Santa Barbara: The American Riviera

With oceanfront views, cinematic festivals and fine wine, Santa Barbara has been called the "American Riviera" -- with a twist. The coastal city also comes with a down-home style all its own.

Photo By: Jay Sinclair

Photo By: Carr Vineyards & Winery

Photo By: Jay Sinclair

Photo By: Katie Clemons

Photo By: Maritime Museum

Photo By: Jay Sinclair

Photo By: Jay Sinclair

Photo By: Lotusland

Photo By: Jay Sinclair

Photo By: Reagan Ranch Center

Photo By: Jay Sinclair

Photo By: Jay Sinclair

Photo By: Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Wanna get married? The historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse is a prime spot for weddings. Completed in 1929, the Spanish Colonial Revival style building includes spacious lawns and gardens.

Inside this 1940s Quonset hut, the magic of winemaking comes alive: A variety of premium wines (syrah, pinot noir, pinot gris and more) are produced here, at Carr Vineyards & Winery.

Take a leisurely bike ride along the waterfront. The Cabrillo Bikeway stretches 3 miles along Santa Barbara Beach.

Within its 30 acres, the Santa Barbara Zoo is home to 600 animals, including endangered species such as snow leopards, Black-footed cats and these cute little otters.

Ship ahoy! With the Santa Barbara harbor as its backdrop, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum explores the maritime history of the Central Coast.

Welcome to the "American Riviera." Santa Barbara's weather is often described as Mediterranean, which helps explain the dazzling coastline view.

The city's distinctive architecture of red tile roofs sets the stage for downtown Santa Barbara. Here, a view of State Street, home to eclectic shops, hotels and outdoor restaurants.

Meet Lotusland, an estate just minutes from Santa Barbara. Its colorful gardens rival the equally colorful life of the estate's founder, Madame Walska (opera singer, 6-time divorcee, how's that for color?)

Clint Eastwood was here. The city's Arlington Theater is home to the annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which attracts big names like Clint.

Calling all poli-sci majors: Ronald Reagan's Santa Barbara ranch put the city on the political map. Today, the Reagan Ranch Center has a gallery room with an interactive timeline of the Gipper's days.

It's called the 'Queen of All Missions.' In 1786, Spanish Franciscans founded the Santa Barbara Mission. Today, it's still an active church. And with sprawling lawns, a great place to play Frisbee.

Stroll along Stearns Wharf, California's oldest working wharf. In between wine tasting, fine restaurant and fish market detours, check out Ty Warner Sea Center to see some friendly leopard sharks!

World-class art lives here. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art showcases a breathtaking collection of artistic treasures: Asian, American, European and more.

Rent a car, grab a camera and head east -- over the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge -- for a scenic drive into Santa Barbara wine country.

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