Santa Barbara was first inhabited by the Chumash people, who called it "the land of abundance". The Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century and named it after Saint Barbara, the patron saint of artillerymen. The city was founded as a mission in 1786 by Father Junipero Serra, and later became a presidio (fort) and a pueblo (town). The city was part of Mexico until 1848, when it became part of the US after the Mexican-American War. The city experienced a boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thanks to its oil, agriculture, and tourism industries. The city also became a popular destination for celebrities and artists, who were attracted by its natural beauty and cultural diversity.
Location & Climate
Santa Barbara is located on the central coast of California, about 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles. It is bordered by the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The city has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and warm summers. The average temperature ranges from 57°F in January to 76°F in August. The city receives about 18 inches of rainfall per year, mostly between November and March.
Santa Barbara is known as "the American Riviera" because of its resemblance to the French and Italian Rivieras.
Santa Barbara has over 50 public parks and gardens, including the famous Lotusland, a 37-acre botanical garden with exotic plants worldwide.
Santa Barbara is home to the world's largest fig tree, which covers an area of 12,000 square feet and has a trunk circumference of 41 feet.
Santa Barbara hosts an annual International Film Festival, which attracts celebrities and filmmakers from around the globe.
Santa Barbara has more than 200 wineries and tasting rooms, making it one of the premier wine regions in California.
Santa Barbara is easy to get around by car, bike, bus, or foot. The city has a well-maintained network of roads and highways, as well as ample parking spaces. If you prefer to bike, you can take advantage of the city's bike lanes and paths, or rent a bike from one of the many bike shops or stations. If you want to use public transportation, you can hop on one of the buses operated by the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD), which cover most areas of the city. You can also take the electric shuttle that runs along State Street and the waterfront. If you like to walk, you can enjoy the city's pedestrian-friendly downtown area, which is full of shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums.
Santa Barbara has many different neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. Here are some of the neighborhoods that you should visit and what to do in each one.
Downtown is the heart of Santa Barbara, where you'll find most of the attractions, shops, restaurants, and nightlife. You can stroll along State Street, the main thoroughfare, with your leashed dog and admire the architecture, art, and ambiance. You can also visit some of the landmarks, such as the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, the Old Mission Santa Barbara, and the Granada Theatre. Downtown is also home to Paseo Nuevo, a shopping center that has a pet-friendly policy and offers free treats and water for your dog.
The Mesa is a scenic neighborhood that overlooks the ocean and has some of the best beaches in Santa Barbara. You can relax on Leadbetter Beach or Shoreline Park with your leashed dog or off-leash in some areas. You can also hike on the Douglas Family Preserve, a former golf course that is now a natural park that allows dogs off-leash. The Mesa also has some great restaurants and cafes that have pet-friendly patios or outdoor seating.
The Riviera is a hillside neighborhood that offers stunning views of the city and the ocean. You can drive or bike along Alameda Padre Serra, a winding road that showcases the beauty of the Riviera. You can also visit some of the attractions, such as the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, which has over 1,000 species of native plants and allows leashed dogs. The Riviera also has some cozy bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels that welcome pets.
Montecito is an affluent neighborhood that has some of the most luxurious homes and estates in Santa Barbara. You can admire the architecture and landscaping of Montecito as you drive or walk along its streets. You can also visit some of the attractions, such as the Lotusland, a 37-acre botanical garden that features exotic plants from around the world. The garden is not pet-friendly, but you can book a tour in advance and leave your dog in a nearby pet hotel or sitter while you explore.
Things to Do
Santa Barbara is a beautiful city on the California coast, known for its Mediterranean climate, Spanish colonial architecture, and stunning beaches. But did you know that it's also a great destination for pet owners? Whether you have a dog, a cat, or any other furry friend, you'll find plenty of things to do and places to explore in Santa Barbara with your pet. Here are some of the highlights.
One of the most popular attractions in Santa Barbara is the Santa Barbara Zoo, which is home to over 500 animals, including lions, giraffes, elephants, and penguins. The zoo is also very pet-friendly, allowing leashed dogs to enter for a small fee. You and your pet can enjoy the scenic views of the ocean and the mountains, as well as the exhibits and shows. Just make sure to keep your dog away from the animals and respect the zoo rules.
Another attraction that you and your pet can enjoy is the Old Mission Santa Barbara, a historic landmark that dates back to 1786. The mission is a beautiful example of Spanish colonial architecture, with a church, a museum, and a garden. You can take a self-guided tour of the grounds with your leashed dog, or join a guided tour without your pet. Either way, you'll learn about the history and culture of Santa Barbara and its founders.
Santa Barbara has many iconic landmarks that are worth visiting, such as the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a stunning building that combines Spanish, Moorish, and Romanesque styles. The courthouse features a mural room, a clock tower, and a sunken garden. You can take your leashed dog inside the courthouse, but not in the mural room or the clock tower. You can also enjoy the panoramic views of the city from the top of the tower.
Another landmark that you and your pet can visit is the Stearns Wharf, a historic pier that extends into the Pacific Ocean. The wharf is a lively place with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. You can walk along the pier with your leashed dog, or take a water taxi to explore the harbor. You can also visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, which is located on the wharf and features interactive exhibits and marine life.
Museums and Cultural Institutions
If you're interested in art and culture, Santa Barbara has plenty of museums and cultural institutions to offer. One of them is the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which has a collection of over 27,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and events throughout the year. The museum is not pet-friendly, but you can leave your dog in a nearby dog park or daycare while you enjoy the art.
Another museum that you can visit is the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, which showcases the maritime history and heritage of Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands. The museum has exhibits on whaling, fishing, surfing, diving, and more. You can also watch films and documentaries in the 4D theater or join a boat tour or kayak adventure. The museum is not pet-friendly either, but you can find some pet-friendly restaurants and cafes nearby
Santa Barbara is an outdoor lover's paradise, with plenty of options for hiking, kayaking, biking, and more. One of the best places to enjoy nature with your pet is the Los Padres National Forest, which covers over 1.7 million acres of mountains, valleys, rivers, and lakes. You can hike on one of the many trails with your leashed dog or horseback ride with your horse. You can also camp in one of the designated campgrounds or dispersed areas with your pet.
Another place that you and your pet can have fun is the Santa Barbara Waterfront Park, which stretches along the coast from Leadbetter Beach to East Beach. The park has bike paths, picnic areas, playgrounds, and volleyball courts. You can bike or skate along the waterfront with your leashed dog, or play fetch on the beach. You can also swim or surf in the ocean, but make sure to check the signs for the designated areas for dogs. Some beaches allow dogs off-leash, while others require them to be on-leash or prohibit them altogether.
Events and Festivals
Santa Barbara hosts many events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating its culture, cuisine, and community. Some of these events are pet-friendly, such as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which features screenings, panels, and partie in various venues across the city. You can bring your leashed dog to some o the outdoor screenings or leave them i a nearby pet hotel or sitter while you enjoy the films.
Another event that you and your pet can attend i the Summer Solstice Celebration which mark the longest day of the year with a parade a festival and a concer in Alameda Park The parade is a colorful spectacle of floats,costumes,and music,and you can join the fun with your pe as long as they are well-behaved and comfortable with crowds and noise. The festival and concert are also pet-friendly but you may want to bring some water and shade for your pet.
Entertainment and Nightlife
Santa Barbara has a vibrant entertainment and nightlife scene, with many options for music, comedy, dancing, and more. One of the best places to enjoy the nightlife with your pet is the Funk Zone, a hip and artsy district that has breweries, wineries, restaurants, and galleries. You can sip on some craft beer or wine with your leashed dog at one of the pet-friendly patios or tasting rooms, or enjoy some live music or comedy at one of the venues.
Another place that you and your pet can have fun is the Arlington Theatre, a historic and elegant theater that hosts concerts plays, operas, and ballets. The theater is not pet-friendly but you can leave your dog in a nearby dog park or daycare while you watch the show. The theater also has a beautiful courtyard and fountain that you can admire with your pet before or after the show.
Dining and Culinary Experiences
Santa Barbara is a foodie's heaven, with a variety of cuisines and culinary experiences to choose from. One of them is the Santa Barbara Public Market, which is a gourmet food hall that features local vendors and artisans. You can sample some of the delicious offerings, such as pizza, sushi, tacos, ice cream, and more. The market is pet-friendly, but you may need to keep your dog outside or on a short leash while you order or eat.
Another culinary experience that you can enjoy is the Santa Barbara Farmers Market, which is held every day in different locations around the city. You can browse through the fresh and organic produce, flowers, cheese, bread, honey, and more. You can also chat with the farmers and learn about their products and practices. The market is pet-friendly, but you may want to keep your dog away from the food stalls and respect the other shoppers.
Your Pet and the City
If you're planning to visit Santa Barbara with your furry friend, you're in luck! This beautiful city on the California coast is one of the most pet-friendly destinations in the country. You'll find plenty of places to explore, shop, and relax with your pet by your side. Here are some of the best spots to check out in Santa Barbara for you and your pet.
Santa Barbara has many dog parks where you can let your pup run free and socialize with other dogs. Some of the most popular ones are:
Douglas Family Preserve: This 70-acre park offers stunning views of the ocean and the mountains, as well as trails, picnic areas, and a beach access. Dogs are allowed off-leash throughout the park, except on the beach.
Tucker's Grove Park: This park features a large fenced area for dogs to play, as well as a creek, a playground, and barbecue grills. Dogs are also allowed on-leash on the trails outside the fenced area.
Elings Park: This park is the largest privately funded public park in America, with 230 acres of open space, sports fields, and gardens. Dogs are welcome off-leash in designated areas, and on-leash in other parts of the park.
These dog parks are great places to enjoy some fresh air and exercise with your pet. You'll also meet other pet owners who can give you tips and recommendations for your stay in Santa Barbara
If you need to stock up on pet supplies, or just want to treat your pet to something special, Santa Barbara has some great pet stores to choose from. Some of the best ones are:
Lemos Feed & Pet Supply: This family-owned business has been serving Santa Barbara since 1972, offering a wide range of products for dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, and small animals. They also have grooming services, self-wash stations, and adoption events.
Healthy Pet: This store specializes in natural and holistic pet food and treats, as well as toys, accessories, supplements, and grooming products. They also have a loyalty program and a delivery service.
Montecito Pet Shop: This store has been in business since 1964, offering quality pet food and supplies, as well as live animals such as fish, birds, hamsters, rabbits, and more. They also have a grooming salon and a boarding facility.
These pet stores are more than just places to buy things for your pet. They are also part of the community, supporting local animal shelters and rescue groups, and providing friendly and knowledgeable service.
In case your pet needs medical attention during your trip, Santa Barbara has some excellent pet clinics that can take care of your pet's health needs. Some of the best ones are:
White's Pet Hospital: This clinic has been serving Santa Barbara since 1923, offering comprehensive veterinary care for dogs and cats. They have a state-of-the-art facility with digital x-rays, ultrasound, laser therapy, dental care, surgery, and more.
San Roque Pet Hospital: This clinic is a full-service animal hospital that provides quality care for dogs and cats. They have a modern facility with an in-house laboratory, pharmacy, radiology, surgery suite, dental suite, and more.
La Cumbre Animal Hospital: This clinic is a small animal hospital that offers personalized care for dogs and cats. They have a cozy facility with an in-house laboratory, pharmacy, digital x-rays, dental care, surgery, acupuncture, and more.
These pet clinics are staffed by experienced and compassionate veterinarians and technicians who will treat your pet as their own. You can trust them to provide the best care possible for your pet.
Now that you know where to go with your pet in Santa Barbara, here are some travel tips to make your trip easier and more enjoyable.
Santa Barbara has a mild Mediterranean climate that makes it pleasant to visit year-round. However, there are some seasonal variations that you should be aware of:
This is a beautiful time to visit Santa Barbara, as the flowers are blooming and the weather is warm but not too hot. However, it can also be rainy and windy, so bring a jacket and an umbrella.
This is the peak season for tourism in Santa Barbara, as the weather is sunny and hot, and the beaches are crowded. However, it can also be foggy and cool in the mornings and evenings, so bring a sweater and sunscreen.
This is a great time to visit Santa Barbara, as the weather is mild and sunny, and the crowds are thinner. However, it can also be dry and fire-prone, so be careful with open flames and follow fire safety rules.
This is the off-season for tourism in Santa Barbara, as the weather is cool and rainy, and the beaches are empty. However, it can also be sunny and warm, so bring layers and sunglasses.
Sustainable travel and eco-friendly options
Santa Barbara is a city that cares about the environment and encourages its visitors to do the same. There are many ways to travel sustainably and eco-friendly with your pet in Santa Barbara.
You can reduce your carbon footprint by taking public transportation or biking around the city. The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) operates buses that allow pets in carriers or on leashes. The Santa Barbara Car Free program offers discounts on train tickets, bike rentals and hotel stays for travelers who leave their cars behind. You can also rent a bike from one of the many bike shops or stations in the city and explore the scenic bike paths with your pet.
You can choose from a variety of pet-friendly hotels that also have green practices and policies. For example, the Belmond El Encanto Hotel is a historic resort that has an organic garden, a solar-heated pool and electric car charging stations. It also welcomes pets with treats, beds and bowls. The Inn by the Harbor is a charming hotel with green certification from Green Key Global. It also offers free breakfast, wine and cheese reception and bike rentals for you and your pet.
You can enjoy delicious food that is also good for the planet at one of the many eco-friendly restaurants in Santa Barbara. For example, The Lark is a farm-to-table restaurant that sources its ingredients from local farmers, fishermen and artisans. It also has a dog-friendly patio where you can dine with your pet. The Mesa Verde Restaurant is a vegan restaurant that serves organic, gluten-free and seasonal dishes. It also has a dog-friendly outdoor seating area where you can enjoy your meal with your pet
Ready to have a pleasant time with your pet?
Now, it's time to take action. Show your pet how much you care by investing time and effort into their grooming routine. And if you're looking for the utmost convenience, book an appointment with Pawgo. Your pet will thank you with wagging tails and endless affection.