Mission Canyon

Establishment neighborhood
Belmond El Encanto
800 Alvarado Pl., Mission Canyon
Perched on an olive tree-studded hillside overlooking the Pacific ocean, the Belmond El Encanto is more than deserving of its Forbes five-star accolades. The ninety-two room hotel (consisting of Craftsman-style suites and freestanding bungalows) re-opened in 2013 after undergoing a comprehensive renovation, which added a pool and tricked-out fitness studio to the grounds. Thankfully, the historic property’s architectural integrity and immaculate gardens were kept intact. Complete relaxation is the name of the game at the full-service spa where guests and day-trippers are pampered by way of water therapies, steam rooms, and local ingredient-inspired, seasonal treatments. When planning his California-coastal menu, Executive Chef Leo Andres Ayala takes full advantage of Santa Barbara’s bountiful produce offerings—including herbs from Ayala’s on-site herb garden and cheese made from the milk of the Belmond’s resident dairy cow, Ellie.
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
2559 Puesta del Sol, Mission Canyon
Housed in Spanish Revival-style buildings on an extensive property with lush gardens, the museum is the home of an extensive collection of artifacts including a fantastic bird collection, a 72-foot Blue Whale skeleton that greets you upon entrance, and a planetarium. A relatively small museum, it’s not overwhelming, and perfect for a visit with kids. The Natural History museum also owns the Sea Center, which is located on the water and worth a visit on another day.