Santa Barbara anniversary trip

Santa Ynez Mountains north of SB

On the short hour and half drive up to Santa Barbara, Sean asked me why I’d chosen the coastal city to celebrate our one year anniversary. I shrugged, it just seemed better than another trip to Disneyland and California Adventures. “This way you can have a real California adventure,” I responded since he’s new to the state and doesn’t know much beyond LA.

SB is close enough for an affordable and quick weekend getaway. More importantly, it’s far enough to feel like I’m out of the city. I’ve been to SB several times, but I was usually stuck in daylong meetings or conferences at UCSB. I was in elementary school the last time I’d done sightseeing in SB.

Our Santa Barbara Guide, Diana

We didn’t have an agenda, but still did a lot on our quick trip. We arrived Friday night and went out to State Street for a late dinner. The next morning, we visited Diana, a good friend and fellow Bruin. We had brunch at her house and enjoyed the sunshine on her patio while she entertained us with stories of her first graders.

Neat kids playground at Alameda Park (aka Kid's World)

Diana took us on a tour of some parks near her house. We ogled quinceañeras and brides taking portraits at the gazebo in the “crown jewel” of SB parks, Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens. Then we checked out the cool playground and castle at Alameda (Kids’ World) Park across the street. We left Diana so she could get some work done.

Since we were nearby, we drove up to Santa Barbara Mission. We spun in circles at Mission Park and briefly walked around the Mission. It was a warm and sunny afternoon and we decided to cool down at the beach. It was a little too cool for swimming, but fine for sunbathing. In the evening, we had a delicious steak dinner at Shalhoob’s. (Sidenote: don’t you love when Yelp reviewers don’t let you down? The food was delicious and service was quick and great on a busy Saturday night.)

Mimosas Before We Leave Santa Barbara

Sunday was more relaxed. We took advantage of the cool and cloudy weather and went for morning runs separately. We had burgers and mimosas at Sambo’s across from the beach and then walked it off with some window shopping downtown. I would have liked to have done a short hike up through one of the many trails in the Santa Ynez Mountains, but it was cold and we just chose to return to LA.

Thanks to Diana for hosting us on Saturday morning. Next time I return, I hope to go for a hike or do some trail running.

Note: photos of Diana and mimosas by Sean.


5 thoughts on “Santa Barbara anniversary trip

  1. Laura,

    If I had planned ahead better, I would’ve asked for some tips. Luckily, Sambo’s was a short walk from the hotel and we noticed it was pretty busy. Can’t go wrong with a crowded place on a Sunday morning, right? I’ve been to UCSB several times, it sucks being in a meeting all day looking out to kids walking to/from the beach!

  2. Carmen says:

    First of all, i’m so happy to see that you are posting more often.. i’ve been a quiet lurker for a couple years and have immensely enjoyed your writing so thank you for that =)
    and Second.. i love reading/seeing other peoples encounters of SB my hometown (born, raised & I’ve never left). I tend to lose sight of its true beauty and historical treasures, and isn’t until i play tour guide for out of town family that i fall in love all over again and feel so lucky/blessed to have grownup here. I mean who could complain, great weather, fantastic food, amazing scenery & tons of family, it’s pure gold.

  3. Sage says:

    Santa Barbara is a great place to have an anniversary trip for one! As well, YES you must go on a hike the next time you are in Santa Barbara. There are a ton of trails and they are all so extraordinary in their own way. It is a great way to see SB first hand from a nature’s perspective. Kid’s World and Alice Keck are beautiful parks in great neighborhoods (wouldn’t it be a dream to live in this area!?) I always take my kids there whenever were in town vacationing. It’s really close to our hotel we always stay at, the Sandman Inn ( Affordable and close to lots of family fun stuff!

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