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Hi,<br>
I'm meeting an out-of-state friend in Santa Barbara and would appreciate advice on the following:<br>
-She is flying in very late at night so we are looking for a hotel recommendation that is close to the airport. We're definitely looking for something cheap and basic(not a dump but we're fine with no-frills).<br>
-We will have pretty limited time in the area(probably just several hours before we have to drive to LA), but I'm looking for an awesome activity or two that we can do there. She's never been there, and the only time I was there for a trip I was 8 months pregnant and didn't venture around much. She doesn't have any kids and I have 4.5 year old. So I'm looking for something awesome that will impress an out-of-towner.<br>
Thanks for any help you can offer; it is much appreciated! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/treehugger.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Treehugger"><br><br>
ETA: Also, if there are any awesome things to do between Santa Barbara and LA, or beautiful seaside restaurants, please feel free to note those as well. Thanks!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>RockStarMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15372630"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">limited time in the area(probably just several hours before we have to drive to LA), but I'm looking for an awesome activity or two that we can do there. She's never been there, and the only time I was there for a trip I was 8 months pregnant and didn't venture around much. She doesn't have any kids and I have 4.5 year old. So I'm looking for something awesome that will impress an out-of-towner.<br>
Also, if there are any awesome things to do between Santa Barbara and LA, or beautiful seaside restaurants, please feel free to note those as well.</div>
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--Given that you'll have a 4yo along, I'm thinking the SB Museum of Natural History. I don't know how it compares to big city NHMs, and I don't know where your friend is from, so it's hard to say whether the SBMNH will impress your friend.<br><a href="http://sbnature.org/" target="_blank">http://sbnature.org/</a><br>
--If your friend is fine with sitting at a park with you, there's a pretty darned cool wooden castle-like play structure called "Children's World" by the locals but officially known as Alameda Park.<br><a href="http://www.santabarbara.com/activities/parks/alameda/" target="_blank">http://www.santabarbara.com/activities/parks/alameda/</a><br>
Across the street from that park is a lovely small botanical gardens area called Alice Keck Gardens.<br>
--Walking the Wharf and eating at the restaurant there might seem pretty amazing to a non-coast-dweller.<br><a href="http://www.stearnswharf.org/" target="_blank">http://www.stearnswharf.org/</a><br>
Across the street from the wharf is a nice park with a carousel.<br><a href="http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/beachfront/chase.htm" target="_blank">http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/beachfront/chase.htm</a><br>
--Driving the PCH along part of the route is pretty impressive, if you have time to go that way on your way to LA.<br>
--I don't know if it will work with a 4yo, but the Getty Villa surely couldn't be anything but impressive. I have no idea if you can just go there without reservations, but you could check that out:<br><a href="http://www.getty.edu/visit/" target="_blank">http://www.getty.edu/visit/</a> (that site has both the Getty Villa and the Getty Museum, two very distinct attractions)<br>
--There's a beachfront restaurant that some people rave about but I've been there once and wasn't that impressed... still, it's on the ocean, you can sit outdoors, there are play areas right there by the tables that would please a 4yo. It's a bit overpriced imo, but hey, it's on the Pacific Ocean :)<br><a href="http://www.beachgrillpadaro.com/" target="_blank">http://www.beachgrillpadaro.com/</a> -- that's between SB and Ventura.<br><br>
If I think of anything else I'll post!
 

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While we were driving thru, we went to the SB zoo with my (then) 4 yr old and 1 yr old and really enjoyed it! It was very pretty, kind of botanical gardens mixed with zoo. Right down by the water. We would go there again!
 

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Hi there! This is probably too late, but I figured I'd chime in as a local. We put together a big list of local activities for our wedding website and you can take a peak if you want:<br><a href="http://www.weddingwire.com/wedding/UserViewWebsitePage?themeCode=1015&wid=e0c9461ed0579c40&pid=b3bd123655b0c0f8" target="_blank">http://www.weddingwire.com/wedding/U...bd123655b0c0f8</a><br><br>
For hotels, it is a very small airport and I can't think of any hotels off the top of my head that are super close (ie within a couple minutes drive of the airport). So I'd recommend checking out travelocity or orbitz or tripadvisor and look for hotels in Goleta (the Santa Barbara Airport is actually in Goleta, a city directly north of SB). (we live and had our wedding in SYV an hour north, so the accommodations on our website won't help you) You will find better rates in Goleta than in Santa Barbara itself.
 

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I second the zoo. It's not very large, but totally doable in a few hours because of it's size, a very well thought out zoo (If you aren't opposed to zoos on principle I mean). I love the mission too. if you are there on a Sunday the boardwalk art fair is a must.<br><br>
This link is great for ideas<br><br><a href="http://www.santabarbaraca.com/includes/media/docs/101-Free-Things-To-Do-in-Santa-Barbara.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.santabarbaraca.com/includ...ta-Barbara.pdf</a>
 
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