Santa Barbara – The American Riviera

Santa Barbara – The American Riviera

Santa Barbara, The American Riviera. I had the pleasure of escaping the Nebraska winter and heading West to California to bask in the sun in Santa Barbara (SB). Whoever dubbed SB as “The American Riviera” was seriously smart (name that movie). It is all things chic, beautiful, and quite European if I do say so myself. It is a quaint town situated North of Los Angeles, South of San Francisco; between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Perfect for a weekend getaway! Or a three-month getaway if you so desire…

When my travel nursing assignment ended in Omaha I knew I wanted to head to California and found myself signing a contract at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. In all reality I had no clue that this little town existed and I couldn’t have been luckier to end up here. Santa Barbara is beyond gorgeous and there are TONS of things to do! If you find yourself lucky enough to end up in this quaint town I hope that this post highlights some of the best things Santa Barbara has to offer. Enjoy!  (For a more extensive list of SB eats, click here).

Best Bars

  • Figueroa Mountain Brewery
  • Lama Dog
  • Press Room
  • The Good Lion
  • The Red Piano
  • Topa Topa
  • Wine Therapy

Best Beaches

  • Butterfly Beach
  • Hendry’s Beach

Favorite Day Trips

  • Los Angeles
    • The city of Angels!
    • 2.5 hour drive South… depending on traffic.
  • Los Olivos
    • A day full of vineyards? Sign me up!
    • Approx. 30 minutes North
    • Click here to find out more
  • Solvang
    • A cute little Dutch town right in Western America!
    • Approx. 40 minutes North

Favorite Activities

  • Cold Spring Tavern
    • Mountainside Western saloon best on the weekends for live music and tri tip sandwiches!
  • Farmer’s Market
    • Tuesdays and Saturdays!  Pro tip:  Head to the Wildcat (not recommended unless it is Tuesday)… and partake in Farm-to-bar!  Fresh ingredients from the market used to make your favorite cocktail!
  • Funk Zone
    • An artsy community and also home to the Urban Wine Trail!
    • For more information on the wine tasting rooms in the Funk Zone click here.
  • Santa Barbara County Courthouse
    • The best rooftop views in all of Santa Barbara!
  • State Street
    • Boutiques, wine tastings, restaurants galore!

Santa Barbara… I’ll be back!  And until then, stay beautiful!


Kylee splits her time between being a traveling NICU nurse and a solo traveler. Spending half her time at the bedside, Kylee has been caring for premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for over four years now. When she’s not doing that she’s traveling around the world sharing real and authentic experiences. She began Passports and Preemies in 2017 to help prevent nurse burnout by utilizing travel on days off.

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