Boasting dozens of tasting rooms and operating wineries in an intimate downtown setting, Santa Barbara is a wine lovers’ weekend paradise. With a cozy, yet vibrant feel, the city offers a combination of coastal beauty and urban amenities, including upscale eateries and artisanal shops, a beachside boardwalk and wharf, and a variety of accommodations for any budget.
Located only three hours (or four with traffic) from San Diego, it’s a perfect getaway option for gastronomic and wine adventures. Here’s a breakdown of hotspots to add to your Santa Barbara to-do list next time you escape for the weekend.
Wineries to visit
Margerum Wine Company: With more than 30 years in the local wine industry, Margerum offers urban tastings in the historic El Paseo neighborhood. With a Reserve tasting room and dog-friendly patio, patrons can enjoy a variety of options. Popular wines include Riviera Rose, Sybarite Sauvignon Blanc, Barden Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and M5 White and M5 Red (both Rhone varietal blends).
813 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara, 805.845.8435, margerumwines.com
Au Bon Climat: With more than 100 different wines stocked, the tasting room displays the range of winemaker Jim Clendenen’s ventures, including Au Bon Climat, Clendenen Family Vineyard, Ici/La-Bas, Barham Mendelsohn, and Vita Nota. Known for a wide range of pinot noirs, the tasting room also hosts chardonnay, rose, syrah, nebbiolo and various other varietals.
813 Anacapa St. #5B, Santa Barbara, 805.963.7999, aubonclimat.com
Jaffurs Wine Cellars: Big luscious syrahs and tropical viogniers top the list of exceptional wines from this classic S.B. winery. Tucked away off the main drag, this intimate tasting room is located within the production warehouse itself and gives patrons the feel of a true urban winery experience.
819 E. Montecito St, Santa Barbara, 805.962.7003, jaffurswine.com
Kunin Wines: Excellent Rhône-style varietals in the Funk Zone of Santa Barbara, including viognier, grenache, and syrah, along with chardonnay and zinfandel. Don’t miss the famous Pape Star Blonde and Pape Star original red, both Rhône blends.
28 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara, 805.963.9633, kuninwines.com
What else to do
Santa Barbara Tasting Tours (choose between the Funk Zone or Historical): Offered every Saturday, these gastronomic walking tours stop at six different culinary locations. The historical option tours along State Street, and includes a historical background of the city, plus tastes of pastries, gourmet cheeses, gourmet chocolate and even Food Network featured dishes. The Funk Zone tour begins on State Street, but heads to off the beaten path locales and concludes in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, a unique industrial area that houses art galleries, restaurants, local wineries, a brewery and distillery. Tours sell out, so book in advance.$85
Santa Barbara Art Glass: Ever thought about blowing your own glass art? This highly rated private class can be booked for two, and includes a piece to take home. Located near Stearns Wharf, Saul Alcaraz’s studio is the place to fulfill your artistic inspirations and create a memorable keepsake of your weekend getaway.
706 E. Mason St., Santa Barbara, 805.965.1541, sbartglass.com
Museums to visit
Don’t miss the Old Mission Santa Barbara with bell towers and gardens, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center for aquatic learning and activities.
Where to eat
Santa Barbara Public Market: With 11 independent merchants sourcing local and regional ingredients, this LEED-certified market is the perfect spot for a variety of discerning taste buds and indecisive patrons. Purveyors include Enjoy Cupcakes, Green Star Coffee, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, Big Eye Raw Bar, Wine+Beer, and Il Fustino Oils and Vinegars.
38 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara, 805.770.7702, sbpublicmarket.com
Bouchon Santa Barbara: Enjoy California French cuisine in a rustic setting serving local, organic ingredients sourced from the Santa Barbara channel and local countryside. Rated as a four diamond restaurant by AAA, a Diner’s Choice by Open Table, and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, this “pioneer” of Santa Barbara cuisine is a must-try for any foodie.
9 W. Victoria St.., Santa Barbara, 805.730.1160, bouchonsantabarbara.com
Mesa Verde: Vegans and vegetarians flock here for organic, healthy eats including latkes with tempeh bacon, cashew cheese board, brunch bowls and pulled smoked mushroom sandwich. Open for lunch, dinner and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, it’s a spot you’ll want to hit more than once on your getaway.
1919 Cliff Dr., Santa Barbara, 805.963.4474, mesaverderestaurant.com
Where to stay
Franciscan Inn: Stay near the beach and boardwalk in this moderately-priced hotel with an easy-going, coastal vibe. With ten different accommodation options from guest rooms to suites, there’s a perfect stay for everyone.
109 Bath St., Santa Barbara, 805.963.8845, franciscaninn.com
The Wayfarer Santa Barbara: Located in the Funky Zone, this hip and trendy hotel is located on Montecito, near State Street and the Santa Barbara Pier. With 27 rooms and four shared hostel rooms, community kitchen, hosted pub crawls, and onsite games, the vibe is all about being social. Book direct from their website, and receive 20% off your stay.
12 E. Montecito St., Santa Barbara, 805.845.1000, wayfarersb.com