Santa Barbara, also known as the American Riviera, was the ideal destination for a recent day-cation. We’re in Los Angeles so it’s only about a two hour drive, but once you’re there it feels like you’re worlds away. Like you’ve been transported into some old Spanish city, you marvel at the intricate tiled steps, terracotta roofs, and cream colored stucco’d buildings framed by hints of vibrant magenta hued bougainvilleas that take your breath away.
This was on our bucket list of places/things to do this Summer, and Fourth of July weekend with nothing on the calendar was the perfect time to visit. Surprisingly, the city was not packed with people as I had expected for a holiday weekend, so it was like we practically had the whole city to ourselves. Also the weather here is almost always in the mid 70s so you can’t go wrong there either. We decided to get a tad festive and wore our red, white, and blues in honor of America’s birthday.
We left the house at around 9am and arrived around lunchtime, perfect timing to grab a bite at Helena Avenue Bakery located in an area known as The Funk Zone. In this area, up and down the streets you can find funky wall art, restaurants serving pizza or something more fancy, wine tasting rooms, breweries and retail shops. Something for everyone and family friendly too. The kids loved the sandwiches at Helena Avenue Bakery. Even my little guy enjoyed his pesto Sopressata sandwich and that says ALOT! After lunch we walked around the area for a bit and snapped a few photos and then started making our way towards the Courthouse. It’s about a mile walk to the Courthouse, which took us down State Street where we found ourselves at McConnell’s Ice Cream shop. It was a nice after lunch treat. We’d about tried every flavor before we decided on Eureka Lemon and Marionberries for my gal, Salted Caramel Chip for little guy, I had the Earl Grey Tea and Shortbread Cookies, all of ours were served on waffle cones, but the hubs had his Turkish Coffee Ice Cream as a sandwich. Can you say calorie overload, but who’s counting?
We made it to the Courthouse shortly after finishing our ice cream cones. The architecture is Spanish Colonial Revival, the exterior is well maintained and a vision to behold, but it’s inner beauty is the crown jewel. I asked myself, people actually get to work here? Like attorneys and Judges, etc. How lucky! The detailed work in the designs on the ceilings to the arches and tiles had me drooling. Another real treat was climbing up the bell tower, after several flights of stairs (they do have elevators) your eyes get to feast on 360 degree views of the entire city, mountains on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the right. It’s moments like these that make me feel so much gratitude in my heart.
We stopped for some iced cold brew coffee to give us an extra jolt of energy for the drive home. We tried to make it to the beach area, but it was getting late, we didn’t want to be driving home anytime after 3pm, fear of sitting in traffic syndrome is a real thing for us Angelenos. We made it home in the regular amount of time and just in time to pop dinner in the oven, toss a bowl of salad, pour ourselves a glass of brew. Some days are just more perfect than others, and this was one of those days.