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>> Visit Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and find out more about the heritage of the Chumash people, or admire the maritime exhibits, including sailing and yachting displays, as well as ship models.
>> Admire the botanical garden offered by Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, a beautiful landscape that contains various species of trees and flowers.
>> Go shopping in the area of Stearns Wharf, situated down on State Street, considered to be the longest deep-water pier between San Francisco and Los Angeles, featuring numerous restaurants and shops.
>> See the Carriage and Western Art Museum, offering displays of carriages, saddles and other equipment-items that were used by the families in Santa Barbara in the past.
>> Taste a bit of the local history and get information about the native wildlife at the Museum of Natural History, offering exhibits that present reptiles, mammals, fish, birds and the geology of the Channel Islands and the Pacific Coast.
The Semana Nautica Santa Barbara is a traditional summer sports festival that supports the recreational and athletic activities, including water polo, swimming, softball, volleyball and many other outdoor activities.
There is also a beach biathlon, a 15 km race, cycling, sailing, lawn bowling, hokey, gymnastics and tennis. People of all ages are participating at the event and the spectators are always welcomed, the admission being free. It is considered to be the longest running festival in the United States.
The Santa Barbara Triathlon is an annual fundraising event, consisting in numerous athletic activities, including a 1-mile swim, a 34-mile bike race and a 10-mile run.
The Triathlon is divided into 3 popular events: the Long Course, the Women Only Sprint and the Co-Ed Sprint. Female participants are welcomed to try their athletic skills at the 500-yard swim, the 6-mile bike and the 2-mile run.
In 2009, the Triathlon offered their profits to the Cancer Well-Fit Program at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, giving cancer survivors hope and making them believe in the possibility of recovery.
In February, the Santa Barbara Film Festival is taking place, an annul event that offers visitors a showcase of independent movies, the event also consisting in a gala, many film-related activities and famous movie star appearances.
The Big Dog and Canine Festival is dedicated to benefit the Big Dog Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers stray dogs the chance of a better life. Dog lovers and thousands of families from all over the States travel to Santa Barbara in order to compete at the largest dog parade in the country.
Dogs are dressed in hilarious costumes, such as ballerinas, clowns, devils, kings and cowboys, trying to be in their best behavior, to finish the contest on the 1st place and gain the highest honor, becoming the Best in Parade.
An annual event, that visitors should not miss, would be the Santa Barbara French Festival, taking place in July, featuring free entertainment, food, wine, folk dancing, Cajun groups, wondering mimes and plenty other fun and interesting family activities.
Santa Barbara's nightlife scene consists in various pubs, dance clubs and bars, spread across the city, and especially in the downtown area. A few of the most popular nightspots in Santa Barbara are listed below. Check it out!
The Blue Agave (Cota Street) is considered to be one of the most popular bars in Santa Barbara, offering a wide range of beverages and serving delicious Southwestern and Mediterranean dishes.
Open until late in the night, Q's Sushi a Go Go bar (State Street) is often crowded with locals who come here for the great sushi bar, to play pool or to dance until the sun comes up.
The Wildcat Lounge (Ortega Street) is also a good option for a fun night out in Santa Barbara, consisting in 3 bars (a main bar, a patio bar and a smaller bar) so that the drinks can be accessible and everybody gets what they ordered. The dance floor is surrounded by great lighting effects and the music ranges from old-school to hip-hop, rock and house.
For those who are looking for a more "quiet" place to spend the night out in Santa Barbara, James Joyce pub (State Street) seems to fit their needs.
It's a great place to socialize and have a drink, listen to live music provided by occasional bands that play here, or just hang out with your friends and start a conversation.
There are also pool tables, dart boards and plenty of beer options, and if you get hungry, there is also a great menu, offering regularly pub fares.
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