Santa Barbara, California, is an ensemble of beach town feels and metropolis nightlife options. It is one of the finest cities in California and attracts tons of crowds all year long. When most people think of Santa Barbara, they think of immersing themselves in its Spanish Colonial Museums, whale watching, beachfront activities, and the like; however, not many know that it has a universe of fantastic nightlife options. Find out more about Santa Barbara nightlife and plan your next road trip to this riveting town.
Also, you can check out our guide on the best nightlife in South America if you are planning an outing in South America.
Santa Barbara Nightlife Mesmerism: Unique Attractions
Santa Barbara nightlife has a distinctive beach nightlife flavor to it. It has live music, bars, pubs, and nightclubs, but it also has beachfront cafes, unique attractions, and the most delicious seafood options. It has some incredible nightlife options to explore, especially in State Street & Funk Zone. So if you are short on time, just head to these two locations, and you will find a never-ending list of options for nightlife fun.
1. Live Music Options in Santa Barbara
Live music is an indispensable part of Santa Barbara nightlife. If you want to enjoy the best live music, then the city’s topmost venue is The Santa Barbara Bowl. You can find all kinds of concerts at this venue, with events taking place almost every weekend. There are some notable shows on the weekdays as well.
There have been some out-of-the-world performances by greats such as Bob Dylan and his band and Rob Stewart. Further, even classical music events by the London Symphony Orchestra have been hosted here. Check out their concert calendar and find out which event is scheduled while you are in the city. You won’t be disappointed by the shows put up by this venue.
Another top-notch live music venue in the city is Velvet Jones. Again, you will find a bouquet of artists performing here, and there will be a new concert every time you visit the place. Some outstanding past performers include Jade Jackson, BLUEFACE, Derek King, and many more. A variety of genres are presented, so you need to check out the calendar to schedule your ideal event. Going here will guarantee that you’ll have a fantastic time.
2. Best Gaming, Arcade & Bowling Alley
If you want to play some games, drink some beer or strike down those pins, then Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond is where you should be. It is an all-in-one Santa Barbara nightlife option where you can choose from 40 craft beers on the tap, play pool, play arcade games, and bowl a few games with your buddies. This is a perfect stop for the spring breakers. There is ‘glow-bowling,’ DJs, scrumptious food options, and a lot more.
If you are on a weekend trip, then this is the ultimate place to be. They even have happy hours from 3 pm to 6 pm every day. So you have found the best place to party once you have landed here.
Another unique nightlife venue is Surreal Virtual Reality Studios. They have two options, corded and free-roam VR sets. It is the ultimate VR gaming experience that you have to experience to believe. You can choose from a wide selection of games and also check out the list online.
They are only open during the weekends between 4 pm and 8 pm. It is not a traditional nightlife option, but it is perfect for a family outing because it is located on State Street, near to many popular restaurants. You can have a night of gaming and dinner with your loved ones!
3. Best Bars, Pubs & Lounges
The Red Piano is a unique gem of Santa Barbara. It has the widest selection of wine, whiskey, beer, martinis, cocktails, and more. If you prefer non-alcoholic beverages, you can try some of their mocktails too. With their own delicious beers on tap and live piano music, it has become one of the top nightlife venues in Santa Barbara. As there is no food menu, you can grab a bite at Joe’s Cafe nearby after having had the best drinks and live music night ever.
If you want a classic dinner and drinks night, then you should try the Uptown Lounge. They have a lovely selection of small plates, including pizzas, tacos, and hot dogs. Also, they have a small selection of beer, wine, draft beer, margaritas, and the likes. They even have happy hours from 3 pm to 7 pm, Monday to Friday, and from 12 pm to 4 pm on Saturdays. It is a cozy little place with a fun atmosphere, which you can enjoy with family and friends.
If you are a fan of locally brewed beers, then you should visit Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co, where you can taste beer samples and locally produced wines. It is jam-packed over the weekend, so you may have to be patient, but it will be worth it. They have indoor and outdoor seating to choose which you prefer, and enjoy some heavenly beers. You will get to enjoy some unique-tasting brews and afterwards, you can visit a nearby restaurant to grab a bite. It is a must-visit stop on your road trip to Santa Barbara.
4. Nightclubs in Santa Barbara
One of the most famous places is the Wildcat Lounge. It is a complete entertainment venue. There is a DJ and a dance floor with overflowing drinks and live music performances. The Wildcat Lounge has also hosted drag shows in the past and provides an excellent environment for everyone.
Another top venue is M8RX. It is open only from Wednesday to Sunday and experiences one of the highest footfalls on State Street. You can dance to the best light and sound system you will come across in Santa Barbara at M8RX.
5. Beachfront Cafes & Diners
One of the most attractive options for this beach city nightlife is its beachfront cafes. There are so many beachfront eateries that you will never run out of them.
Santa Barbara FisHouse is the most promising venue for a fantastic beach dinner. You can enjoy the patio dining and an extensive seafood, cocktails, and wine menu. It is open every day for all three meals; however, dinner is the most beautiful meal at this well-lit restaurant. It is a perfect destination for your family and friends, so make sure you add it to your Santa Barbara vacation itinerary.
Another place you simply must try is the Shoreline Cafe. If you love Mexican cuisine, then this is the place for you. They even have great seafood options, salads, burgers, and a lot more to try. You can be a part of their happy hours from 4 pm to 6 pm, Monday to Friday. They have specialty cocktails, house wine, select wines, and bottled beers on their menu.
Wrapping Up Santa Barbara Nightlife Attractions
Nightlife in Santa Barbara is a mix of everything you could want. It has so much to offer for all kinds of travelers that everyone can have an excellent time visiting this city. This is one of the reasons why SB is one of the top California road trip destinations.
You will find everything from delicious seafood to Spanish heritage, from bowling alleys to Virtual Reality gaming zones, and from beachfront cafes to busy nightclubs. So don’t wait even a second before planning your trip to Santa Barbara because you are guaranteed a fun nightlife experience any time of the year.
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