For a change of pace, leave State Street behind and journey to SoCo

You’ve biked Santa Barbara’s shoreline and browsed the shopper’s paradise on well-known State Street.

Now get to know burgeoning SoCo (south of Cota Street), just a couple of blocks east of State, where a homegrown arts scene is taking root.


Santa Barbara is about 90 miles north of Los Angeles. From U.S. 101 north, exit at Garden St., go right on Garden, then right on Cota St. You’re in SoCo now. Visit for more information.


Fresh produce Locals load their bags with fruit and vegetables at the year-round Downtown Santa Barbara Farmers Market (8:30-12:30 Sat; corner of Cota and Santa Barbara Streets; 805/962-5354). Mayor Marty Blum shops here, as do resident celebs such as John Cleese and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Taste slices of peaches, strawberries, and pluots while listening to street musicians.

Italian At Arnoldi’s Cafe ($$; 600 Olive St.; 805/962-5394), one of the city’s oldest restaurants, patrons can indulge in authentic fare and then head out back to play bocce in the yard.


Coffee Hipsters hankering for iced mochas gravitate to always-buzzing Muddy Waters Café (closed Sun; 508 E. Haley St.; 805/966-9328).

Beer At Telegraph Brewing Company (closed Sun-Wed; tastings from $3; 416 N. Salsipuedes St.; 805/963-5018), a copper kettle is used to craft beers. Try the light and citrusy White Ale.

Wine At Carr Vineyards & Winery (tastings $10; 414 N. Salsipuedes; 805/965-7985), in a 1940s Quonset hut, drink up the atmosphere of a working winery.


To admire Run by renowned World War II photographer Horace Bristol’s son Henri, the East/West Gallery (closed Sun-Mon; 714 Bond Ave.; 805/963-4041) focuses on contemporary photography, and its splashy opening and closing parties are social must-dos.

To make Turn recycled goods into lovable trinkets at Art From Scrap (closed Sun-Mon; 302 E. Cota; 805/884-0459). Buy materials to take home, or let the kids tackle a project at a Saturday workshop (10-noon; $6; ages 6 and up).

STAY OVERNIGHT After wandering in SoCo, make your way back to Santa Barbara’s main drag to check in at Hotel Santa Barbara (from $209; 800/549-9869), the only boutique inn among the restaurants and shops on State Street.

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