Romantic Weekend Getaway in Santa Barbara
1The traffic may have been a bit sticky on the way up—there always seems to be construction on the 101—but the Urban Wine Trail is tailor-made to help you unwind. The 15 tasting rooms are all within walking distance of one other, or an easy cab or pedi-cab ride away. A couple of our favorites include Au Bon Climat, Margerum, and Kunin. Most charge $5 to $15 for a tasting, usually for five to eight tastes.
2Keep the wine theme for dinner and hit the Wine Cask attached to the Margerum tasting room (Doug Margerum is a co-owner). On a beautiful night, you can't beat the courtyard patio. For something more intimate, tuck into a booth in the main dining room. The food is super seasonal and wine-centric, with favorites like a spring vegetable salad with rose vinaigrette, risotto with clams and shaved chorizo, and grilled New York strip.
3Time to make your way back to the hotel. If you're staying in town, stroll along State Street and take in the sights and sounds of the charming town. Between UCSB co-eds and tourists, things really start to pick up on weekends. If you need to grab a cab, they're easily accessible.
1Start the day right with a healthy breakfast from Backyard Bowls, a local joint that specializes in acai bowls—the superfood serves as a base topped with anything from Strauss organic yogurt to fresh local berries—and breakfast bowls made with grains like quinoa. They are satisfying and fortifying, perfect fuel for a day of biking.
2You'll be biking or kayaking around all afternoon, so you'll need picnic supplies for later. Hit the weekly farmers' market at Santa Barbara and Cota streets. Lazy Acres Market is chock-full of organic salads, cheeses, fruits, and sandwiches. Panino is another great spot for sandwiches and salads.
3To rent bikes, Wheel Fun Rentals has everything from road bikes, cruisers, and tandems to two-person surreys. Start at the end of State Street and the pier, and ride along the bike path at the beach. Stop for lunch at Shoreline Park, a long narrow park on bluffs overlooking the ocean; Butterfly Beach, just across from the Biltmore in Montecito; or the Mission Rose Garden, a large grassy park across from the Mission.
4If you'd rather take to the water, rent kayaks and paddle along the shore. The Santa Barbara Sailing Center has rentals, maps, and guided tours.
5After a full day of sun and activity, unwind back in town with cocktails and a casual seafood dinner at The Hungry Cat. The fresh fruit cocktails and chilled seafood platters are a must. Or dine at Bouchon for upscale, Santa Barbara-style wine country fare.
6An after-dinner stroll around downtown might land you at McConnell's for a scoop of locally made, wholesome, delicious ice cream in tempting flavors like summer peach, island coconut, and salted caramel chip.
1Head back down to the beach for breakfast in the sand at Shoreline Beach Café. Don't miss the Mexican-inflected dishes like grilled shrimp omelet with salsa and chilaquiles. Check out the weekly arts and crafts show that takes up a few blocks along Cabrillo Boulevard.
2Wander through the outdoor paseos, beautifully landscaped plazas and brick-lined sidewalks around downtown. There is a great selection of major retailers like Nordstrom, unique local specialty shops and art galleries, and major attractions like the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the historic courthouse.
3Hop on one of the electric shuttles — only 25 cents a ride — and head back towards the water. No visit to SB would be complete without lunch at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Co. on the pier. It may look touristy with all those people gawking at massive tanks of crabs and sea urchin, but it's a locals' spot. Share a crab, have some chowder, and discuss who's going to drive home and who gets to nap in the car on the ride back. Or, if you've taken the train, just sit back and enjoy another glass of wine.