Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is a picturesque city with a laid-back coastal vibe. Living in Santa Barbara means endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, from hiking in the mountains to surfing at the beach. The city is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues to explore.

So whether you’re searching for apartments in Santa Barbara, homes for sale, or are already a local, this Redfin article will be your guide. Here is Redfin’s list of the top 10 things to do in Santa Barbara, for both newcomers and long-time locals alike.

1. Visit the Santa Barbara Zoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is home to over 146 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects. Visitors can enjoy a day of exploring the beautiful grounds and observing animals from around the world. The zoo also offers interactive experiences, such as giraffe feedings and behind-the-scenes tours, making it a fun and educational destination.

2. Explore Stearns Wharf

Stearns Wharf is a historic pier in Santa Barbara, offering stunning views of the coastline and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Visitors can stroll along the pier, browse the shops, and enjoy fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants. The wharf also features a marine education center and a natural history museum, providing a unique and enriching experience for visitors.

3. Visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a peaceful oasis showcasing the diverse plant life of California. Visitors can explore the garden’s 78 acres of native plants, including rare and endangered species. The garden also offers educational programs, guided tours, and special events, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.

4. Relax at Butterfly Beach

Butterfly Beach is a pristine stretch of coastline known for its tranquil atmosphere and breathtaking sunsets. Visitors can relax on the sandy shores, take a leisurely stroll along the beach, or enjoy a picnic with stunning ocean views. The beach is also popular for swimming, sunbathing, and dolphin sightings, making it a perfect spot for a day of relaxation.

5. Visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is home to a diverse collection of art spanning over 5,000 years of human creativity. Visitors can explore the museum’s galleries, which feature works from various cultures and time periods. The museum also hosts special exhibitions, lectures, and workshops, providing a rich and immersive art experience.

6. Explore the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum offers a fascinating look into the maritime history of the region. Visitors can learn about the area’s seafaring heritage through interactive exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs. The museum also features a historic waterfront location, providing a unique and engaging experience for visitors of all ages.

7. Visit the Santa Barbara Mission

The Santa Barbara Mission is a historic landmark and one of the city’s most iconic attractions. Visitors can explore the mission’s beautiful architecture, lush gardens, and historical artifacts. The mission also offers guided tours, cultural events, and religious services, providing a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the area.

8. Enjoy a wine tasting tour

Santa Barbara is renowned for its world-class wineries and vineyards, making it a perfect destination for wine enthusiasts. Visitors can embark on a wine tasting tour, exploring the region’s diverse wine offerings and picturesque landscapes. From boutique tasting rooms to sprawling estates, Santa Barbara offers a unique and memorable wine tasting experience.

9. Explore the Santa Barbara Harbor

The Santa Barbara Harbor is a bustling waterfront area offering a variety of activities and attractions. Visitors can stroll along the harbor, watch the boats come and go, and enjoy fresh seafood at one of the many waterfront restaurants. The harbor also offers opportunities for sailing, kayaking, and whale watching, making it a vibrant and dynamic destination for visitors of all interests.

10. Visit the Santa Barbara County Courthouse

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is a stunning architectural masterpiece and a must-see destination for visitors. Visitors can explore the courthouse’s beautiful Spanish-Moorish design, lush gardens, and panoramic views of the city. The courthouse also offers guided tours and cultural events, providing a unique and enriching experience.

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