like paddling, ‘reading’ waves, catching waves, and standing up as you learn on the world-famous surfing beaches of Southern California. Your knowledgeable instructors, with more than 25 years of experience combined, will teach you all the skills you need.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$102.70
From
$102.70
Taking safety measures

Event Transportation

Event Transportation

star-4
Spend a carefree day sipping your way through the Santa Ynez Valley on a private wine tour four you and up to 9 friends. After pickup from Solvang and surrounding areas, a dedicated guide chauffeurs you to the region’s top wineries on a customized itinerary designed just for your group. Spend as long as you like at each stop and taste the best Santa Ynez varietals, all without the need to appoint a designated driver.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$275.00
per group
From
$275.00
per group