Santa Barbara boasts a robust Mexican-American community, whose culture and influence permeates our town. From our famed tacos to mariachi masters and more, our city’s riches include a plethora of experiences from México, a country of which California was once a part. Though California joined the United States in 1850, our ties to México remain strong; one of our Sister Cities is Puerta Vallarta, MEX, and each year Santa Barbara hosts friends and does exchanges with representatives from this popular vacation getaway spot.
Start by delving into large collections of Mexican folk art, ranging from pre-hispanic to current day, including artifacts such as Talavera from Puebla and Alebrijes from Oaxaca at Casa Dolores. The Botiller Adobe—the only remaining two-story adobe in the city—houses this museum, which is also known as the Center for the Study of the Popular Arts of Mexico. Explore every part of the house to appreciate the history that resides within.
General Vallejo's Sahumandor (perfumer. Maker unknown, Mexican, c. 1823-43. Pure silver. Gift of Pearl Chase. 188.8.131.52. Courtesy of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
Check out the Santa Barbara Historical Museum’s “The Story of Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Under Mexican Rule” exhibition to brush up on our history as part of Alta California. Of particular note is General Vallejo’s chair and several oil paintings of notable persons. Considering that this exhibition is permanent, feel free to stop by at your leisure during their open hours.
The Buenaventura Pico Adobe, located at 920 Anacapa Street on the grounds of el Presidio de Santa Barbara, is a Mexican-period adobe. View the exterior of this historic structure to get a sense of our city in the 1830s under Mexican rule.
While Fiesta–our famed festival, which runs from August 3–7—is known as Old Spanish Days, many of the sights, sounds, and tastes you will experience are Mexican in origin.
Courtesy of Old Spanish Days- Fiesta
Catch Las Noches de Ronda, a nightly celebration taking place from August 4–6, 8 pm, at our Santa Barbara County Courthouse sunken gardens, which features many of our residents performing traditional dances. Of particular note are the Mexican Folklórico dances, a style of dancing which features colorful costumes, heel stomping, and references to folk tales.
Take part in the heart of Fiesta as you stroll through the colorful el Mercado de la Guerra, located in de la Guerra Plaza downtown. Tacos, tamales, and fresh fruit await the hungry traveler. Mexican crafts and souvenirs, such as dresses, Lucha Libre masks, sombreros, and more are available for purchase. Live entertainment, often featuring Spanish-language vocals and local acts, starts in the morning and continues well into the evening. Acts will be announced in late July. For more information, click the link below! http://oldspanishdays-fiesta.org/entertainment/mercado-de-la-guerra
Courtesy of the Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival
The 21st annual Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival returns to the Santa Barbara Bowl on August 6th. Co-founded by prominent Mexican-American city leaders Salud Carbajal and the late Alberto Pizano, the mission of the festival is to promote and preserve the tradition of mariachi music. Mariachi music was developed in the 19th century in México and often features stringed instruments, trumpets, and vocals; distinctive decorative costumes; and rhythms similar to polkas and waltzes. By bathing in the beautiful mariachi melodies, you will also support advocates for creating a brighter future for Santa Barbara’s Latino youths, as this festival also serves as a non-profit organization that provides educational scholarships to Latinos in our midst.
While La Super-Rica, a taquería lauded by Juilia Child and recently immortalized by Katy Perry in her song “This Is How We Do,” is perhaps our most well-known eatery, a multitude of other tasty Mexican restaurants flourish here.
If you’re looking for authentic Mexican food to enjoy during your stay, pop into one of downtown’s hidden gems and an award-winning taco shop: Lilly’s Taquería. Here, explore the world of tacos, including more adventurous options such as labia, cabeza, oja y mas (Beef lip, head, eyes and more) as well as more typical meat offerings and vegetarian option for the herbivores.
Can’t fathom a stop in Santa Barbara without some Mexican Food on Milpas? Try Los Agaves. Indulge your taste buds with their specials such as Molcajetes to Mole Enchiladas or simple tasty fare such as fajita burritos or taquitos and tacos. A local favorite, this Mexican restaurant has a short wait at peak times, but it’s well worth it!
Maria Rendón's "Snowman"
Upon returning to the hotel, we recommend contemplating artworks by local resident and México City native, Maria Rendón. Her contemporary, abstract paintings explore “the impression of what is not there” and “what is there” and how transitory our world is. Be sure to see her piece “Snowman” which cascades down from above our stairway as part of our MCASB “Shift, Stretch, Expand: Everyday Transformations” exhibition.
For those who would like to read news in Spanish, Santa Barbara’s bilingual paper El Latino is available online. http://latinocc.com/
We hope you enjoy experiencing Santa Barbara’s Mexican-American culture!
Summer in Santa Barbara is an absolute paradise. The long, warm, salty days and temperate nights are filled with surfers, travelers, locals, and nomads alike looking to find adventure in our beautiful city. This summer promises a selection of intriguing events that are bound to give you your fill of fun, sun, mouthwatering excitement, and more.
Zoo Brew: June 4
Photo Courtesy: Santa Barbara Zoo
Have you ever dreamed of drinking a beer with a lion? Zoo Brew is probably the closest you’ll ever get to making such a fantastical dream real. Grab your friends and head down to the Santa Barbara Zoo to take part in a quirky concoction of animal viewing and beer tasting. With over thirty breweries participating, you’ll taste a plethora of brews from the 805 while hanging out with cute creatures from around the world. Pub food and merchandise will also be available for purchase. Lions, and tigers, and brews, oh my!
Craft Brew Circus: June 11th
This traveling circus is making a stop at nearby Chase Palm Park on its ultimate Craft Brew Tour, which offers a heady mix of live entertainment, insane stunts, yummy food, and enticing brews. Embrace your wild side as you enter the domain of groovy tunes and acrobatic performers. With a ticket for unlimited tastings and a commemorative Craft Brew Circus cup, you’ll want to show off to all of your friends.
Goldroom High Seas Boat Tour: June 17th
For those who haven’t heard of the one and only Goldroom, he’s a deejay with a funky name and some even funkier beats. He’s making his way up and down the California coast this summer on a unique tour called the Goldroom High Seas Boat Tour. You heard that right...boat tour. That means you need to grab that sailor hat sitting in the back of your closet, some sunscreen, and your dancing shoes, and get ready to party with the man himself. All aboard the Condor Express!
Santa Barbara Wine Festival: June 25th
Get out and enjoy the warm summer air with the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum as you partake in their annual Santa Barbara Wine Festival. What better way to mingle with some winemakers, bakers, and chefs than with a glass of wine in hand under the majestic oak trees. As you taste your way through some of the top Central Coast wines, enjoy local cuisine from a variety of food vendors, who are providing their best dishes for your noshing pleasure.
California Wine Festival: July 14th- July 16th
You’re in luck! Santa Barbara hosts this festival to top all festivals this year; the summer reverie commences as thousands of wine enthusiasts, travelers, locals, and dreamers flock to this annual wine-tasting event. With over thirty-five wineries in attendance, you can already imagine the sweet remnants of the pinot noir on your lips. However, there will be much more than wine to satisfy your California cravings. This three-day fest combines food, music, sand, sun, and the salty ocean to give you one of the biggest and hottest outdoor festivals in the state! With events happening at Chase Palm Field and Park, you’re only a few blocks away from the action when you stay with us. Reserve your room today and get ready to taste those reserves in July!
The stage is heating up this month — Center Stage, that is! The intimate Santa Barbara theater has a wide array of performances in May, from classic ballets to spoken word. Book your stay with us here at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara to make the most of it all. We’re conveniently located, just minutes away from the theater, with luxurious, eco-friendly accommodations and fabulous on-site amenities including a rooftop lounge and dry cleaning services. For an even bigger dose of culture, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara across from Center Stage Theatre, and their satellite museum right here at our hotel.
Award-winning Santa Barbara theater company, the Producing Unit, presents Yankee Tavern until May 21. Written by Steven Dietz, the play is set in a New York City bar where cynical regulars debate their ideas on some of America’s most controversial current events.
Two Literary Potpourri performances — an afternoon and evening one — will hit Center Stage on May 22. This spoken-word extravaganza presents a new piece from author Christina Winn; comedic relief from P.G. Wodehouse; a story from Nobel Prize-winner, Nadine Gordimer; and even a tale that inspired an episode of the Twilight Zone. The performers will be available after the show to discuss their performances over complimentary cookies and milk.
We’re extremely passionate about preserving the environment in beautiful Santa Barbara and, here at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, we do everything that we can to help. We’re proud to be a one of the few green hotels in the area, with sustainable initiatives literally built into our foundation — energy-efficient double-pane windows and on-demand water heaters; a drip irrigation watering system; and an air-quality improving plant-filled living wall. Amenities including a filtered water bottle refilling station, earth-friendly toiletries, water-conserving showerheads, and complimentary bicycles give you, our guest, the opportunity to make your mark in the conservation movement, as well. And, if you’re visiting us in the month of May, there are plenty of fun green things to do around town. Here are a few of our suggestions!
Do-It-Yourself Bicycle Tours
The Goleta Bicycle Ride is flat, 21.2 miles long ride. This route begins at Goleta Beach County Park, where you’ll pass through quiet residential areas, beautiful lemon and avocado orchards, and finally return to your starting point by riding along the Obern Trail bike path.
For more advanced riders, the 15.9 Mountain Drive Bicycle Ride us for you. This ride takes you 800 feet above Santa Barbara for sweeping views of the city and ocean from Mountain Drive. On a really clear day, you might be able to see the Channel Islands.
Enjoy Locally Sourced Cuisine
Mesa Verde Restaurant is a vegan and organic restaurant that features a Mediterranean-Inspired menu boasting locally harvested ingredients. Be sure to try the roasted mushroom and vegetables burger, which packs in winter squash, carrots, chickpeas, lettuce, tomatoes, cornichons, and cashews.
For those who can’t live without their morning smoothies, make a stop at Ah Juice Organics Cafe where they promise that if they "cannot find an organic source for all ingredients in a dish, you won’t find it on our menu.” Alongside freshly pressed organic juices and smoothies, you can enjoy organic, healthy, whole-grain pastries sweetened with honey and house-made soups and salads served with locally-made artisan sourdough.
Earth Day is right around the corner! You may be looking forward to the annual festival for the music, food, and activities, however, there is more to Earth Day than a good time with friends and family. The Earth Day celebration originated right here in sunny Santa Barbara back in 1970 after a major oil spill rocked our seaside town. At the time, it was known as the largest oil spill in the country, resulting in devastating consequences for our oceans and beaches. From that moment on, the people of Santa Barbara knew that they had to take an initiative to make sure something so destructive would never happen again. That crucial moment put the future of our city into perspective.
Fast forward a little over thirty years and you’ll end up on lower State Street looking up at our historic, building adjacent to the Funk Zone. That’s right; you’re at the Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara. Here at the hotel, we understand the importance of environmental consciousness, and we take many steps to ensure that we leave as small of a footprint as we can on our environment. Protecting Santa Barbara and all of its natural splendors is one of our top priorities. Learn about a few of our green features below.
1. Living Wall and Green Spaces
While roaming through our hotel to view the art exhibition, head up to the second floor to admire our ever-blooming plant wall. Our living wall, which we call a Vertical Garden, accurately reflects our harmony with nature and the care we take to keep our natural world flourishing. Our drought friendly landscaping saves water in the best ways we know how. You’ll even notice lovely succulents adorning our outdoor terraces; just perfect for our year-round warm and sunny weather!
2. Car-Free Initiative
We take great pride in our environmental friendliness, and we also encourage our guests to help us with our efforts by using car-free methods of transportation. Whether you take a train, bus, or bike, let us know so we can hook you up with a sweet token of appreciation! We also offer complimentary bike rentals so you can see Santa Barbara through a local’s eyes.
3. Environmentally Friendly Bathrooms
Bathing in style doesn’t mean you can’t be green and water-wise. We give you the best of both worlds with our renowned bathing amenities, such as our natural and fragrance free Aveda products as well as our on-demand water heaters. This way you can enjoy a luxurious shower without worrying about a thing. Don’t forget about our low-flow, dual-flush toilets as well as our water-conserving shower heads!
4. Efficient Cleaning System
Our housekeeping services clean thoroughly with as little waste and chemicals as possible. We use select eco-friendly cleaning products, such as an ionized water cleaning system, to refresh our hotel the natural way.
5. Unique, Space-Saving Design
By preserving the historic walls and foundation of our hotel, we established a precedent for an eco-friendly space from the ground up. We incorporated space-saving features, such as wet bathrooms with convertible showers and all-in-one storage closets. The intimate nature of our rooms result in a smaller carbon footprint and provide guests with a cozy yet comfortable stay, whether they are traveling for business or for pleasure!
Photo Courtesy: Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Excitement fills the air in February in anticipation of the 31st annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF)! Drawing in crowds of ninety thousand from both near and far, including the famous, those wishing that they one day will be, the film industry insiders, and movie buffs, this festival is uniquely local. Straying from the mainstream, SBIFF praises the unconventional and the exceptional and bestows the utmost compliments on foreign, documentary, and independent films that have caught the eye of film fanatics everywhere. An array of activities including public film screenings, panel discussions, and achievement awards with many well-known celebrities such as Johnny Depp, O’Shea Jackson Dr., Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton await. Some celeb-sightings from the 2015 festival include Rosamond Pike (Gone Girl), Logan Lerman (Fury), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), and Danny De Vito!
This year, take a peek at the deets on our picks for the most memorable, interesting, or downright untraditional films that deserve to be seen and, hopefully, will awe and impress you as well.
1. Goodnight Mommy (2014)
This Austrian psychological thriller plays with your head in more ways than one and promises to leave you on edge while you endure plot twist after plot twist. As you traverse into the world of two young, twin boys adjusting to their mother after she has severe facial cosmetic surgery, the tension rises as they suspect that the woman behind the bandages may not be the woman she says she is. Get ready for this film’s twisted rollercoaster ride of emotions.
2. Room (2015)
Brie Larson, a future winner of the SBIFF 2016 Outstanding Performer of the Year award, stars in Room, a heart-wrenching drama, which tells the story of a five-year-old boy and his mother as they are held captive in a small room for years on end. Escaping their imprisonment is one issue, but learning to live freely again is another. Make sure to grab some tissues, because as this film takes you through the hostage survivors trials and tribulations and the heartbreak that ensues, it is sure to leave tears on the ground by the time it ends.
3. Joy (2015)
Delve into Joy Mangano’s (Jennifer Lawrence) world as she struggles to make a name for herself in the business world and break down its barriers, while juggling her dysfunctional family, ex-husband, kids, and job. Through perseverance and sheer brilliance, she invents a self-wringing mop she believes will change the mopping world forever. However, after facing a series of issues, she’s compelled to give up on her dream, but instead pushes through the struggles towards the path of success.
4. The Lost City of Cecil B. Demille
After creating the film The Ten Commandments in 1923, Cecil B. DeMille buried its gigantic Egyptian city movie set in the Santa Barbara County Guadalupe sand dunes. Fascinated by this buried Hollywood treasure, Peter Bronson sets out to find the ruins and delve into their history. Follow his expedition as he takes a step back in time and uncovers a piece of the past that has remained untouched for the last 60 years right in our own backyard!
5. I Eat, Therefore I Am
This South Korean drama focuses on an aspiring writer’s journey of rediscovery as she searches for success in a difficult field and finds solace in a hot meal at the end of the day. This film is not a film about food, but it’s about the people that eat the food; so open your minds and your stomachs as you follow this culinary adventure!
Check out SBIFF's website for a complete schedule of events and film screenings.
Phil Argent, Untitled (Go Between), 2013, Acrylic on canvas, 28 x 40 inches, Courtesy the Artist
It’s one of life’s most undeniable truths — things change. Whether within ourselves or around us, no matter how subtle or obvious, things evolve, grow, and transform. The new Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) Satellite at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara exhibition Shift, Stretch, Expand: Everyday Transformations, on display here from January 30, 2016 until January 22, 2017, explores this inherent truth and the inconspicuous processes of the everyday.
Shift, Stretch, Expand: Everyday Transformations showcases the work of a group of nine Santa Barbara County artists: Phil Argent, Weslie Ching, Petra Cortright, George Legrady, Kyra Lehman, Rebekah Miles, Maria Rendón, Stephanie Washburn, and Russell Young. Through their diverse and multifaceted pieces, which will be displayed throughout our boutique hotel property, the artists inspect changes in various forms by questioning limitations, pushing boundaries, and dashing expectations.
“Through MCASB’s distinct collaboration with Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, contemporary art becomes more accessible to the general public and those who are unfamiliar with the museum,” explains Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara Associate Curator Brooke Kellaway. “This exhibition, in a hotel, a space of ongoing transitions, features artists who cleverly riff off of these broad themes of movement and transition, processes that, however imperceptible, shape who we are, how we think, and relate to each other.”
We invite you to stay with us at Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara and experience this exhibition first hand at one of America’s top Art Hotels. Staying with us offers a refreshing escape from the everyday, with a dedicated Art Library, photo murals in every room and a location that puts you in the heart of Santa Barbara’s culturally vibrant core. There’s no better hotel in Santa Barbara for immersing yourself in the art, culture and hospitality of this amazing city. We look forward to welcoming you.
The MCASB Satellite @ Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara exhibition Magic Mountain ran from March 8, 2015 to January 17, 2016
For centuries, travelers to remote mountain villages, seaside escapes, desert oases, and elsewhere, have sought out nature’s curative properties. Whether it’s to find the elixir of life, or to practice sungazing; to harvest mud for beauty masks or to dig for healing rocks, the searches are motivated by a belief in nature’s bewitching attributes that often transcends scientific explanation. This exhibition investigates the inspiration for some of these quests and obsessions, and the truths, mysteries, antidotes, and rabbit holes that arise along the way. The artists’ works bring to light the mythologies and marketplace of nature cures—spiritual, physical, and psychological—at a time when humankind’s relationship to the environment is rapidly changing.
Participating artists included Zachary Cahill, Alyse Emdur, Chris Johanson, Boris Mikhailov, Yunhee Min, Shana Moulton, John Newling, Johan Rosenmunthe, Truong Cong Tung, and Hannah Vainstein.
Yunhee Min, Mountains and Sea (for my father), 2015, Acrylic on brick wall, 27 x 81 ft., Courtesy the Artist. Photo: Rebecca Klapper
Zachary Cahill, USSADREAM, 2014, 9 x 12 in., Watercolor on paper, Courtesy the Artist
Truong Cong Tung, Magical Garden, 2012-14, Photograph, Dimensions variable, Courtesy the Artist
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is gearing up for the 2016 season (February 3–13, 2016) and we’ve got your tixs! 4-film Minipaks will be given away to 2 new followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram each. To win, follow us on the platform of your choice and like or favorite our #Follow4Flix post.
Entries will be accepted from January 18–31, 2016. Winners will be selected at random and notified via social media. Winners pick up SBIFF minipaks at the Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, 121 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 no earlier than February 3. Hotel may mention your handle, and use your likeness on social media and on our website blog in relation to the #Follow4Flix giveaway. You will need to show your logged-in handle when you pick up your minipak at the hotel to verify your identity. If Minipak is not picked up by noon on February 5th, winner forfeits the Minipak. No purchase necessary to win.
Congratulations to our winners Ava Talehakimi, Vostok Bernal, @805BeachBoy, @mgmigt, @amandaalmada_, and @funky_fresh_felicia! Thank you for following us and we hope you enjoy SBIFF! We can't wait to hear which films you liked this year!
Known for its charm and artistic flare, the Funk Zone, a small neighborhood located near the waterfront, draws in crowds both young and old. Whether you are a twenty-one year old eager to cultivate your palate or a mature connoisseur of fine wine, everyone can find a spot to suit in this quirky little pocket of Santa Barbara. However, there is more to the Funk Zone than wineries. Amidst the many wine-tasting rooms, delicious restaurants, both casual and fancy; art galleries; museums; and some peculiar Street Art flourish amongst the area’s signature warehouses.
Although the Urban Wine Trail may be the Funk Zone’s most well known attraction, its underrated diverse and hip eating establishments stand out, vary in appeal from light to heavy wallets, and help put the “funk” in the Funk Zone.
1.) The Lark
Known for contemporary, upscale cuisine, the Lark’s delicately thought-out menu is the perfect choice for an extravagant night on the town. Ranging from the farm to the ocean, this restaurant’s Duck Liver Mousse and Pineapple, Habanero Glazed Spanish Octopus deliver unrivaled taste sensations. Remember to try the Honey Cremeux with a glass of their finest Sparkling Gamay!
2.) Mony's Taqueria
Whether you are on your thirty-minute lunch break or simply stopping by for some good company and grub, the next place on this list is a hidden gem that beckons locals and visitors alike with its mouthwatering (and affordable) tacos. There is no better way to celebrate Taco Tuesday than heading to Mony’s Taqueria where you have an abundance of Mexican favorites at your fingertips, as well as a self-serve salsa bar, in a low-key environment.
3.) Lucky Penny
Combining handcrafted technique with local, wood-fired ingredients, Lucky Penny satisfies even the strongest craving for a slice of pizza or three. This pizza palace acquired its name from the outside of the building, which is covered in thousands upon thousands of pennies, giving it an extremely RUST-ic feel. When you are pizza’d out, Lucky Penny serves breakfast dishes such as House-made Granola or Lucky Penny Wood-Fired Eggs
Pop into Metropulos, a Mediterranean-inspired sandwich and charcuterie shop, that creates delectable sandwiches and breakfasts from the best of the best ingredients. Their homemade aioli sauces elevate sandwiches to a whole new level. In addition, browse their ingredients selection for picnic options that bring this trendy shop to the top of a foodie’s checklist.
5.) Rebar Coffee
Rebar, a new coffee joint only steps away from our front door, provides the yummiest options if you are having one of those "breakfast in bed" kind of days. Whether you would like espresso chocolate brioche french toast delivered straight to your room or you want to go out for a coffee and a stroll, Rebar can accommodate either preference. It's simply the perfect spot for a little A.M. pick-me-up!