A Day in Santa Barbara
If you ask me what city best describes Southern California, the answer is simple. Santa Barbara (SB). SB is a slow pace with a surfer vibe. Take your time and enjoy everything that Santa Barbara has to offer.
Table of Contents
Santa Barbara is approximately 96 miles north of the Los Angeles Airport. It can take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours depending on traffic. My friends and I left around 9 am on a Sunday and it took us about 1 hr and 45 mins.
What to Do
11:45 AM: Boba at Phresh Tea Co
→ 5599 Hollister Ave unit b, Goleta, CA 93117 | Tues – Sun: 11:30 am – 8:30 pm
My group and I love to start our day with a nice cold beverage. We were visiting some friends that lived around the area and decided to swing by before they making our way through Santa Barbara area. I ordered the new Watermelon Green Tea for $4.95 + tax. The beverage was not too sweet when at 100% sweetness which is a plus. Some places are too sweet even at 50% sweet but this was perfect.
12:15 PM: Lunch at Industrial Eats
→ 181 Industrial Way, Buellton, CA 93427 | Daily: 12 pm – 8 pm
Industrial Eats is a market-like restaurant where you can order your food and grab various snacks or beverages in their mini-mart. There area has limited seating (all outdoors). There are about four large tables in the front of the restaurants, a few tables to the right and left of the eatery for smaller groups. Industrial Eats food includes pizzas, sandwiches, and sandwiches with intriguing ingredients. I am not one to adventure out of “normal” food so I settled with the BBQ brisket sandwich for $14. My best friend ordered the smoked pheasant, basil, citrus salad for $15. The brisket was very tender and almost pulled pork-like. The brisket did not come with any sides but it is filling without sides. The salad was refreshing with fresh strawberries and oranges. I did not care too much for the cold pheasant and I would much prefer it without any protein.
1:45 PM: OstrichLand USA
→ 610 E Hwy 246, Solvang, CA 93463 | Daily: 9 am – 5 pm
It was my friend’s birthday and he always wanted to feed Ostriches. I never knew that this place existed but I am glad that I got to experience it. There was ample free parking on the lot. The entrance fee was only $5 and it allowed you to view ostriches and emus. For another $1, you are able to feed the animals. They do limit the food distribution to one per group to prevent overfeeding. The ostriches and emus are fenced off with a window for visitors to feed them. Ostriches are very aggressive and can peck you at any point. I witnessed this. Emus are not as aggressive. You can feed the animals through the window, below, or above the fence. We also enjoyed ostriches playing chase. It was an enjoyable experience.
3:10 PM: Wine Tasting at Saarloos and Sons
→ 2971 Grand Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441 | Thurs – Mon: 11 am – 5 pm
There are several wine tasting experiences located on Grand. There is free parking on the street or in the public parking area. You may have to drive around to find a spot. We had made reservations at Saarloos and Sons because they offer a wine and cupcake pairing. I recommend making reservations especially if you want to take part in the cupcake experience. A cupcake flight is $12 for 6. Every visit, Saarloos and Sons will whip up different flavors of cupcakes. During our visit, we had chocolate, vanilla, and margarita. The margarita cupcake was my favorite. We paired our cupcakes with wine flights: 2 whites, a rose, and 3 reds for $15. The wine was decent but most people come here for the wine and cupcake pairing. The last pour is at 4:30 pm but if you are still working on your flight like I was, they continue to pour up until closing (5 pm). Most of the wineries in the area close around 5 pm with a few exceptions. We also walked by a few wineries that offer chocolate pairing which I would love to do next.
5:00 PM: St. Mark’s Church
→ 2901 Nojoqui Ave, Los Olivos, CA 93441
Saarloos and Sons does not have a washroom but there are portal potties located across the street or you can walk to St. Mark’s Church which is about four or five blocks away. We opted to take a stroll to the church. The washroom was clean. We walked around the church and stumbled upon their cemetery. I am always fascinated with cemeteries. I wonder what was the oldest person buried is and which one recently passed. I saw a few born in the late 1800s and one who passed just a couple of months ago.
5:30 PM: Solvang
Since the wineries were closing up, we decided to head over to Solvang, a small Danish town tucked within Santa Barbara. Whenever I am here, I go straight to the bakeries. We visited Olsen’s Bakery and Mortenson’s Bakery. We also strolled around the quaint town taking photos of their imitated windmills. It definitely made me miss traveling.
7:45 PM: Dinner at Lilly Taqueria
→ 290 Storke Rd Ste D Goleta, CA 93117 | Wed – Mon: 10 am – 8 pm
We were still fairly full from lunch and wine but we squeezed in a few tacos before heading back home. I ordered two asada (beef) tacos, one adobada (marinated pork), and a can of coke. The tacos are $2.50 each. The tacos were okay. I had better tacos in Los Angeles. They load each taco with lots of protein and ask if you would like cilantro and onions on the tacos or on the side. They also ask what kind of salsa you would like with your tacos. I chose the verde (green) sauce. The salsa had a little kick.
9:00 PM: Dessert at McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream
→ 120 State St suite b, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 | Mon – Thurs: 1 pm – 9 pm; Fri – Sun: 12 pm – 10 pm
We ended the night at McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream. The ice cream is founded in Santa Barbara with two locations. We went to the Funk Zone location as it is easier to find parking. I did not order any ice cream as I was extremely full but all my friends did.