Santa Barbara has a large and beautiful, and very lively downtown. The core of this is State St, a busy street with bicycle trams for hire, pedestrians, cars, etc. I would recommend avoiding driving on it at busy hours, but is lined with beautiful buildings, many old, nice trees, lots of eateries and shops. There is much to see and do throughout downtown, though, off of State St.
State Street is the be all to end all for shopping! No matter where you turn, you're bound to find a great store that has fabulous clothes. Personally I love, Nordstrom (great chain!), Wendy Foster, Free People, and Diani. SInce i love spending all my money on clothes when I visit Santa Barbara, I hate thinking about my hotel accommodations, and I really hate spending a whole lot of money on a nice place to stay. That is why I love staying at The Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com). Located on State street, it is a GREAT hotel, and an even better price!
Downtown Santa Barbara along State Street is host to a plethora of eclectic shops, outdoor restaurants, and hotels. The architecture is magnificent to view while the tree lined streets keep you so cal cool. State street is always active-locals and tourists of all aages cruise the strip by auto, bike, or by foot.
State Street is the heart of the Downtown and a stroll down its tree lined streets is a pleasure no visitor should miss. Even locals enjoy its serene small town flavor: it's smattering of historical sights, shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs is tough to beat especially considering it is only a few blocks to the beach. When we were there in June, it was lined with incredibly beautiful jacaranda trees in violet bloom.
State street really does have it all- stores, dining and people watching.
Stores: I love that you can find both mom and pop boutiques with adorable one of a kind goods as well as all major retailers like, Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy.
Dining: from high end to low end there is a lot to choose from. They have delicious small pizza shops and cute little street side cafes. There also a lot of great high end, food lover restaurants. Lots of restaurants enjoy locally grown meats and produce.
Any nice sunny day the street will be filled with locals and tourists alike enjoying all that downtown SB has to offer!
along State St. Touted the most beautiful downtown in America, State St offers an even offering of commercial and unique boutique shopping, fun nightlife spots, fantastic food options, quaint coffeehouses and pretty floral decoration.
If you know anything about Santa Barbara, you know about State Street. Most visitors like it because it is really pretty and the shopping is good. Some dislike it because it may seem pretentious and too pretty in a planned, regulated manner. It depends on your point of view.
The city has tried very hard to maintain the look and feel of Santa Barbara with a mission era look, while creating a shopping and dining draw to keep the local economy strong. I think they have succeeded at this. You won't find ugly strip mall type buildings here, and while there are plenty of chain stores, there are several local and specialty shops that make the area seem unique.
If you are interested in architecture, you can appreciate block after block of white buildings and tile roofs, with period looking trim. The arcades provide variety from the singularity of the length of one street. For shopping, there are big dept. stores as well as little ones, and even an antique store that looks like it belongs somewhere besides this upscale area. You can spend hundreds $$ for designer wear or bargains on cheap touristy T-shirts. If you like to enjoy fine food, you have many choices here. If you like coffee, there are several coffee shops, not just Starbucks. There is a good brew pub and clubs for the younger set.
Enjoy State Street
There is lots of shopping here in Downtown Snta Barbara. There are a ton of bars, restaurants and little speciality shops. There are many tourists hanging around but also many locals and college students. Its fun to walk around, have a drink somewhere and people watch.
In California we are lucky enough to have more than a few beach towns, but Santa Barbara stands out with the street of streets, State Street. Starting at Stern's Wharf and running North for about 1 1/2 miles is everything that makes a great street. There is plenty of shops of all venues, from the unique boutiques to the multi-shop malls. There are recreational rentals from Rollerblades to electric cars. Looking for something to eat? Well, there is every category of dining available from sidewalk vendors to gourmet dining.
The Old Town section of State Street, houses some of the historic sites and also unique restaurants and nightclubs. Going north, the Paseos (malls) beckon you to shop till you drop. This is the street to people watch, walk, or sit down and have a chat over a cup of coffee. Theaters and museums are also on the street of streets. Enjoy.
I feel State street is my favorite part of Santa Barbara. This is the heart of downtown where all the restaurants, bars, live music venues, coffeehouses, clothing stores, movie houses and galleries are. This is very walkable and easy to get around. This area is also super close to the beach, so you can walk from the beach to State St. This is also one of my favorite places for people watching, you have gorgous model types walking around, celebrities, (see my picture of Rudy Giuliani below) whacky people preaching, rich yacht owners, hippie and surfer types, homeless but not violent people. Very fun, and the energy is amazing but in a classic California laidback way. You can spend all day here and not come close to checking out all this street has to offer. This is the heart of Santa Barbara.
state street is the main drag in santa barbara. it is a few miles long so you want to start your walk closer to the water. you will see lots of shops, restaurants, bars, and places to sit and people watch. the weather is mild and comfortable all the time here, so have a seat outside and take it all in! it's best to walk TOWARD the water. that way, you get a nice breeze and the chance to have a few drinks at the restaurant on the pier. take a cable car if you're tired of walking, or just hail a cab. just take it all in....it's beautiful!
Every Tuesday on State Street there is an amazing Farmers Market- the flowers are great the food is wonderful and the ambiance is amazing! All the stores are open and it is particularly enchanting on a sunny day though don't understimate the beauty of it on a misty day too. A great place for photo ops and a real collection of people (so many kinds).
There really is no place like home, and I am so fortunate to live in santa Barbara, of all places. Welcome, my name is Lew and I'll be showing you around! It all starts on State street. From upper state, to the beach and right out onto the pier, there is no other place that is better for a day of shopping, friendly faces, sunshine, food, a drink and authentic culture and art diversity. An extremely safe and clean place to hang out from early morning to late evening. The real tourist area starts at about Carrillo and goes down to the beach from there. There is just too many things to list, or I would go on and on for you.
If Downtown Santa Barbara has a core then it would be State Street, bounded by Anapamu and De la Guerra streets. This tree-lined thoroughfare has many shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars housed in buildings with their distinctive architectural style. It is a good place to people-watch as it abounds with many fine-looking men and women; you can sip coffee while watching the world go by.
For those who are into art, there is the Santa Barbara Museum of Art located at State and Anapamu streets. At the southern end of State Street is Stearns Wharf, another Santa Barbara must-see.
The Downtown Shuttle bus which plies State Street from Sola Street to Stearns Wharf makes it easier for you to get around. Bus fare is only 25 cents.
No, it's not Chicago. It's State Street in Santa Barbara, the main shopping and nightlife drag. If you gotta shop, there's no better way to do it than outside on a sunny day. State Street has all the stores you'll ever need-and it's not a sterile indoor mall either.
After shopping's done (or, if you're like me, shopping never started), take the load off in one of State Street's numerous restaurants and bars. I had some REAL New York pizza there-sheer heaven! Make sure you check out the nightlife too...and let me know how it was-I was there in the daytime!