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Need a change of scenery? Right now, I can’t think of anything better than a weekend getaway. We all know I keep my schedule busy, but fresh from Santa Barbara, I was reminded of how well these mini-vacations work for the likes of me. I never really took advantage of them in NYC, but now that I’m California dreaming, there are a pleasantly surprising number of great destinations to add to my list. Since ocean views and sipping on a lovely glass of wine is always a favorite of mine, I knew a weekend getaway in Santa Barbara would be a perfect fit.
Located just 80 miles outside of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is a chic and casual vacation destination for anyone seeking a relaxing (or boozy) weekend away. And did I mention parts of it are absolutely stunning? Not all beauty is found on the beach here, but you would be a fool to miss the Pacific views in and around this picturesque town. Check out the video below to see highlights from my Santa Barbara getaway!
What to Do In Santa Barbara
The celebrities who call this place home might be upset the secret is out, but the truth of the matter is, there is something for everyone in Santa Barbara! You will certainly feel welcome. You can spend the day shopping downtown along State Street. Here you’ll find some of the cutest boutiques as well as larger recognizable shops and department stores. If retail therapy is not your thing, spend the day tasting the amazing wine Santa Barbara is known for. There are tasting rooms all around the city, (especially in the Funk Zone) most within walking distance of each other.
After you have tipped the tipsy scales, a delicious meal is not hard to find. Santa Barbara has so many enticing dining options, it may be hard to decide where to make your reservation. It’s worth the research in advance, and be sure to check their hours of operation. It’s a bummer to show up for lunch to find the place serves dinner only.
Back to what I mentioned earlier, please don’t let your weekend getaway in Santa Barbara pass without a visit to the beach. Grab a blanket and head for the sand because the coastline in Santa Barbara is beautiful. Pack a swimsuit, but let me warn you that the ocean water is a bit chilly. So you might want to bring a wetsuit if you’re planning a day in the water. It rarely rains in Southern California, but if it does, all those shiny palm trees gleam even brighter.
If you want to venture outside the city limits, travel 45 mins over the hills to visit the vineyards and get a true wine experience. There, you will get a taste of what wine country is all about. You also can book a tour of the region to take in the picturesque views while sipping away in cool California casual style.
To the south of the city is the place where Oprah calls home, the town of Montecito. This luxurious yet leisurely town is full of shops, dining, hiking trails and another gorgeous coastline with kayaks and paddle boats available for rent. This is without a doubt, your best opportunity to spot a celebrity in the area. No matter where you turn, a good time awaits you in Santa Barbara.
Where to Eat
As mentioned, there are so many delicious options in the city that it may be difficult to choose. So here are a few of my recommendations:
- The Andersen – Danish restaurant and bakery with the most delicious croissants
- Boathouse – Breakfast favorites with an ocean view
- The Shop Kitchen – Freshly baked biscuits every morning.
Lunch/ Quick Eats
- Goa Taco – A fusion of Mexican and Indian Cusine #delicious
- Foxtail – Burgers and Falafels with crafted cocktails
- Black Sheep – Elegant menu with a comforting twist (order the ribs and bone marrow!)
- Santo Mezcal – Unique Mexican Food with Authentic flavors and killer cocktails. (featured above)
- Loquito – Delicious tapas and Spanish inspired dishes
Where We Stayed
In the middle of it all! The Hotel Indigo is a cute boutique hotel right on State Street, walking distance to the shops in Downtown, the tasting rooms in the Funk Zone, plus the beach is only a stone’s throw away. Alternatively, the hotel also offers free bicycle rentals to get around, which came in quite handy. Since the hotel is a part of IHG Rewards Club, we got special benefits like late checkout, upgraded room, and points towards a free night. Who doesn’t like all of that?
The dining option at the hotel was spectacular! Santo Mezcal offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a cool happy hour as well! Every dish we ordered was so tasty, and the service was top notch. I am still thinking about that Ahi Tuna Ceviche. The open-air restaurant has indoor to outdoor seating so you can dine and people watch or my preference is to sit at the bar and chat with the friendly bartender.
Accelerate with IHG Rewards Club
Values are hard to find while traveling. Especially in pricier destinations such as California. Staying within the IHG Hotel family while traveling really has its benefits! As an Elite member, I received a late checkout, free internet, and a complimentary room upgrade. Right now until April 30th, IHG Rewards Club is running a promotion to help you get to your next vacation sooner. The Accelerate Promotion will allow you to earn points faster than ever before so be sure to sign up today. Talk to the front desk when you check in or even ring ahead of time to see how you may accumulate points. It never hurts to ask and the conversation will likely spark a new piece of information about the destination you are visiting. Those pieces of advice often turn into the best adventures.
It’s likely that you are driving to your weekend getaway, so why not save some money getting yourself there. IHG Rewards and Shell want to help you keep a little more cash in your pocket for that amazing trip. Sign up now and save up to .07 cents per gallon at your next fill up. How does that sound?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of IHG Rewards Club. The opinions and text are all mine.