As a traveling club soccer family, we are forced to hit the road & visit cities all over California. We always try to mix soccer with pleasure, not matter where we find ourselves. We’re so lucky when we find ourselves visiting a town that we love. So, on a hot summer day in July, we head out for some Summer fun in Santa Barbara!!
A beautiful and not too bad of a drive, we trek up the 101 freeway to the American Riviera, better known as Santa Barbara! It’s a 2 hour drive, sometimes longer, depending on traffic. Traffic was surprisingly light, so this drive along the Pacific coast was lovely!
Booking a hotel room in Santa Barbara can be very hard, If you don’t make reservations far in advance. We opted for an Airbnb cottage rental located up in the hills. We brought our dog, it was perfect!
U.C. Santa Barbara
On this soccer trip, our daughter attended UC Santa Barbara’s 3 day Soccer ID Camp . After we arrived, we toured the school on our own & showed our daughter the academic buildings and athletic fields. UCSB is located right next to the ocean, awesome!
While our daughter was at Soccer camp, my hubby and I decided to go have fun and explore Santa Barbara. I’ll show you some things we did! First one is a Santa Barbara hidden gem located right across the street from where we were staying!
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
What a gem this place is! Located in the hills above Santa Barbara, just a few miles up from the historic Old Mission Inn is this glorious little botanic garden!
We were lucky enough to walk to the garden since we were staying across the street. We entered the garden through a local’s entrance. We were also lucky to be able to bring our little dog, Holly!
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden isn’t just a garden, but considered to be a 78 acred living museum, where California native plants are displayed for research, education and conservation.
More than 5.5 miles of easy walking trails takes you through gorgeous native plant gardens, huge redwood trees and desert cacti gardens. Beautiful bridges were built to get you over Mission Creek.
The garden sits on top of the historical Mission dam and aqueduct system, built in1807. It supplied fresh water to the Santa Barbara Mission. There’s also a quaint Japanese Teahouse on the grounds for you to explore.
Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for children. There’s a back entrance off of Tunnel Road where you can enter for free. It’s considered a local’s entrance. You didn’t hear it from me though, shhhh!! 1212 Mission Canyon Road 805-682-4726
Wine Tasting in Santa Barbara
No longer do you have to drive an hour up to wine country, because wine country has come to Santa Barbara! Wonderful wine tasting rooms have popped up right in the middle of town!
Most wine tasting rooms are located at The Funk Zone district, where art and wine collide! Close to the beach and walking distance from the Amtrak station, you’ll find art galleries, boutique wine tasting rooms, as well as eateries and shops! Such a great spot to visit after hanging out at the beach!
You can also go wine tasting along State Street. That’s where we found our favorite Sanford Winery. We’re wine club members, so we were super excited to stop by their wine tasting Room! What a pretty wine room and they were all so welcoming and friendly! Sanford Wine Tasting Room, 1114 State Street #26, 805-770-7873 Santa Barbara Winery 202 Anacapa Street, 805-963-3633
Santa Barbara Bowl
Okay, here’s my confession..we planned our daughter’s soccer camp around a concert that my hubby and I wanted to attend. Luckily, the dates worked out for us! I’ve never been to the Santa Barbara Bowl and what a blast it was!!
This small amphitheater is right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. We parked at the high school and walked by nice homes. Nestled in a hill and not just a hill, but a pretty steep hill!
The Santa Barbara bowl first opened in 1936. This intimate venue holds up to 4,562 only. Their season is April through October, with an average of 27 shows per year.
Our friend gave us a great tip and I’ll pass it on. Take a hike up to the top of the amphitheater before settling into your seat. There’s a bar up there, along with the most amazing view of Santa Barbara and the beautiful Pacific Ocean!!
We attended the concert of alt rock band Garbage and legendary Blondie! They didn’t disappoint! What great show in such a wonderful venue. Every seat is a good seat. Make sure you show up on time, because the shows start early and end by 10pm. They have a strict curfew. You must see a show here! 11122 N. Milpas Street 805-962-7411 sbbowl.com
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Whatever you do, whichever city you go to, if there’s a California Mission there, you must visit it! You won’t regret it and you’ll be thrilled you did. Old Mission Santa Barbara is the tenth mission out of twenty one in California. This beautiful mission was founded in 1786 and is still an active parish. There’s a museum and gift shop, too. Open every day. 2201 Laguna Street, 805-682-4713
Santa Barbara Restaurants
Santa Barbara restaurants are pretty darn good, from seaside dining, to downtown dining, to locals favorite dining. Though, it’s always hard finding eateries that will allow dogs. Here are the 3 eateries that we dined at and 2 of the 3 were tolerant to our dog.
Casa Blanca Restaurant – Located downtown on State Street. Good Mexican and large patio made a perfect dinner for a family with a dog. This restaurant was very dog friendly! 330 State Street, 805-845-8966
Beachside Cafe – Located right on the beach in Goleta, next to UC Santa Barbara. We ate here after we picked up our daughter from soccer camp. Not touristy at all. Seemed like a locals spot. Mostly seafood and very good! They allowed our dog on the patio. 5905 Sandspit Rd, Goleta 805-964-7881
Sun Sushi – No patio, so not dog friendly. We left our dog behind. Located on the quieter parts of State Street. Locals spot. Inexpensive sushi & friendly staff. 3631 State Street, 805-845-7720