From a Luxury Cannabis Dispensary to Some of the Best Vegan Food Around, Here’s What to Do on Your Next Road Trip to Santa Barbara
Written By: Anna Keeve Santa Barbara Vacation
Searching for your next weekend adventure? Escape to LA’s neighbor to the north, Santa Barbara, where the tide washes in a heavy dose of all-things-green. From one of California’s premier cannabis dispensaries to an award-winning, fine-dining vegan restaurant (that even meat eaters love), this “greens guide” will help Santa Barbara-bound wanderlusters fulfill their city adventure.
Leaf You Feelin’ Good Santa Barbara Vacation
As you walk through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors at Coastal, you might forget you just walked into a cannabis dispensary. Coastal‘s 6,000-square-foot flagship retail store (just one block off the main State St. thoroughfare) embodies a sophisticated vibe, giving patrons a puff of the good life. Shelves are meticulously lined with a large selection of leading brands, plus their own Coastal brand of products.
From pre-rolled joints and THC-infused chocolate to CBD ointments, you’ll enjoy a cannabis wonderland here. Tap into the knowledge of the well-trained and friendly “budtenders” readily on hand to make recommendations and provide education. Coastal has clearly proven itself as a first-class dispensary, setting the bar high for a new generation of experience-centric cannabis retail.
Native Knowledge: Before heading to Coastal, grab a drink at one of Santa Barbara’s adored boutique hotels, Kimpton Canary Hotel, just a block away from Coastal. You can chill at the hotel’s restaurant/bar Finch & Fork on the bottom level or head directly up to the rooftop and order there while taking in the beautiful Santa Barbara views.
1019 Chapala St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Time to Un-Wine Santa Barbara Vacation
This galactic-themed wine bar on State St. hits all the right notes, from wine to food to service. Satellite’s vegetarian/vegan menu is prepared from produce that is 100 percent direct from local farmers; in fact, head chef Emma West regularly gets up early and meticulously selects the best produce from around the county. “Our mission is to work only with local, organically farmed produce,” says Drew Cuddy, managing partner at Satellite. “It’s the only way we can ensure our food is the most nutrient-dense and highest quality.”
Some must-try items include the vegan taco, made with marinated oyster mushrooms and other seasonal veggies, or the Caulifornia perfectly spiced, Indian-inspired cauliflower dish. On the wine front, Satellite is the first natural wine shop and restaurant in Santa Barbara. They exclusively source wines grown with organic or biodynamic principles, so there are minimal manipulation and additives. You will find some common varietals on the menu but also exciting uncommon blends from lesser-known regions—all at a great value. Satellite was also named as a Surfrider Foundation “Ocean Friendly Restaurant,” a designation reserved for eco-friendly restaurants that take proactive steps to eliminate the use of materials harmful to the ocean.
Native Knowledge: Sit at the bar and soak in the knowledge from their friendly and educated staff. In addition to wine, you’ll get fun-facts about varietal from around the world. Plus, they often let you sample before you buy, to ensure you land on a glass your palate agrees with.
1117 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Just the Veganning Santa Barbara Vacation
Plant-based food is truly at home at Oliver’s. Forget the fact that this place is a vegan restaurant; whether you’re a carnivore or plant-based connoisseur, there is something for everyone to love. Perched atop the main drag in Montecito (about four miles south of downtown Santa Barbara), the sophisticated and elegant digs overlook the crisp Santa Barbara skyline with several seating areas both inside and out, along with a plush bar and lounge space. The craft cocktails are on-point and the wine list is flush; plus, the well-educated staff consistently delivers a first-class experience. Start with the artichoke “crab cakes” and truffle potatoes—both perfect for sharing. Also, the pear & gorgonzola pizza is a must with its perfect amalgamation of sweet and savory.
Native Knowledge: Oliver’s is pup-friendly, so bring your furry friend along!
1198 Coast Village Rd
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Ditch the hard-to-come-by Airbnb and instead opt for an eco-friendly urban glamping experience. Autocamp is a campground compound with a selection of luxury Airstream trailers with connected clean and spacious little yards, so it’s perfect to bring your pup along. Autocamp is conveniently located within walking distance of a number of hip restaurants and coffee shops. Check out Yellow Belly and Los Agaves casual eateries, both with a full bar, and Handlebar Coffee, an artisanal coffee joint. To venture into the more bustling areas, you’re just a short bike ride or drive to the lower State Street area, the Funk Zone and beaches.
Native Knowledge: A mile and a half away is a shaded hike in the quaint San Roque neighborhood. The trailhead is at Stevens Park, which has restroom facilities, a park with picnic tables and a well-appointed playground for kids, all set around a lovely tree-lined ravine.
2717 De La Vina St
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
While Santa Barbara is known for its wine, make no mistake: good beer is making its mark. Modern Times is steadily expanding along the California coast, and its Santa Barbara location does not disappoint. With a tiki-hipster vibe and tables and booths scattered around the bright and spacious indoor-outdoor space, the setting is perfect for a large group or date night for two. Modern Times has over 30 beers on tap, cold brew coffee, kombucha and wine.
Their food menu, as they describe it, is “boundary-pushing plant-based cuisine.” Try the Chili Verde Cheese Fries, which are topped with a delectable chipotle crema and coconut cheese, or the Arancini (a.k.a., fried mushroom risotto balls), both great for sharing. Also, check out some of the entrees, many made with the popular Beyond Meat plant-based products. Finish your meal with the seasonal Vegan Cheesecake and pair with the Black House oatmeal coffee stout…your tastebuds will thank you.
Native Knowledge: Stop in the little to-go shop, where you can buy Modern Times cans and growlers, along with gifts like t-shirts, glassware, reusable bags and even their own line of coffee.
Modern Times Academy of Recreational Sciences
418 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Viewing Party Santa Barbara Vacation
Santa Barbara is known for great hiking, and you don’t have to drive far to hit some fun trails with breathtaking views. Inspiration Point is one of those hikes you have to do at least once to experience its lush greenery and ocean views. The 3.5-mile loop is partially uphill, so you’ll get a good workout without it being too strenuous. The trail is also user-friendly enough for dogs (which are permitted on-leash) and kids. There are periodic bits of share along the way and little places to rest if you need to. On your drive back from the hike (about 2.5 miles back towards town), check out the historic Santa Barbara Mission and neighboring Mission Rose Garden, a huge park perfect for a post-hike picnic.
Native Knowledge: Be aware that you need to park on the side of the road, so if there are a lot of cars lined up as you roll in, just grab the first spot you see.
Trailhead Starts: Spyglass Ridge Rd
Santa Barbara, CA 93105