Bye, SF Summer: We're Heading to Santa Barbara
They don't call it the American Riviera for nothing
If you’re like us, you’re looking for any excuse to go somewhere with actual summer temps. Our pick: Santa Barbara. Driving distance from SF (about five hours), it's the perfect long-weekend destination. So take Friday and Monday off, start heading south and refer to our guide for what to do, where to stay, what to eat and where to get your wine on.
EXPLORE: THE FUNK ZONE
Skip touristy State Street and head to the Funk Zone (cheesy name, cool neighborhood) instead. Over the past few years, all types of creatives have transformed the old warehouse district into a hipster haven. Replete with art galleries, wine-tasting rooms, boutiques and breweries, you could easily spend a whole weekend strolling the streets of this neighborhood. Use this trusty map as your guide and check the Funk Zone’s website for a list of happenings.
EAT: SANTA BARBARA PUBLIC MARKET
Central California’s version of Napa’s Oxbow Public Market, this classy food hall touts local farm goods and artisanal products. From the cheeses at Counter Culture to the freshly baked loaves at Crazy Good Bread Co., you won’t go hungry. There’s even a commissary kitchen that hosts cooking classes and winemaker dinners.
DRINK: THE VALLEY PROJECT
Sure, we have Napa and Sonoma, but don’t knock the wine happening along the Central Coast. At The Valley Project’s bright, minimalist tasting room, it’s all about schooling you in the area’s offerings. Case in point: the floor-to-ceiling chalk-art mural illustrating Santa Barbara County's wine-growing region. Once you’ve had a look, winemaker Seth Kunin will have you sampling wines from his small label, which showcases the diversity of SBC’s terroir.
SHOP: THE BLUE DOOR
This design-savvy shop is a treasure trove of vintage and modern furniture, accessories, art and decor. Enter through the namesake large blue doors and peruse three floors of vintage Louis Vuitton bags and mid-century modern chairs. If you like it, buy it, because good finds are scooped up quickly.
DO: URBAN WINE TRAIL
Santa Barbara County’s wine country is at your fingertips, but if you’re looking for a fun way to taste without a designated driver, check out the town’s myriad tasting rooms on foot instead via the Urban Wine Trail. The self-guided tour of 20-plus tasting rooms lets you explore at your own pace while sampling some of the best the region has to offer. Bonus: Brush up on your wine lingo with this glossary before shooting the breeze with local winemakers.
STAY: HOTEL INDIGO
Location, location, location--that’s what Hotel Indigo is all about. Just one block from the beach, this classy boutique art hotel features gallery walls in the lobby and hallways. The 41 rooms here are teeny-tiny, but who’s hanging out inside when there’s so much to explore? Plus, stylish communal rooftop patios make up for the lack of interior space.
ADVENTURE: BIKE THE COAST
Santa Barbara isn’t called the American Riviera for nothing. You’ll want to take it all in, and the town’s waterfront bike path is just the way to do it. It’s flat and easy, and the views are unparalleled. Rent a cruiser from Wheel Fun Rentals right off of State Street across from the beach and head south toward Montecito. Peek over the hedges while you pedal and see if you can spot any celebrity estates--Oprah and Ellen are just a few A-listers with manses here.