Over the last three months, our community, alongside the rest of the world, has lived through the worst pandemic in modern history. On the other side of this pandemic, Santa Barbara will be changed. We hope for the better.

One thing that will remain the same is the Independent’s support for local businesses and organizations. Their support is a major reason we are able to provide the quality journalism essential for a strong, vibrant community. One way we have shown our support, in print and online, has been through the Best of Santa Barbara® Readers’ Poll. Readers nominate and vote for businesses they love, and businesses celebrate being voted the best by Independent readers.

But how should we show that support in 2020?  We have given it a lot of thought and decided the best way is to once again ask you, our readers, what you think is the Best of Santa Barbara®.


Everyone’s buzzin’ about the Best of Santa Barbara® 2020 Readers’ Poll!
Tell us who you think is the sweetest of them all and should be crowned Queen Bee.


Here’s how it works:

Nomination Period: From June 25 – July 15, you will determine who deserves to be a nominee for each category by nominating your favorites below. Please nominate in at least 20 different categories! Once the nomination period is over, we will create the voting ballot directly based on your responses. The number of final nominees in each category will vary based on the number of votes received in that category. Only businesses that were open through February 2020 are eligible to be on the final ballot.

Voting Period: Voting will be open from August 6 – September 2, when you can vote for your favorite nominees in each category online at independent.com/bestof2020. Each voter is required to vote in at least 20 categories for their votes to be counted. Voters can only vote in each category once.

Results: Once the voting period is over we will tally up the winners and publish them in our annual Best Of Santa Barbara® issue hitting stands October 15.
Please note, all nominations and voting will be done exclusively online. There will be no paper ballots.
Don’t see a category that fits your favorite Santa Barbara spot? Let us know!

Tips for a successful voting ballot:
1. For each category you would like to vote for, select who you think is the best from the list of nominees.
2. Click the “vote” button to the right.
3. Your votes will register as you go through the ballot. There is not a final “submit” button. Don’t worry! As long as you are clicking the “vote” button after each vote, we are getting your votes!
4. You need to vote in at least 20 categories for your votes to count.
5. You can only vote once per category.
6. You are able to vote and change your votes up until September 2, 2020 at 11:59pm PST
FAQ For Santa Barbara Businesses