Ah, Santa Barbara. The minute you touch down at the airport and step onto the stairs on the tarmac, the ocean breeze hits you. We arrived on a Thursday afternoon, and immediately were able to get our bags and pick up the rental car. The airport is so small that everything is within walking distance. It reminds me of an airport in Mexico! Once in the car, we took a trip through memory lane through University of Californa, Santa Barbara's campus, as it is my husband's alma mater. Once complete, we were on the 101 and heading towards our hotel, The Canary. http://www.canarysantabarbara.com/
The Canary is one block from State Street; the busting street that has a little bit of everything - shopping, restaurants, bars, ice cream, you name it. After the valet took the car, we were checked into our room - king sized, 4-poster bed, spacious bathroom - beautiful! If you're looking for a romantic place, this is the place to be. We ordered drinks from the bar to head up to the 6th floor, which contained the roof top pool, hot tub, and panoramic views of the hills. What's also nice is that there is a phone to call the bar and have additional food/drinks brought to you. We did just that - an order of chicken nachos and 2 cocktails later, we were happy campers. Only complaint was that there wasn't any chicken in the nachos. Apparently that is a large complaint amongst patrons - I would think that would have been fixed by now; the bartender even commented on it. We ran into the same issue with the chorizo mac & cheese; no chorizo. The second night we stayed there we were upgraded to a junior suite because we were checked into a room that was still being cleaned. We also arranged for a late checkout on Sunday - literally, 4 different people came into the room to ask when we were checking out. Concierge, please let your team know when people have late checkouts. That was very annoying.
For dinner we went to an old favorite - the Palace Grill. http://www.palacegrill.com/ A must to have while you're there are the Cajun Crawfish Popcorn. DELISH. I can't describe it - just try it. I am more partial also to the Rosemary muffins instead of the fames jalepeno cheddar. Otherwise, the service is friendly, there's great variety on the menu. I tried the mushroom chicken marsala - great marsala but the chicken was a little on the dry side. Needless to say, we left full and happy.
If you've never had the opportunity to see a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl, put it on the list. We took a cab up for the Eddie Vedder show; runs about $10. Beautiful setting, location, and the sound is awesome. Only complaint would be that the beer lines shut off at 9:00, and also the tunnel to get out gets very cramped, slow, and hot in order to leave if you use the restroom on the way out. I was waiting for a stampede, but we were able to get out just fine. It's a nice walk down the hill back to State St., which is what we did. http://www.sbbowl.com/
If you're looking for a good hangover cure, a big, sloppy breakfast from the Cajun Kitchen is just the thing. Located 1 block down from the Canary, this place serves up big, hot biscuits, grits, eggs, you name it. The coffee is also great too.
Love Santa Barbara. A quick little, beautiful weekend getaway.