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1 year anniversary

1 year anniversary

Trip Plan Tags: 
North America,
Santa Barbara,
Santa Ynez Valley,
United States

Celebrating the best decision of my life.



Rocks, California

801 State Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Tel: 805 884 1190

Rocks has three bars, patio seating, indoor dining upstairs, and a nightclub downstairs with live music and guest DJs (expect anything from rock'n'roll to hip-hop and jazz). The most popular martini lounge in town, it's a magnet for young professionals, who sip Crushed Velvet martinis made from fresh blackberries while they check things off today's to-do list or contemplate tomorrow's.


EOS Lounge, California

500 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Tel: 805 564 2410

EOS is a sleek party lounge that morphs into a dance club hosted by the area's hottest DJs around 10 pm. This place is one of downtown's scenier spots, but the vibe—and the door policy—is as relaxed as the beach town itself. You're just as likely to find a red-nosed tourist knocking back a Heineken as you are a local in Hugo Boss flip-flops sipping organic cocktails inspired by seasonally correct ingredients. Guests gravitate to the heated outdoor patio, decked out in Mediterranean island scheme with burbling fountains, an al fresco fireplace, and plenty of pillow-strewn booths for kicking back.

Open Thursdays and Fridays 5 pm to 2 am, Saturdays 8 pm to 2 am.

See + Do

Segway of Santa Barbara, California

24 E. Mason Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Tel: 805 963 7672

Hopefully you'll fare better than President Bush, who took a tumble during his first ride on a Segway, the self-balancing electric-powered human transporter. It's really a no-brainer, and the most fun way to tour downtown Santa Barbara. You can rent a Segway on a per hour or per day basis, or opt for a two- to three-hour guided tour of Old Santa Barbara or Montecito.

Open daily 10 am to 6 pm.

See + Do

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, California

1212 Mission Canyon Road
Santa Barbara, California 93105
Tel: 805 682 4726

You don't have to be from the green-thumb club to love this 78-acre garden in the foothills of Mission Canyon. Wander more than five miles of trails through desert, mountain, redwood forest and arroyo habitats, or take a guided nature tour at 11 a.m. on the weekends and every day at 2 p.m. The garden also has a Japanese teahouse; retail nursery; garden shop; classes in such subjects as Japanese tea traditions and botanical illustration; nature cruises on Lake Casitas; and overnight field courses in the Channel Islands.

Open daily 9 am to 6 pm March through October, 9 am to 5 pm November through February.

See + Do

Douglas Family Preserve, California

Linda Road
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Tel: 805 564 5418

A hefty donation from actor Michael Douglas saved the Santa Barbara Coastal Bluffs—now called the Douglas Family Preserve—from being developed into housing. The 70-acre grassy mesa sits above the popular Arroyo Burro Beach, and a walking trail meanders from the entrance on Linda Road to a bluff overlooking the water. Dogs are permitted off-leash within designated areas, making it a favorite for local dog lovers.

Open sunrise to 7 pm.

See + Do

Wine Country, California

Santa Ynez Valley, California

Sideways put Santa Barbara's pinot noir in the spotlight, but let's not forget the award-winning chardonnays and great cabernet. Wine country is only 30 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, with 80-plus wineries to choose from—unless you have a willing designated driver, take a tour. Cloud Climbers' Back-Country Wine Tour has a terrific young staff and six-passenger open Jeep Wranglers that make vineyard-hopping fun and easy (805-646-3200; For the vine huggers out there, Sustainable Vine Wine Tours offers guided tours of organic and biodynamic wineries in a soybean-powered van (805-698-3911; Then there's Wine EdVentures, an educational safari of the Santa Ynez Valley in a plush van (805-965-9463; All pick you up in Santa Barbara and offer private tastings of six to eight vinos at a minimum of four different wineries each day, plus a gourmet picnic lunch. Don't have an entire day to devote to wine? You can always explore Santa Barbara's Urban Wine Trail on foot. The self-guided tour leads you through eight wineries and tasting rooms conveniently located downtown. Key stops include Cellar 205 Winery & Marketplace, Santa Barbara Winery, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, and East Beach Wine Company. There's even a tasting room on Stearns Wharf. Most wineries offer wine purchase drop-offs at local hotels as well as maps to guide you through your grape adventure.


Wine Cask, California

813 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Tel: 805 966 9463

On the historic El Paseo courtyard, the Wine Cask occupies part of an early-20th-century building that was once home to the De la Guerras, descendants of the Presidio commander. Originally known as the Gold Room, the restaurant still has the original stone fireplace carved with the family crest, and hand-painted beamed ceilings. It's no wonder so many vintners and oenophiles come here—there's a 50-page wine list and 20 vintages available by the glass, and a sommelier on hand to help pair that perfect wine with the bistro-style Californian cuisine and impressive cheese menu featuring European and California cheeses. Sunday and Monday nights, they serve a six-course prix-fixe dinner ($100 with paired wines; $65 without wine), but it must be ordered by the entire table. The menu changes seasonally, depending on what local produce is available. Among appetizers, there's a Hawaiian escolar with avocado, poached watermelon, and yuzu sauce, and a three-cheese tomato tart. Signature entrées: grilled Kobe beef top sirloin in black-truffle sauce alongside local baby root vegetables and wild king salmon in a smoky muscat crème with beluga lentils, baby fennel, porcini mushrooms, and cipollini onions. If you like the wine you had with dinner, you can pick up a bottle next door at the Wine Cask store.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 9 pm, Fridays 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 10 pm, Saturdays 5:30 to 10 pm, and Sundays 5:30 to 9 pm.


Opal Restaurant and Bar, California

1325 State Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Tel: 805 966 9676

The always-packed Opal is known for its eclectic world-influenced cuisine and extensive wine list, with 300 vintages and 30 wines served by the glass. The bar does specialty martinis, such as the Perfect 10 (half Absolut, half Tanqueray Ten) and a mandarin-ginger cosmopolitan, and stocks more than 35 varieties of vodka. For starters, order the shredded phyllo-wrapped tiger prawns flash-fried and served with a coconut-curry dipping sauce. Signature entrées include the warm seafood salad (a mix of prawns, scallops, ahi tuna, and salmon served on baby spinach and salad greens) and the herb-grilled filet mignon served with whipped truffle-buttered Yukon potatoes and a wild-mushroom cream sauce laced with port and marsala.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5 to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5 to 11 pm, and Sundays 5 to 10 pm.


La Super-Rica Taqueria, California

622 N. Milpas Street (corner of Alphonse Street)
Santa Barbara, California 93103
Tel: 805 963 4940

Super-Rica is one of Santa Barbara's most cherished spots, even though it's on the fringe side of town and basically just a white taco stand with turquoise trim, a walk-up window, a tent-covered dining area, and white plastic chairs. It was a favorite of Julia Child, who spent her last years in Santa Barbara. Handmade tortillas form the basis of the menu, which includes tacos, taquitos, chilaquiles, tamales, and a variety of sopes. The food is fresh, made right in front of you, and so good that loyal Super-Rica fans will drive up from Los Angeles just for tacos and the tamal de verduras, a vegetarian tamale made of chayote, cheese, corn, zucchini, potato, chile strips, and tomato with a cream sauce. There's always a daily special, such as chile poblano stuffed with cheese and beef, chicken, or pork.

Open Thursdays through Tuesdays 11 am to 9 pm.


Brophy Bros. Restaurant & Clam Bar, California

119 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, California 93101
Tel: 805 966 4418

Action central on the harbor, this long-established seafood spot jumps all year, especially on weekends, when the wait for a table can be an hour or more (they'll give you a pager so you can wander around the marina; no reservations are taken). The biggest complaint here is the noise level, but no one gripes about the legendary Bloody Marys, clam chowder, or West Coast cioppino—California's interpretation of the Italian tomato-based stew filled with mussels, red snapper, and clams, topped with Parmesan cheese. In addition to a regular menu, there's a daily fresh-fish selection. For kicks, try an oyster shooter: a fresh bivalve served in a shot glass with cocktail sauce, Tabasco, and Parmesan cheese. The best seats are on the balcony overlooking the wharf.

Open Sundays through Thursdays 11 am to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11 am to 11 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.