HI, We are getting married in SB at Godric Grove (Elings Park) on a Sunday in the summer. Some family will be there Thursday night, many more will be there Friday. Sat is the rehearsal dinner. We would really like to do something with/for our guests on Friday night/Friday eve, maybe a BBQ or something cheap, as we are already over our wedding budget.Does anyone have any ideas for cheap/close-to-free places for a gathering in SB or things to do that would be fun? Activities? Thanks!
I used to live in Santa Barbara, and am also getting married at Godric Grove (a Saturday in June!) Check out the reservable BBQ area at Leadbetter Beach - A very low key, but beautiful spot that has BBQ's/Tables Grass + Beach, and super close to Sate St./Downtown for those wanting to wander.
We had an informal welcome dinner for our guests at Petrini's the night before our rehearsal dinner. We reserved their upper room (no reservation fee) and preordered pizzas, dishes of pasta, and salad. Even with last minute pitchers of beer, we only spent about $300 for about 40 people. The food there is filling, so you don't need much. The restaurant is flexible and accommodating, and you don't have the stress of setting up, shopping, cleaning up, etc. like you do for a BBQ. Our guests had fun and now our out-of-town family wants to eat at Petrini's when they visit.
There are lots of fun and free things to do in Santa Barbara! Museums, beaches, parks and gardens... Some other things to consider - Solvang (small Danish town about 30 minutes from SB) is very interesting and has lots of wineries and such nearby...
You can visit the SB Zoo - one of the BEST zoo's in California and has the best VIEW of the ocean too! It's a small zoo, but has all the animals that the big ones do.
The SB Mission (named Queen of the Missions) is interesting even if you are not religious! Take a tour and be sure to check out the rose gardens across the street.
The SB Courthouse is another fantastic and free place to visit. Many movies and TV shows have been filmed here and the "Mural Room" is amazing!
For food, there are HUNDREDS of places! But if you are not from the area, look for "Tri-Tip" (it's beef) at some of the BBQ places (Like Woody's BBQ). It's awesome and doesn't have any 'pink slime'... :) Talk to the owners (Gino and Kim) and tell them Alan says Hi!! (Gino was my roommate years ago)
The Wharf also has lots on it, as does a walk on the Harbor and the Breakwater (careful you don't get wet!).
The Natural History museum is a 'must' for out of towners... Learn and see great things (like the giant whale skeleton so big it has to be kept outside!) and their planetarium show is awesome!
One last side trip to make would be to Cold Springs Tavern - an old stage coach stop back in the day. But don't go on a Sunday as that's when all the motorcycle clubs (friendly ones) go... Also, do NOT drink and try to drive down the San Marcos Pass... You will either get busted or drive off the edge... :(
Hope this all helps you and your group have some fun!