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Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

Los Angeles
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Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

I'll be visiting Santa Barbara over a weekend (Friday - Sunday), and with the recent gas price hike, was thinking of taking the greyhound from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, instead of driving.

Are taxis (and/or other transportation methods) convenient? Expensive?

I would like to visit some wineries and visit some nice restaurants. Haven't decided on which ones yet though.

Thanks!

Berkeley, Ca.
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1. Re: Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

You don't need a car in Santa Barbara. Car Free Santa Barbara has all sorts of information about seeing the place car free. http://www.santabarbaracarfree.org/ The main area of the city, from the beach up to the far end of the downtown is less than 2 miles long, walkable in about half an hour. And it's a very pleasant place to walk.

You can take Greyhound up, though you might find Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner trains more comfortable. There are 5 trains a day. Both Amtrak and Greyhound have conveniently located stations in Santa Barbara (Greyhound's is behind Saks Fifth Avenue!) In Los Angeles, Union Station, which Amtrak operates from, is a lot more convenient than the Greyhound station.

Within Santa Barbara, there are (electrically powered) shuttles that run up and down State Street through the downtown area, and along the main part of the Waterfront. They only cost 25c, and run from 9 am to 6 pm. The State St. shuttle in particular covers a lot of the architectural and dining destinations. In the evening you'd need to either walk back to your hotel or take a cab, but they seem to be plentiful.

For wineries within the city, you can follow the Santa Barbara urban wine trail. http://www.urbanwinetrailsb.com/ If you want to go up into the Santa Ynez Valley--Santa Barbara County's wine country--you'll need to go on a tour. The Car Free Santa Barbara site has information about that.

Edited: 16 March 2012, 04:38
Corona del Mar, CA
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for San Diego, Orange County, California
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2. Re: Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

Taxis are expensive and not that readily available. If you stay near State Street you can make do with public transportation, but I think the wineries is more of a challenge. The tours are pretty expensive.

I would take the train though, not a bus.

Manhattan Beach...
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3. Re: Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

My son and dil have taken the train to Santa Barbara a couple times from LA. Very easy when staying near State Street. They like the Canary Hotel and walk everywhere.

http://www.canarysantabarbara.com/

Here is some info on wine tours:

www.santabarbara.com/winecountry/tours/

Santa Barbara...
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4. Re: Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

Definitely no car needed in Santa Barbara. You can save up to 50% on hotels, activities and tranpsortation (including guided tours up to the nearby Santa Ynez Valley wine country) by visiting www.SantaBarbaraCarFree.org

It's an amazing website with downloadable maps and plenty of info to make your car free experience green with less green. And yes, if you book 3 days ahead using that website, you can get a 20% discount off Amtrak train fares--an excellent way to be car free! And by the way, there is a taxi service in Santa Barbara that only uses Toyota Prius hybrid cars--Lucky Cab!

Los Angeles
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5. Re: Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

Thank you so much for all the input. Yes, the Amtrak is definitely more comfortable than taking the Greyhound. I totally forgot about looking up Amtrak! Thanks for all the suggestions...really appreciate it!

The hotel I reserved at is the new Indigo hotel on State Street. It looks like that hotel is south of the freeway, and all the action is north of the freeway. I hope I can still walk around easily! The Amtrak station should be very close to the hotel (should be right across the street).

Thanks again!!

Santa Barbara...
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6. Re: Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

The Amtrak Station is 209 State Street and the Hotel Indigo is 121 State Street--the closest lodging to the train and on the same side of the street AND you are only a block from the beach, Sterns Wharf and all the waterfront attractions; not to mention easy walking to all the downtown restaurants, clubs and museums. Plus, the 25 cent electric shuttle that goes all around the downtown and beach stops at your hotel as well. Please be sure to visit www.santabarbaracarfree.org for free maps, discounts and lots of great info for your holiday.

Los Angeles
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7. Re: Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

Thank you so much Elkay658!

I did map it out, but I guess on the map, everything seems far away. In some cities, the freeway divides the city, so it seems like even though the hotel is closer to the beach, it was away from all the attractions (restaurants, shopping, etc.). Thanks for providing me with a better glimpse of Santa Barbara!

I'm excited to be visiting! Thanks for all the local information!

Manhattan Beach...
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8. Re: Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

Let us know how you like Hotel Indigo. Haven't heard much about it.

Have fun.

9. Re: Is a car needed in Santa Barbara?

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