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Santa Barbara & Solvang: Itinerary and Activities With Kids

We love to spend Chirstmas at home, but the week between Christmas and New Years Eve we love to travel locally and avoid the airport masses.

So this year, we decided to go to Santa Barbara with friends! This time, since we weren't traveling alone, we did a lot of activities so here's our full itinerary:

Day 1:

We left really early to make it in the morning. We went straight to the cutest beach cafe, Shoreline Beach Cafe, to meet our friends and grab brunch. It's a perfect spot to unwind and let the kids run after the car ride, there are great tables right by the sand.

From there we went to the Santa Barbara Pier for ice cream (btw if you like wine tasting there's also a wine tasting room on top of the ice cream store with amazing views, easy with kids) and then walked around the pier and from there, to a gorgeous park by the ocean, Chase Palm Park, to let the kids run wild for an hour.

Then it was right on time to check into our hotel next door, the Hilton, and so we went to check ink, change clothes, and go out to dinner.

Hotel review: its good, would recommend for convenience, nothing fancy, not resort like. If you plan to do a bunch of activities and not stay in the hotel all day, like us on this trip, then it's great Location doesn't get better. Rooms are very spacious. Views are great. Starbucks coffee on site. A great grab and go cafe on site. Complimentary wine or tea. Great breakfast spot. Pool was under construction and is until April 2024 but, we didn't mind because it was cold.

Then we went out to dinner, we went to Rare Society for dinner and it was DELICIOUS. Pricey. Not super kid friendly (on the fancier side), but we got a big booth and sat all of us comfortably (4 adults and 4 kids) and had a great meal. Great ambiance even for early dinner.


We had breakfast at the hotel and then went to Solvang (50min drive) the cutest little town, a must go. We strolled around for a while and then drove to a winery 10min away.

If you are looking for a casual winery where you can take the kids, this is it: Rideau Vineyard. It has so much space and games for them to run round. And casual tables for adults to sit and lounge. Also great veggie and meat boards and pizzas. Perfect casual lunch spot too!

Once done, we drove back to SB and the kids took a late car nap (but 30-40min so nothing too bad) and then we went straight to dinner at an amazing Mexican, Flor de Maiz. Great for kids too. I do recommend making reservations ahead in SB especially for slightly larger tables, everything gets super busy even earlier in the night.

Then we let the 4 kids run wild in the hotel lobby to make up for the late nap lol.

Day 3 (we had to leave this day but here's what we would've done)

After breakfast, the hotel has complimentary 2h bike rental, and 2 of them have child seat in the back. So that's a great morning activity. We also brought the kids scooters because they have a great boardwalk by the beach.

Then our friend recommended Alameda Park that is huge. Perfect to let them run wild for a bit and enjoy some sunshine too.

And after, the Santa Barbara Zoo, which we already had been to 4 years ago and is super cute and has a beautiful train too!

For dinner, we highly recommend the almost impossible to book (so book in advanced) Loquita Spanish restaurant. The best vibe and food. Def kid friendly.

A great weekend plan! I hope you enjoy it too!


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