Best stops in Santa Barbara, from beaches to açaí bowls

Santa Barbara
Hailey Johnson/Staff

A beautiful halfway spot between SoCal and the Bay Area comes in the form of Santa Barbara. Home to a great city college and university, Santa Barbara can sometimes be thought of as a spot for either college students or retired folks with enough money to settle down near one of the many beautiful beaches. Well, I’m here to tell you this place has a lot to offer, even for those of us who aren’t attending school in the area or making use of our Medicaid.

Whether you’re looking for delicious food, good shopping or a relaxing afternoon, you’ll find it in S.B. In terms of food, the best açaí bowls are found at Backyard Bowls. With three locations throughout the city, including Downtown Santa Barbara, Goleta and State Street, there are plenty of açaí bowls to go around. If you want something a little more filling, check out Rusty’s Pizza for a nice pitcher of beer, cheesy bread and delicious pizza, all for a good price.

Alternatively, for a breathtaking view of the beach to go along with your dank food, cruise by Padaro Beach Grill. The burgers are bomb and the seating is literally feet from the ocean. This can make you feel like you’re on a tropical island, even though you’re still just in the good ol’ Golden State.

For outdoor fun, try hiking Inspiration Point. While it is mostly uphill, it doesn’t take long and you’re rewarded with an incredible view of Santa Barbara. If that sounds a tad too active for you, just head down to Butterfly Beach and fall asleep on the sand.

If spiritual wellness is what you’re searching for, you can always go to The Sacred Space. Away from the craziness of downtown, the shop is full of eastern medicines, incense, candles and sculptures. A meditative stroll through the store and into the backyard (which is complete with benches, ponds and countless plants) will instantly put you in a better mood.

Finally, for the tourist in you, walk down State Street. Even if you’re not down to shop, at least see what the fuss is all about — and maybe catch a movie at the local theater!

A trip to Santa Barbara is well worth the drive and might even work out as an easy stopping point on a journey up to Berkeley. Make sure to check it out and enjoy the yummy food and relaxing beaches!

Contact Hailey Johnson at [email protected].

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