Santa Barbara: Gateway to the American Riviera

Whether heading to vacation rentals, hotels, or friends and family, travelers begin their visit to Santa Barbara when they sight the runways of Santa Barbara airport (SBA). More than just an airport, it is an experience unto itself. Aiming to be something beyond a mere utilitarian building, it takes an unusual approach to the airport adventure while at the same time competently anticipating and meeting the traveler’s needs.

Santa Barbara Airport is sometimes called “The Gateway to the American Riviera,” and it is worthy of the title. Built with an eye to beauty, the airport makes a graceful bow to old-world charm with its rustic Spanish decor and architecture, adding to these something of the flavor of an art museum. Displaying a variety of commissioned, borrowed, or simply exhibited art pieces, the airport turns travel into an opportunity for cultural enrichment.

However, even while appreciating the artistic, the airport does not lose sight of the mundane and the practical. Travelers will find themselves well accommodated with free WiFi access both inside the building and on its lawns. There are numerous charging stations and work desks, and food and shopping are both available. The airport boasts two restaurants, La Mission Cafe being accessible to all, and Costa Terrazza Restaurant and Tapas Bar being available only after passing through the TSA checkpoint. There is also a coffee shop, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and a gift shop.

Flying to Santa Barbara

Hosting five different airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines, the airport boasts a steady daily stream of departures and arrivals. Nevertheless, the airport is almost never too busy, and TSA lines are, as a rule, practically non-existent.

Leaving the airport is simple. With seven on-site rental car agencies and one agency off site, obtaining access to independent sightseeing could hardly be more convenient. Should you prefer to leave the driving to someone else, hotel shuttles and taxis are readily available. Public buses will pick you up at the stop across the street, and door-to-door shuttles, such as Road Runner, will take you anywhere. Whether travelers are heading to vacation rentals on the beach, to downtown Santa Barbara, pleasantly situated only 8 miles away, or anywhere else, Santa Barbara Airport has more than enough ways to provide accommodation.

Experiencing the Gateway to the American Riviera is only a sample of a visit to Santa Barbara, but it is a sample which genuinely welcomes the traveler to this delightful city. The warm, pleasant, and yet efficient atmosphere of the airport turns the pains of travel into pleasures. Beginning your visit at Santa Barbara Airport is beginning your trip well.