Santa Barbara

Overview

Introduction

Known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara, California, is all about the outdoors. The weather is comfortable year-round, and visitors as well as residents can ride bikes, walk along the beach or take lazy drives into the hills or through the outlying vineyards.

Located north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara has been a celebrity hideaway since the early 1900s, with the carefree attitude and architecture of a Mediterranean village and the sunny, relaxed disposition of a California beach town. As you bicycle along the Santa Barbara waterfront, you'll see why this seaside city is a special place. With the exception of recurrent morning fog, clear, blue skies shine over golden beaches, and the arid Santa Ynez Mountains loom over the city's signature white-stucco buildings with red-tile roofs. Joggers smile, beach volleyball players wave, and brown pelicans flap their wings methodically as they fly overhead.

In addition to its picturesque waterfront and abundant attractions, including the well-known Santa Barbara mission, the city offers museums, trendy restaurants and boutiques. But there's plenty more to see and do in the area. Montecito to the east is the place for exclusive shopping—it's often compared to LA's Rodeo Drive. To the west are Isla Vista and the lively campus of the University of California Santa Barbara. To the north are Santa Maria and the Santa Ynez Valley, where you'll find dozens of wineries as well as the old-time Danish town of Solvang.

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