Why go to Santa Barbara?
Spanish-Colonial and Mission architecture, great wineries nearby, fine weather year-round.
Tender port; beaches are beautiful but the sea is cold for swimming in winter and spring.
Unadulterated, upscale Central California coast lifestyle at its best.
Santa Barbara Cruise Port Facilities?
Santa Barbara is a tender port. Sea Landing, the small harbor for cruise tenders, has some facilities, including volunteer-staffed information tables with maps, brochures, bus schedules and more. The Santa Barbara Visitors Center is located at 1 Garden Street and free Wi-Fi is available here.
Good to Know?
"Sideways," the 2004 Oscar-winner that simultaneously introduced the world to actor Paul Giamatti and caused merlot sales to plummet, was filmed 30 miles up the road in the Santa Ynez Valley. The town of Solvang is a cute hub for explorations, with winery locations such as Kalyra, Los Olivos and Fess Parker not far away. Reach the Santa Ynez Valley by rental car or reserve a seat on one of the winery tours departing from Santa Barbara.
On Foot: Santa Barbara is an easily walkable town, especially the sidewalk fronting the beach leading away from the port (paralleling Cabrillo Boulevard) and along State Street, which leads to downtown. It's 1.5 miles from the port to downtown and 3 miles on foot to Mission Santa Barbara (with a modest incline most of the way).
The Red Tile Walking Tour is a self-guided, 12-block-long loop trail through downtown visiting some of the city's most significant historical gems. Pick it up along State Street, between De La Guerra and Anapamu streets. More information on this and the Santa Barbara Coastal Trail is available at the visitor center.
By Public Transportation: The Santa Barbara MTD operates a Downtown-Waterfront electric shuttle for 50 cents a ride. The route extends from the harbor, where tenders dock, up State Street to Sola Street, and down Cabrillo Boulevard to the zoo and Andree Clark Bird Refuge, and then back to the harbor -- a distance of about 8 miles total. Shuttles run every 15 minutes.
The MTD also has a bus network connecting Santa Barbara and the neighboring communities, for about $2 a ride; $6 for a day pass. There are discounts for seniors and young children ride free. These buses don't stop at the harbor, but main routes through downtown -- lines 11, 14, 21 and 21X -- converge around the Museum of Art on State Street.
The Santa Barbara Train Station is located close to the port and Amtrak serves the coastal communities near Santa Barbara.
By Taxi/Rideshare: Metered taxis are usually waiting near the port when tenders start coming in, and shared rides like Uber and Lyft are easily hailed.
By rental car: There is an Avis Rent a Car branch at 34 East Montecito Street, just off State Street, and a Hertz outlet at 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard, inside the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The U.S. dollar rules in Santa Barbara, although major credit cards are widely accepted. Visit xe.com or oanda.com for current exchange rates. ATMs are plentiful; you'll find one at Sea Landing, where tenders disembark, along State Street, at the Santa Barbara Visitors Center and another in the Funk Zone.