Pro Tip: Santa Barbara on a Budget

If your idea of Santa Barbara is limited to downtown, it’s time to expand your horizons. In fact, Santa Barbara is so much more — it’s wine country, it’s sandy beaches, it’s exciting new restaurants and cafes, and of course, it’s charming hotels designed for a weekend getaway.  And if you want to stay in town or just south, in upscale Montecito, you’re going to deplete your budget pretty quickly. Most of the accommodations you’ll find outside town are national chain motels. But, then there’s the Goodland. 

Just north on the 101 is the bedroom community of Goleta. Many of the people who work in Santa Barbara live in Goleta, which is a more affordable option and only minutes away. The Goodland is a Kimpton property, which means it’s been artfully designed to be distinctive and to incorporate the local culture. In fact, Condé Nast Traveler named this off-the-beaten-path stay the number-three hotel in Southern California just two years back.

Goodland Records
Borrow a record and play it on your in-room phonograph. (Courtesy photograph)

Importantly, the boutique hotel is dog-friendly, so bring your pooch along for the trip. The style here is “surfer-chic” and accentuates the California lifestyle with its décor, garden landscape, and retro vibe. To that end, every room features a record player and there’s even a micro-sized record shop on-site called VNYL, where you can borrow and buy albums. 

The Outpost is an on-site restaurant, which naturally features light California coastal cuisine in a stylish indoor/outdoor setting, including fire pits and wicker furniture. It’s modern casual dining at its finest. Exec Chef Damien Giliberti sources locally, seasonably and sustainably to create great dishes like pork belly bao buns ($14) with pickled cucumber, jalapeno and a jalapeno mayo, sesame seed, cilantro and hoisin sauce; and mussels ($18) in coconut broth, with red curry and braised leeks, served with grilled bread. 

Goodland Outpost
Pork-belly bao buns at Outpost. (Courtesy photo)

The most popular dish on the menu is the roasted Sea Bass lettuce wraps ($17) with crispy shallots, greens, herbs, and Vietnamese dipping sauce. And for dessert, fried carrot cake ($9) in a burnt orange sauce with white chocolate cream cheese, topped with a generous scoop of (local-favorite) McConnell’s sea salt-flavored ice cream.

Fall is a lovely time to visit Santa Barbara, and with Goleta as your headquarters, you’ll have a shorter drive into the wine countries of the Santa Ynez Valley and the Santa Rita Hills. Another reason to stay in Goleta — no stumble-drunk college students or bothersome transients to deal with. 

Want one more reason? There’s an In-N-Out Burger on Calle Real, just off the Turnpike exit, and a stone’s throw away from the Goodland. So, that’s lunch.


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