The Most Romantic Things to Do in Santa Barbara

It’s no secret that Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful cities in California, and beautiful places always make great destinations for romantic getaways, day trips, and date nights. Even better, Santa Barbara boasts some options to really up the romance factor, like wineries, beaches, parks, and renowned restaurants. Check out our list of the most romantic things to do in Santa Barbara and see if you can get some inspiration.

Visit a Winery

No romantic trip to the area would be complete without a winery visit — after all, this is one of California’s most renowned wine-growing regions. You’ll of course be able to taste some of the state’s most impressive vintages, but, depending on where you go, you’ll also get the chance to savor exquisite cuisine and stroll through gorgeous vineyards and picturesque cellars. Alma Rosa, Cambria, and Fess Parker are three of our favorites.

Plan an Afternoon Picnic

The key to romance is intimacy, so sometimes it’s better to skip the restaurant altogether and plan something a little more private. Few activities show your partner how much you love their company like a simple picnic in a beautiful setting. Pack light and be sure to keep things classy: We recommend a bottle of wine (perhaps from your winery visit), baguette, cheese, olives, and fruit. Whatever you choose to bring, Santa Barbara’s natural beauty will help set the scene. The Rose Garden, across the street from the Old Mission, is a popular pick, while Alice Keck Park and the Botanic Garden are both great options.

Stroll Along the Beach at Sunset

Santa Barbara’s most inspiring feature is its coastline, and few activities could be easier to arrange than a stroll along the beach at sunset. The area offers a few options, each with endless Pacific views, soft sands, and plenty of room for you to find a bit of privacy. The Leadbetter Beach, Summerland Beach , and Butterfly Beach are your best bets if you’re looking for peace and quiet.

Enjoy a Romantic Dinner 

The traditional centerpiece of any romantic date night, dining at a swanky, dimly lit restaurant is a great place to start or end your evening. Santa Barbara’s dining scene features plenty of enchanting eateries for you to choose from. One of the most popular is Zaytoon, a beautiful Lebanese restaurant that boasts a lush, magical patio full of foliage, fairy lights, and firepits. We also recommend The Lark, where outdoor seating, heaters, and cozy lap blankets help kick-start the romance. If you prefer to sit inside, head to Ca’ Dario for classic white-tablecloth Italian.

There you have it — the most romantic things to do in Santa Barbara. Put a few of our recommendations together and you’re pretty much guaranteed a magical evening. And if you need a place to stay while in town, check out Lavender Inn by the Sea, one of the most enchanting boutique hotels in Santa Barbara.