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Maya Ordonez

Fun Things to do in Santa Barbara

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

California has so many places to explore and many vacation destinations! Even having lived here my whole life, I jump at the chance to staycation anywhere in this beautiful city. With a variety of different landscapes, I am the type of person who wants to explore them all! This summer I was able to go to Santa Barbara for a couple of days, and this a little glimpse at my trip with some places I loved exploring! 

1: Solvang 

As you drive about 40 minutes North West of Santa Barbara, there lies a little Danish town. You immediately take note of the change in architecture and pace of life. The buildings and streets are rich with Danish culture, and tourists and locals alike are immersed in a whole new world. Each street is lined with unique shops, restaurants, parks, and bakeries each bursting with its own unique personality and flavor. Their main attraction is the famous windmill which can be seen from far and wide and attracts tourists and photographers. My personal favorite is the Solvang Bakery where I tried homemade Danish bread and pastries. Definitely eat here. Everything I consumed was good. This little town is so quaint, cute, and is sure to charm the whole family! After visiting, I want to take a trip to Denmark one day!

solvang 1
Maya Ordonez
solvang 2
Maya Ordonez

2: Inspiration Point Hike 

After hiking about 1.5 miles uphill and about 7,000 steps later, groups of families and friends hiking approach a breathtaking view. As you stand eye level with the hilltops, you can overlook the whole coast of Santa Barbara. The climb to the top was definitely worth the work! An hour and a half of winding around the mountain, stepping over rocks, and anticipating the view are truly worth the reward! The path is lined with lush trees and shrubbery with lookout points and views of the ocean. For the most part, the path is clearly lined, but if you ever find yourself on the Inspiration point hike, remember to bend left at every fork in the road! After taking in the view at the top, the trip back is so relieving and puts everyone in an even better mood!

SB hike
Maya Ordonez

3: State Street Promenade Farmers Market

Downtown Santa Barbara, mainly State Street, definitely attracts shopping lovers and food lovers! The bright aura of these streets mixed with the sunny skies of Santa Barbara make tourists and locals feel invited and at home. I love the combination of well-known name-brand shops mixed with unique boutiques, home decor shops, and homemade good vendors. One shop I 100% recommend for jewelry lovers like myself is called Silver And… which has sterling silver rings and other jewelry! On Tuesday nights Sate Street has a farmers market that goes basically from one end of the street to the other with about 50 local farmers and artisans! People from all over the county gather to sell grown fruits and vegetables and homemade goods. Farmers markets for sure have the best quality and most unique food products and have great energy and aspect of community encompassing it! There surely are some treasures to find for people of all tastes on State Street! 

sb farmers market
Maya Ordonez

4: Stearns Wharf

The Stearns Wharf has many leisurely attractions and gorgeous views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean. I was able to bike along the coast to the pier and take in all the sights. If you are just on a walk to enjoy the day or exploring the aquarium, there is something enjoyable to do for everyone! The pier is complete with fun little shell shops, gift shops, and ice cream and they are all right above the blue-green water! As you look out into the sea, the horizon is lined with sailboats sprinkled out across the ocean, and kayakers and swimmers are enjoying the water closer to the shore. Looking back to the land you are able to see the gorgeous homes that sit on the beautiful green hills of Santa Barbara. This pier holds all the best views of the land and the sea! 

sb pier
Maya Ordonez

5: Hotel Californian

Even if you don’t get the chance to stay at the Hotel Californian, I really recommend walking around! The architecture is fantastic and gives off American Riviera vibes. All of the walls are a stunning bright white and coupled with the contrast of the dark trim create a beautiful artistic spectacle. Literally every wall and every corner is photogenic, especially with the golden California sun shining down! The interior of the hotel is decorated with such intricate taste- every piece compliments another to create a fancy, exquisite, and yet homey picture. The halls are lined with frames that exclaim character and personality, it is hard not to fall in love with the artistry and beauty of the Hotel Californian!

sb hotel
Maya Ordonez

Thanks for following along with my little staycation, and I hope this gave you even just a drop of inspiration to explore and adventure! Santa Barbara, I’ll be back soon!

Maya Ordoñez from Cerritos, CA. She is a second-year at UC San Diego majoring in Communications and double minoring in Business and Dance. She is currently on campus and is involved in Greek life and the UCSD dance team. She loves the San Diego area because of the nature, beach, food, and adventure!
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