We always love to mix a little bit of shopping into our travels, especially in Santa Barbara. The city features numerous boutique shops, historical shopping centers, and galleries.
Paseo Nuevo is one of our favorites; it is located between State and Chapala Streets in downtown Santa Barbara. Look for the orange trees planted along the walkways near the entrance to Paseo Nuevo along State Street. Usually there are oranges on the trees and every time we walk by we pick a few. Picking the oranges later in the season presents more of a problem. The half of the tree facing the walkway is usually bare so we have to reach around or jump for the higher oranges not yet picked by the passerby’s.
Paseo Nuevo has a unique Spanish flavor to it. There are bougainvillea growing up the walls. It is an open air shopping area complete with palms and fountains. Tiled arches extend over the walkways. A great photo opportunity is from the second floor across from the movie theatre and Contemporary Arts Forum. There you will find colorful tiled steps, flowering potted plants, and a good view of Paseo Nuevo behind you with its arches and Spanish style architecture.
There are numerous parking spots nearby, but usually there are lots of people so parking can still be a bit of a challenge. There is a parking garage on the Chapala side of Paseo Nuevo. There is also parking lots on Figueroa, Canon Perdido, and Ortego. For more parking information call : (805) 963-2202
Several years back we had the good fortune of bumping into the famed physicist, Stephen Hawking in Macy’s in Paseo Nuevo. We spoke for about 10 minutes. He was in town giving a lecture at UCSB At the time he said he wanted the designers of his voice box to get rid of his American accent and to give him a British accent! I hope this has been done!
Paseo Nuevo is open Monday through Friday from 10AM until until 9PM. On Saturday they are open from 10AM until 8PM, and on Sunday from 11AM until 6PM. For a listing of all the stores, hours and additional information please visit the website: www.paseonuevoshopping.com
The Center Stage Theatre is also located within the Paseo Nuevo Shopping area. Phone: 963-0408
Please visit their website at: www.centerstagetheater.org
Brinkerhoff Avenue is a one block street named after Santa Barbara’s first Physician. Many of the original homes are still standing and many have been converted to specialty shops. It is located within walking distance of downtown.
El Paseo is much smaller then Paseo Nuevo and more intimate. It is only a couple of blocks from Paseo Nuevo, located at the 800th block of State Street. There is a nice gallery located here among other shops. A couple of restaurants serve food either inside or outside on small tables.
At both entrances to El Paseo you will see bronze sculptures of people sitting on benches. Near one of the statues you will see a golden fire hydrant….only in Santa Barbara!
La Arcada Court is a historic open air shopping center located on the 1100 block of State Street. It dates back to 1926 and features tile line walkways, fountains and sculptures. Enter either from State Street or from Figueroa. The main shopping area is a T shaped Spanish paseo complete with exotic plants and a courtyard.
It includes interesting shops and galleries. A 16 foot tall clock with Westminister chimes stands at the entrance to State Street (modeled after a historic clock in Chicago). Visit: www.laarcadasantabarbara.com
La Cumbre Plaza is Santa Barbara’s largest shopping mall also located on the 3800 block of State Street. Its name is taken from the name of the highest point in the surrounding mountains, La Cumbre Peak. La Cumbre Plaza includes Robinson’s Mays, and Sears.
It features more then 60 shops. As you drive toward downtown on State Street you will see this shopping plaza on the right side of the street. It is quite large, you can’t miss it. There is a parking lot surrounding the plaza, and parking is free. Visit: www.shoplacumbre.com
Upper State Street has a couple of shopping areas. The Galleria is is on the 3800 block of State Street on the corner of La Cumbre Road is one of Santa Barbara’s newest and most attractive shopping areas. It is a tiled two story complex.
Victoria Court is located on the west side of 1200 block of State Street. This is a small “village” of about 30 shops, services, and restaurants.
The following is a list of art and antique shops in Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Summerland. Each shop is listed with its address, Phone Number, and specialty. All Phone Numbers are in the 805 area code.
Italian Pottery Outlet sells imported Italian pottery and is located at 19 Helena Avenue. Helena Avenue is located a block from lower State Street. Park in the parking lot next to the pottery store. The first 60 minutes are free if you have the attendant give you a tag, and then have that tag marked by either the pottery store or one of the other stores in the area. Their Phone Number is (805) 564-7655. Visit: www.italianpottery.com
Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show is where about 300 Santa Barbara County artists display their works. This is held on Sundays from 10am until sunset. This show is in Chase Palm Park at 236 East Cabrillo Blvd., east of Stearns Wharf. For more information call Phone Number (805) 963-0611, ext. 4530. or visit: www.sbaacs.com