Santa Barbara in a Weekend

I am currently in the midst of packing up my life on the East Coast on a huge leap of faith and transferring my life over to the picture-perfect weather of Southern California and have been doing major exploring to figure out which city will be my new place to call home. I spent this New Years weekend in the sleepy shore town of Santa Barbara, which is only an hour and a half north of Los Angeles.

Santa Barbara is one of those unique towns where you could stop in for a night while you are passing through or could spend weeks getting to explore and still not be able to take everything in. I booked a trip with some friends for a two night visit just to get out of the hustle of LA for New Years. We found a perfect bungalow on Airbnb in Downtown Santa Barbara  which had enough outdoor space for us to grill and enjoy the mild winter weather, but wasn’t going to break the bank. Always highly recommended to utilize Airbnb or a similar company when traveling with a large group if you want to be able to cook a few meals at ‘home’ and save money for other fun activities during your trip.

// DAY 1 //

We arrived later in the day after work, so we decided to keep it casual and decided to walk down towards State Street, which is essentially the main strip of most restaurants and boutique clothing stores. Being a bit of an architect nerd, I was pleasantly surprised at how majority of the buildings had a cohesive Spanish & Mediterranean vibe and WOWWWW were the streets spotless (especially after coming in from the grittiness of LA).  Without having a specific place for dinner in mind we wandered through downtown until we found an adorable indoor/outdoor mexican restuarant for us to enjoy the weather which had reasonably priced food and happy hour menu.

A friend of ours likes to go to places off the beaten path, so if you are reading this and are up for a bit of something out of your comfort zone definitely check out Elsie’s Tavern. The best way to describe it is a bit of a college house from the outside with couches and broken arcade games in the front with absolutely no signage outside to let passerby’s know there are libations to be had inside. Once you walk through the grungy couches you will find the bar in the middle with a bar to the right and a pool table to the left. The night we were there, Elsie’s was playing your classic rock and metal bands (Tool anyone?) and was CASH ONLY. They conveniently have an ATM inside so do not fret if you are cashless as I typically am nowadays.

// DAY 2 //

The following day for New Years Eve, we decided would be a perfect day to enjoy the beach and coastline keeping things calm before the storm later in the evening. Our Airbnb host left us with some recommendations for brunch so we decided to check out Shoreline which was moderately priced and right on the ocean. Travel tip – beware if you are going on the weekend because the line can be 40 min to an hour and a half depending on the weather!

Keeping with the low key vibe, we went to The Good Lion to ring in the new year which was one of VERY few bars that charged a pricey cover to get in. This bar is known for making some pretty amazing cocktails using unique homemade simple syrups and other interesting ingredients. Just before midnight they handed out a delicious Champagne Aperol cocktail for a toast on the house which was such a nice surprise!

// DAY 3 //

The start of our third day in Santa Barbara was more of a pack and head back to LA , but I am so happy we decided to go a little out of the way and head up to Hendry’s Beach to this adorable restuarant tucked away in a cove in North Santa Barbara called Boathouse. Their cocktails were a great way to round off such an amazing mini getaway and cannot wait to visit this beautiful city on the ocean again soon.

Thanks for reading!! xx Brittany