Downtown Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara is a sleepy little town along the coast that is an excellent escape from the busy-ness of Los Angeles. Wine country is not too far from downtown, but that is a different post!
When I go, I like to stay at the Kimpton Canary Hotel. This is a block off the main street, State St. It's Spanish style with hardwood floors and four poster beds in the room. The decor is just lovely, with littIe star cutouts in the light fixtures. I have two little dogs and I love that there is no extra charge for them AND the room isn't fragranced to mask the smell of prior guests since there is no carpet.
For brunch, Savoy Café & Deli, a block over on Figueroa St, has tons of options. Great eggs and carb options including gluten-free if you want. This place is also vegan and vegetarian friendly. If you have dogs, you can sit on the patio in the back.
Just a block up is Lilac Patisserie (head towards Saks Fifth Avenue), which is an exclusive gluten-free bakery. They have coconut macaroons, muffins, cakes, pies, cookies, lemon bars -- a sweet lover's dream! You can also buy fresh loaves of bread. Even if you don't eat gluten-free, you would never know.
On the next block, if you feel like wine tasting, you can find the Sanford Winery and Vineyards Tasting Room in La Arcada. I'm a big fan of red wines, but they have tasty whites too. And even better -- dogs are welcome here!
Further from downtown, you can find a cluster of tasting rooms and cute cafes, in an area called the Funk Zone. The name kinda makes you apprehensive that it is overpromising, but it's a relatively new area where warehouses have been converted and has a very contemporary feel. If you are a fan of charcuterie plates, this is your dream locale.
For dinner, if you love French food, you need to go to Stella Mare's Bistro. During my honeymoon, we ate here twice. The steak frites is my go-to, but everything is tasty.
If you make plans in advance, get reservations to Lotusland, a local botanical garden. This is the estate of a former opera singer who became a garden designer. They offer tours in small groups and it's amazing someone actually lived in the middle of all of it.