Why Santa Barbara Keeps Getting Better

A storied grand hotel, a Parisian-inspired café and one lushly appointed garden


Santa Barbara’s heart has never been bigger. After last winter’s devastating Montecito mudslides, locals have come together to reconnect and rebuild. The result? Bustling neighborhoods, openings and reopenings, and friendly faces out and about—meaning there’s never been a better time to visit the American Riviera. “It’s our special place and becoming known to the world,” says Jim Rosenfield, owner of the Montecito Country Mart (montecitocountrymart.com).

STAY In honor of its 90th anniversary, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara (fourseasons.com) is offering a throwback series of prints in collaboration with photographer Gray Malin of the resort’s neighboring Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club (coralcasinoclub.com). Meanwhile, Belmond El Encanto (belmond.com) is marking its centennial with a series of events celebrating the resort’s history as a retreat for Hollywood. The famed San Ysidro Ranch (sanysidroranch.com) and upcoming seaside Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito (rosewoodhotels.com) are gearing up to welcome guests later this year.

DINE The rustic-luxe Mart will debut three new eateries in the coming months: farm-to-table Bettina, European-style coffee shop Caffe Luxxe, and Merci, a spot to enjoy Parisian eats and sip rosé alfresco. On State Street, things are hot and spicy at Bibi Ji (bibijisb.com), where partners Jessi Singh and Rajat Parr put a creative spin on Indian cuisine in a cool, urban setting.

SHOP Take home a striped Santa Barbara towel at Riviera Towel Company (rivieratowel.com) and peruse more than 100 brands of children’s clothing at Poppy Store (poppystores.com). At Oscar de la Renta’s Montecito Country Mart pop-up shop (July 16-Aug. 26), a percentage of sales will go to the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade for mudslide relief.

CAN’T MISS Snag a reservation and wander Lotusland (lotusland.org) or attend the garden’s LotusFest (July 8) or Lotusland Celebrates: Gems of the Garden (July 28).

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