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SANTA BARBARA

THE AMERICAN RIVIERA

What is there to do in Santa Barbara? A lot! Exciting, gorgeous, trendy, classy, elegant…It’s a beautiful coastal city, situated an hour north of Los Angeles, and 5 hours south of San Francisco. But it is also a hub of eclectic economic vibrancy. A world-class university functions as an incubator for some of the world’s most dynamic future technology companies many of which are the result of a thriving research center. This gives Santa Barbara a “vibe” that is the perfect triumvirate mix of sexy, geeky, and nerdy.

Overall, Santa Barbara experiences a warm-summer Mediterranean climate. If you like history the Presidio of Santa Barbara Mission Santa Barbara known as “the Queen of the Missions,” was founded in 1786. The Mission and Painted Cave are both in what is now the city of Santa Barbara. This stretch of coast along southern Santa Barbara County is sometimes referred to as “The American Riviera.”

The Santa Ynez Mountains, the same mountain range featured affectionately in President Reagans personal diary, suffice to say he loved Santa Barbara, and especially his Santa Ynez mountain retreat tucked quietly and tastefully as far away from Washington D.C. An east-west trending range, the Santa Ynez Mountains rise dramatically behind the city, with several peaks exceeding 4,000 feet. This feat of Mother nature is second to none when it comes to her ability to boast.

As for the dominant architectural themes of Santa Barbara, you can’t ignore the Spanish Colonial Revival and the related Mission Revival style. Santa Barbara contains numerous performing art venues, including the 2,000 seat Arlington Theatre. If you’re a concertgoer few outdoor venues can rival the Santa Barbara Bowl for ambiance, natural acoustics and of course, the view. Oh, that view…

The Bolero Theatre is also a favorite venue for small concerts; and the Granada Theater, in addition to being the tallest building in Santa Barbara enjoys its own storied historicity. If architecture is your thing, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a red tiled Spanish-Moorish structure, provides a sweeping view of the downtown area from its open-air tower. You simply must see it to believe it.

What’s Brewing on the California Central Coast?

    By Donna Polizzi Breweries and Tap Rooms are popping up all over the Central Coast. According to California Craft Brewers Association, more than 850 craft breweries call California home. That’s more than any other state in the nation.  Locally, you can experience some of the best. Personally, I have always been a wine…

Ritz-Carlton Bacara – Seaside Luxury in Santa Barbara

Are you up for an adventure on the California Coast?  If you want to stay at the best beach property on the Central Coast, the Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara is a truly magnificent property that will not disappoint. Herve Humler, co-founder of the Ritz-Carlton, has built a premier brand of over 100 hotels, providing…

Arnoldis Santa Barbara Restaurant Dishes

Top 5 Best Restaurants in Santa Barbara

Keys 2 the Coast has chosen five of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara.  With over 300 restaurants in Santa Barbara, this was a deliciously difficult task for our trusted recreational foodies. Our methodology was to carefully select establishments that have gone the distance to delight locals and visitors, for many years.  A combination of delectable dishes, superior service, an inviting…

Getaway to Goleta, CA

By Donna Polizzi Tourists are far more familiar with Santa Barbara and many people don’t know that the neighboring city of Goleta has much to offer. It is located 20 miles South of Solvang, and State Street’s main shopping and dining area in Santa Barbara is only 7 miles away. While exploring for Keys 2…

Stars and the Star-Struck…

By Donna Polizzi Visitors continue to flock to Hearst Castle and the Santa Maria Inn, just as they did in the heyday of Hollywood. Living on the Central Coast is living the dream. The mountain and ocean views are simply awe-inspiring. It’s no wonder tourists flock from around the world to visit Santa Barbara, San…

presquile wine orcutt, ca

With Wines, Vines and Bucolic Vistas, Santa Maria Valley Is a Sight to See

By Donna Polizzi Having lived on the Central Coast since the mid-1980s, I’ve come to realize that every city in our region has treasures to be enjoyed. That is if you know where to look. Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo have always received favorable recognition for many reasons, and justifiably so. What many people don’t realize,…

How sweet it is…top bakery selections

Since 2009, the Brown Butter Cookie Company has been serving up delectable treats. When put this sweet and salty cookie in my mouth, it made my taste buds do the tango!

Nature’s Majesty – Monarch Butterflies on the Central Coast

By Blake Lewolt Imagine walking 3000 miles with no signs, no map, and no compass, traveling between 50 to 100 miles a day. That is exactly what Monarch Butterflies do every single year. Monarchs are the only species of butterfly that, (like birds) make a two-way migration every year. A true enigma lies in their…

Getting Funky in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

When it comes to seasonal parades, cultural festivals, nature preserves, fantastic restaurants or outdoor shopping, Santa Barbara sets the standard. I never grow tired of the spectacular scenery, amazing weather and friendly, laid-back people.