If you’re looking for a wonderful weekend getaway, I highly recommend Santa Barbara and the Urban Wine Trail. Whether you’re a serious wine aficionado or merely a weekend sipper, you can sip your way through Santa Barbara County without leaving the quaintness of downtown Santa Barbara.
The Urban Wine Trail is a collection of more than 25 tasting rooms from wineries located in Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills and Santa Maria. There are two distinct neighborhoods on the Urban Wine Trail, not too far from the beach.
Most of the wines you will taste on the Urban Wine Trail are from boutique producers; varietal Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines are superb, while others like Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier Grenache Blanc, and Syrah wines are all enjoyable too.
Here are my recommendations for where to sip, eat, and stay while in Santa Barbara:
Photo: Margerum Wine Company
Margerum Wine Company
Excellent Rhone wines and a great location in the historic El Paseo!
If bubbles are your thing, you’ll definitely want to make Riverbench one of your stops. Try the Blanc de Blanc and the Blanc de Noir, in addition to the Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs!
Hop on a bike and head over to Kunin for a taste of the Syrah, Grenache, and Viognier. It’s a fun little side excursion from downtown.
Deep Sea Wine Tasting Room
Some people come for the view, some people come for the wine! Either way, don’t miss the Deep Sea Wine Tasting Room on Stearns Wharf! Grab a tasting flight or share a bottle of wine with your favorite people and watch the incredible sunset.
Photo via The Lark Instagram page
One of the most talked about restaurants since it opened, The Lark serves up artisanal, seasonal creations served family-style and meant for sharing. It’s made Open Table’s list for the Hottest Restaurants in America for 2016. Much of the restaurant is a beautiful outdoor patio, lined with succulents and strings of lights. Definitely order the Brussel sprouts! I also recommend the House Made Gnocchi and Dungeness Crab and the Harissa and Honey Glazed Jidori Chicken (the half is enough for two people!)
This is wine country cuisine; Californian French cuisine made with organic farm-fresh ingredients & paired with local wines. Since their menu is seasonal, it changes depending on what foods are in season, but you’re always guaranteed an amazing meal here. Right now, try the Pan Seared Foie Gras, Maple Glazed Duck Breast, and Grilled Snake River Wagyu Center-Cut Ribeye.
Finch & Fork
A chic restaurant (think Restoration Hardware magazine) that offers comfort food with a twist. It’s located in the Kimpton Canary Hotel, but is definitely not your average hotel restaurant! Try the Carmelized Cauliflower, Rainbow Trout or the Sea Scallops.
Photo: Simpson House Inn
Kimpton Canary Hotel
A gorgeous hotel with an authentic Santa Barbara feel. It’s right in the middle of town and has a great on-site restaurant, The Finch and Fork. The rooftop area offers amazing sea and mountain views and has a pool, fire pits, and a lounging area and is superb for relaxing at the end of your wine tasting day!
Simpson House Inn
If you like more of a B&B feel, the Simpson House Inn is private and secluded while still walking distance from the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. The breakfasts are delicious and the whole experience here is just a really great one.
Spanish Garden Inn
The Spanish Garden Inn is also small and quiet, a peaceful oasis right in town and only about 3 blocks from State Street. Most of the rooms are gorgeous, open and airy, and there is a small pool on property as well.
Enjoy your weekend in Santa Barbara! Let me know what your favorites were – I’d love to hear about your trip!