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How to Make the Best of Spring Break in Santa Barbara

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From your comfortable digs at ICON to Isla Vista and Santa Barbara beyond, there are countless things to do this spring break before classes at the University of California, Santa Barbara start back up. Here are some of our top picks for local (and at-home) adventures.

Visit Santa Barbara’s Botanic Gardens

Being out in nature is one of the best ways to relax and unplug from the noise and stress of everyday life. Splurge on a trip to the Ganna Walska Lotusland, which features dozens of incredible gardens, with everything from Japanese Zen-style to artistically arranged succulents. Just remember to make a reservation ahead of time.

If you’re on a budget, try the 78-acre Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (no reservation required) and explore the many trails and gardens that comprise this stunning collection of native California flora. And if you don’t want to leave home, enjoy their Meadow Livestream and virtual tours and classes.  

See the Sights of Santa Barbara

Explore what’s right outside ICON’s front doors – all the exciting educational and recreational opportunities Santa Barbara offers. Visit the Santa Barbara Zoo, where you can see 146 species – everything from meerkats to snow leopards. (Buy your tickets ahead of time.)

Enjoy the virtual tours of the Old Mission of Santa Barbara, which let you explore the grounds, the mission, and its art in the comfort of your home.

Head over to East Beach, do some bird watching at Andree Clark Bird Refuge Lagoon, play some volleyball, then grab some Black Pepper Pistachio or Honey Almond Crunch ice cream from Rori’s Artisanal Creamery.

And learn a little bit about the spookier side of Southern California at Santa Barbara Ghost Tours. They run several tours that teach about the local history of this region, as well as prominent local figures. Just remember to book your ticket ahead of time and bring a mask.

Brush Up on Your Creative Skills

A great way to wind down from the stress of last quarter is to stick close to home and UC Santa Barbara and enjoy creative hobbies. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is featuring numerous virtual art and writing classes and lectures while they are temporarily closed, most of which are free.

You can also submit your art to the museum’s Art at Home Community Gallery and have it featured in their Flickr collection.

So whether you decide to relax in your contemporary ICON apartment or hit the town, your laid-back California spring break is in the bag.

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