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Paseo Nuevo Mall

Santa Barbara, California, United States

Description

Paseo Nuevo is not just a shopping center. It's an architectural delight! All about you, above and behind you, there are gorgeous lines and curves, shadows and light, white and pink stucco, ivy-covered walls, yellow umbrellas, flower pots decorated with zigzags...it's gorgeous!
Walk around and check out the fountains and flowers everywhere. There are some good stores: kids enjoy Gamestop, women love H&M Clothing, Victoria Secret, American Eagle, Gap and Kids' Gap. There's a Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt across State St and a good movie theater, Paseo Nuevo Cinemas, with grand stairs leading up from the entrance.
Little kids like running around the center area. A square-shaped area provides a safe place where kids can run around the chairs and tables. This area is attractive, with pink Spanish architecture towering above you.
Kids also like the whirly lines on the ground by the movie theater that they can trace with their steps.
Around the corner, by California Pizza Kitchen are pretty Spanish stairs that you've probably seen from travel photos of Santa Barbara. Climb them to the top where you will have a view down on the square seating area. Here, you can escape the crowds below and look out on the Spanish architecture with the Santa Ynez mountains behind. Center Stage Theater Company and the Contemporary Arts Forum are up here. There are benches where you can relax in the sun.
At Christmastime, Paseo Nuevo is decorated everywhere with tiny lights. The palm trees have white lights on their trunks and orange lights in their fronds. It's magical!
If you're hungry, enjoy California Pizza Kitchen, delicious but overpriced. Colorful and fun, it has huge arched windows looking out on Paseo Nuevo. They have satellite radio playing with all the top hits, and they treat kids well, giving them a kids menu, a packet of crayons, and a coloring book with mazes and puzzles. The discounted kids brownie at the end is so yummy you all might just have a bite!
If you're carefree and kid-free, head over to Elsie's, a secret dive bar where a DJ spins groovy triphop numbers that add to the funky ambience. Snuggle up on one of the velvet couches. Elsie's is located at 117 W. De La Guerra Street just west of Paseo Nuevo, between Chapala and De La Vina Streets, in what looks like a little house. There's no sign but just walk on in.
If you're looking for a quiet place to have a cup of tea, head to the cafe at the top of Nordstroms. There, on the balcony outside, you will be high above the plaza. Choose a table on the patio all the way at the end (to your right as you walk out the glass doors), because the views of the mountains are amazing from there. It's peaceful and restful and there's a nice breeze. The salads, sandwichs, and soups are all good here, though a little expensive.
There's a new development across Chapala Street from Paseo Nuevo called Paseo Chapala, where you can look up at Spanish architecture and blue skies while eating at Silvergreens Cafe. 1 1/2 blocks away on Canon Perdido St, check out the Susan Quinland Doll & Teddy Bear Museum, which has modern dolls too, like ones from the Twilight series!
For more interesting places nearby, check out the entry on State Street, and the other Spanish paseos on State Street: El Paseo at the 800 block, and La Arcada at the 1100 block. Don't miss out on these! They are wonderful, and pretty at night too.

Photo Gallery


The mall area, with shops, flowers, statues, and palms.

My favorite area at the top of the Spanish stairs.

At the top of the Spanish stairs.

I love Spanish red-tiled roofs!

Sidewalk cafe in Paseo Nuevo.

The beautiful details at Paseo Nuevo Mall.

Paseo Nuevo at night, around Christmastime.

I love the way the palms are lit at Christmastime- white lights on the trunk, orange lights in the fronds. Magical!

Outside Nordstroms in the evening- what a pretty belltower!

The large windows looking out on ivy at PizzaRev.

It's romantic to sit at your own upper balcony at Hoffman Brat Haus.

Sweet star lights near Macy's.

String lights by the shops.

The square seating area where kids can run around.

Lights strung across the walkway.

Fountain at Paseo Nuevo outdoor mall.

A nice public space at Paseo Nuevo.

Sitting in the shade at the public space.
   

Directions

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Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center spans from Canon Perdido to Ortega Street, between Chapala Street and State Street (2 entire blocks).
Exit Highway 101 at Carrillo St. If northbound, turn right at the exit. If southbound, turn left at the exit. Turn right on Chapala Street. There will be two parking lot entrances on the left after you drive one block down Chapala Street. Parking is $1.50 an hour and the first 75 minutes are free- Santa Barbara is the best!
Cafe Nordstrom, 17 West Canon Perdido Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, call (805) 564-8770.
California Pizza Kitchen, call (805) 962-4648.
Elsie's Bar, 117 W. De La Guerra Street, call (805) 963-4503.
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