The Habit Burger Grill: Hit this popular joint and indulge in its addicting Charburger ― along with a milkshake and onion rings. Info: 216 S. Milpas; 805/962-7472.
La Super-Rica Taquería: The taco shack usually has a line outside, so come early. Maria Perez of Centro Musical recommends number 16: the Super-Rica Especial, with poblano chiles, cheese, and marinated pork, chicken, or beef, served on corn tortillas. Info: $; Thu-Tue; 622 N. Milpas; 805/963-4940.
Well located directly across from East Beach, Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort (360 rooms from $225; 805/564-4333) is a large Mediterranean-style hotel set among the palm trees. The red tile roof, gushing fountains, and arched walkways are all very Santa Barbara. There are also tennis courts and a heated pool.
For families planning to stretch out a vacation in Santa Barbara to a week or more, Villa Elegante Vacation Rentals (from $1,600 per week; 805/565-4459) are a great bet. Spotless 2- and 3-bedroom apartments are in a quiet location just off Milpas, one block from the beach. Built in 1997, the apartments are in a classic Mediterranean style and boast full kitchens and fireplaces.