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Santa Barbara Dreaming

By: Santa Barbara Hotel Group / 08 Feb 2022
Santa barbara dreaming

A postcard from The American Riviera®

2022 is the year that we all hope to see the world reopen, so it's time to resurrect those big travel plans that got put on the backburner. In that spirit, we wanted to take this opportunity to reintroduce you to Santa Barbara and what makes our fair city the true jewel of the Central Coast.

A timeless classic, Santa Barbara has been considered The American Riviera® for over a century. From the Spanish Colonial architecture, lush gardens, and agricultural bounty to the pristine natural environment, world-class arts and culture, and sophisticated shopping scene, Santa Barbara's effortless elegance and easy-going lifestyle have an uncanny ability to soothe the spirit and invigorate the soul.

You'll breathe deeper here as your body attunes to nature's rhythms. Think sunrise walks to the harbor; peaceful hikes through wild chapparal that smells of sage and fennel; the feel of the wind on your face biking along palm-lined paths; paddling a kayak or surfboard as dolphins frolic in the distance; soaking up the sun lounging on the beach, by the pool, or on your hotel patio. The great outdoors is always in easy reach here, whether you want to adventure on land or at sea.

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Outdoor living has been further enhanced with the introduction of new outdoor patios and al fresco dining and drinking spaces at area businesses. Our downtown entertainment and retail district along State Street has been converted into a 12-block pedestrian promenade, adding a new dimension to the historic corridor lined with shops, cafes, bars, theatres, and historic landmarks. A new dedicated bike lane also makes cycling through downtown a breeze.

Mother Nature's abundance and the California-Mediterranean vibe are also reflected in our fresh, seasonal cuisine. Small organic farms, family-run ranches, and sustainable fisheries supply our local restaurants and cafes with delectable, high-quality ingredients. The dining scene has gotten even stronger over the past couple of years, with exciting new openings and innovative menus—and some Michelin stars, to boot!

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Santa Barbara's evolving wine country is earning well-deserved accolades as well. Wine Spectator named us the wine destination of the year, due in part to trailblazing sustainable winemaking and the impressive concentration of female winemakers. If you appreciate wine, you will enjoy getting to sample hand-crafted wines made by the 200+ regional wineries that have tasting rooms in downtown Santa Barbara as well as in the Santa Ynez, Santa Maria, and Lompoc Valleys—easily reached via a scenic 45-minute drive from town.

When it comes to culture and entertainment, there is so much to sink your teeth into. Concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl will return for the spring through fall season, attracting some of the biggest names in music. Show dates have already been announced for artists like Lorde, Olivo Rodrigo, Billy Strings, Jack Johnson, and Trombone Shorty. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art reopened after a major $50 million renovation and is bringing an exciting Van Gogh exhibition to town February 27-May 22, 2022. Only-in-Santa-Barbara attractions like Ganna Walska's Lotusland and the landmark Santa Barbara County Courthouse also completed big upgrades and enhancements. MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration+Innovation continues to be a big hit with kids of all ages after opening in 2017. These are just some of the many gems that await you in Santa Barbara this year.

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We also took the time to make some big upgrades to our properties, including refreshing the rooms at the newly rebranded Best Western Plus Santa Barbara (formerly named the Encina Lodge) and updating our fleet of bikes at Brisas Del Mar Inn at the Beach. You'll find the gardens as lush and lovely as ever at Inn by the Harbor and cozy, thoughtful upgrades to the romantic rooms at Lavender Inn by the Sea. Our team looks forward to welcoming returning guests back and introducing new visitors to what makes our Central Coast paradise so special. We hope to see you soon!