Exploring Santa Barbara’s Red Tile Walking Tour

The Roaming Boomers® have absolutely fallen in love with Santa Barbara, California.

Santa Barbara is considered by many to be the American Riviera as it shares the same dramatic mountains, sparkling seas, lush gardens, white-washed buildings, red-tile roofs and abundant sunshine of its French and Italian counterparts.

Santa Barbara is also well-known for its farm-to-table cuisine, boutique wineries, beaches, surf culture, hiking and biking trails, marine life, art galleries, gardens and estates, festivals and luxury resorts.

One of the best ways to explore the city of Santa Barbara is on foot as you follow along the Red Tile Walking Tour.

Encompassing 12 small, easily navigated blocks, the tour includes 17 stops and 22 historic adobes dating from the late 1700s through the 1800s, plus many of the structures built in the Spanish-revival and Moorish styles mandated by community leaders after the devastating earthquake of 1925.

…you will want to allow significantly more time to gawk, shoot photographs, climb the courthouse tower (pictured above), have lunch, taste some wine, visit an art gallery, and make goo-goo eyes with your lover under a shade tree.

Ambling along you will also discover flower-bedecked courtyards, hidden passageways, and notable restaurants, theaters, museums, and architecturally significant government buildings. The terrain is flat, the distances between stops are short, and because everything is either on State Street or just off it, a revivifying snack or an iced mocha is never far away.

The route is easily covered in 60 minutes, but, like us, you will want to allow significantly more time to gawk, shoot photographs, climb the courthouse tower (pictured above), have lunch, taste some wine, visit an art gallery, and make goo-goo eyes with your lover under a shade tree.

Here is a little photographic slide show we whipped up to share our experience with you…

13 Responses to “Exploring Santa Barbara’s Red Tile Walking Tour”
  1. glenda says:

    Perfect timing! My DH and I will be traveling to this area in 5 days! Delighted to have the information and your ideas.

  2. 60 minutes. Ok we can do that. Sounds like fun!

    Nancy & Shawn

  3. Lara says:

    Love Santa Barbara! Such an exciting town with so much to do, it is so hard to get bored. I was just there on a weekend getaway with my husband and we had a great time down at the beach and downtown as well. We stayed at the South Coast Inn (www.santa-barbara-hotel.com). So elegant, and the perfect place to escape all of the city noise!

    • David Porter says:


      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your love of Santa Barbara. We haven’t had time for much beach stuff in Santa Barbara. Perhaps on our next visit. Cool

  4. Jennifer Greene says:

    I love Santa Barbara! If you are an outdoor type, definitely check out the Seven Falls hike by the Mission…natural waterslides and lush greenery…it’s amazing. Also, there’s tons of great restaurants on State Street…if you’re in the mood for a romantic steak dinner, check out Holdren’s. If you want some authentic Mexican, go to La Super Rica Taqueria (not on State, but downtown) – it’s Julia Child’s and Oprah’s favorite! Also, Lara, the South Coast Inn is really nice. Although sometimes I prefer to be closer to the downtown area. If you want another quaint hotel to check out that will allow you to escape the buzz of downtown (while still being in the heart of the district), check out The Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com). Both the Sandman and the South Coast are great properties…just depends the area you are looking for. Whatever you do, DO NOT get caught spending major $$$ on some of the pricey luxe hotels…they can be over $500 a night! Not for the budget-friendly traveler.

    • David Porter says:


      Thanks for stopping by and sharing some Santa Barbara tips! We’re not in complete agreement with you on your comment about the luxe hotels in the area. We’ve stayed at two of them now and the memories found at both were definitely in the lifetime memory category. Certainly luxe hotels are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we LOVE ‘em.

      On the other hand, there is also a time and place for budget travel as well.

      Again, thanks for stopping by. We really appreciate your enthusiasm for Santa Barbara, and concur that Santa Barbara is a magical place.

      When we get back to the area, we hope to get out and do some of your recommended hiking.


  5. Jasmine says:

    Love Santa Barbara. I’ve never done the walking tour though, which I’ve always wanted to do. I travel to SB all the time and each time is so much fun. Always looking for nice and affordable hotels and I have recently found my favorite! The South Coast Inn (www.santa-barbara-hotel.com). So elegant and the perfect place to call home while on vacation!

  6. Careena says:

    The Red Tile Walking Tour is a great way to get associated with Santa Barbara if you are a first time traveler. It is a beautiful city and there is a lot to see. So much history, there is a lot to offer the tourist. I’ve done the tour and it was very informative and the tour guides are super friendly and just knowledgeable (literally ask them anything!) Loved that we toured just about everything I wanted to see and it was super close to my hotel; the Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com). Great for short stays and beyond affordable.

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