Hostel Community With Hotel Comfort In The Funk Zone
The Wayfarer is technically a hostel, thanks to four dorm-style rooms, but the rest of the living spaces are private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. A budget option for the Santa Barbara area, it still features plenty of creature comforts, along with a perfect location in the citys artsiest district.
The hotel is just south of the 101 freeway in whats known as the citys âFunk Zone neighborhood, which is loaded with winemakers, restaurants, art galleries, and vintage shops. Its only a half of a mile to West Beach, less than a mile to Stearns Wharf, and less than two miles to Santa Barbara Zoo.
Back at home base, a heated pool awaits those tired of the ocean waves, while a communal kitchen allows for a home-cooked meal or two. The rooms themselves feature fun touches like wooden cabinets and rotary phones for a comfortable, retro feel, while still including free Wi-Fi access.
There are free bicycles and board games to rent. Regular events like pub crawls and wine tours create the sense of community sometimes found in hostels, while still allowing most people to go back to their own private space at the end of the day.
Where To Stay In Santa Barbara On A Budget
Despite Santa Barbara’s reputation for high-priced hotels, affordable accommodation options are still available close to downtown.
For bright, cheerful rooms at a price that won’t break the bank, the retro, motel-style Agave Inn is one of the best budget hotels in Santa Barbara. It sits on Santa Barbara’s main drag, State Street, about a five-minute drive from downtown and steps from popular shops and restaurants. Friendly staff free continental breakfast and features like iPod docks, microwaves, and mini-fridges in the rooms add to the value here. Some rooms come with kitchenettes.
For a reliable chain option, the Holiday Inn Express Santa Barbara is in a convenient downtown location. It’s about five blocks from Stearns Wharf and the beachfront bike path. The Historic Landmark building and Spanish Revival decor make a stay here more atmospheric than typical budget chain hotels, and the free breakfast is a wonderful perk.
Best Hostel In Santa Barbara: The Wayfarer
This hostel is run by a team of friendly staff, who will happily help with tips on sightseeing in the area. The dorm rooms are clean and very fashionable as is the shared kitchen, which is great for cooking a meal or simply making a cup of coffee.
Theres even an outdoor swimming pool and sunbeds so you can spend time soaking up the sun with fellow travelers. If you want more hostel inspiration, check out this post on Santa Barbaras best hostels.
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Best Hotel In Santa Barbara: Casa Del Mar Inn Santa Barbara
Excellently located a couple of minutes walk from the West Beach and marina, this hotel offers excellent value for money.
With big rooms and beds that will give you a fantastic nights sleep, theres also ample car parking for guests who arrive by car. For a little extra, cheese and wine is served on the porch in the evenings.
Santa Barbara is nestled on a south-facing stretch of golden Californian coastline, tucked between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
This city has been touted as the American Riviera due to its palm-lined beaches, upscale boutiques and restaurants and for its wines its something of a rival to Napa Valley in terms of vineyards and wineries.
With a Spanish colonial heritage, many of Santa Barbaras buildings feature charming stucco facades which makes it a great place to simply wander.
Different areas of Santa Barbara offer different experiences, so choosing the area that best suits you will be a major plus weve rounded up the best five areas of Santa Barbara to give you an overview of the city. The best things to do in Santa Barbara are scattered throughout the city.
East Beach is one of the first beaches upon entering city limits and is located at the end of a four-mile stretch of sand. Its a great place to stroll on the sand, chill out, and have fun: there are picnic facilities, volleyball courts and cafes.
The Funk Zone The Best Part Of Santa Barbara
We love the Funk Zone, and find ourselves coming here every single time we find ourselves in Santa Barbara. The Funk Zone is basically ten blocks of industrial buildings which have become a paradise for the citys creatives. Unfortunately, because it is so small and filled with warehouses, there really arent that many places to stay here.
But if you you plan to spend much of your time wine tasting and perusing the racks of the many vintage stores, this is your best bet. It is home to some of the best restaurants in the area, offering good value food from all over the world. There is always something to do in the Funk Zone, with all sorts of wine tasting rooms, restaurants, fun street art, and boutique shops, just waiting for you to stumble upon them.
It also happens to be a few blocks from the beach and Stearns Wharf, and a short walk to the heart of State Street and Downtown Santa Barbara.
Here are some of the best things to do while staying in the Funk Zone:
Best Places to Stay in the Funk Zone
2 Blocks to Beach, Downtown, Funk Zone
This modern chic beach pad was featured in Conde Nast as one of the best Airbnbs in California. It was inspired by the owners travels and the surrounding area. The Spanish-style house is outfitted with high end appliances and fluffy down bedding. There are luxurious touches like heated bathroom tiles, an Apple TV with Netflix, and a fully stocked gourmet kitchen, and even a washer and dryer.
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West Beach & The Funk Zone Where To Stay For First Timers
The most popular place to stay in Santa Barbara is West Beach where you will find many ocean view restaurants, shops, and museums. If you are visiting Santa Barbara for the first time, West Beach and the Funk Zone is the best choice, as most of the sightseeing areas are found here, plus you will be close to the beach, of course!
Start your day with a nice bike or walk along the path on West Beach. From the beach, walk inland, and youll see Funk Zone. Funk Zone is an industrial area full of abandoned warehouses that have been transformed into creative studios by artists. You will not only see many instagrammable murals and graffiti here, but this vibrant area is filled with many restaurants, bars, and wine tasting cafes.
This is also the best spot in town to hit the bars with its great nightlife. West Beach has everything to entertain all kinds of travelers. Lets have a look at the best hotels in this lovely neighborhood. Dont forget to make your reservation in advance!
- Have a photo at Winslow-Maxwell Overlook
- Bike ride down the West Beach path
Frequently Asked Questions About Santa Barbara
What is the best area to stay in Santa Barbara?
If you are visiting for the first time, stay in West Beach for its beach and city access. If you are more interested in culture and shopping, the best area to stay for you is Downtown.
Where do the Kardashians stay in Santa Barbara?
The Kardashians stay in The Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore. If you want to spot celebrities, you can pick a hotel in the Montecito area.
Is living in Santa Barbara expensive?
Santa Barbara is one of the most expensive cities in Central California. However, you can find relatively cheaper areas a bit outside of Santa Barbara.
Is downtown Santa Barbara safe?
Yes, downtown Santa Barbara is safe. As in any other city, you should be careful walking at very late hours of the night.
Is Santa Barbara worth visiting?
Santa Barbara is definitely worth visiting with its nice beaches, wine yards, and fancy dining options.
I hope that this guide will help you find the best area and hotel for your taste in Santa Barbara. I mentioned activities and things you can do in 5 great areas to give you an idea about the vibe. I also suggested hotels and Airbnbs from luxury to budget options, to help you find the best place to suit you!
To sum up, here are the best hotels in Santa Barbara that I would definitely recommend for their location and features. They have very great reviews too!
Have a nice trip!
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Best Hotel In Montecito: Montecito Inn
The Art Deco style of this luxurious hotel in Santa Barbara makes it stand out from the rest in the area its tastefully designed with interesting and unique furnishings, boasting private rooms with all of the facilities you might need for your holiday.
Its surrounded by eateries, boutiques and other large hotels.
- Hike into the hills for spectacular vistas of the coastal area below.
- Head up Cold Spring Trail for a tough hike.
- Take it easy on the Hot Spring Canyon Trailhead.
- Enjoy dinner al fresco at Los Arroyos Montecito.
- Take in the incredible ocean views and enjoy dinner at Tydes restaurant they have a happy hour!
- Hit a round at Burnham Wood Golf Club.
- Head up to Lookout Park for amazing views.
- Visit Lotusland a small botanical garden filled with exotic plants.
- -Chill out and listen to the surf on Butterfly Beach.
The Rooms Are Very Big And The Facility Has Coffee And Fruit
The rooms are very big and the facility has coffee and fruit avayin the front office. There is a cafe on the grounds that is very good. It’s a shame not continental breakfast or voucher for breakfast at the cafe.
- From £157 per night8.5Very good842 reviews
I picked this place because I wanted to stay in a place that was very stately. I was not disappointed. the old Spanish style was both endearing and upscale. the warm cookies offered at my arrival, jazz and Cuban music echoing through the halls the one and only enchanting old style elevator that took its time to do its job were touches that enhanced my hotel experience . the proximity of the hotel is really I. the heart and soul of downtown Santa Barbara and I really appreciated that because I could explore, walk or Lyft anywhere from here.
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- From £177 per night6.3Review score477 reviews
The location is great. right on the beach. the hotel is very basic. we were a big family so it was too tight and basic for us but for a couple or small family it could be a reasonable place to stay overnight on the way.The staff was nice and helpful. Being able to cross the road and be on the beach or on the pier was worth it all.All in all we got our money’s worth and for that price and that location we couldn’t find anything near that.
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Best Airbnb In Carpinteria: Cozy Detached Studio
Perfect for 2 -4 people, this private studio is centrally located and only 5 minutes from foothill and has a huge backyard suitable for many family activities. It is a ten-minute drive to downtown and beaches and private parking is provided. The house also has wifi, air conditioning and modern amenities are provided.
Where To Stay In Santa Barbara For A Getaway: The Beautiful Kimpton Canary Hotel
Santa Barbara is undoubtedly one of the best getaways you can take yourself to. If you live in Los Angeles and you are seeking a quick getaway for the weekend for yourself or with your significant other, Santa Barbara is surely the place to be. Its a great town for all ages with different interests featuring the best food, nightlife, and shopping. If you want to indulge in a Spanish luxury hotel, this is where to stay in Santa Barbara.
The Spanish coastal town of Santa Barbara embraces you with its warm, temperate weather, sunny skies, and bright smiles from locals. Its almost as if the sun shines brighter, the sky is bluer, and the ocean is louder when youre in Santa Barbara. You cant help but feel overwhelmingly elated when youre under that Santa Barbara sun.
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Carpinteria Where To Stay In Santa Barbara With Families
This small oceanside city features pretty beaches, incredible mountains, diverse sea life, and is a smaller, more chilled alternative to the relatively more bustling Santa Barbara.
Amongst other things, Carpinteria is also home to the very popular Avocado Festival, held at the end of October every year.
Whilst only 10 minutes drive east from Santa Barbara, Carpinteria boasts a decidedly more different and authentic small-town feel. The locals here believe that their beaches are better than those in Santa Barbara and there are definitely a fair few to choose from. And the surf is legendary.
Its closeness to nature and small town vibe also makes Carpinteria a great place for families.
Best Areas To Stay In Santa Barbara
I love Santa Barbaras beaches. I think theyre my favorite beaches of Southern California.
Nestled on a long stretch of open coastline, Santa Barbara is everything you could want from a California beach getaway. About 100 miles north of Los Angeles, this is where Southern California ends and Central California begins. Santa Barbara is best known for its broad, sandy beaches, high-end luxury hotels, and status as a celebrity hotspot. Coined The American Riviera because of the similarities to Mediterranean seaside towns, its a haven for boating, wine, luxury travel, art, and beachgoing. What makes this beach town unique is that it is also a mountain town. The Santa Ynez Mountains offer beautiful hiking trails and a dramatic backdrop to the city. Founded by the Spanish in 1782 this history can be seen at the 18th-century Old Mission Santa Barbara and in the distinctive downtown historic Spanish architecture. After a devastating earthquake in 1925, most of Downtown was rebuilt in the lavish Santa Barbara Style, a mix of Mediterranean Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Mission Revival.
The most popular place to stay in Santa Barbara is the neighborhood of West Beach, with its many ocean view restaurants, shops, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, and the Museum of Natural History Sea Center. West Beach also has a beautiful wide stretch of beach with a great bike and walking path.
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Affordable Hotel In Montecito: Coast Village Inn
Located in an upmarket area, this little inn is actually the best value accommodation around. Conveniently situated close to the highway, the various beaches along the coast are easily accessible from here too.
Enjoy eating out in the areas chic restaurants and a spot of designer shopping close by. Rooms are very comfortable and clean location and well run by the welcoming staff.
One Of The Best Places To Stay In Santa Barbara
My husband and I have been staying at this historic hotel, which is composed of several houses of varying sizes, several times a year for the past eight years. It is very warm and charming. Lovely fireplace in the lobby, and some rooms also have working fireplaces. Rose gardens, adirondack chairs, and a gazebo are in the garden. Breakfast buffet is lovely wine and cheese are served in the evening oreos and milk before bed. The rooms range widely in price and quality so be sure to discuss what you are looking for with the reservation agent. Don’t miss the restaurant as it is one of the best in town. Great spot for a wedding.More
- Trip type: Traveled on business
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- Trip type: Traveled on business
I spent a good deal of time in Santa Barbara in 2007 before I went to Afghanistan and was fortunate enough to stay at the Upham for much of it. Not all of the hotels in Santa Barbara honor the GSA per diem rate, but the Upham did and was gracious about it. When I went on leave from Afghanistan the following year, I made sure to stop by and spend a night and they took very good care of me. I’d happily recommend it for anyone visiting Santa Barbara.
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Rest Of The Downtown Area
The rest of the downtown area is mainly focused over the other side of the 101 highway, between W Carrillo Street and W Haley Street, which is a busy public transport hub with brilliant connections all around the city. This area is an ideal place to stay in due to the amount of attractions that are close by like the Historical Museum, Museum of Art, Botanic Gardens, the Zoo and many art galleries.
The Santa Barbara Mission is another major highlight of the area as it is one of the finest examples of Spanish architecture, which is highly-praised by the locals. State Street, which starts by West Beach, comes all the way into the centre and further inland and is a shopping paradise with this stretch of it being home to the biggest department stores, which includes El Paseo and Paseo Nuevo. State Street, Chapala Street and W Carrillo Street are spoilt for hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs with some on Chapala Street having hotel rooms with sea views.
If youre looking for a more authentic California experience away from the tourist crowds, a stay in Goleta might just be the place for you! It is only 10 miles east of the Santa Barbara airport, and free shuttles are running back and forth between Goleta and Santa Barbara. You can have the best of both worlds by experiencing the nearby attractions and activities, but with a cheaper price tag since Goleta is more budget-friendly!