33 Top Fun Things to Do in Santa Barbara (California)

Are you considering where next you should visit? Are you seeking a place filled with so much fun and at the same time beautiful and peaceful? If that is the case, Santa Barbara is the perfect place to visit.

In Santa Barbara, there are many exciting things to do and see with the many spectacular attractions featured in this city.

Some of the top attractions in Santa Barbara include El Presidio de Santa Barbara, Old Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, and lots more.

Santa Barbara has a lot to offer its visitors, and to help plan your trip, below are the top fun things to do in Santa Barbara, California.

Things to Do in Santa Barbara

1. See Old Mission Santa Barbara

Old Mission Santa Barbara
Credits: Jon Bilous / Shutterstock
Old Mission Santa Barbara

One of the top attractions to add to your list of things to do in Santa Barbara is the Old Mission Santa Barbara.

This graceful and elegant attraction was completed in the year 1786.

Today, you will still find Franciscans living in the mission (it is the only one in California), making it a hot attraction to visit in Santa Barbara, California.

What you will see when you visit the mission is not the same old chapel that was built in 1812 (although the new one was built using the same architectural plan), the original chapel was destroyed in 1812 by an earthquake, and the new chapel rebuilt by Chumash Indians in 1820.

From the architecture of the 1820 chapel, one could see that it was inspired majorly by the type of buildings built during the old days of Santa Barbara.

Apart from the house’s architectural design, you will be impressed by the double towers found in this mission structure (quite unusual), arts and sculptures that date back to the Colonial era, and a Roman design Facade.

There is a museum within the Old Mission Santa Barbara, inside which you will find arts and artifacts obtained from different eras.

Don’t forget to check out the La Huerta Historical Garden that still bears all the marks of the Colonial era, which surrounds the complex.

All these and more go on to stress the importance of you paying a visit to Santa Barbara, and if you are a lover of history, you will appreciate a visit.

Address: 2201 Laguna St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA

2. Museum time at Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation

Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation
Credits: Nick Amoscato / Flickr
Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation

Also known as MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation is one of the most recent additions to the list of attractions in Santa Barbara, California.

Known to be both fun and unique, this museum which sits on a 17,000 square feet land space, was first opened in 2017.

Designed using the Spanish Colonial general style of architecture with a marine-themed touch, one could say that the structure is breathtaking.

The primary focus of Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation is on science and technology; thus, it is the place to bring your children if you wish to create a spark for the love of science in them.

Among the many artifacts/ exhibits displayed in this museum, you will find here a race track for a toy car, a giant guitar, a mosaic selfie (customizable), an Innovation Workshop, and “sound overdubbing” booths.

There is also the Sky Gallery located on the rooftop, from which you can have an amazing view of the surrounding mountains. You can also observe the sky using the telescopes mounted on the building’s rooftop.

Address: 125 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

3. Nature time at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate

Santa Barbara Orchid Estate
Credits: Dale Cruse / Flickr
Santa Barbara Orchid Estate

Santa Barbara Orchid Estate takes its spot close to the ocean located in Santa Barbara.

Established first in 1957, this estate that occupies about five acres of land is currently owned and managed by a man known as Paul Gripp, alongside two of his children.

Paul Gripp and his family are known as collectors and propagators of orchids, and you will only be able to grasp the degree of their love for these flowers when you visit their estate.

If you know you find orchid flowers lovely, then you are going to deem this place as one of the best attraction spots in Santa Barbara.

Aside from the beautiful views of the estate, Santa Barbara Orchid Estate also teaches her visitors how temperature tolerant orchids can easily be grown outdoors.

Don’t forget to purchase at least a bunch of these flowers available for sale before you leave the estate.

You can also be a part of one of those classes Gripp and his children offers to all who pay a visit to them. In these classes, you will be taught all about growing orchids and harvesting them.

Address: 1250 Orchid Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93111, USA

4. Visit El Presidio de Santa Barbara

El Presidio de Santa Barbara
Credits: Hibiscus81 / Shutterstock
El Presidio de Santa Barbara

El Presidio de Santa Barbara, one of the most visited places in Santa Barbara, California, has seen its fair share of tourists due to its historical importance.

This area (which was first built by the Spaniards in 1782 as a secured military settlement) is the perfect place to visit in Santa Barbara, especially if you are interested in history.

Although this settlement is not exactly as it was in 1782, you will still find some old structures, such as El Cuartel and Cañedo Adobe, in their original form.

Other areas to explore in the settlement include the chapel (which has been renovated), the Comandancia, the Padre’s Quarters, and old Lieutenant rooms (which have undergone reconstruction).

Close to these historical structures, you will find a garden known as the Heritage Garden, which contains plants from the old era, an observation tower about two stories high, the remaining of what was the outer walls, and lastly, the renowned Whittaker Orchard.

You will be allowed to chose between a self-guided tour and a guided tour, but it’s preferable to seek the help of a guide so that you will learn the history of all the buildings in the settlement.

Address: 123 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

5. Fun at East Beach

East Beach
Credits: Tsuguliev / Shutterstock
East Beach

Santa Barbara has three main beaches, of which the least crowded any time of the year is the East Beach.

The reason you won’t find people packed so closely in the area like many other beaches has nothing to do with the beauty but all to do with its location.

Being further towards the other end of the city, some persons who believe that “a beach is a beach” regardless of the location prefer to visit the other two beaches, failing to acknowledge that the East Beach has the longest stretch of the ocean among them all.

If you don’t mind a peaceful and quiet beach, you should consider visiting East Beach.

East Beach offers lots of fun Santa barbara activities, including playing volleyball, kayaking, swimming, and lots more.

There are lots of spaces on this beach for a picnic, and if you need a beach chair, you can rent one from the store in the area.

If you get hungry, the East Beach Grill serves fresh seafood and so many other delicious dishes to their customers.

As compensation, although East Beach is closer to the other end of the street, it is relatively closer to some of the great attractions of Santa Barbara.

Address: 1400 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108-2880, USA

6. Visit Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Credits: Doc Searls / Flickr
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is one of the most visited museums in the California region, and it will make quite an addition to your bucket list of things in Santa Barbara.

A maritime museum was established to preserve the very rich and interesting history of the coast of Santa Barbara.

Inside the museum, you will find a wide range of exhibits, events, and artifacts that speaks volume of this rich history.

Some of these exhibits and artifacts include paintings, cannons, maps, seaplanes, and lots of other maritime-related objects and machinery.

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is an excellent place for the whole family, including the kids, as you kids could partake in the educational activities and programs available to them in this remarkable place.

From these educational programs, your kids will get to learn powerful skills like problem-solving, teamwork, and so on.

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum offers their visitors both a self-guided tour and an option to be lead by a guide, of which the latter is preferable as you would learn more that way.

Address: 113 Harbor Way #190, Santa Barbara, CA 93109, USA

7. Things to See in Santa Barbara: Knapp’s Castle

Knapp's Castle
Credits: wf9a5m75 / Shutterstock
Knapp’s Castle

Knapp’s Castle takes its spot close to the hills in Santa Barbara, California.

Formerly home to George Knapp, a wealthy man who was the founder of Union Carbide, a chemical-based industry, the house was completed in 1916.

In 1940, George Knapp sold his home to a man, and five weeks later, this house was burnt down by a forest fire.

Some parts of the house destroyed in the forest fire include the most decorated rooms, multiple bedrooms, an observatory, and an organ room.

With all the most essential parts of the house destroyed, one could say that all that remained of the house was just the skeleton of the building.

Since 1940, the house was turned into a landmark in Santa Barbara, and even though it is still a privately owned property, it can not be destroyed nor developed.

Despite the fact that all that is left is the shadow of its former beauty, hikers and tourists still visit this attraction to see the remains of this glorious house.

You will also find lots of photographers in this place, as the remains of this house provide a perfect setting for a melancholy and eerie picture.

8. Explore Stearns Wharf

Stearns Wharf
Credits: Jon Bilous / Shutterstock
Stearns Wharf

Stearns Wharf, which is the oldest among its kind in California, was completed in the year 1872.

The wharf is still in its wooden form, and it is the only wooden wharf in California that is still in use today.

Stearns Wharf is home to an educational facility, about seventeen different businesses, and a market that sells shellfish on the city’s famous State Street.

Although it’s not as glorious as before, this wharf was once the longest among deep-water piers in the region.

You will find taking a hike on this pier not only significant but also a great experience.

Some other fun stuff to do in this area include bike riding (you can rent a bike from a nearby store), or you could just take a walk in the evening while enjoying an ice cream purchased from any of the ice cream stalls around.

Stearns Wharf has some of the best views of Santa Barbara, so you might consider coming with your binoculars and a camera to capture these fantastic sights.

If you wish to take a picture of the whole wharf, you should climb up the nearby Santa Ynez Mountains, for they provide a perfect view of the entire wharf.

Address: 217 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

Planning a road trip to California, do not fail to check out our list of things to do in Fresno and things to do Burbank in for afun time.

9. Relax at Salt Cave of Santa Barbara

Salt Cave of Santa Barbara
Credits: Salt Cave Santa Barbara / Facebook
Salt Cave of Santa Barbara

Although most tourists do not consider the Salt Cave of Santa Barbara as their top attraction spot in California, it still has a unique charm that makes it worth visiting.

To Explore the Salt Cave, you will book a time duration you wish to spend in this calming and relaxing cave.

Each cave is lit up by pink salt Himalayan crystals placed at several points, which gives the cave a gentle and subtle look.

Some of these Himalayan crystals dates as far back as over 200 million years.

While you are in the cave, you may decide to meditate, take a nap, or simply enjoy the sweet music that plays around the cave while relaxing in a “zero gravity chair.”

If you are one of those that believe in the healing powers of crystals, then you stand to gain visiting the Salt Cave of Santa Barbara, California.

Note that each session in the cave lasts for about 45 minutes, after which you will be expected to leave for others to begin their session.

After visiting the cave, you can join the yoga classes, massages, workshops, and more which holds around the area.

There is also a gift shop close to the cave where you can buy stuff like soaks, salt scrubs, and other bathing items.

Address: 740 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

10. Things to Do in Santa Barbara for History lovers: Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Credits: Joe DeBiase Photography / Shutterstock
Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Santa Barbara County Courthouse deserves a spot on your list of places to visit in Santa Barbara, California.

Officially a National Historic Landmark, this courthouse was completed in 1929, although construction started earlier than 1925.

When you get into the courthouse, you will notice the beautifully decorated files, an entirely hand-painted ceiling, and chandeliers made from iron.

Without a doubt, the building of the courthouse is a perfect example of the Spanish Revival and Colonial architectural style (you will find more of it scattered across the region).

Some parts of the courthouse you should explore includes the opulent mural room inside, of which you will find objects that tell the history of the area.

You may also decide to walk around the courthouse through the garden-filled plants obtained from more than 25 countries.

The El Mirador tower (that is about 85 feet high) in the vicinity gives you a better perception of the region from its peaks.

The courthouse also serves as a venue for some of the events held in the community.

Address: 1100 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

11. Take in Nature at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Credits: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

If you are a lover of nature and its beauty, you first stop should be the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden comprises more than 1,000 different species of fauna (some of which are very rare while some are native to this area) sitting on 78-acre land property.

A section of this garden known as the Redwood Forest is among the most beautiful attractions in Santa Barbara.

Although it was officially opened in 1926, the history of the Garden dates as far back as 1806.

You will notice a rock dam built by the Python Native Americans in 1806, which runs through the garden heading towards Mission Creek.

Apart from the beautiful plants, other attractions featured in Santa Barbara Botanic Garden include a retail nursery, a herbarium, and a library, all of which are open for you to explore.

There is an option for a self-guided tour; thus, you can find your way around the garden.

Address: 1212 Mission Canyon Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA

12. Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum & Library

susan quinlan doll & teddy bear museum & library
Credits: Len Maren / Shutterstock

Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum & Library is another notable attraction worthy of your list of things to do in Santa Barbara.

This museum was founded and built by Susan Quinlan, a retired Librarian at that time.

Most of the teddy bears and dolls you will find in this museum were collected within the space of three decades by Susan Quinlan.

Since the Santa Barbara Museum and Library became open to the public in 2005, it has seen its fair share of visitors.

You will indeed find each of the teddy bear or doll in this museum very interesting as they are all made from different materials, and they also differ in their designs.

You will find some of these toys looking like some known fictional characters, Some look as if they were brought out of a fantasy book, and the kids will love these kinds the most.

See to it that you don’t take your kids to the area where the dolls that look so lifelike are kept so that they won’t end up having nightmares.

Although some might say that Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum & Library is not your typical tourist spot, the dolls in this wonderful attraction are worth beholding.

Address: 122 W Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

13. Do not miss Cold Spring Tavern

Cold Spring Tavern
Credits: Eugene Kim / Flickr
Cold Spring Tavern

Are you looking for what to do in Santa Barbara during the weekend? If yes, add the Cold Spring Tavern to your list of things to do in Santa Barbara.

Cold Spring Tavern was built in 1886 as a way station for stagecoaches coming in and out of Santa Barbara to and from regions around California.

Although it doesn’t serve that purpose today, this part of Santa Barbara’s history is still preserved.

You will find historical buildings around the tavern’s vicinity, a bar, all of which are open for the public to explore.

After exploring these grounds so rich in Santa Barbara’s history, you should find a seat in the tavern, enjoy delicious meals and drink while listening to good music played in the background.

Address: 5995 Stagecoach Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA

14. Go Whale Watching

Whale Watching
Credits: takepicsforfun / Shutterstock
Whale

One of the fun things to do in Santa Barbara, California, is whale watching.

Being quite an engaged expedition, you will find many whale-watching cruises available to take you across the ocean and serve as a platform for you to watch 27 different kinds of whales, dolphins, and other marine life.

The most exciting thing about whale watching is that you can do it all through the year and not get tired.

Because most marine mammals migrate according to seasons, the marine life that can be spotted during this activity varies seasonally.

For instance, you are more likely to see the humpback whales and the blue whales between May and November than any other time of the year, while the grey whales at a different season altogether.

If you visit when you can’t spot any whale, make do with seeing other marine animals such as orcas, dolphins, sea lions, and lots more.

Don’t be so fixated on seeing a whale and fail to enjoy the cruise, for that alone is one of the best things to do in Santa Barbara, California.

15. Entertainment at Lobero Theatre

The Lobero Theatre
Credits: Nick Amoscato / Flickr
The Lobero Theatre

Located in Santa Barbara, California, Lobero Theatre beckons on all entertainment lovers to come down to this lovely city.

Founded first in 1873, this theatre which was later rebuilt in 1924, is regarded as one of the most valuable architectural pieces in Santa Barbara.

At the theatre, you will get to watch a mixture of performances done by the local community members and some professionals.

The Lobero Theatre serves as home to some performing arts groups in Santa Barbara, including the State Street Ballet and the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra.

If you are a fan of Jazz, you will be pleased to know that the Lobera dedicates so much to presenting jazz performances.

You can make this place where to spend a night out with your loved ones, while the rest of the day, you can spend on other attraction sites.

Address: 33 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

16. Shop at Paseo Nuevo

Paseo Nuevo
Credits: La Citta Vita / Flickr
Paseo Nuevo

If you know you love shopping, Paseo Nuevo should be top on your list of cool things to do in Santa Barbara, California.

An outdoor shopping mall, Paseo Nuevo is packed with boutiques, the most popular chain stores, cafes, and more.

Paseo Nuevo is transformed through decorations to one of the most beautiful places on earth during the holidays using potted plants and fountains.

Among the things sold in this mall includes clothes, shoes, handbags, mobile phones, teddy bears, deodorants, pieces of jewelry, and so many other things that come to mind.

When you are done shopping, you can visit any of the cafes around for a nice meal.

Address: 651 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

17. Animal time at Santa Barbara Zoo

Santa Barbara Zoo
Credits: snancys / Shutterstock
Santa Barbara Zoo

Are you looking for a place in Santa Barbara where the whole family could spend some time together? Santa Barbara Zoo is the site you seek.

When you get to Santa Barbara Zoo, you will find many families from the region of California and beyond on a sightseeing tour here.

Covering about 30 acres of land, Santa Barbara Zoo is among the smallest zoos in America, yet still one of the greatest.

About 500 animals are housed in this zoo, including about 146 different kinds of mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds.

The Zoo compound is worth exploring, for it comprises botanic gardens in which exotic plants such as ornamentals and succulent trees are displayed.

Just as wine gets better with age, the same goes for this zoo, which was opened in 1963 to conserve, research, and enhance the lives of both domestic and wide animals.

Address: 500 Ninos Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, USA

18. Outdoor fun at Shoreline Park

Shoreline Park
Credits: MamaOT / Flickr
Shoreline Park

Shoreline Park is one of the best parks in California, and it features amenities that give some of the best treats in the State.

A place of beauty, this park offers an incredible view of the city of Santa Barbara, its coastline, and that of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Some of the many fun Santa Barbara activities you can engage in while you are in this park include enjoying a picnic, playing water sports, swimming in the ocean, whale watching (you might get to see one), enjoying a barbecue, and lots more.

Being one of the best parks in the city, don’t be surprised if you see many tourists who came to enjoy the fun stored in this 14.6-acre spot.

Address: Shoreline Dr & Santa Rosa Place, Santa Barbara, CA 93109, USA.

For more things to do in California, here is a list of places to visit in IrvinePacifica and Ventura.

19. See Moreton Bay Fig Tree

Moreton Bay Fig Tree
Credits: Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz / Shutterstock
Moreton Bay Fig Tree

Moreton Bay Fig Tree is not a popular attraction amongst tourists, but you might also check it out when you come visiting.

Although few persons doubt it, Moreton Bay Fig Tree is the largest in America (not just California).

With its botanical name as Ficus macrophylla tree, it should be noted that Moreton Bay fig trees are not natives to Santa Barbara; instead, they are natives to Australia.

The story behind this tree tells that in 1876, a young girl from Santa Barbara was given the seedling of a fig tree as a gift by a visiting sailor. When she planted it in the area, it grew (with time) to what we have today.

Trees as big as this can’t be hidden; you will find it just close to the popular Amtrak station.

No one is allowed to climb this tree; however, you can go with a camera for a picture with the tree.

Address: Chapala St & Montecito Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States

20. Visit Arroyo Burro Beach Park

Arroyo Burro Beach Park
Credits: Jack N. Mohr / Shutterstock
Arroyo Burro Beach Park

Arroyo Burro Beach Park is another excellent spot in Santa Barbara to add to your list of places to visit in this city.

A trendy location indeed, Arroyo Burro Beach Park is locally known as Hendry’s Beach, and it boasts a wide range of activities, most of which are water-related.

Some of these fun activities include kayaking, swimming, surfing, picnicking, horseback riding, bird watching, and lots more.

Established as early as 1947, Arroyo Burro Beach Park began with just 6 acres of land, and over the years, it has grown to become a favorite spot for tourists.

If you don’t mind a little bit of sun, visit this amazing place while you are in the city.

Amenities around the beach that will help give you the fun time you desire include barbecue grills, picnic tables, a large parking lot capable of containing as many visitors as possible, e.t.c.

This is one of the best places in Santa Barbara for a fun time, you are allowed to visit with your dog as long as you don’t let them litter the surrounding with their droppings.

Address: 2981 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93109, USA

21. Lotusland

Lotusland
Credits: Photo Coalesce / Shutterstock
Lotusland

Lotusland is a private property located just 10 minutes drive away from Santa Barbara. A visit here is one of the cool things to do around Santa Barbara, CA.

A popular tourist spot, this 37 acres of land property was formerly owned by a famous Poland opera singer named Madame Ganna Walska.

In Lotusland, you will find unusual plants not natives to California.

These plants were all collected by Madame Wolska, and after she died in 1984, the garden was opened to the public as a non-profit attraction spot.

Address: Cold Spring Rd, Montecito, CA 93108, USA

22. Join Sustainable Vine Wine Tours

Sustainable Vine Wine Tours
Credits: Ievgenii Meyer / Shutterstock

Santa Barbara, California, has lots of wineries, and for this reason, one could easily understand why Sustainable Vine Wine Tours are so popular in the city.

Sustainable Vine Wine Tours, founded by Scott Bill and Brian Hope, offers their customers an unforgettable experience. They are driven around the city from one winery to another in a luxury vehicle.

The group tour lasts for a day, and it involves a small tour group of not less than ten persons moving from one winery (you will get to see their vineyard) to another, tasting as much wine as you can along the way.

The tour company has also made provisions for what you will eat in the afternoon; thus, you need not worry about that.

Don’t forget that you are free to come with your camera to capture some of the beautiful scenery you will get to see along the way.

Address: 27 W Anapamu St Suite 104, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

23. Historical time at Casa del Herrero

Casa del Herrero
Credits: Lostinawave / Flickr
Casa del Herrero

Casa del Herrero, which means “house of the blacksmith,” was built during the Spanish Colonial Revival around the year 1925.

You will find Casa del Herrero located just a 9-minute drive away from Santa Barbara.

Truly a historical landmark, not so much about Casa Del Herrero has changed since it was built in 1925.

Casa Del Herrero consists of an estate that covers up to 11 acres which features the main building and a group of gardens.

As you walk into the main building, you will find many antiques, some of which dates as far back as the 15th century.

Apart from the antiques, you will also find this house whose owner is a noble Santa Barbara industrialist very intriguing, for a famous artist constructed it.

Because it has been in existence for up to a decade, Casa del Herrero is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is also one of the country’s official National Historic Landmark.

Some of the things you will get to see in this place includes records of horticultural activity, books, drawings, and some history-related objects.

To know more about their schedule and the best time to visit, you should check out their website.

Address: 1387 E Valley Rd, Montecito, CA 93108, USA

24. Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Credits: Mary Harrsch / Flickr
Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Santa Barbara Museum of Art is one of the top 10 attractions in Santa Barbara and also one of the most visited.

In this art museum, you will find a collection of different kinds of artwork (more than 30,000) obtained from several places such as Asia, America, and Europe.

The building that currently serves as home to this museum was formerly the Santa Barbara post office.

In 1941, after some renovations were carried out in the building, it was opened as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

This museum, which sits on a 60,000 square feet land space, doesn’t just contain art exhibits. It also features a cafe, a library, an auditorium, a store, and more.

Among many things, the museum offers educational programs, all of which visitors are encouraged to participate.

These educational programs sometimes come in seminars, lectures, performances, guided tours, and more.

If you plan to visit Santa Barbara, California, you should try checking out this wonderful attraction.

Address: 1130 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

25. Explore Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Credits: brewbooks / Flickr
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

You will find the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History very close to the old Santa Barbara Mission, just at Puesta Del Sol.

Established in the year 1916, this museum, which is the oldest in Santa Barbara, was founded to educate both the natives and visitors on the history of this great city.

The museum covers about 12 acres of Mission Creek, and in it (across different buildings), you will find lots of exhibits that tell the State’s history.

There are many things to see here, including fossils, old books (this you will find in the library), and a nature trail.

This is one of the must do in Santa Barbara during a visit, you will be impressed when you see the 74 feet long whale skeleton, which is actually the museum’s centerpiece.

Address: 2559 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA

26. Admire Art at Funk Zone

Funk Zone
Credits: Funk Zone Santa Barbara / Facebook
Funk Zone

A little party will do you much good; if that’s your take as well, do check out the Funk Zone, which hosts great parties.

The location of Funk Zone was formerly an industrial spot, but all that changed when some artists took over the place and turned it into an exciting area.

Along this area, you will notice that the walls are decorated with murals, which portrays so much fun.

If you happen to come to this area at night, you will find lots of artistic displays, alcoholic drinks, and all that is related to having fun.

If your main aim of coming to Santa Barbara on vacation is to have a good time, you should put Funk Zone on your list of fun places in Santa Barbara to visit.

Address: Yanonali Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

27. Santa Barbara Tasting Tours

If you are a foodie, you may wish to add the Santa Barbara Tasting Tours to your list of things to do in Santa Barbara, California.

Santa Barbara Tasting Tours covers many places in Santa Barbara, places like the downtown area and State Street.

The whole tour lasts for about 3 hours 30 minutes, and within that short time, you will get to cover about six different locations and several meals.

Some of these meals include deli offerings, cheese, desserts, chocolate, and wine.

You will be offered to choose between a private tour and a group tour, so if you are considering what romantic activity you might engage in with the one you love, you should consider choosing a private tour.

Regardless of which you choose, you will be told the history of any significant location you pass through by the tour guides.

Therefore, in the end, it is not just your stomach that gets filled; mentally, you are also filled.

28. Santa Barbara Farmers Market

Santa Barbara Farmers Market
Credits: Will Aronson / Shutterstock
Santa Barbara Farmers Market

If you are looking for the best place to purchase fresh produce and other local product in Santa Barbara, you should consider The Santa Barbara Farmers Market.

The total number of sellers in this market is about 130, some of which come from other cities in California.

First opened in 1983, The Santa Barbara Farmers Market serves as a convenient spot for the local farmers in the region to sell their produce.

Some of the items you could purchase from this market include olive oil, pistachios, olives, fresh berries, and lots more.

The market is located on Anacapa Street, and it holds only on Tuesdays and Saturdays of every week.

Address: 3302, 232 Anacapa St ste 1a, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States

29. A Ride on Lil’ Toot

Lil' Toot
Credits: Damian Gadal / Flickr
Lil’ Toot

Lil’ Toot is the name of a small, fun boat you will find in this lovely city, and taking a ride on this boat is worth being on your list of cool things to do in Santa Barbara.

Painted a bright yellow color, Lil’ Toot can contain about 19 passengers, simultaneously transporting them through and from several attractions and landmarks of Santa Barbara.

Although all the attractions in Santa Barbara can be visited on land, what makes Lil’ Toot interesting is that it brings the experience up to a whole new level.

If you are coming with your kids, you might consider including Lil’ Toot in your plans as it has a lot of fun to offer.

While on this boat tour, you might get to see some marine life like seals, sea lions, dolphins, and so many other marine life.

Address: Between Santa Barbara Harbor and Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

30. Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park

Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park
Credits: Wayne Hsieh / Flickr
Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park

Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park is an interesting attraction that features what remains of the history of the Chumash Indians in Santa Barbara, California.

Compared to other state parks, the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park relatively small yet filled with priceless objects.

When you get to the park, you will find a winding and steep road that leads to a cave entrance and serves as a museum.

Although most of the native arts of the Chumash Indians were lost when European settlers took over the area, some of them were preserved inside this cave.

Among many of these arts includes drawings and symbols, colorful images drawn on a sandstone wall, most of which meanings are yet to be deciphered.

It is believed that most of these drawings are over 1000 years old. So they are truly worth seeing.

Address: CA-154, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA

31. Lodge at Blue Sand Inn

Another place to visit in Santa Barbara is the Blue Sand Inn, located about a 20-minute walk away from The Funk Zone.

With so many fun amenities, such as a pool, dinner, and top-class quality service, you are sure to love it here.

The hotel uses a service called Zingle, which allows you to check-in, request concierge services, and even check-out without the unnecessary wait before being attended to by a clerk.

The Blue Sand Inn is one of the top hotels in the city, and staying in this inn is among the best things to do in Santa Barbara.

Address: 421 S Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, United States

32. Taste McConnell’s Ice Cream

McConnell's Ice Cream
Credits: LadyDucayne / Flickr
McConnell’s Ice Cream

One of the best things to do in Santa Barbara during a hot summer afternoon is having ice cream, and McConnell’s Ice Cream is one of the best in the city.

McConnell’s Ice Cream can be bought from any of the two stores owned by the McConnell’s ( you will find one in Funk Zone and another on State Street).

Having been in operation since 1949, McConnell’s Ice cream has made a name for itself in the State of California.

Visit McConnell’s Ice Cream while you are in the city to have a taste of this yummy ice cream.

Address: 728 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States

33. West Wind Drive-in

West Wind Drive-in
Credits: BAZA Production / Shutterstock
Reno arch

Are you looking for what to do in Santa Barbara to have some theatre time with the family or loved ones? If yes, add a visit to the West Wind Drive-in to your list of things to do in Santa Barbara.

This spectacular attraction was first opened in 1966. After being in operation for many years, it was closed down in 2019 and later reopened in 2020.

West Wind Drive-in shows family-friendly movies once every week, and they operate on the first-come, first-serve principle. The gates are opened by 7:30 pm; therefore, you need to come on time.

West Wind Drive-in is one of the best family attractions in Santa Barbara, and a visit here with the entire family is worthwhile.

Map of Top Santa Barbara Attractions and Activities

To get around during your trip to Santa Barbara, here is a map of the top things to do in Santa Barbara with markers of top Santa Barbara attractions and activities.

Planning a road trip around California, check out our list of things to do in Monterey , things to do in Simi Valley and things to do in Santa Cruz for a memorable trip.

Plan a trip to Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is one of the most fun places to visit in California as it has lots of fun places to see, areas of interest, and lots more.

Regardless of how long you wish to spend in this city, Santa Barbara is sure to give you a great experience you will never forget.

Start planning your trip; pin this article as a guide to easily fall back to while making your checklist of things to do in Santa Barbara.