Stearns Wharf was built in 1872 to serve cargo and passenger ships and during World War II it was turned into a naval installation. Now, the Pier has nice shops and beautiful and good restaurants and is visited by 5 million people a year, so it is one of the top touristic attractions in Santa Barbara.
This place is very typical from Califronia and is a ride that you can't miss, three dolphin fountain marks its entrance.
You will see many Pelicans and some people fishing there, and if you are lucky you can also see some dolphins in the ocean.
Stearns Wharf is the centerpiece for Santa Barbara. The playful dolphin sculpture, by "Bud" Bottoms, highlights the entrance to the drive-on pier. There is an average of over 5 million visitors per year that visit the Wharf. There are shops, restaurants, museum, and what a pier is noted for, a bait shop so that you can fish right from the pier.
One of the shops is a wine tasting store with the local wines on display. Near the outer end of the wharf is the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, a restaurant and market for local lobster and crab. It stands at the outer edge, to which you can almost drive and park next to, right on the pier. be on the lookout for a whale or two that may pass by in the channel. Great views of the East and West beaches as well as the Santa Barbara area. See my travelogue for other photos.
You know there hasn’t been one of California’s wharfs or piers that haven’t been ravage by earthquakes, fires, and storms. Yet, I would have to say this poor pier as experienced way more than its share. Built in 1872 and named after its builder John P. Stearns, it was primary purpose was to be assist the cargo and passenger ships. In 1941 The Harbor Restaurant was established. Since then the wharf has seen it share of hard times with experiencing more than its share of an earthquake 1925 and fire in 1973 which closed it for almost 6 years till it was saved and restored in 1981. Yet, that was not the end of the ravages from fire in 1998 that claimed 150 feet end of the wharf. Once again it was repaired and now is one of the main attractions that Santa Barbara is proud of.
The Dolphin Fountain is very beautiful and can be seen at the beginning at Stearns Wharf. It was sculpted by local artist Bud Bottoms.
Santa Barbara is a coastal city and a trip there wouldn't be complete without a visit to Stearns Wharf. It reminds me of Santa Monica Pier. It has shops, restaurants, and more. The view of the city, the beaches, and the surrounding mountains from there is, well, fantastic.
A shuttle bus connects Downtown Santa Barbara to Stearns Wharf via State Street.
Located on the Moby Dick Restaurnat is a mural located on the outside of the building along the walkway.
The first plaque reads:
In Fond Memory of Karl R. Henry 1917-1999
"The Whale Man"
The second reads:
The sperm whale (Physeter catodon) is one of the world's largest mammals. Males can ready up to a length of 55 feet and weigh as much as 53 tons. This toothed whale catches its food with peg like teeth, making deep dives to hunt mostly squid and fish. Using a clicking sound, they create complex communications and locate prey. Once extensively hunted by humans, these great animals are not at this time in danger of extinction. Orignally painted in 1991, my first portrait of Moby Dick was lost in the disastrous Stearn's Wharf fire of 1998. That whale, based on the character from the classic 1870 novel by Herman Melville, represented the forces of nature and mankind's attempt to use and conquer it. This new art piece seeks to represent a more thoughtful relationship with nature. A ship can be seen reflected in the whale's eye. We are now looking to each other not for destruction, but for the promise of a unified, more caring fate. This is our conscious choice to make. ~Beth Amine
This lovely sculpture is located right in front of Stearns Wharf. Be careful because it is right in the middle of the entrance of the wharf and cars can drive down the wharf for parking. It is a lovely centerpiece. It is sculpted by Bud Bottoms.
We didn't get to go in here. Yet, hopefully next time we come down here we are going too. It sounds wonderful. It is a discovery place for adults and children to learn about your neighbors who live in the ocean. They have this 1,500 gallon tide pool tank that allows children to see up close ocean life. It is owned and operated by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
Always call to be sure of current hours of operation.
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Daily (7 Days a Week)
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
While exploring the wharf, we spotted this very unique vessels floating in the water. I've been on a vessel like this at Baltimore Harbor and what a blast. They give you a wonderful tour of local landmarks and then take for a cruise in the waters. A really neat experience for all ages.
Check the site for hours and prices.
This is one of Santa Barbara's centerpiece attractions. Stearns Wharf has some nice restaurants and souvenir shops. When you're done with dinner, make sure you pick up some ice cream. For you and the kids too. That's right, the kids.
Stearns Wharf juts out into the Pacific, and offers some nice harbor, sea and mountain views. Your camera will get a workout, for sure.
If you're looking for a place to relax, I would reccommend going to Stearn's Wharf, a small pier right at the end of State street. I love this place, when I was in college it was one of my favorite places to just go and forget about everything. If you go at night, you will get to see a beautiful view of Santa Barbara.
This is another addition Santa Barbara has for the young folks to have a place to go to skate board, so hopefully they stay off the sidewalks. Hmmm, maybe..lol! There were lots of young and some more mature adults enjoying the park that day:))
Stearns Wharf has a notable history, going back to the 1870s, when it was the longest pier on the California coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was a working wharf for a long time, and not until the 1940s did a restaurant open and the tourist industry begin. Now you can visit and have your choice of several restaurants, shops, wine tasting and other things to do.
For a relaxing time at the Wharf, I recommend going up to the Stearns Wharf Vintners wine tasting room. The tasting menu offers two options: try 5 wines for $6 or 9 wines for $8 (5 was more than enough for me!). Ask to sample local wines and the bartenders will walk you though and explain what you are drinking (I know nothing about wine).
Just a short walk from Stearns Wharf is this pier, where many boats dock. It's also got a few restaurants (including fast food), and several marine stores too. Lots of boaters stop in for a bit to eat after docking.
The pier is a nice place for a walk, and to take in the whole Santa Barbara experience. It's worth a visit, just to see some beautiful harbor views.
There is a small aquarium on Stearns Wharf which we were not able to see. Closes at 5 pm. The Nature Conservancy also has an office and small museum there with displays of Santa Cruz Island and it's wildlife.