Santa Barbara’s shopping options are as much of an attraction as its lovely beaches and mild climate, with much of life enjoyed in the outdoors. Visitors to State Street and artsy neighbourhoods as the Funk Zone, will enjoy browsing for treasures within the city’s outdoor malls, boutiques, art galleries and name-brand stores alike. 

    Avid shoppers could venture out of downtown to explore the shops and dining spots of Montecito and Summerland. If wandering through Spanish-style courtyards and hidden side streets surrounded by a scenic landscape of mountains and ocean sounds like an appealing way to shop, this Californian town is the perfect place for you. Check out our guide to the best places to go shopping in Santa Barbara. 

    1

    State Street

    Santa Barbara’s main shopping zone

    • Shoppers
    • Couples

    State Street forms the heart of shopping in Santa Barbara with its long stretch of shops and restaurants through the downtown core. The palm-lined street offers a mix of branded stores and quirky locally owned shops to browse, everything from the latest iPhones at Apple to curios at Antique Alley. The street is also home to some of the city’s best shopping centres, including Paseo Nuevo and Victoria Court. 

    To ramp up its retail appeal to pedestrians and allow for more outdoor dining, some 7 blocks of State Street have been closed to vehicle traffic and converted into a promenade.

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    2

    Paseo Nuevo shopping mall

    Outdoor shopping centre with Spanish flair

    • Shoppers
    • Families

    Paseo Nuevo is a downtown shopping mall designed to take full advantage of Santa Barbara’s mild weather. 'Paseo' means 'leisurely walk in Spanish and that’s exactly what you’ll do while exploring the mall’s shopping and dining spots, which are arranged around picturesque plazas and courtyards.

    Among Paseo Nue's 50 shops are beauty and clothing name-brand stores like Sephora, the Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch to shops selling locally made home décor items. Don’t hesitate to bring the kids along as it’s a family-friendly place with plenty of shops catering to children – they’ll surely want a taste of some of the heavenly treats at the Sweet Creams ice-cream shop.  

    Location: 651 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 805-963-7147

    Map

    photo by Caroline Culler (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    3

    La Arcada Courtyard

    Boutique shops and galleries in a genteel setting

    • Shoppers
    • Photo
    • Food
    • Couples

    La Arcada Courtyard offers a scenic shopping experience with its Spanish style architecture and wide tiled walkways. Centrally located with entrances on State Street and East Figueroa Street, this upscale shopping centre is a fine place to go for some retail therapy and a perhaps a bit of wine tasting. It also has many galleries showcasing the talents of local artists including Gallery 113 and Santa Barbara Arts.

    Those in need of a break from shopping could relax and dine in the shade of a parasol at one of the open-air restaurants, or explore the century-old mall’s bronze sculptures and fountains. Be sure to stop by the main fountain to greet resident turtles that swim and sun themselves there. 

    Location: 1114 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 11 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 805-966-6634

    Map
    4

    Funk Zone

    A creative and culinary hub

    • Shoppers
    • Food
    • Nightlife

    The Funk Zone is a former industrial area turned creative neighbourhood, where old warehouses and factories have been transformed into a lively mix of boutique shops and art galleries. Find unique clothing stores like Kakoon and Raoul Textiles, or search for vintage home décor items at The Blue Door.

    Dining aficionados also make their way to the Funk Zone to discover the area’s craft beer makers, wineries, restaurants and bakeries. Though it’s easy to explore on your own, you could also join a food and wine tasting tour with ‘Eat This, Shoot That!’, which lets you sip and savour local tastes at 6 to 8 locations around the zone for around 3 hours.

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    5

    Stearns Wharf

    Shop and savour the sea breezes

    • Shoppers
    • Photo
    • Food
    • Couples
    • Families

    Stearns Wharf is a local landmark with a charming row of shops to browse along its boardwalk. You'll find it by strolling down State Street, all the way to the ocean. A stop at the Great Pacific Ice Cream Company is a must to enjoy a sweet treat with ocean views before exploring the wharf’s souvenir and clothing shops.

    You could also delve into local history and nature by taking a guided trip aboard the ‘Lil Toot water taxi or exploring the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. Many who visit like to linger on to catch the sensational sunset views and tuck into some local seafood at one of the wharf’s restaurants, including Santa Barbara Shellfish Company.

    Location: 219 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93111, USA

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    6

    Santa Barbara Public Market

    Fresh eats from California’s Central Coast region

    • Shoppers
    • Food

    Found in downtown Santa Barbara, the Public Market is a food shopper’s haven with a choice of cuisines to sample from across the globe, including a mix of Thai and Taiwanese flavours at Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar and an all-vegan Middle Eastern menu from Fala Bar.   

    You can discover a great beer and wine selection at Wine + Beer, plus craft brews to enjoy alfresco at The Garden. Make sure to leave enough room for ice cream at Rori’s Artisanal Creamery – it’s most famous for its dreamy salted caramel flavour.

    Location: 38 West Victoria St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

    Open: Friday–Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday–Thursday from 11 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 805-770-7702

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    7

    La Cumbre Plaza

    Some 50 shops to explore in an outdoor setting

    • Shoppers

    La Cumbre Plaza is about a 10-minute drive from Santa Barbara Airport, making it a handy stop to grab some last-minute items before your flight home. Taking advantage of the mild coastal weather, the plaza has a wide open-air walkway and fountains flanked by rows of shops.

    You’ll find some locally run boutiques at La Cumbre Plaza sprinkled in among well-known retailers such as Williams Sonoma, Macy's and Pottery Barn. Families are well catered to at La Cumbre Plaza, with a kid's club, sweet treats to buy at See's Candies, and shops selling games, toys and books.

    Location: 121 S. Hope Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 805-687-6458

    Map
    8

    The streets of Summerland

    Leisurely shopping in a seaside town

    • Shoppers
    • Couples
    • Families

    Just over 6 miles down Highway 101 from downtown Santa Barbara is Summerland, a seaside town with a laidback character. Summerland’s main strip is lined with several shops, restaurants and bars, all close enough together to explore on foot. You can find more shops along Lilly Avenue and Ortega Hill Road.

    Sacred Space is among the best-known shops in Summerland, with its mix of clothing and home décor items sourced from around the world and arranged in a tranquil garden setting. Collectors and curious souls will want to check out Summerland Antique Collective, which has a diverse collection of items from works of art to furniture. 

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    9

    Coast Village Road

    Shop like a celebrity in Montecito

    • Shoppers
    • Food
    • Luxury

    Montecito is a scenic coastal community with a great range of shops and dining spots to explore. Montecito’s most famous resident couple, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, may have given the neighbourhood an added royal touch, but the unique boutique stores along the Coast Village strip already had plenty of glamourous allure for shoppers. 

    Browse for clothing, handmade jewellery and home furnishings at such shops as Maison K and Lily, then go for a latte or wine in a chic setting at Caffe Luxxe or Folded Hills Winery. It’s also worth venturing to San Ysidro Road to find more dining options, clothing stores, art galleries, and antique shops.     

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    10

    Arlington Plaza

    Upscale shopping with a local vibe

    • Shoppers
    • Luxury

    Arlington Plaza is a small shopping centre found in Santa Barbara’s downtown arts district. This is the place to find an eclectic collection of locally owned shops and dining spots including DIANI Boutique for clothing and Treat for beauty and wellness products. This charming strip of glass-fronted shops sits just across the road from Arlington Theatre.

    Fuel up with a pre-shopping breakfast croissant and coffee at Renaud's Patisserie & Bistro, or later on if you’re ready for a break, stop in at Carlitos Café y Cantina and order a cold margarita to enjoy on the patio. 

    Location: 1324 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

    Phone: +1 805 695-7006

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    Lana Willocks | Contributing Writer

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