Into the Wild // Santa Barbara
High style and rustic charm, beaches and mountains, wines and superfoods; Santa Barbara has it all. It's a perfect vacation for whichever side of yourself you choose to indulge. The beach bum in you is covered with their beautiful coastline, the wino in you will be very pleased with both the urban wine trail and the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley, the gourmand in you will love the city's thriving farm to table food scene, and the health nut in you won't be disappointed either given the amazing hiking trails the city has to offer. Below are all my favorite things about this most comprehensive of California coast cities.
The Lark: a rustic farm to table dining experience in the heart of the funk zone. Their menu changes based on the availability of seasonal, local produce and the results are always amazing. The same philosophy is applied to their cocktail menu with equally amazing results. Go family style and try as many dishes as you can!
Lucky Penny: right next door to the Lark this little breakfast and lunch spot serves up some amazing pizzas, sandwiches, and salads using seasonal, local ingredients. I highly recommend the quinoa and arugula salad. They also serve La Colombe coffee making this a great place to recharge.
The Funk Zone: the city's arts district that popped up amid industrial warehouses and train tracks is also home to an amazing urban wine trail featuring outposts from some of the central coast's best wineries. You can walk between them while stopping at art galleries and vintage stores along the way making for a pretty amazing day. Santa Barbara Wine Collective, Pali Wine Company, and Grassini Family Vineyards are personal favorites.
Cold Spring Tavern: if you've been keeping up with these posts then you know that I'm a sucker for any bar with an even vaguely western feel to it and the cold spring tavern more than delivers on that front. Housed in a nineteenth century stage coach stop about 15 minutes outside of Santa Barbara, the tavern offers up classic American food and drinks as well as live music on an outdoor stage. Go on Saturday or Sunday for one of their tri-tip sandwiches served fresh off the smoker, live music outside, and a delicious bloody mary to wash it all down!
Handlebar Coffee Roasters: a cute bicycle themed coffee shop in downtown Santa Barbara owned by two former competitive cyclists. They roast their own beans from Central America, South America, and Africa 2-3 times per week to ensure that their coffee is always as fresh as possible.
Kotuku Elixir Bar: located inside the Divinitree yoga studio, Kotuku is bringing herbs and super foods to downtown Santa Barbara. From potent juices and superfood smoothies to herbal tonics featuring Chinese herbs and adaptogens meant to invigorate and revitalize the body, their elixirs are next level and will leave you vibing high.
Wine Tasting: if you feel like branching out beyond the urban wine trail and seeing the grapes in their natural habitat there are some amazing wineries all within an hour's drive from Santa Barbara. Captain Jack's Tours and several other companies will organize a visit for you that can include horseback riding, spa visits, olive oil tastings, hikes, sailing, and lots of other amazing options.
Hiking: there are so many amazing trails in Santa Barbara and the wilderness surrounding it. I'm a big fan of both turning an easy beach hike into a beach day and dedicating a day to some of the more intense hikes on the Tunnel Trail.
The Blue Door: 3 stories of incredible vintage finds in the heart of the funk zone, making it a great stop between wineries on the urban wine trail. Who doesn't love a little tipsy treasure hunting!
Jenni Kayne: worth the trip to Montecito for the designer's central coast outpost featuring her always impeccable designs and a beautifully curated mix of designer home goods and clothes.
The Landsby: located in Solvang, which is about 30 minutes from Santa Barbara, staying here situates you perfectly for enjoying both the beach and city of Santa Barbara and the wineries and wilderness in the Santa Ynez Valley. The interiors are an impeccable Studio Collective design with an emphasis on Scandinavian minimalism that is sure to leave you aesthetically inspired and eager to redo your entire house.