48 Hours in Santa Barbara

santa barbara harborJoe and I recently took some much needed time off and headed back to California to visit family and friends. We did 3 cities in 6 days so it was a bit of a whirlwind, but we enjoyed all of it–ok, maybe everything BUT the traffic–GAH!😱 We spent a couple of days in our old stomping grounds, Santa Barbara. If you’ve read my “about me” blog page, you know we moved from Santa Barbara to the Chicago area waaaayyy back in 1994. We’ve been back a handful of times since then, but we were surprised at how much had changed since we were there last. So, I thought I’d offer up some highlights on things to do if you have 48 hours to spend in this magical town.✨

brophy brothers santa barbara

The view from Brophy’s outdoor seating area 😍

The BEST clam chowder and house salad at Brophy’s

Eat and drink

I mean, when on vacation what else IS there, DUH! Ok, but seriously, one of my top 3 favorite restaurants EVER is Brophy’s Brothers on the Santa Barbara harbor. It’s a local icon and for good reason. Not only do you dine in a casual setting while taking in amazing views of the sea, harbor and the mountains, the food is top notch as well. My go-to order is 2 oyster shots to start (no alcohol, just regular). After you enjoy these little gems, take a piece of the warm sourdough bread and clean out the shot glass of the leftover cocktail sauce/horseradish/fresh parmesan goodness. 😋For the main event, I get the house salad and a bowl of clam chowder. The clam chowder is by far one of the best you’ll have, trust me. I’ve had clam chowder in Boston and I say it’s STILL tops that.

We also stopped in a delightful brewery/restaurant that was new to us. It’s called Figueroa Mountain Brewery and they had an enormous amount of craft beers to choose from. They also offer pizza, sandwiches and salads to enjoy with your beverage. We did not partake in the food on our visit but I would like to check it out next trip for sure!

figueroa mountain brewery

Love the exterior of Figueroa Mountain Brewery

Sooo many beers to choose from


The beautiful Santa Barbara Mission  (

 What to see

Santa Barbara has so many great sights and activities that 48 hours doesn’t do it justice. But I would highly recommend visiting the Santa Barbara Mission. California has 21 wonderful old missions that were built from San Diego to San Francisco and they are all so interesting and rich in history. The Santa Barbara Mission is one of the more beautiful of the bunch and you would be remiss not to see it. They also have a chalk art festival in front of the mission each spring and let me tell you, some of the drawings are absolutely breathtaking.

Another “must do” is to walk along Cabrillo Boulevard, which is the main drag along the beach. You can also walk on the grand pier located right in the center of the boulevard and check out the restaurants, watch people fishing or just take in the sights and sounds of the Pacific Ocean.

If you’re into nature and amazing views, then take advantage of the great hiking trails Santa Barbara has to offer. One of the unique things about this area is the beautiful mountain range running behind the city. There are so many different trails to choose from that cater to any fitness level. You can also walk through the lovely Botanic Gardens. If you’ve noticed, all of these activities are outdoors and for good reason…it’s beautiful and the weather is perfect most of the time!

View of the breakwater at the harbor

This really only scratches the surface–there are so many great things to do/see/eat/drink in this town and 48 hours isn’t quite enough time. So, if you have the opportunity to hang out in Santa Barbara for an extended period, do it. You will likely not want to leave…ever. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been to Santa Barbara and have some favorite places/activities. Let me know in the comments.

Annnd, if you’re a travel junkie, also check out my posts on Arizona and Nashville!

4 responses to “48 Hours in Santa Barbara”

  1. Love this! Great memories of Santa Barbara & working @ Bank of America on State St. with you. Let me k ownif you ever make it to Northern California!

    • Yes, those were some fun times! I will definitely let you know if I get up your way. There’s talk of a girl’s trip to Napa at some point so stay tuned!

  2. Awesome suggestions, we are headed to Santa Barbara for Veteran’s Day Weekend! Thanks for spending 24 hours of your vacation in San Diego!

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