Day 1: Acquaint Yourself With the City

Waking up in paradise, start your day of exploration with a hearty breakfast at one of the many excellent breakfast options in town. For a delicious breakfast that is tasty and filling, try Barcliff and Bair, 965-5742, located in La Arcada Court on State Street. Centrally located, this is a great locals place where you can get your bearings and begin your first adventure. Next, it’s off to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to learn all about the Central Coast’s amazingly diverse flora and fauna. The museum boasts nine halls of exhibits along with a planetarium, an extensive collection of Chumash Indian artifacts, beautiful grounds, and a well-stocked gift store. In close proximity is the historic Santa Barbara Mission - the “Queen of the California Missions”. Daily tours are offered and on a clear day, the Channel Islands are visible. Be sure to walk across the street to see the splendid rose gardens, which always seem to be in bloom. After refueling at one of Santa Barbara’s many wonderful lunch spots, it’s time to check out some of the city’s fascinating history. A definite must see is the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, located in the heart of downtown. This 1929 historic building is an excellent example of the Spanish-Moorish architecture that is prevalent throughout the city. Go to the top of the clock tower for a panoramic view of the mountains, ocean, and red-tiled roofs of the city. Stop by the Santa Barbara Historical Museum for a look at art, textiles, artifacts, photographs, and furnishings dating back to the 15th century. Now that you have familiarized yourself with Santa Barbara, we suggest that you return to the area where you began the day by indulging in one of Santa Barbara’s favorite restaurants, Elements. Enjoy their flavorful cuisine while dining in a beautiful setting across from the courthouse gardens. After dinner you are within walking distance of the Arlington and Fiesta Theatres to catch either a live show or a movie. For the more romantic couple, venture out to the pier at the end of State Street for a moon rise over the water.