Hotel at a Glance: The Parkside Inn
In most cities, a trip to the zoo and a picnic on the beach might occupy a full day. Not so at The Parkside Inn, located two blocks from the sand and a 5-minute walk from the Santa Barbara Zoo, routinely ranked among the nation's best small zoos.
- Walking distance to the beach: Two blocks
- Recommended activities: The resort is steps from the Santa Barbara Zoo, home to humboldt penguins, asian elephants, and chilean flamingos.
- In-room amenities: Guest rooms feature a 42-inch flat-screen TV, fridge, microwave, and free WiFi
- Access to the Hyatt Santa Barbara: You'll check in at the Hyatt Santa Barbara, located two blocks away; during your stay, make use of the hotel's pool, jacuzzi, and gym
Santa Barbara, California: Beaches, Mountains, Film Festivals, and Franciscans
Neatly tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara has been called "America's Riviera" for its Mediterranean climate, downtown beaches, and Spanish-style architecture. The city is a surfer's delight, an idyllic place to attend college—there are five universities in town—and a convenient getaway for Los Angeles residents, who only need to travel 90 minutes up the 101 to get there.
Even with an array of water sports, sunny beaches, and boutique shopping, the city's arts and culture still hold a vital place. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, held at the end of January, attracts thousands of visitors every year, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art showcases the work of area artists.
Founded by a Franciscan friar in 1786, the iconic Old Mission Santa Barbara offers a glimpse into the city's past with a museum, mausoleum, and active place of worship. Docent-guided tours are available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. For the best views of the city, head to the open air tower at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, a National Historic Landmark recognizable by its red tiled roof.