Exploring the best of Santa Barbara, with cheap flights from Portland

Exploring the best of Santa Barbara, with cheap flights from Portland
Photo: iStock
By Hoodline - Published on June 21, 2019.

This laid-back California beach town doesn't try too hard, but it still managed to come in third on The New York Times' list of 52 Places to Go in 2019. Perfect weather may have something to do with that: The city's Mediterranean climate was ranked best in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Visit Mission Santa Barbara, still an active Franciscan mission, for a taste of California history — or for a taste of something different, head straight for the city's many wine tasting rooms and excellent eateries. The beach also beckons any visitor, so make time to soak up the sun and surf while you're in town, and don't forget to catch a spectacular Pacific sunset before you go.

Using travel site Skyscanner, we’ve sifted through the cheapest flights between Portland and Santa Barbara in the next few months, including some standout hotel options and highly reviewed local attractions. (Prices and availability are current as of publication and subject to change.)

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Cheapest Santa Barbara flights

The cheapest flights between Portland and Santa Barbara are if you leave on Sept. 12 and return from California on Sept. 16. Delta currently has tickets for $164, roundtrip.

There are also deals to be had earlier in September. If you fly out of Portland on Sept. 3 and return from Santa Barbara on Sept. 5, Alaska Airlines can get you there and back for $235 roundtrip.

Top Santa Barbara hotels

Regarding where to stay, here are some of Santa Barbara’s top-rated hotels, according to Skyscanner, that we selected based on price, proximity to things to do and customer satisfaction.

The Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara (1260 Channel Drive)

If you're looking to treat yourself, consider the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. The hotel has a 4.8-star rating on Skyscanner, and rooms are currently available for $395.

This beachfront hotel is near the Santa Barbara Zoo and Westmont College.

"As always, if you want to stay at the best, the Four Seasons is a great choice. The rooms are lovely, and the grounds are equally impressive," wrote reviewer Ryan. 

The Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara (1111 E. Cabrillo Blvd.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

There's also the 4.3-star rated Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara, which has rooms for $149/night.

"Located across the street from a really nice beach. They have a great pool with views of the ocean. The rooms have been recently redone in a clean, modern style that was surprising given the old Spanish mission style exterior," wrote visitor Travis. 

The San Ysidro Ranch (900 San Ysidro Lane)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

If you're looking to splurge on top quality, try the San Ysidro Ranch. With a five-star rating on Skyscanner, the hotel is one of the most luxurious in the city. Rooms are currently listed for $595/night.

Situated near the airport, this Santa Barbara hotel is also close to Westmont College, the Santa Barbara Zoo, Presidio Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden.

Top picks for dining and drinking

Santa Barbara has plenty of top-notch dining options. Here are a few of the most popular, according to Skyscanner.

Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant (119 Harbor Way)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First things first: where to get seafood. For a popular option, check out Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant, which has an average of 4.6 stars out of 51 reviews on Skyscanner. The restaurant has a fun, lively atmosphere with views of the ocean, harbor and mountains. 

Arigato Sushi (1225 State St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

One of Santa Barbara's most popular restaurants is Arigato Sushi, with 4.8 stars from 29 reviews.

"A delicious and well-rounded menu with a nice vegetarian selection," wrote reviewer Maria. "The sake and wine were both wonderful as well."

Ca' Dario (37 E. Victoria St.)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Finally, there's Ca' Dario.

This charming Italian restaurant in Santa Barbara is known for its execution of simple pasta, meats and other classics. There is also a wine list with many available by the glass.

"The atmosphere is serene," wrote Emily. "It's very authentic Italian food."

Featured local attractions

Santa Barbara is also full of sites to visit and explore. Here are some popular attractions to round out your trip, again from Skyscanner's listings.

Coral Casino Beach & Cabana (1281 Channel Drive)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

First up is Coral Casino Beach & Cabana.

"This place is first class all the way," wrote visitor Wolf. "The location — right on the beach in Montecito — and the swimming pool is a spectacular Olympic-size pool with hot tubs. There are consistently dolphins cruising out front in the ocean."

Shoreline Park (Shoreline Drive and Santa Rosa Place)

Shoreline Park is another popular destination.

"Awesome park to go for a stroll with your dog or any kind of activity," wrote visitor Eduardo. "This place is just beautiful."

Butterfly Beach (Montecito)

Photo: Trip by Skyscanner

Lastly, spend some time at Butterfly Beach.

A popular beach in Santa Barbara for stand-up paddleboarding and other water sports.

"The most beautiful beach in Santa Barbara," wrote visitor Anne. "Go at low tide for a walk in the sand."

This story was created automatically using flight, hotel, and local attractions data, then reviewed by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.