A couple of weekends ago Matt and I decided to take a last-minute mini-vacation. We thought about flying up to San Francisco but ended up deciding on a road trip to Santa Barbara for something a little more local. The last time I was in Santa Barbara was when I visited friends in college, so this was a much different (and nicer) experience.
Outside of fashion, I love to find new places to visit and eat. This is what I hope to be the first of many city guide posts to round up where I go, what I do, and where I eat on my little adventures with Matt and Audrey. Don’t worry; I’ll be sure to still share my travel outfits with you along the way. 😉
If you find yourself liking my weekend guide to Santa Barbara, please let me know! I love sharing new things with my readers outside of just my personal style and I hope this is something you enjoy!
We started our adventure in the morning and arrived to Santa Barbara in just about 2 hours, right around brunch time. It’s a quick drive from LA but it feels like your much farther from the city, which I love. Our first stop was at Scarlett Begonia for breakfast. It’s tucked into a little shopping center right off of State St. and a little hard to find but worth getting lost a couple of times. Matt and I shared the Yukon Gold Cinnamon Roll. It’s partially made with potato flour, hence the name, and totally worth it. The roll was almost the size of my head (no joke) but it wasn’t too sweet like some cinnamon rolls can be. Matt got pancakes and I got a scrambled egg scramble dish with fresh goat cheese. It had squash on it and I’m not really a squash person, but even I loved the dish.
After, we took Audrey on a walk down State St. and it was nice, but there’s really not too much to the street except larger chain shopping. To be honest it wasn’t really as nice as I remembered and there were a lot of random drifters on the benches and hanging around on the street corners. We kind of had enough so decided to head to our hotel early.
We checked into the cutest little hotel – The Goodland – just about 10 minutes north of Santa Barbara, in Goleta. If you’re looking for a hotel that’s all things retro coastal California, this is the hotel for you. It has a vintage vibe to it reminiscent of an old Motel 6. For starters, there’s an airstream and a vintage station wagon with a surfboard on its roof right when you pull in to the hotel. There’s a very easy, laid-back vibe to the hotel. If you’ve ever been to Palm Springs, there’s an almost time warp like feeling you get there. This was kind of the same but with a more beach-like feel. A little less Don Draper in New York and a little more Don Draper by the end of the series when he heads to the commune in California.
The Goodland is built around its pool, and a low building with only two floors. If the car and the airstream weren’t enough for you, believe me when I say that there’s an Instagram moment at just about every corner of this hotel, right down to the white walls and pretty palms. When you check in, the concierge even gives you a map with icons that indicate Instagram photo locations. I can’t make this up.
There’s a cute little store in the hotel lobby where you can rent records. Each room at The Goodland has a working record player in it with a few records; if you don’t like what’s in your room you can head to the lobby and check one out! Or if you want, you can purchase an unopened record from the front desk. It was such a cute touch to the room and one of my favorite parts of staying at the hotel.
After we took some photos at the hotel, we went back south to an area called The Funk Zone. Matt and I enjoyed this much more than State St. The Funk Zone is by the beach and more or less an arts district with wine tasting rooms and restaurants all within walking distance. This was by far my favorite part of the entire weekend. If you only have time to pick between The Funk Zone and State St., definitely head to The Funk Zone.
I always knew Santa Barbara had good wines but I didn’t realize how prevalent it was for the area. A lot of the vineyards from Los Olivos (about an hour north of SB) had tasting rooms in The Funk Zone. Matt and I tried two rooms: The Valley Project and Melville. For $15 per person at both locations, you could taste 5 wines. Talk about a steal! We learned so much about wine and I learned that I’m a fan of Pinot Noir. We bought a bottle of our favorite from each location.
It wouldn’t be a good trip if Matt and I didn’t chow down on food! We had reservations for dinner but got a little hungry and so we stopped by The Lark for some snacks at the bar. I don’t have any pictures of the food because to be honest, I was having too much fun with Matt. I was also so hungry I chowed down on the cheese plate we ordered
way too fast. In lieu of bread as a starter, they bring you this amazing popcorn. I want to say it salt and vinegar flavored, but whatever it was, it was GOOD. So good, in fact, that we asked for two more servings. If you can’t get a reservation, get to the restaurant right before 5pm when they open. You can put your name on the bar waiting list like we did – it’s a full menu!
For dinner we headed to The Goodland’s sister hotel, The Canary. Their restaurant Finch and Fork features American food made from local ingredients. We started with the salt and pepper chicken wings. They were in an amazing glaze and not too spicy or sweet. I love a good burger so that’s what I had and it did not disappoint.
That evening we headed back to The Goodland and relaxed for a little bit with Audrey near their fire pits. All in all it was the perfect day.
A quick tip for staying at The Goodland: Our room was facing the center courtyard with the pool, so it got a little loud. If you’re looking to relax, tuck in early, or traveling with a baby, then ask for a room on the outside of the hotel – it’ll probably be much quieter.
Sunday morning we packed up and left to go home. We stopped by The Funk Zone again and had a nice, fresh breakfast at Goat Tree. Matt got bacon and eggs and I opted for chia pudding and avocado toast. Then there was a local art show happening near the pier, so we took a look at that for a bit.
We made a happy detour to the city of Monecito, which basically consists of one small street and that’s it, but it’s very charming. Since we didn’t plan for it, we only drove through downtown and made a quick stop for ice cream since I was craving something sweet. Next time we go up there, Matt and I agree that we both wanted to spend a little more time there.
By late afternoon we were home and unpacking for the week. Now we’re planning for our next mini trip!