If you treat the winter blahs with weekend jaunts to Palm Springs and Ojai, add Santa Barbara to your list.
Situated between the cactus-strewn foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the glimmering Pacific, the easy-on-the-eyes destination has long served as a nearby, Mediterranean-inspired escape thanks to its tiled courtyards, year-round al fresco dining, and gloriously balmy climate. Now, an upwelling of stylish new restaurants, shops, and hotels are perking up the forgotten getaway and lending it a welcome, modern refresh.
Waterline is one of many gathering spots housed in the converted warehouses of Santa Barbara's Funk Zone.
(Courtesy of Blake Bronstad)
Much of Santa Barbara's recent revitalization is centered around the Funk Zone, a former industrial and seafood-processing district whose transformed warehouses now house buzzy new bars, shops, and eateries. At Waterline, a young crowd packs the airy space each night for IPAs at Topa Topa Brewery, flights of local wine at Fox Wine Co., and a marketplace of locally made home goods and clothing at The Guilded Table. // 120 Santa Barbara St., waterlinesb.com