You’ve planned the perfect vacation in sunny Santa Barbara with beachside plans and then… there’s rain in the forecast. Whatever you do, do not cancel your trip. Santa Barbara, California is so much more than just sunshine and beaches. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top 15 rainy-day activities in Santa Barbara. So, pack your umbrella and enjoy an incredible vacation, rain or shine.
- Stay at The Eagle Inn – Located in Santa Barbara’s popular West Beach neighborhood, the Inn is near many area activities, and provides spacious and comfortable accommodations. Plus, our bed-and-breakfast-style boutique hotel offers well-appointed guest rooms and casitas featuring luxurious amenities like two-person whirlpool tubs, balconies, fireplaces, private patios, and more. You’ll also enjoy a freshly cooked hot breakfast every morning along with fresh baked cookies each afternoon – the perfect place to spend a long morning, afternoon or evening when the weather is less than perfect.
- Dine Out – The large number of restaurants and variety of cuisine in Santa Barbara provides the opportunity for you to try something different for every meal, each day of your stay. From American to Vietnamese and everything in between, you’re certain to find a palate-pleasing place out of the weather. Visit our restaurants page for a list of recommended spots near the Inn.
- Go to the Movies – What better way to spend a rainy afternoon than at the movies? Hitchcock Cinema and Public House offers first-run films and off-beat movies along with a diner counter, bar-style food options, and craft beer, cider and wine. Enjoy a movie and dinner all in one. More theater options
- Take in a Play or Musical – Santa Barbara has a thriving performing arts scene featuring concerts, musicals, operas, and more. What’s more, you’ll enjoy the architecture as much as the performance in many of the theaters, such as:
- Visit a Museum – Santa Barbara has its fair share of museums where you can spend hours learning more about history, art, and science. Most of them are conveniently located downtown, close to our Inn. History buffs will relish the Old Mission Santa Barbara, known as “Queen of the Missions,” which was established in 1786. You’ll also find museums that exhibit maritime, railroad, and even agricultural history. At the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, discover 27,000 works spanning 5,000 years, including masterpieces of French Impressionism. Or enjoy the 1,000+ species of rare plants indigenous to California at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden. Learn more.
- Go Shopping – Spend an hour or an entire day shopping in Santa Barbara. You’ll find what’s trending, unique gifts, and artistic treasures, just to name a few. Plum Goods Store offers original, handcrafted goods, while Paseo Nuevo Mall features the latest from Abercrombie. Specialty shops at the Wharf provide unique gifts and tchotchke souvenirs. Discover more shopping options.
- Visit a Coffee Shop – There’s something about a coffee shop… the intoxicating aromas, the friendly baristas, and the cozy or quirky atmosphere. In Santa Barbara, you’ll find that each coffee shop offers a little something all their own. At Santa Barbara Roasting Company (“RoCo” to the locals), you can watch your favorite bean being roasted in small batches and then enjoy a delicious cup of fresh roasted coffee. Handlebar Coffee Roasters roast beans purchased from Central and South America, as well as Africa, and ship orders all over the world. In addition to specialty coffee drinks and handcrafted espresso, Dune Roasters (formerly The French Press) offers loose leaf tea and delicious pastries in a cozy setting.
- Go Rock Climbing – Whether you are a first-time climber or an experienced adventurist, plan a day at Santa Barbara Rock Gym. They offer beginner climb and boulder classes for newbies and supplemental private training for the more experienced.
- Go Wine or Beer Tasting – Do you prefer vino, beer, or both? No problem, Santa Barbara delivers.Santa Barbara wine country provides some of the most delicious wines, such as Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and Sauvignon Blanc. Taste and see for yourself why Santa Barbara wines are award-winning. Spend an evening at a local wine tasting room, like Deep Sea Tasting Room on Stearns Wharf, or spend an entire day following the urban wine trail where you’ll sip and savor a variety of wines in over 25 tasting rooms.The craft beer movement has found its way to Santa Barbara. Sample seasonal brews, traditional beers, IPAs, lagers, and ales at one or more of our breweries. Head downtown to Pure Order Brewing Company for traditional beers made with hops grown on site, or venture to Goleta to try unique beers on tap at Hollister Brewing Company, such as their Broken Atlas IPA (think fresh fruit and pine forests) or their Sneaky Panther (infused with coffee roasted at Handlebar Coffee).
- Discover a Good Read – Get lost in the pages of a good book at one of our cozy book stores, like Chaucer’s, an independent store with over 150,000 titles, or The Book Den, offering new and used books since 1902. Or visit the local Santa Barbara Public Library for a quiet afternoon.
- Relax at a Day Spa – There’s truly no better way to relax than to visit a day spa. Schedule your facial, mani-pedi, or massage (or all three) at Float Luxury Spa in downtown Santa Barbara. Or visit Salt for an unforgettable experience in one of their underground Himalayan Salt caves, known as halotherapy.
- Play at a Casino – Casinos in Santa Barbara? That’s right. Enjoy the fast-paced action of slots, table games, poker, or bingo at The Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, CA.
- Visit the Zoo – Home to 146 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects, the Santa Barbara Zoo is a must-see. Observe over 500 animals as they roam in open, naturalistic habitats. Bring your umbrella if it’s misty or sprinkling, or enjoy the indoor exhibits and attractions.
- Peruse a Gallery – Santa Barbara is an art lover’s paradise. Featuring photography, painting, sculpture, architecture and more in 15 locations, you can spend an entire day appreciating creativity in many forms.
- Take a Tour – Enjoy Santa Barbara sightseeing in the comfort of a covered shuttle or trolley. Santa Barbara Trolley Company has scheduled 90-minute tours that run daily on the hour from 10:00am to 3:00pm, where you’ll visit local hot spots like the Courthouse, the Zoo, the Mission and more. The Santa Barbara Wine Shuttle tours Santa Barbara’s beautiful wine country with stops at breathtaking vineyards for tastings. If you have the time, plan both tours to see the most of Santa Barbara.
As you can see, there’s plenty to see and do in Santa Barbara, even on rainy days. So, don’t let Mother Nature stop you from experiencing a fun and memorable getaway. Feel free to contact us at The Eagle Inn to help you plan your stay.