If you drive north, you'll hit a road called Foothill Rd. You can drive along there and try the roads going off of it into the mountains. Only a few actually reach the Los Padres National Forest (notably Barger Canyon Road and Gibraltar Road). The others dead-end before they get anywhere close, but go sufficiently far uphill that you get some great views, and very decent sunsets (would have been spectacular, except that in Santa Barbara, the ocean is to the south, not to the west).
An intensive preserved policy has retained a lot of the Spanish architecture in Santa Barbara. A considerable part of the town has been rebuild after a huge earthquake in 1925.
The mission post Mission de Santa Barbara (1786) is situated in the hills above the city and the architecture is of a much higher plane than all the other mission posts in California. Striking are the two towers and several pillars made in 1820. The restored rooms and the museum display the early days of the mission post.
Pay this guy a visit and check out his cool van. He usually hangs out at the public parking lot near West Beach. His van is literally decorated with toys, figurines and other adult knick knacks from the 60's. It must have taken him years to complete.
The Camarillo outlet shops are located about 45-50 min drive away from Sanata Barbra. If you are looking fr bargins look no farther! They have evetythin from : guess, kennith cole, gap, bcbg, barney's new york, calvin klein, charels david etc.... many more!
The college town of the University of California, Santa Barbra, about 15 mins north of the downtown SB area. A funny one whole square mile loaded with students! Famous for it's many politcal protests in the 60's and party scene. If you are under 21, this is the place you want to go for some partying!
See the famous Dolphins statue at the Wharf at the end of State Street by Sculptor 'Bud' Bottoms.
Eat at Summerland's Big Yellow House, a real antique. Also go to antique stores in the area.
Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Walk up and down State Street to the top beach on the west coast (accord. to topbeaches.com)
See the Magnificent Courthouse and the SB Mission and quaint ally-way of stores - Paseo del Nuevo.
A visit to Solvang in Santa Barbara County is a must, especially if you've never been to Denmark. Solvang looks just like a Danish town, with Danish houses, restaurants, wineries, and even the traditional windmills. It's a great place to take a stroll and have some Danish food.
Santa Ynez Valley is considered Santa Barbara County's Wine Country. This area, located in the central part of the county, has some nice towns, including a unique and beautiful Danish town, Solvang. On the streets of Solvang you will feel like you are in Denmark. There are also the country towns of Santa Ynez and Los Olivos. The valley also offers great views of nature; it has mountains, hills, and vineyards. From Santa Barbara, take U.S. Highway 101 North and take the Highway 246 exit. Turn right, heading east and you'll reach Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley.
The Old Mission Santa Ines is another California mission located in the Danish town of Solvang, west of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley. This one was founded in 1804 by Father Estevan Tapis. The location of the mission offers a great view of the Santa Barbara Wine Country (the Santa Ynez Valley). The mission itself has a fairly ancient architecture, and you can have a look inside if you're curious. Visit their web site for more information.
One can drive up the foothills to see a view of Santa Barbara and the nearby Channel islands like no other. The Sahara club offers hikes in this area or just drive the windy road straight up. The homes along the way vary from amazing to simple and hiking trough the hills one may find the hot spring hot tub.