24 hours in Santa Barbara
November 13, 2012 6:16 AM   Subscribe

What to do with 24 hours in Santa Barbara,CA?

I'm toward the tail end of a long vaction. I've inadvertently scheduled a 24 hour layover, solo, in the Santa Barbara area.

Any recommendations on what to do with myself? My only current plan is to rent a car at the airport (SBA). Any suggestions for: a nice place to hike, a restaurant with a particularly social local bar where a solo traveler could chill out, have a beer and hang, a reasonably priced safe hotel?

Or should I try to fly standby on the next flight out to LA and stay there for the night?
posted by slateyness to Travel & Transportation around Santa Barbara, CA (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
SB is great! State Street is the main drag, and a good place to walk.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:25 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

You could easily just spend the day walking up and down the main street of town, checking out cute shops and sitting outside with a coffee and chocolate croissant, strolling down to the beach when you get bored.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:26 AM on November 13, 2012

I'd pick a place on Airbnb over a hotel. The town's beautiful, and the beaches are wonderful-- I spent a summer there and was especially charmed by a little hidden beach that's reached by a long wooden staircase, at the end of a normal-looking, somewhat suburban street. I think it was called Mesa Beach. I love LA (unlike most people, I guess), but you should take the chance to see a little of SB while you can.
posted by three_red_balloons at 6:36 AM on November 13, 2012

It sounds sketchy... but I'd actually recommend the Motel 6 in Santa Barbara. It's their very first location - Motel 6 #1 as the plaque in the lobby says - so they keep it nicely updated. Partner and I stayed a night there after getting a recommendation online and were quite pleasantly surprised. Inexpensive and half a block away from the beach.
posted by reptile at 7:51 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the Motel 6 is fine. I put my parents there all the time.
posted by k8t at 9:32 AM on November 13, 2012

Oh yeah, any Motel 6 is perfectly decent, especially the one down by the beach. I've stayed there a few times. Actually the only hotel/motel I would specifically recommend against is the Super 8 next to the airport. Pretty much everything else is fine. SB is a nice place, they like to run the crap places out of town.

State St. runs from the beach all the way through town, if you start at the beach and work your way up you will find loads of bars and restaurants to hang out in, and some great shopping if you're into that. You can also hit the wharf, Longboards is kinda fun if you want to eat and drink above the ocean.

My favorite hike is Inspiration Point because it isn't too hard and isn't too long but is still beautiful with a great view payoff in the end. That link will show you a bunch of other hikes as well. I'd stick to Front Country hikes unless you want to spend the whole day hiking.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:39 AM on November 13, 2012

Eat at Super Rica, oft referred to as Julia Child's favorite place to eat. And the, McConnell's for ice cream. And take a gander at the Sally Army--my husband bought a Maserati there, years ago.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:00 AM on November 13, 2012

Nthing McConnells, my favorite is Swiss. chocolate.

Joe's on state street is the old school steak and chop place.
posted by brujita at 10:07 AM on November 13, 2012

I would visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. It's 65 acres of native plants in the hills. Totally gorgeous and awesome.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:39 AM on November 13, 2012

Booked the motel six, and I'm en route to hiking, tacos and chocolate ice cream.

Thanks all!
posted by slateyness at 11:15 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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