A Love Letter to Our Hometown of Vineyards, Coastlines, and Endless Sun
When you live in the same place for a long time, it’s easy to lose sight of the reasons you love it. In the past few years, we’ve seen our home weather devastating fires, flooding, and mudslides, and it’s been a wake up call for us and our neighbors–this isn’t just another beautiful place, it’s our home. Everyone in our office is a Santa Barbara county local, growing up between the horse ranches and vineyards of Santa Ynez Valley and the sleepy boardwalks and rugged coastlines off the 101 freeway. Currently, our office space is right next door to the Funk Zone, the city’s industrial district turned arts community. Is there anything better than having good neighbors, good food, and a view of the ocean? Though this can be said about any place, it’s true that there’s no place like home. Here are the places we love most–
Not a week goes by that we don’t grab lunch at Tyger Tyger. We’re particularly obsessed with the Crispy Rice Salad–and just about any special the kitchen comes up with. The menu is so fresh and varied that we could eat here every day and never get tired of it. If you’re in town with the whole family, the wide menu and big dining space at Eleven14 State St is a good bet. Plus, you’ll be right in the middle of State Street, which is a prime centerpoint for exploring downtown.
You can catch us grabbing a coffee just about every morning (and afternoon…) at Helena Bakery. It’s tough to say whether Helena Bakery’s coffee is better than the old local standard, French Press–how do you choose your favorite child?–but it’s one of our favorite spots in the city hands down. When 5 o’clock rolls around, Lama Dog Taproom is our go-to for Boochcraft and beer. Our long-standing love affair with tiki drinks means that Test Pilot is our favorite bar overall, though we’ve been known to venture out of our comfort zone up State Street for a good strong cocktail at The Good Lion.
We’ve got some pretty good hikes in this city. We like starting at the Inspiration Point trailhead, which you can follow either to Inspiration Point or to 7 Falls. If you have time, it’s worth it to check out both: Inspiration Point ends with a stunning view of all of Santa Barbara and the horizon over the ocean, and 7 Falls is a line of waterfalls that you can hike alongside (or into, if you want to get wet!). If you want to stick around town, check out some of the local bike and rollerblade rentals, and spend an afternoon gliding down the beachwalk.
These may be on a number of tourist guides to the city, but we couldn’t skip over the Salt Caves. Santa Barbara is home to the largest Salt Caves in North America, and even just breathing in the air can boost the health of your lungs (which, obviously, we’re all about).
Want something a little more interactive? Santa Barbara is also home to Yoga Dance Magic, which offers live-to-headphones yoga, dance, and meditation experiences in some of the city’s prettiest settings. We’ve never been to anything quite like this anywhere else, so it’s worth it to book a class if you’ll be around.
While our office is walking distance from East Beach and West Beach, there’s sometimes a bit too much going on for when we just want to relax. For a quiet beach day, try one of the more rural beaches along the 101 freeway north of the city. If you’re going with the family and want to see a few folks, check out Refugio. For a more private beach day, drive a few miles north to the first turnout for Tajiguas Beach (visit at your own risk on the weekends–you might catch a few mischievous high schoolers).
Have places nearby you love too? Let us know in the comments. We love to explore.