Santa Barbara is a fabulous place to pass through. The architecture, natural surroundings, and diverse local people are heartbreakingly beautiful, in a happy, positive, and inspiring kind of way. It is the quintessential beach town, plus more. Natural beauty, open space, super cool and interesting laid-back locals, unique boutique shopping, and the best, in terms of natural health, food, outdoor rec, and wine.
In my experiences here, I’ve found the people to be genuinely NICE. There’s an easy-breezy beach vibe flowing through town, and I almost always find it hard to leave.
As beautiful as it is, it is also ex-pen-sive ! ! You (or, at least, I) can easily break the bank…. but you don’t have to. And because of the flourishing natural health scene, if you are health/diet conscious, you don’t have to stray from any type of dietary desire, unless you want to.
If you like to eat clean and organic, and experience local charm and flavor, it is easy to do, and these tips can save you time and money.
Here are my go-to places to cut costs (yet eat divinely) and connect with local charm:
Food: For juices, go to Juice Ranch, on Parker Way, near the bottom of State Street. The juices are cold pressed, organic, and lovely, and the staff is super friendly. Cost: $7-9. A stone’s through from here is Backyard Bowls – the place for smoothies. A local fav, this place serves smoothies in a bowl with toppings, like granola, chopped fruit, and hemp seeds. These are high-quality, delicious, and filling. These are about $9, as well, but considering all is organic, and you are in Santa Barbara, it’s actually quite a deal. Next door to BB is the Santa Barbara Coffee Roasting Co ~ the local fav for coffee. If you’re looking to have a nicer lunch (and maybe even a spa treatment), try the Alchemy Spa Cafe. Gorgeous space, delicious superfood and healthy meals, and a spa, on site, as well. Not cheap, but the quality and the setting are top notch, so though pricey, IMO, it’s worth it. Finally, Whole Foods, at the top of State Street, is a go-to for most meals, traveling supplies, road trip snacks, etc. I love that I can get exactly what I want (and the deli spreads are fantastic) and pay for it by the pound. A great way to eat healthy and high quality without having to pay restaurant premiums.
Yoga: Yoga Soup, right by Juice Ranch, is the place for drop-in classes. Community focused, diverse class offerings, nice people, and great boutique. Classes are between $14-20.
Dog Friendly: Walking up and down State Street, and wandering through adorable SB neighborhoods is fun and enjoyable, but if you want to let your dog run free Arroyo Burro Beach is the place. This off-leash dog beach is a great place for you to take a walk, too, and afterward, make sure to use the dog washing station by the overflow parking lot. Such a bonus. Sometimes, this beach is THE reason we come through SB.
Where to Stay: Always a toughie because hotel prices here are high. Try looking for deals through Travelzoo.com or on AirBnB, or, if you have a dog…. Motel 6. Yup! Motel 6. We’ve stayed at many of these, up and down the coast, and most are actually quite nice! Each one is dog friendly for (usually) no extra charge. Though they have a rough reputation, most Motel 6s have been completely redone within the last 1-3 years and have hardwood floors. If it is a week day, it is probably the best deal in town.
I hope this helps! If you have any other eco-friendly, organic, high-qual fav places that you think should be on this list, please share in the comments below.
P e a c e : ) and I hope you enjoy SB!