McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams
728 State St., Santa Barbara
Founded in Santa Barbara by a husband and wife team more than 70 years ago, McConnell's still uses many of the same farms and purveyors they did when they first began. You’ll find flavors ranging from sea salt cookies and cream to lemon and marionberry, as well as top-notch traditional flavors like mint chip and vanilla bean. If you can’t make it to this shop, you can find pints in many upscale grocery stores, and also at LA outposts in Studio City and Downtown LA.
Finch & Fork
31 W. Carrillo St., Downtown
Fresh, California cuisine meets American classics at Finch and Fork, where the dishes are prepared simply (think only a few select ingredients each) to perfection. There are different daily specials (i.e. burger and beer, pork and cork) and just-caught seafood on the menu. Although the brunch line-up is particularly awesome, this is a solid choice for any mealtime.
1324 State St., Downtown
Diani has been a Santa Barbara mainstay for years, though despite its longevity, it's lost none of its edge: Isabel Marant, Mother, and Tome indicate the type of designers you'll find on the racks, which are airy and perfectly curated. There's a Diani shoe boutique in the same complex as well as the new, Diani Living, which is devoted to really beautiful place settings, linens, and treasures from around the world (the owner, Caroline Diani, was born in Kenya and raised in England, which explains the global slant).
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
1130 State St., Downtown
Santa Barbara is a hotbed of creatives, and so it's not too shocking that the Santa Barbara Museum of Art has a deep and wonderful collection: Established in 1941, they have everything from Chagalls and Kandinskys to Rauschenbergs and Monets. But that's just a backdrop to excellent lectures, exhibits, and events, as well as lots of activities geared toward kids: There are after school classes, along with Thursday and Sunday workshops where little ones can roll up their sleeves and learn how to paint and draw.
Yasa Yoga (Closed)
22 W. Mission St., Suite B, Downtown
Charlie Chaplin’s former mission style home is now an airy, open yoga space for SB’s health conscious. Open every day with classes to suit different styles. Photos: Tai Kerbs
740 State St., Downtown
This is a total New Age freak-out, in the best possible way. These subterranean caves are lined in Himalayan salt, which, according to Salt's website, contain the 94 "natural minerals and trace elements that are found in the human body." More impressively, the salt comes from "the Himalayan Mountain foothills located in the Khewra Salt Range in the Punjab Province of central Pakistan," which Alexander the Great reportedly discovered in 320BC. All that fun stuff aside, a 45-minute session sounds pretty great: You relax in a zero gravity chair while they play music and you breathe in mineral-rich air. They also offer more traditional treatments, like scrubs and massages. We've heard it's all good.
The French Press
528 Anacapa St., Downtown
Prepare for a little bit of a line at these popular Santa Barbara coffee spots (there are two very close to each other, to accommodate overflow): Besides great almond milk lattes and macchiatos, they serve some pretty mean (and gigantic) Rice Krispies Treats.
128 E. Canon Perdido St., Downtown
If Santa Barbara is Mecca for cycling enthusiasts, then Handlebar Coffee Roasters is their temple. The owners, ex-competitive cyclists Aaron Olson and Kim Andersen, took up coffee roasting (using a vintage Probat roaster, no less) after the recession put their cycling careers on hold. Fast forward a few years and their creamy capps, cold brews, and killer almond-milk lattes have made their tiny coffee shop the go-to rest stop for riding groups (the wall outside is never without a stack of bikes) and pretty much anyone looking for a quality cup of a coffee and a low-key place to enjoy it.
Santa Barbara Public Market
38 W. Victoria St., Downtown
This goldmine of a gourmet market, is comprised of individual artisanal vendors specializing in local and sustainably-sourced fare. This means that it's essentially set up like the perfect pantry: There’s organic produce at Foragers Pantry, the freshest loaves at Crazy Good Bread, and humanely-raised meats at Belcampo. As far as prepared foods go, Flagstone Pantry serves up lunchtime basics like soups, salads, and sandwiches while Empty Bowl is all about steamy noodle bowls and handmade dumplings.
138 E. Canon Perdido St., Downtown
This is one of Santa Barbara's most celebrated restaurants, and we totally understand why: The focus is on farm-to-table fare (or, more specifically, the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market to table), and inventive spins on dishes you think you already know well. They also have a deep wine list, full of local California options.