What to do in Santa Barbara while house and pet sitting

Sabine Berger
Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Located in central California and blessed with stunning vistas of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is a sight to behold – and just one of the many amazing places you could go to for your next house or pet sitting trip with TrustedHousesitters.

So, if you’re still unsure of whether Santa Barbara is the right sitting destination for you or if your trip there is already set up and you’re simply looking for some inspiration for what to do in Santa Barbara while you’re taking care of your new four-legged friend, we’ve got you covered!

Santa Barbara attractions

Santa Barbara is known for its beautiful architecture and chill lifestyle, but what are the 10+ best things to do in Santa Barbara as regards actual sights, free attractions, fun experiences, and pet-friendly activities? Let’s start with what to do in Santa Barbara Ca as regards traditional sightseeing:

1. Old Mission Santa Barbara: as an old Spanish colonial town, Santa Barbara boasts amazing historical sights, and one among them you definitely need to see while you’re there is the Old Mission. Founded in 1786, its original purpose was the religious conversion of the indigenous Native American Chumash-Barbareño tribe. Today, the Old Mission still serves as a religious hub and is home to a Franciscan Friary as well as a museum and gift shop.

2. Santa Barbara Museum of Art: for a trip all around the world and through thousands of years of art history, best plan a visit to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The museum features varying special exhibitions as well as a permanent collection that includes over 27,000 pieces of art from Asia, the Americas, and Europe. By the way: the Museum of Art is just one of many interesting museums Santa Barbara has to offer, so take your pick and then go on an educational adventure (or two, or ten)!

3. Casa del Herrero: as we’ve mentioned before, Santa Barbara is known for its impressive architecture, most of which dating back to the Spanish colonial era – and if you’d like to see some prime examples of it, best head to Casa del Herrero. The open air museum offers buildings and idyllic gardens that are best visited in the course of a guided tour through the 11-acre site.

Free things to do in Santa Barbara

You love adventures but your budget is somewhat limited? No worries! Let’s have a look at the Santa Barbara top things to do that don’t cost a single dollar:

1. Butterfly Beach: if you love the ocean, we’ve got good news for you: One, Santa Barbara is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in California; and two, they’re 100% free to visit! One such beach is Butterfly Beach, where you can sunbathe on the warm sand, dip into the refreshing waves or take bike trips while enjoying amazing sunset views.

2. Moreton Bay Fig Tree: no house or pet sitting trip – or really any trip at all – is complete without some amazing photos to post on Instagram and co. So, if you’re strolling through the city, wondering what to do in downtown Santa Barbara, wonder no more and just head to the gigantic Moreton Bay Fig Tree for some prime photo ops. The immense tree is said to be the largest Ficus macrophylla in the entire US, but whether true or not, it’ll surely make for a stunning backdrop for your pics!

3. Santa Barbara Carriage and Western Art Museum: ever wanted to visit the historic Wild West? The Santa Barbara Carriage and Western Art Museum with its beautifully restored historic stagecoaches and carriages, artfully crafted saddles and more, will certainly take you back to that time in, well, no time – and it’s absolutely free!

Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Fun things to do in Santa Barbara

Now, after all the museums and parks, what is there to do in Santa Barbara that’s simple, pure fun? Have a look:

1. Coronado Butterfly Preserve: if you’re visiting Santa Barbara between November and February and love butterflies (and frankly, who doesn’t?), be sure to plan a trip to the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. Every year, thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate here to spend the winter in warm California – and with you, if you’ll visit them.

2. Old Spanish Days Fiesta: should your trip fall into summer, on the other hand, maybe you’re lucky and can join the annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta! The colourful celebration is typically held in early August and celebrates the traditions and heritage of Santa Barbara with parades, dances, yummy food and more.

3. Whale Watching tours: do you love the ocean and its gentle giants? Off the coast of Santa Barbara you might actually be able to see them close-up, thanks to the many fun Whale Watching tours you can join in the area, many of them leaving from West Beach and the adjacent Stearns Wharf.

What to do in Santa Barbara with your pet

Pet sitting a precious pooch means you’ll also want to spend some quality time with your new furry friend. So, if you’re wondering which dog-friendly locations to visit in Santa Barbara, look no further:

1. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: with more than 1,000 plant species and a full 5.5 miles of paths to walk with your four-legged protégé, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden seems like the perfect place to spend an exciting two-some afternoon! The park hosts several scenic areas, from a stunning Redwood grove to a Japanese teahouse garden and a canyon trail that runs along a bustling creek.

2. Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park: in the mood for some history and nature? Then the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park might be just the right place for you and the pooch. While the park itself offers beautiful walkways to take your pet friend on a walk, you can also climb up to visit the Painted Caves themselves, featuring unique paintings by the Native American Chumash tribe which date to the 17th century and earlier.

3. Elings Park: feeling sporty? Then off you and your new friend to Elings Park! The privately funded park offers idyllic meadows and all kinds of sporty activities you can undertake, from mountain biking to baseball, tennis, rugby, lacrosse, and softball, all the way to para- and hang gliding.

Woman cuddling a dog

Best Restaurants in Santa Barbara: food and drink

After all the fun activities, the only thing left to do is take a look at the best restaurants in Santa Barbara – so, here we go:

1. Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail: do you love a good glass of red or two? Then off you go on a tour along the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail in downtown for a fun – and tasty! – evening out.

2. Stearns Wharf: for a taste of some of the best seafood restaurants in Santa Barbara, serving yummy dishes in front of stunning ocean views, take a trip to Stearns Wharf – or just stay for dinner after arriving back here after one of the Whale Watching tours we mentioned earlier!

3. The Red Piano: wondering what to do in Santa Barbara at night and in the mood for cocktails and live music? The Red Piano in the Lower State district is where you wanna be!

After reading through all our tips, we’re sure you now have more than enough inspiration for what to do in Santa Barbara while you’re there, but rest assured – we’ve only scratched the surface. Santa Barbara still has much more to offer – including amazingly cute pets and lovely owners who would love to invite you over to take care of their fur baby while exploring their fabulous town! Happy adventures!

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