Insiders Guide to SB

By on Apr 25, 2016 in News

Sailing in the Santa Barbara Harbor. Photo credit L. EtlingFor our valued Yardi clients who will be coming to Santa Barbara for the Yardi Senior Living Forum this week, we are excited to share some of the most popular local options in dining and sightseeing that our beautiful city has to offer.

While we know that your focus during your stay will be training on Yardi products and networking with other industry professionals, there should still be a little time to have fun. Perhaps you are even adding on a day or two to your stay to further enjoy one of Southern California’s favorite tourist destinations.

If you are looking for additional recommendations on dining, sightseeing and recreational opportunities in Santa Barbara, please don’t hesitate to leave a question in the comments section. We’ll have an answer for you in no time.


For a full guide to Santa Barbara’s many historic and artistic visitor destinations, check out these articles on some of our favorite Tourist Attractions from a popular local website.

Mission Santa BarbaraWithin walking distance from the Fess Parker Doubletree you’ll find the Santa Barbara Zoo, acclaimed as one of the best small city zoos in America. You could also meander past the Zoo to the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, a scenic estuary with lots of wildlife.  If you followed the story of reclusive NYC heiress Huguette Clark, who passed away in 2011 leaving numerous mansions behind, the refuge is named in honor of her sister. The Clark Estate, with its future still to be determined (Clark requested that it become a museum), is across the street from the bird refuge, but not open to the public.

Santa Barbara’s best known places to visit include Mission Santa Barbara, its adjacent Rose Garden, and downtown’s architecturally impressive Courthouse. You might enjoy taking a short boat ride on the cute water taxi Lil’ Toot from Stearns Wharf to the harbor, where you’ll find the Maritime Museum. A longer tour on the amphibious Land Shark combines a short jaunt into the harbor as well as a driving tour. Or you might also just head for the beach and put your feet up, enjoying a short break from the office.

Jogging/walking routes

As we described above, an easy walk from the Fess Parker’s Doubletree is to head south (take a left out of the hotel, while facing the ocean) toward the Zoo and continue along the edge of the Clark Bird Refuge. If you’re looking for a longer trek, you can cross the street at the end of the refuge and take Channel Drive past the Santa Barbara Cemetery. Up a slight hill, you’ll reach a short bike and pedestrian path along the coastal edge that takes you to Chase Palm Park.Butterfly Beach, the Four Seasons Biltmore, and the Coral Casino. (While on the bike path, look to your left to see the home of Beanie Baby mogul Ty Warner.) To lengthen your route, continue into Montecito and explore the lower Village or South Jameson Lane.

Alternately, if you’d like to add a hill to your workout, head right along Cabrillo Blvd. after leaving the Doubletree. Paths on both sides of the street will take you through Chase Palm Park. You ‘ll pass the coastal hotel district, Santa Barbara Harbor, and Santa Barbara City College. Then you’ll climb up to Santa Barbara’s Mesa via Shoreline Drive, passing through  Shoreline Park.

Hiking trails

Santa Barbara’s front country mountains offer extensive options for hiking on picturesque trails. Many are quite steep, so be prepared with proper shoes, supplies and fitness condition. The closest trailhead to the Doubletree is Montecito’s Cold Spring Trail. (You will need a vehicle to get to the trailhead, which is located on East Mountain Drive.) Find more details about Cold Spring and other local hiking options at the Santa Barbara Hikes website.


Kayaking in the Santa Barbara HarborFrom the Santa Barbara Harbor, you can rent stand up paddleboards, kayaks, and small sailboats at the Sailing Center. You can also book a whale watching cruise, scenic evening or dinner sail, or just stroll along the breakwater and enjoy the view. Fishing, diving and whale watching trips to the Channel Islands can be booked at Sea Landing – shuttle boats to the Channel Islands for daytrippers are run out of Ventura Harbor, thirty miles south.

Coffee Shops

You can find plenty of chain coffeehouses, including Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Peet’s Coffee in downtown Santa Barbara. Here are a few special local spots that you won’t find anywhere else.

French Press (1101 State Street) – The favorite downtown coffee hangout of java purists. After buying your coffee, enjoy the vibe of Santa Barbara’s main drag while walking through La Arcada, a beautiful shopping center across the street adjacent to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Renauds (1324 State Street) – If the pastry is more important than the coffee, head to Renaud’s for a delicious, authentic French croissant, and some good coffee to go with it, too.


There are dozens of great restaurants in Santa Barbara. These choices are all within a short Uber ride from the waterfront.

The Funk Zone (multiple options) – Find wine and beer tasting, fine dining, casual fare, antiques and art in this eclectic Santa Barbara hot spot. The Lark and Seven are popular choices for dinner.

Brophy Brothers (119 Harbor Way) – With a casual atmosphere, great fresh seafood and views of the Santa Barbara Harbor, Brophy Brothers is a local favorite, and you’ll usually have to wait awhile to get a table for dinner. Also a great place to grab an oyster shooter or a cocktail at the bar.

Holdren’s (512 State Street) – For steak, Holdren’s is an excellent downtown choice. They also feature an extensive wine list with local selections and a diverse menu that also includes seafood and vegetarian options.

The Palace (8 E Cota Street) –  A little bit of New Orleans comes to Santa Barbara at this Cajun-flavored destination. You’ll be entertained with magic tricks and sing-alongs, and your tastebuds will love the spicy flavors in the muffins, jambalaya, catfish and other specialties.

Jane (1311 State Street) – In the same block as the famous Arlington Theatre and features a fresh and creative menu with California-inspired fare. A favorite of the SB foodie set.

La SuperRica Taqueria (622 N Milpas St.) – The famous casual Mexican spot favored by late Santa Barbaran and beloved cookbook author Julia Child has remained traditional and consistent over the years. The only thing that seems to change is that the line out the door gets longer.

Los Agaves (600 N Milpas St.) – If you don’t feel like waiting in the long line at La SuperRica, this modern Mexican restaurant is an excellent second choice. A fresh and healthy twist on many traditional specialties can be found here.

Cabs and Pedicabs

Be safe during your trip to Santa Barbara! Taxis are usually available on State Street below the 600 block. Recommended services include:


Rose Cab – For pick up call 805-564-2600.

For an open air transportation experience, try a Pedicab ride. A cyclist will pedal up to two passengers to your downtown destination, typically within the State Street corridor.