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It was my birthday last week. So my friends and I took a girls trip to Santa Barbara, California. We all flew United Airlines from Aspen to Santa Barbara for 12,500 miles each way. What a steal!
All of the girls used rewards from some of the best Chase credit cards to get to California.
My friend Tucker used miles from her United Explorer Card. Xan transferred points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to her United Airlines account to book. And I transferred points from my Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
We booked our stay in Santa Barbara through Airbnb. And I paid with my Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points! I always offer to pay for hotels, home rentals, or meals with my card and have people pay me back. This way, I can earn the points!
With the Sapphire Reserve, you also earn 3X points when paying for Uber or Lyft. So I like covering those expenses as well. Xan covered a lot of expenses, too, with her Sapphire Preferred card, which earns 2X points on travel & dining purchases.
We had 3 full days in Santa Barbara and spent them eating, drinking, shopping, and exploring. For the most of the trip, we hung out near State Street area. Here are some highlights from the trip!
Dining in Santa Barbara
1. Santa Barbara Craft Ramen
This ramen joint was AMAZING. It might have even been my favorite meal of the trip. The ramen was so flavorful and decadent and full of mouth-watering spices. Plus, they had multiple noodle options, including gluten free choices.
The menu was small and simple with ramen choices and a couple fun appetizers plus and a small beer and wine list.
I would highly recommend this place if you’re a ramen lover!
2. Sandbar Mexican Restaurant
This is a classic beach town Mexican restaurant with good drinks and delicious food. The outdoor patio was cozy and authentic and the place had really fun vibes.
From college kids to families, this place really has a scene for everyone and really gets going at night.
Be sure to try their ceviche and skinny margarita!
3. Enterprise Fish House
One of the most famous fish restaurants in Santa Barbara, the Enterprise Fish House really does live up to its name.
Their fish is super fresh and they have all sorts of options on the menu from mahi mahi, to Alaskan salmon and fish of the day.
Much to our surprise the Enterprise Fish House is a super laid back almost pub type scene, with local brews and good local vibes.
Their mahi mahi tacos are to die for. And their signature cucumber gin martini will keep you coming back for more!
Bars in Santa Barbara
1. The Good Lion
This was an awesome, low-key, high-end cocktail bar on State Street with decadent drinks and bartenders who knew exactly what they were doing. All the drinks were super unique and it was a great spot to go with girlfriends or would also be a great date bar.
The dim lighting creates a nice atmosphere for a chill evening and the music is kept at a level where you can talk easily amongst yourselves although still groove if you want to.
2. Seven Bar
A little off the beaten path of State Street, Seven Bar is a fun, locals bar with a great beach town surf vibe. The drinks are delicious and the bartenders are fun and knowledgeable about the best spots in the city.
Check out the back patio, fully equipped with its own bar and lots of outdoor seating with cool graffiti.
Shopping in Santa Barbara
State Street is the mecca of great, outdoor shopping in Santa Barbara. The street is lined with cute boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and more. We loved Lovebird Boutique and Jewelry Bar, Diani Boutique, and Evangelina’s Boutique!
There are also the traditional big stores like Anthropologie, Forever 21, and Free People.
Basically, whatever you can think of, they have it on State Street. Plus, it’s a long street of shops so you can get your cardio in while making great purchases!
My Favorite Santa Barbara Beaches
1. Butterfly Beach
This is a classic beach located along Channel Drive in Montecito and sits right in front of the Four Seasons Baltimore Resort. You can park along the waterfront or grab an Uber to drop you off close to the stairs.
You can walk along this beach for miles and it’s typically not very crowded. We spent 2 days lounging here reading, swimming, and taking long walks.
If you’re into being active, this is a perfect spot to go stand up paddle boarding! I highly recommend renting a board and getting out on the water for a couple hours.
2. Santa Barbara Beach (Also Known as Stearns Wharf)
Walk down State Street until you hit the wide open sea, otherwise known as Stearns Wharf. This is a densely touristy area because of the direct vicinity and walking distance to town but definitely worth checking out.
What are your favorite spots in Santa Barbara? Comment below and let us know what we should check out next time!