Santa Barbara: Top Ten Picks When Not Playing Golf

In no order of preference and not associated with David Letterman, here’s my Top Ten things to do when not playing golf in Santa Barbara:

  1. Sample the Urban Wine Trail. Within blocks of downtown and the beach, there’s a terrific collection of wineries representing the finest wines produced in Santa Barbara County. Visiting Jaffurs Wine Cellars, we savored its syrah.
  2. Mission Santa Barbara. Dubbed the “Queen of the Missions,” this landmark Franciscan mission lent a stirring lesson in the area’s and California’s rich early history.
  3. Botanic Garden. Nestled along scenic Mission Canyon, this was a sleeper attraction for its 65 acres of native California flora including a majestic Redwood forest.
  4. Shopping on State Street. You could leave your purse or wallet in the hotel safe and still enjoy the people watching at this stylish hub of shops, boutiques and restaurants.
  5. Sterns Wharf & Santa Barbara Harbor. The West Coast’s oldest operating wharf, this was another great walking around spot with shops and dining and gratis scenic views.
  6. The Funk Zone. No, not Fred Funk but instead an eclectic coterie of artists, surfboard shapers, shops and antiques.
  7. Brew Trek. Not as plentiful as the wineries, there’s still a nice collection of regional micro-breweries. We enjoyed the Santa Barbara Blonde–hey, that’s a brew!
  8. Channel’ Julia Child. Noting the 100th anniversary of the iconic chef’s birth and Santa Barbara native, we visited one of her favorite and more humble Mexican eateries, La Super Rica Taqueria.
  9. Leisurely Country Drive. Take your time, ease off the pedal and enjoy the sights, sounds and sips of this acclaimed wine-growing region.
  10. Be Surprised. Unplanned happenstances often are the most memorable on any trip; Santa Barbara and its friendly environs won’t disappoint.



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