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About Santa Barbara
Set between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is known as the American Riviera. On the centre of California's coastline, the city has miles of beaches with a backdrop of mountains and a picturesque maze of white stucco buildings with terracotta-tiled roofs. This distinct architecture reflects the region's Spanish colonial heritage, while a Mediterranean spirit still runs through the city with al-fresco living.
Whether you're a foodie, beach lover or you're looking to explore art galleries, you will find a Santa Barbara hostel that'll tick all the boxes. Hostels here have an arty vibe, with outdoor spaces including pools and terraces. Take advantage of a free breakfast to set you up for the day and make the most of the free Wi-Fi to keep in touch with friends. Most Santa Barbara hostels have common areas, which are a great place to unwind and meet new people.
Santa Barbara's neighbourhoods range from the vibrant European-style Presidio district – the original heart of the city – to the cool Funk Zone, where you'll find edgy wine bars and pop-up restaurants in converted warehouses. The city's culinary scene is huge, with Uptown boasting State Street lined with family-owned eateries and Downtown offering lots of tantalising food spots. Set among the restaurants, you'll see Spanish-inspired architecture and boutiques along a palm-lined boulevard. On the waterfront is Stearns Wharf, California’s oldest working wooden wharf.
Many of the things to do in Santa Barbara are outdoors because of its Mediterranean climate. Take to the hills to walk in the Santa Ynez Mountains for amazing panoramas from Inspiration Point or discover the 24m-tall waterfall on the hike to Nojoqui Falls. Off dry land, you can surf Santa Barbara's world-renowned breaks just off the beaches and spot dolphins and whales from a ferry ride out to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. With its towering cacti, the botanical nirvana of Lotusland is also well worth a visit.
Once you land at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, the journey to the city only takes 15 minutes in a taxi or around an hour on a local bus. Trains arrive into Santa Barbara Amtrak train station in the Downtown district. Getting around the city is easy, with plenty of local transport to choose from, including trollies, buses and water taxis, or you can hire a bike and take a cycle route along the waterfront.