Best of Santa Barbara® 2014

The Santa Barbara Independent’s Annual Readers’ Poll

Who doesn’t want to know what might be best for them? Unless it’s our parents talking, we often crave advice in life. Always, we are plagued with tough decisions: less filling or more flavor? Boxers or tighty-whities? It’s tough out here. Fortunately, The Santa Barbara Independent can supply clear instances of the best things in 168 aspects of the Santa Barbara experience.

How, you ask? We reached our sure-footed knowledge with a complex and pseudo-scientific method of polling our readers, who, in long ballot formats, snail mailed or electronically transmitted us their carefully considered opinions of such weighty matters as best beach and chiropractor. Some of the reader favorites, such as White’s Pet Hospital, have been in business for almost a century; while others, like The Lark, ride on a crest of newly discovered fame.

Our part in the plot to make your life worry-free is to publish these glowingly endorsed businesses, services, and, well, beaches. And put them up for you to clearly see, radiant with the best light of truth we can manage.

Eating - Burritos, clam chowder, pizza, veggie burgers—whatever your desire, see what Indy readers think is the best of the best.

Drinking - Find the best places to sip your favorite liquid — whether it’s coffee, cocktails, juices, or beers — according to readers.

Out & About - If you feel like getting out of the house, there are lots of things to do. From music, dance, and theater to bowling and billiards, entertainment and fun are alive and well in Santa Barbara.

Living Well - S.B.’s natural beauty is one of the best things about the town, but there also happen to be myriad ways to indulge in nonwork indulgences.

Looking Good - Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself.

Romance - Whether it’s a wedding you’re planning or a first date, there are endless ways and places to celebrate the start of a new life.

Sporting Life - It’s an active group that makes up Santa Barbarans. Fortunately, there is plenty to do, whatever your preference.

Little Creatures - They are cuddly, cute, and Santa Barbara is chock-full of them (children and animals, that is).

Housing - From buying a home to decorating your living quarters to gardening, this section has our readers’ picks of the best places to help you with your indoors and outdoors.

Driving - Whether it’s a two-, three-, or four-wheeler, it’s important to keep your mode of transportation running.

Media - Look here to find out the Who, What, When, Where, and Why — well, at least the Who and Where — Santa Barbarans turn first to get the latest news and entertainment.

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Santa Maria farm recalls romaine and additional produce.