Santa Barbara, California, United States
Loreto Plaza, with its peachy-hued Spanish tower, has some great treats! Via Maestra 42 is my favorite. It's an authentic Italian Restaurant. They fly their gelato in from Italy. That's why it's sooooo good! I love the passionfruit, mango, hazelnut, and chocolate flavors, but there are many more to choose from. You can also have fresh sandwiches or pasta here (the Ravioli Spinaci is incredible). Eat outside at the tables or take your gelato to go. You can walk around the corner, past Chaucer's books, and sit by the Spanish fountain. From there you have a beautiful view of the Santa Ynez mountains and the tall palms.
After you've enjoyed your gelato, head over to Chaucer's books, a small independent bookstore. You will find some great books about old Santa Barbara in there and other books you don't get from the big publishers. Their kids section is tucked away from the main store and though small, it has some good books and toys. This happens to be the only bookstore in Santa Barbara right now.
Another European treat in Loreto Plaza is a pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) at Renaud's Patisserie. Sit outside at their tables by the fountain and enjoy the lovely atmosphere. On a rainy day, I like to sit by the window and look out at the fountain.
If you need a place for your kids to let off steam, cross Las Positas St and check out MacKenzie Park: a playground for kids, a field for Fido and a parking lot for skateboarding teenagers! Everyone can be happy at the same time!
For a nice hiking park and toddler playground nearby, head over to Steven's Park, a neighborhood park tucked into a canyon. From here you can take a nice trail that connects after a mile with the Jesusita Trail.
Pretend you're in Europe at Via Maestro 42.
Pain au chocolat and tea, outside at Renaud's.
View of high mountains, cute tower, and red-tiled rooftops.
Sitting outside at Renaud's Patisserie.
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From Highway 101, take the Las Positas Rd exit. Head towards the mountains. You will pass the Santa Barbara Golf Course on your left and some beautiful views of the mountains. Turn left into Loreto Plaza, before you get to State St. Park in the large parking lot. Via Maestra is around the corner (west) from the main stores.
Via Maestra 42, 3343 State St, Santa Barbara CA 93105, call (805) 569-6522.
Chaucer's Books, 3321 State St, call (805) 682-6787.
Renaud's Patisserie, 3315 State St, call (805) 569-2400.
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