Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide 2019
Our Annual Rundown of Where and What to Buy This Holiday Season
By Leslie Dinaberg | Published December 5, 2019
No doubt, ’tis the season for shopping for loved ones, but it’s also the season for so much more. So rather than browsing and carousing ’til you’re ready to drop, why not visit some of our favorite shopping hubs and cover more ground in less time?
Here’s our shortlist of top-notch local holiday shopping faves.
Low-key, local-centric, less-crowded Uptown Santa Barbara is home to many mom-and-pop shops and longtime favorites.
La Cumbre Plaza
121 S. Hope Ave.; shoplacumbre.com
One of the most clever gift-giving secrets in town is A Crimson Holiday ( 570-1987; acrimsonholiday.com). This artisan gift gallery showcases more than 50 Santa Barbara area artists and is a great place to pick up locally made gift items like Menchaca Chocolates ( 369-7277; menchacachocolates.com), Doglicious Goodies for your pet, and therapeutic Hot Cherry Pillows ( 651-1651; hotcherrypillows.com).
This mall is also home to big brands like Macy’s department store ( 687-6411; macys.com), Tiffany & Co. jewelry ( 687-4581; tiffany.com), and GameStop ( 682-9658; gamestop.com) video games.
3329 State St.
You’ll find something for everyone on your list at Chaucer’s Books (3321 State St.;  682-6787; chaucersbooks.com), a thriving literary force in town since 1974. Outdoor lovers will enjoy John Gherini’s beautifully photographed Santa Cruz Island: An Illustrated History, or why not pair U.S Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s She Had Some Horses with tickets to her February 5 appearance at UCSB Arts & Lectures (110 Castilian Dr., Ste. 100;  893-3535; artsandlectures.ucsb.edu).
CircaTerra Travel Outfitters (3317-A State St.;  568-5402; circaterratravel.com) has a nice assortment of Briggs & Riley, Eagle Creek, and Lipault lightweight carry-on backpacks and bags to carry you away, and a Mia Lotus massage at Estetica Mia (3311 State St.;  770-2117; esteticamia.com) is just the ticket to a relaxing daycation for the person who’s always taking care of everyone else.
Distinctive architecture, unique shopping, and great people-watching are the hallmarks of a downtown excursion. Look for pretty decorations, bell-ringing Santas, and carolers dotting the streets during the holiday season.
651 Paseo Nuevo; paseonuevoshopping.com
After 13 beloved years in Isla Vista, locally owned Miss Behavin’ ( 968-2840; missbehavinonline.com) has moved its always stylish but still affordable women’s fashion boutique downtown. Family-run Te Amo Jewelers ( 845-7558; teamojewelers.com) is a great spot to find high-quality jewelry and timepieces, or work with them to design — or redesign — something uniquely your own.
And a holiday tradition since 1968, The Yes Store (theyesstore.com) is connecting gift-givers with the usual lineup of artists and craftspeople selling their handmade jewelry, blown glass, photography, ceramics, leather, and so much more.
2 Gutierrez St.; sevillasquare.com
This quaint shopping area is home to some terrific local brands, including Riviera Towel Company (17 W. Gutierrez St.;  560-1571; rivieratowel.com), whose Turkish towels and textiles donate a portion of the proceeds to ocean-friendly nonprofits.
Folio Press & Paperie (301 Motor Wy.;  966-1010; foliopressandpaperie.com), with letterpress stationery and a nice selection of gifts.
Chapala & Parker (350 Chapala St.;  962-1115; chapalaandparker.com) women’s fashion and accessories; and Haywards (7 Parker Wy.;  966-1390; haywards1890.com), which has provided high-quality home furnishings to Santa Barbara since 1890.
1324 State St.; arlingtonplazasb.com
Across the street from the historic Arlington Theatre are 10 charming, locally owned stores and restaurants worth a visit. DIANI Living ( 770-7043; dianiliving.com) is the embodiment of casual, chic S.B. style, and you’ll find unique garden accessories, barware, and gifts galore. There are also two other DIANI boutiques (dianiboutique.com) for shoes and clothing.
Acclaimed landscape painter Richard Schloss and his wife Julie Schloss’s
Santa Barbara Fine Art ( 845-4270; santabarbarafineart.com) gallery showcases works from local artists, including many members of the renowned Oak Group.
La Arcada Plaza
1114 State St.; laarcadasantabarbara.com
This charming section of State Street is a lovely spot to stroll and enjoy the art-lined square and its 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival–style architecture. You’ll find educational toys and whimsical gifts at Peanuts Maternity & Kids (9 E. Figueroa St.;  618-1640; peanutvine.com), while adults will love the selection of luxury gifts and tableware at Coast 2 Coast Collection ( 845-7888; coast2coastcollection.com).
There’s always something new at Santa Barbara Arts (884-1938; sbarts.net), which features beautifully crafted gifts by 50 local artists.
Between Carrillo, State, Ortega, and Garden streets; presidioneighborhoodsb.com
The Presidio Neighborhood, which includes the historic El Paseo (10 El Paseo;  962-6050; elpaseosb.com), is a vibrant few blocks centered around the historical site of the last of the Spanish fortresses (presidios) to be built in California.
Shop for handmade, one-of-a-kind leather goods at Make Smith Leather (135 E. De la Guerra St.;  699-6296; makesmith.com); beautiful clothes and handmade jewelry at Lovebird (7 E. De la Guerra St.;  568-3800; lovebirdsb.com); and unique gifts and books at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum Shop (136 E. De la Guerra St.;  966-1601; sbhistorical.org/store).
This area is also home to eight local wine tasting rooms — Au Bon Climat (813 Anacapa St.;  963-7999; aubonclimat.com), Barden (32 El Paseo;  845-8777; bardenwines.com), Cebada (813 Anacapa St., Ste. 6;  451-2570; forbiddenfruitorchards.com/cebada-wine), Frequency (831 Santa Barbara St.;  770-3069; frequencywines.com), Grassini (24 El Paseo;  897-3366; grassinifamilyvineyards.com), Happy Canyon (30 El Paseo;  203-0749; happycanyonvineyard.com), Jamie Slone (23 E. De la Guerra St.;  560-6555; jamieslonewines.com), and Silver (813 Anacapa St., #31;  770-8121; silverwines.com) — all of which offer wine club memberships, an ideal gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.
Waterfront activities in Santa Barbara are endless, and that includes recreation, restaurants, and shopping!
217 Stearns Wharf; stearnswharf.org
Family owned since 1976, Nature’s Own Gallery ( 965-4040; stearnswharf.org/natures-own) has a terrific selection of shells and loads of aquatic-themed ornaments, candles, and gifts focused on natural products. The toys, including talking parrots and bubble machines, at Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ( 962-0715; stearnswharf.org/deep-blue-sea) are perfect gifts of whimsy for the young and the young at heart.
Santa Barbara Harbor
132-A Harbor Wy.; visitsbharbor.com
The gift of a membership from Channel Islands Outfitters ( 899-4925; channelislandso.com) at the Harbor is a great way to provide hours of paddling fun for the whole family.
West Marine ( 564-1334; westmarine.com) has clothing and gear to suit Santa Barbara’s outdoor lifestyle, and Brophy’s Mercantile ( 962-0805) has a good selection of traditional Hawaiian shirts.
Lower State Street
Cabrillo Boulevard to 200 block of State Street
The end of State Street has become a retail hub with new merchants at the Hotel Californian (36 State St.;  882-0100; hotelcalifornian.com), including Isla (hotelcalifornian.com/isla) men’s and women’s clothing that caters to the resort lifestyle.
Also in the area, the new Santa Barbara Visitor Center (120 State St.;  869-2632) store has local items, including Chef Robin Goldstein’s A Taste of Santa Barbara cookbook, insulated water bottles with maps of the town, and Santa Barbara–scented candles and soaps.
Find colorful, hand-printed textiles at Raoul (136 State St.;  899-4947; raoultextiles.com) and popular logo-wear tees and hoodies, wetsuits and more at Surf N’ Wear Beachhouse (10 State St.;  963-1281; surfnwearbeachhouse.com), the exclusive retailer for Yater Surfboards.
Some of the town’s most unique stores can be found in Montecito, where both luxury and casual, effortless chic are consistently on display.
Montecito Country Mart
1016 Coast Village Rd.; montecitocountrymart.com
This high-end yet down-to-earth center is full of such boutique shops as Mate Gallery ( 895-MATE; mategallery.com), which sells sailing-centric gifts and curios; George ( 565-4777; georgesf.com), for pet essentials.
Poppy Marche ( 845-4026; poppystores.com), for children’s clothes; and James Perse ( 969-0300; jamesperse.com), which is fashion for men and women.
Toy Crazy ( 565-7696; gotoycrazy.com), for the kids and the young at heart; Kendall Conrad ( 886-8344; kendallconraddesign.com), for purses and accessories; Hudson Grace ( 565-9600; hudsongracesf.com), for home decor.
San Ysidro Road is also a great place for shopping. The charming William Laman Furniture Garden Antiques (1496 E. Valley Rd.;  969-2840; williamlaman.com) has an ever-changing mix of unique objects you’ll swoon over. Imagine Artful Things ( 695-0220; imagineartfulthings.com) is a beautiful gem of a store where you’re sure to find distinctive gifts for the home as well as everyone on your list (including yourself).
Also notable is Upstairs at Pierre Lafond (516 San Ysidro Rd.;  565-1503; shopupstairs.com), with everything from home decor to tabletop pieces and gorgeous local artwork; and Tecolote Book Shop ( 969-4977; tecolotebookshop.com), with a nice selection of books by locals and best-sellers.
Coast Village Road
Charm meets sophistication in the shops on Coast Village Road, which include exquisite, travel-inspired finds at Maison K ( 969-1676; maisonkstyle.com).
Custom-designed jewelry creations at Silverhorn Design Studio ( 969-0442; silverhorn.com); the new Heather James Fine Art Gallery ( 845-5001; heatherjames.com).
Wendy Foster’s luxe women’s boutique Angel ( 565-1599; wendyfoster.com/angelmontecito).
The retail scene in Goleta is a healthy mix of national chains and hometown mom-and-pops. Check out Old Town to shop from the family-run Santa Barbara Gift Baskets (230 Magnolia Ave.;  952-9002; santabarbaragiftbaskets.com) and Bicycle Bob’s (320 S. Kellogg Ave.;  682-4699; bicyclebobs-sb.com).
Also worth a visit is Deckers Brand Showcase (6601 Hollister Ave.;  728-1640; deckers.com) at the company’s headquarters, where they stock shoes from UGG, Koolaburra, Hoka One One, Teva, and Sanuk.
Camino Real Marketplace
7004 Marketplace Dr., Goleta; caminorealmarketplace.com
Camino Real Marketplace has something for everyone, with big retailers like Best Buy, ULTA, Pier 1, and Tilly’s on hand.
You also can’t go wrong with a one-size-fits-all movie gift card for Metropolitan Theaters (metrotheatres.com) and another for one of the many eateries — Mesa Burger, Jane, On the Alley, Los Agaves, Anna’s Bakery, or Natural Café, among others — in the center.
Santa Ynez Valley
Chain stores are virtually nonexistent in the more than 200 independent and family-owned boutiques in the Santa Ynez Valley.
A treasure trove of plants, succulents, garden art, and home accessories, J. Woeste (2356 Alamo Pintado Ave.;  693-1951; jwoeste.com) is an enjoyable, eclectic, indoor-outdoor shop housed in a 114-year old farmhouse.
R&D Los Olivos (2446 Alamo Pintado Ave.;  999-7752; randdlosolivos.com) has a lovely collection of artisan jewelry, art and gifts.
Jedlicka’s Saddlery (2883 Grand Ave.;  688-2626; jedlickas.com) has an outpost full of authentic western wear and equestrian apparel.
Time Magazine’s “Most Christmassy Town in America” has more than 150 one-of-a-kind shops. The Family Coats of Arms (473 Atterdag Rd.;  688-7660; familycoatsofarms.com) specializes in researching family name histories and creating heirlooms such as hand-sewn flags and hand-painted shields.
Kitch is king at Sort This Out Cellars (1636 Copenhagen Dr.;  688-1717; sortthisoutcellars.com), a creative collection of Bettie Page–inspired wines and collectibles, as well as tiki treasures and other fun gifty goods.
No holiday trip to Solvang is complete without a visit to The Jule Hus (1580 Mission Dr.;  688-6601), a year-round Christmas wonderland of blown-glass ornaments, Scandinavian crafts, wooden nutcrackers, nativities, and more.
Top it off with æbelskivers from Solvang Restaurant (1672 Copenhagen Dr.;  688-4645; solvangrestaurant.com) and a box of cinnamon pastries from Mortensen’s Danish Bakery (1588 Mission Dr.;  688-8373; mortensensbakery.com), and take the holiday spirit home for dessert!