Where to stay in Santa Barbara

Where is the best area to stay in Santa Barbara?

If you want to be near to all the best facilities, the best area to stay in Santa Barbara is the downtown area close to West Beach, where you can take a relaxing swim.


You’ll be within easy walking distance of attractions like Stearns Wharf, a charming wooden pier with ice cream shops, seafood restaurants and the Natural History Museum. You’ll also be able to walk to the lively State Street with its boutiques and cafes. Or, how about booking a boat tour from the harbour? Lastly, you’ll be well connected in this area with transport links such as the Santa Barbara train station nearby.


Nestled between the stunning Santa Ynez mountains, and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is a city with much natural beauty. Here, you’ll find a fascinating example of 18th century religious architecture at Mission Santa Barbara, where you can also get a guided tour, or stroll the gardens and cemetery. Next, stop by the colonial Spanish building of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and admire 360° views from the top of the tower. Afterwards, stroll through Shoreline Park, take the kids to Santa Barbara Zoo, or see the botanical gardens at Lotusland.

Hotel   Avg price
Holiday Inn Express Santa Barbara
533 State Street
237€ - 287$
Hotel   Avg price
Hotel Santa Barbara
533 State Street
234€ - 283$
Brisas Del Mar, Inn At The Beach
223 Castillo St
265€ - 321$
Beachside Inn
336 W. Cabrillo Blvd.
274€ - 332$
Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara
121 State Street
281€ - 340$
Harbor House Inn
104 Bath St
319€ - 386$
Hotel   Avg price
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
633 East Cabrillo Boulevard
435€ - 526$
Kimpton Canary Hotel
31 West Carrillo st
436€ - 528$


On the map, which shows the most convenient area to stay in Santa Barbara, you can see a selection of some of the best located hotels.



If you are interested in where to stay in Santa Barbara, you may also be interested in where to stay in Los Angeles, where to stay in Monterey, where to stay in Palm Springs and where to stay in Anaheim.

West Beach, the best area to stay in Santa Barbara

west beach Santa BarbaraAs soon as you get to Santa Barbara the first thing you will want to do is find the closest beach to the downtown area, which happens to be the conveniently located West Beach. This waterfront is bounded by West Cabrillo Boulevard, which is a wonderful promenade that has tonnes of shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels and is a particularly busy place when it is sunset.


West Beach is a clean and tidy sandy beach that offers good swimming as well as some water activities with one of the iconic images of the city being right by you, which is Stearns Wharf. The wharf gives you excellent vista of your surroundings and is home to dozens of shops, restaurants and arcades with many people using it for fishing or romantic walks too.


The wharf also hosts the Natural History Museum and is where you will find many exhibit halls that display many things to do with natural history with one of the best preserved Blue Whale skeletons in the world. Other things to note is the harbour, where there is always activity going on from cruise ships to little fishing boats and is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the city.


From the harbour, it is possible to book an excursion on a boat trip that will take you to see marine life or to see the coastline that surrounds the city. Another attraction close by is the Reagan Ranch Centre Exhibit Gallery, which features original Reagan Ranch artefacts and about his accomplishments as a president. There are plenty of department stores along State Street, which runs right into the main downtown area and there are great selections of restaurants, pubs, clubs and hotels to check out on the street.


The district is delightful for just strolling aimlessly and you will notice many Spanish Colonial Revival family houses and buildings as well as a few other examples of different styles with the majority found along the waterfront.  As it is a busy area, the place is well connected with frequent buses and many taxis and is one of the safest neighbourhoods in Santa Barbara.



Hotels in West Beach


Other areas to stay in Santa Barbara


Rest of the beaches area

beaches area Santa BarbaraJust to the east of West Beach is East Beach, which is one of the most popular beaches in the city and this is down to the striking white sand that sits in front of the Caribbean look-a-like palm trees that wouldn’t be out of place on a postcard. East Beach has a good amount of hotels, shops, restaurants and pubs to choose from as well as hiring water sports equipment like surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, parasailing and much more.


If you want beaches that are less crowded then head to Leadbetter Beach or Hendry’s Beach, which are close by to the main town beaches but offer a little more escapism. Both have a good amount of shops, dining places and bars though not as wide a variety as those found by West and East Beach. All of the beaches are generally clean with good swimming and surfing to be had and are safe with good public transport connections to all parts of Santa Barbara and therefore are good places to stay in.



Hotels in Santa Barbara Beach




Rest of the downtown area

downtown area Santa BarbaraThe rest of the downtown area is mainly focused over the other side of the 101 highway, between W Carrillo Street and W Haley Street, which is a busy public transport hub with brilliant connections all around the city. This area is an ideal place to stay in due to the amount of attractions that are close by like the Historical Museum, Museum of Art, Botanic Gardens, the Zoo and many art galleries.


The Santa Barbara Mission is another major highlight of the area as it is one of the finest examples of Spanish architecture, which is highly-praised by the locals. State Street, which starts by West Beach, comes all the way into the centre and further inland and is a shopping paradise with this stretch of it being home to the biggest department stores, which includes El Paseo and Paseo Nuevo. State Street, Chapala Street and W Carrillo Street are spoilt for hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs with some on Chapala Street having hotel rooms with sea views.



Hotels in Santa Barbara Downtown






On a budget



GoletaIf you’re looking for a more authentic California experience away from the tourist crowds, a stay in Goleta might just be the place for you! It is only 10 miles east of the Santa Barbara airport, and free shuttles are running back and forth between Goleta and Santa Barbara. You can have the best of both worlds by experiencing the nearby attractions and activities, but with a cheaper price tag since Goleta is more budget-friendly!


This is a great family-friendly destination with great accommodation options ranging from more laid-back hotels to upscale beach resorts. Visit the Goleta Beach Park and try your hand at fishing off the long pier, birdwatching, or have a family BBQ using the on-site grills and picnic tables. If DIY dining isn’t your thing, the nearby Beach-side Bar Cafe has great pacific views and serves up delicious local seafood.



Hotels in Goleta