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Discover Santa Barbara

Destination Guide

The Best Of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara in one word? Joy. It’s a simple word—as clear and crisp as the blue skies and the Pacific Ocean here on the American Riviera. It’s as sumptuous as the wines from our famous vineyards, and as tasty as the tacos that draw crowds here from all over the world. From your base at El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel,, see why this city draws crowds from all over the world.

Read time: 3 min




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Beach

Where to start? By the ocean, of course. The green hills around this quaint, picturesque city softly embrace the coast. Santa Barbara’s golden-sand beaches curve gently around the bay, and it’s easy to find wonderful, relaxed alfresco restaurants here. Head to locals’ favorite Leadbetter Beach. Choose from local seafood specialties, sip an iced tea and enjoy the sound of the sea and rustle of the palm trees.

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Shopping

In the pretty town, you’ll find whatever your heart desires. Stroll to outdoor farmers’ markets brimming with bountiful produce. Visit airy boutiques offering designer fashion and antiques. One particular gem is Pierre Lafond, with its bijou coffee shop downstairs and beautiful gift store above.

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Culture

Culture-lovers favor the elegant Santa Barbara Museum of Art, centrally situated on State Street. Established in 1941, it’s now home to masterpieces by Chagall, Kandinsky, Rauschenberg and Monet, among many others.

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Old Santa Barbara Mission

Santa Barbara itself was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, and the Padres once knew this area as “Mission Ridge.” Besides the red-tiled roofs and stucco walls that the city is famous for, you’ll also find the historic 1786 Old Santa Barbara Mission here. Just a half-mile from the resort, it’s home to a heavenly scented flower garden and some of the best views in town. Breathe deeply.

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Funk Zone

There are plenty of things to do in Santa Barbara, and a visit to this hip district isn’t to be missed. Discover Santa Barbara’s pioneering artist community. With tasting rooms, galleries and shops, this is where the city’s cosmopolitan heart beats proudly. Support local business in the myriad of boutiques, or taste a vintage at one of the 20+ tasting rooms.

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Great outdoors

There’s so much colorful nature to enjoy in Santa Barbara, from its Botanical Garden (and Japanese Teahouse) to such well-named hikes as Inspiration Point. Saunter through Lotusland, home to one of the most extraordinary gardens on the planet. Or take to Valley Heart Ranch, home to an organic coffee farm. Don’t miss out on the Santa Barbara sea caves, where you can learn about fascinating geology, wildlife, cultural and natural history.

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Vineyards

This is also a renowned wine destination thanks to Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys and their unique microclimates. Our preferred way to sample the fruits of the region? On the beautiful outdoor patio at El Encanto, naturally—savoring the grape, the view and the company as the sun sets.

Let’s El Encanto Together

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