Santa Barbara has an undeniable effect on the senses that’s both singular and sublime. The natural beauty is immediate, and bordering on the supernatural. Soaring mountains cradle the cobalt Pacific in a rare, dramatic embrace. Yet on this golden crescent of coast, beauty is only the beginning. Here, rich culture and history blends effortlessly with modern cuisine and hip hospitality, as if at the hand of one of the region’s world-class vintners. At once bohemian and luxe, the locals’ welcoming spirit is warming beyond the unmatched Mediterranean climate. To travel the area is to immerse oneself deeply into a world that’s more than beautiful…it’s Santa Barbara.

Where other destinations have cuisine, Santa Barbara stands a James Beard Award-winning sommelier tableside to explain pairings with your urchin biryani. Where some escapes have outdoor activities, Santa Barbara invites you to kayak a national park marine sanctuary amongst a humpback whale migration. From the viniculturally adventurous Urban Wine Trail in downtown’s eclectic Funk Zone to the ethereal and historic Spanish Colonial Mission, this all-senses-go paradise gives you next-level reasons to return time and again.

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Santa Barbara

The Grand Dame of State Street Turns 100

Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre celebrates its centennial year

By Misty Hall
All photos courtesy Granada Theatre
For much of early adulthood, State Street in Santa Barbara was THE place to go. This was back in the early 2000s, when we spent long nights dancing in very cool clubs (and very short dresses). I remember that we almost always had to walk past the Granada Theatre to get back to the parking structure. It stood out to me because it was not only the tallest building in town, by far, but it also just felt … steeped in mystery, somehow. And history. What the heck went on in there? And would they ever actually reopen it?
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Santa Barbara

Flower power: Santa Barbara International Orchid Show

Current show president Lauris Rose first remembers coming to this show as a little girl, when she snapped countless photos of the displays. The Santa Barbara native returned year after year, developing such a passion that she and her husband James eventually purchased the renowned Cal-Orchid Inc. Joining Lauris is Olivia Sorgman, who is taking over the reigns as the new show manager this year. Together, they’re bringing fresh ideas to engage the next generation of orchid lovers.
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Santa Barbara

Winter Wings

By Michele Roest

Winter birdwatching on the Central Coast offers opportunities to see old favorites and spot new ones When the days grow short and the weather turns cool, bird watchers look for migrating songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors to appear along California’s central and southern regions. Some remain for the winter, while others stay for just a few days before continuing further south to even milder climes. They need safe places to rest and feed while they gain strength for the next stretch of their migration. Some migrations are hundreds of miles in distance, while others may reach thousands of miles.
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Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, Smoked

By Mike Miller Photos courtesy Santa Barbara Smokehouse
Thanks to top-shelf techniques and an eye toward sustainability, this local smoked salmon company is renowned from coast to coast. If you are a smoked salmon lover, chances are you have already experienced the world-famous Santa Barbara Smokehouse products. If you have not, the city of Santa Barbara is home to one of the best manufacturing facilities in the world
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Santa Barbara

Super Soak

Relaxation (and romance) at Avila’s Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa

For thousands of years, humans have known the healing properties of mineral hot springs. The ancient Egyptians and Romans lauded these natural wonders for their ability to soothe body aches, relax tension, and even revitalize skin and hair. While the Central Coast has several natural hot springs, one of our favorites is Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. This peaceful little slice of paradise sits on the hillside above Avila Beach, where oak and sycamore groves shade private tubs fed by hot mineral springs. Guests can rent a tub by the hour or choose to stay longer in one of many room options — all of which have their own private hot tubs on the patio or balcony. With a spa, restaurant, gorgeous grounds, and plenty of activities nearby, Sycamore Mineral Springs is great for a romantic getaway — or just a quick pit-stop on your drive on the 101.
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Santa Barbara

Summerland Loving

By Nicole Leonetti
Summerland: the name alone evokes images of a magical place you can only visit in your dreams. Lucky for us, it’s a very real place, and it could not be easier to visit! Located directly off Highway 101 between Carpinteria and Montecito, Summerland boasts beach vibes, small town hospitality, and efficient accessibility (most of the businesses lie along one street, Lillie Avenue). It was founded as a Spiritualist community back in 1883 by Ohio spiritualist and real estate speculator H.L. Williams. The discovery of oil and the building of Highway 101 may have redirected the focus of the town, but its spiritual side — and its sense of community — remain strong.
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