Downtown


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SPANISH INFLUENCE, HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE, and business as usual! 

State Street is the main heartbeat of downtown where locally owned boutiques and businesses blend with major retailers, offering something for everyone, in an atmosphere of casual sophistication. Urban-minded city dwellers live in mixed-use buildings in the midst of a vital downtown corridor, buzzing with activity and commerce. From fine dining, casual craft brew pubs, and locally roasted coffee to sidewalk café’s, downtown Santa Barbara teams with delicious year round activity. Local merchants and funky boutiques blend seamlessly with major retail anchors like Nordstrom, Gap, and Macy’s, at Paseo Nuevo Mall. Colorful flags line State Street, and change weekly, in a vivid display that acknowledges the many non-profits and cultural events of the city.

The neighborhood grid is dotted with an eclectic blend of art and architecture, where whimsical creativity and new construction rubs elbows with tradition. Venture off the main vein of State Street to find both the east and west sides offering their brand of residential living in quaint California Bungalows and Victorians, newly established luxury condominiums, and restored turn of the century Spanish residences to name just a few.

For a relaxed and informative perspective of the city, hop on and off the electric bus that runs from upper State Street to the waterfront, and out to Montecito. With such proximity to the beaches that line Cabrillo Boulevard, any day downtown can happily end with one’s toes in the sand, enjoying the epic sunsets that are a part of the colorful life here.

World Class entertainment in Santa Barbara can be experienced at the historic Granada, Lobero, and Arlington Theaters. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a bright spotlight on the winter stage. For two weeks in February, locals mingle with the film industry’s finest, in a vibrant star-studded extravaganza featuring the best of Independent films, documentaries, and major motion pictures. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art in the heart of downtown is not to be missed, and the long wide steps are also a favorite perch to enjoy the spectacle of the Summer Solstice, 4th of July, or Old Spanish Days “Fiesta” parades.

As a springboard to exploring the opportunities of this vibrant coastal city, there is no better starting point than Downtown.

SHANDRA’S DOWNTOWN FAVORITES – Live like a local!

  • ART – On First Thursday each month, local merchants, and galleries extend an invitation to explore art, music, and culture in an atmosphere of festive fun. Every Thursday is “free” at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art!
  • THEATER- Attend an Ensemble Theater Group production at “The Vic” – Victoria Street Theater
  • SUMMER MOVIES UNDER THE STARS  –  On a warm summer Friday night, pack a picnic and a blanket – or pick up some gourmet treats at C’est Cheese – and join the fun on the lawn at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Garden, as UCSB Arts and Lectures presents the Summer Film Series, under the stars.
  • PAMPERING – Treat yourself to an Age-Defying Oxygen Facial, or Salt Stone Glow Massage at Evolutions Day Spa on Chapala.
  • STYLEDesigners know! Discover hidden treasures, antiques, art and more for your home at Montecito Treasures on Haley Street.
  • TASTE – Savor a steaming bowl of Northern Thai Curry at Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar in the Public Market, and then walk over to Diani Boutique and Diani Living, for a bit of trendy boutique shopping! Finish up next door with a cappuccino and almond croissant at Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro.