For my birthday my grandma gave me a girls trip to Santa Barbara, California! It is definitely now one of my favorite places to visit, it is so relaxing and feels like it is a part of its own little world! It is surrounded by the ocean on one side and mountains on the other side. Based on its history Santa Barbara also has strict architectural requirements for all its buildings, they can only be a couple stories high and all have to have a Spanish themed design. This almost makes it feel like stepping into Europe while still being in the US! It was so amazing!
After a crazy morning trying to rework our flights after a delay we finally got a flight out of a new airport and we landed in Santa Barbara by that evening. After a long day we decided to stay in and we had some drinks and appetizers for dinner at our hotel! We stayed at the Hilton Beachfront Resort originally known as the Fess Parker. It was a great way to unwind! We sat by the fire pit and got to look out at the beach! I don’t know if life could get much better than that!
We started with the drinks at Des Moines airport after quite the morning!
The two full days we were there I woke up early(on Nebraska time, in California), got some coffee and then walked on the beach. There was hardly anyone out there (at least at the time I was), and it was so beautiful! After a nice slow morning we took the trolley (public transportation is very nice in Santa Barbara) to downtown. We then had organized a food tour we found through Trip Advisor with Taste Santa Barbara Food Tours and it was amazing!
We got to go to so many different places to eat and we got to hear about a lot of the history of Santa Barbara and see other important historical locations! Here are the places we stopped at:
Renaud’s Patisserie – We had to most amazing macaroons here we got to try so many different flavors!
Santa Barbara Public Market- Empty Bowl- They made Pad Thai with rice noodles, that I wish I could find something as good in Nebraska
Los Arroyos- I love some street tacos and guacamole and Los Arroyos did not disappoint. Then top it off with a chocolate filled churro and vanilla gelato…you get the point :)
Then we had our first wine tasting at Grassini Family Vineyards, I highly recommend doing some sort of wine tasting when you turn 21 then you get to learn all about the different types of wine and see what you like and what the differences are. The wine I really enjoyed at this tasting was the Sauvignon Blanc, and the wines were paired with some amazing chocolates made by Jessica Foster Creations!
We then went to have some award winning pizza at Persona Pizza and we got to try the gluten free crust for my Aunt and I have to say, that was a pretty good gluten free crust, even for someone who isn’t gluten free.
Lastly we had our second wine tasting at Happy Canyon, and we asked if we could switch out our Merlot tasting to a Rosé and I am so glad we did! That has been my all time favorite by far, but this trip definitely put what I like the best out of my price range for a while.
I highly recommend this food tour even if you are staying in another area of California and are able just to come to Santa Barbara for the day!
We then finished off our day by shopping at a very large Marshall’s and then going back to the hotel to have drinks and appetizers with our amazing server Duncan making sure we got everything we wanted!
The next day we took a hop on hop off trolley tour of Santa Barbara, where we could stop at the mission and then downtown. We then ate lunch at a cute dinner called Joe’s. At Joe’s I got a birthday dessert of chocolate mousse and we decided that we had to try some other deserts as well, so we made our own little food tour.
After Joe’s we stopped at McConnells Ice Cream, and at Nordstrom for their Royal Cookie! We then spent the afternoon walking through stores, I got some coffee and then we eventually started walking through the beginning of their Tuesday evening Farmer’s Market, which had some of the most amazing colors I have ever seen! We then finished off this last evening with dinner at a local Italian place called Arnoldi’s. There we kind of finished of our dessert tour with some tiramisu.
The next morning we were back to Nebraska, but I am definitely going back to Santa Barbara. It was so amazing! We had wonderful service, beautiful weather and surroundings, it is so relaxing, and there are many more things to see (such as the Ronald Reagan Ranch) when I go back! Maybe I will be able to afford that bottle of wine the next time ;) And I loved getting to spend time with my Grandma, Aunt, and Bonus(step) Mom! Santa Barbara was really its own perfect little world!