NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE — For more than a century, travellers have been calling Santa Barbara ‘The American Riviera.’
Situated between a majestic mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, it’s renowned for its temperate Mediterranean climate, lush landscape, distinctive Spanish architecture, top wines, fresh seafood and more.
Visitors can expect sophistication and bohemia, easy-going and energetic, in a city that prides itself on the quality and diversity of its artistic and cultural offerings. The many aspects to enjoy will speak to travellers of all different ages and budgets.
Travelweek got all the latest updates from Santa Barbara during the 2023 Canada Sales and Media Mission hosted by Visit California at the Pillar and Post Inn & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON.
The State Street Promenade is a new, 10-block pedestrian corridor with no car traffic that has revitalized the downtown. Santa Barbara’s walkable streets make car-free trips possible. Clients can take the Santa Barbara Airbus for transfers from LAX, or can try Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner or Coast Starliner instead. Those on a Highway 1 road trip should consider stopping here overnight.
In hotel news, The Steward, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, is set to open May 29 with 87 suites on nearly five acres. The new boutique hotel will feature lavish gardens and a new Terra restaurant.
Another new property, a 45-room modern boutique hotel called Drift Santa Barbara, opened downtown in February, along with Dawn and Dusk eateries.
Major hotel renovations coming this year include the Kimpton Canary and The Leta, Tapestry Collection by Hilton in Goleta.
Of note, through Visit Santa Barbara’s ‘Third Night Free’ hotel promotion, accommodations, ranging from mid-tier to luxury, are offering a third night free with the purchase of a two-night stay.
The Santa Barbara South Coast has 15 restaurants in the recent MICHELIN guide, including two one-star restaurants and one Green Star for sustainability. The region has 10 new, or soon-to-open, Mexican eateries. The South Coast has 10 new and upcoming wine-tasting rooms, many of which are along the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail.
For wellness and retail therapy, Palma Collective is a new downtown healing arts collective that has ceremonies, workshops and retail. Celebrity fashion designer Catherine Gee has opened a new boutique downtown. Also, Summerland’s Sacred Spice, a spiritual arts boutique, has new owners and will host events.
After more than 60 years of anticipation, Bellosguardo, a historic 1930s villa overlooking Santa Barbara’s East Beach, is open this year for limited tours. Additionally, the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara reopened in January after an announced permanent closure.
For upcoming events, catch Taste of Santa Barbara from May 15-21, Madonnari from May 27-29, Santa Barbara Lavender Festival on June 24 and the 99th annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta Aug. 2-4.
To learn more about this destination, go to SantaBarbaraCA.com.