santa barbara train station

The convenient Santa Barbara Amtrak train station.

Surrounded on one side by mountains and the other by the Pacific, Santa Barbara can seem like beautiful island. Unlike an island, it’s not cut off from the rest of the world—it’s actually quite easy to get around in town, to get here, and out of here to other places, too.


Getting Around Town

Although Santa Barbara is still a California city—which means everyone has a car—that doesn’t mean you have to drive everywhere. Once you get downtown, it’s not only easy to walk to most venues, it’s enjoyable too. State Street has to be one of the most attractive main streets in the state, if not the country, and one of its signatures is the trolleys that go up and down, stopping frequently. There’s another trolley service that goes along the waterfront too, from the harbor down to the zoo. The trolleys cost 50¢ or less, and kids ride free.

State Street also offers several taxi ranks, and Uber now serves Santa Barbara’s residents well. If you’re up for a wild ride, call the Hot Rod Limo service, which can usually be found down by the tourist kiosk on Cabrillo Boulevard and the corner of Garden.

Those who like two wheels will be happy with the plethora of cycle paths in Santa Barbara, with more to come with future city planning. Most of the MTD buses allow for cycles on their front bumper with a specially designed and secure rack, and you can even take your bike on the train, too.

Getting In and Out of Town

Not only do we have an airport, but Santa Barbara has a rich aviation history that stretches back to the early 20th century. Today, the airport is still small enough to be convenient, but big enough to be home to three major airlines (American, United, and Alaska) as well as a number of private aircraft.

Our favorite form of transport to and from Santa Barbara is the Pacific Surfliner, Amtrak’s finest passenger train on the West Coast. Jump on and go as far south as San Diego and as far north as San Luis Obispo, with connections to just about any other Amtrak service. Our local station is right downtown, just steps from the Funk Zone, with another up in Goleta not too far from the airport.

As we’re right on Highway 101, Santa Barbara is only a 1.5 to 2 hour drive from Los Angeles, depending on where you go, and Orange County is just another hour south. San Francisco is a bit further, at 5.5 hours away, but worth the drive. Take Pacific Coast Highway up through Big Sur and make sure you’ve got your camera ready for some of the most stunning scenery of your life—but be prepared that it will add a few more hours to your trip time.

Here’s our quick guide to transportation services in Santa Barbara.


Santa Barbara Airport

500 James Fowler Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93117
(805) 683-4011