How to Spend 2 Days in Santa Barbara
With two days in Santa Barbara, you’ll have time to learn about the natural and cultural history of the area, immerse yourself in the local art scene, and explore the outdoors. Here’s how.
Day 1: History and Culture
**Morning:**Spend your first morning in Santa Barbara learning about local history with a visit to the Old Mission, celebrated for its beautiful 18th-century colonial architecture and rooms full of historic artifacts. A short walk away the Museum of Natural History houses exhibits focused on the ecological life of Southern California.
**Afternoon:**In the afternoon, head to the trendy Funk Zone neighborhood for lunch at a wine bar or brewery, giving yourself plenty of time to browse the area’s numerous art galleries and boutiques. From here, make your way to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, known for its extensive collection of photography and European art.
**Night:**When night falls, visit Stearns Wharf to sample fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants that look out over the bay. After dinner, it’s worth catching a live theatrical, dance, or operatic performance at The Granada Theatre, a beautifully restored early 20th-century theater and ground zero for cultural life in Santa Barbara.
Day 2: Outdoor Exploration
**Morning:**Explore the great outdoors on your second day. Start with a visit to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, a sprawling, 78-plus acre conservatory full of lush greenery, not to mention more than five miles of hiking trails that offer shoreline views. Save time by bringing a picnic lunch.
**Afternoon:**In the afternoon, go to the beach. Many first-timers make a beeline to the city’s most popular coastal spot, Leadbetter Beach, which is ideal for sunbathing and surfing. Another popular alternative is Shoreline Park, a 15-acre stretch of park and beach with views of the Channel Islands.
**Night:**Watching the sunset from the beach is a lovely way to wrap up your second day in Santa Barbara, but the best views are from right in the middle of the water. Guided kayak tours depart from the Santa Barbara Harbor—just don’t forget to bring your camera for a final shot of the sun dipping into the Pacific Ocean.