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  • Lauren Wood

The 20 Most Instagrammable Spots in SB

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Are you having professional photos taken for a wedding or event? Or maybe you just want some new, fun content for the gram? If so, here's a list of the 20 most Instagram-worthy places to shoot photos in Santa Barbara.

1. Chromatic Gate

I mean... just look at the photo above! How can you go wrong with a giant rainbow sculpture at the beach? Here are some more:

Photo courtesy of Amber Dolyak Photography


2. Chase Palm Park & Cabrillo Boulevard

Row after row after row of palm trees, with Stearn's Wharf in the background. Get that iconic California lifestyle shot at this street that runs along the water. There's also a bike path that you can walk, bike or run.

Photo Courtesy from Left to Right: Kiel Rucker Photography, Amber Dolyak Photography & Moby Dick's


3. San Ysidro Ranch

Quite possibly one of the most beautiful properties I have ever seen in my life, the San Ysidro Ranch offers beauty at every turn. Go in springtime when everything is in bloom. Can't afford the steep price tag for a stay? Make a reservation at the Stonehouse Restaurant or grab a cocktail at Plow and Angel and take a stroll around the grounds.


4. Tyger Tyger

I'm not sure which feature I like better: the pink and white tassels hanging from the exterior or the tiger print wall on the side of the building. Oh, and there's also a green mural next door. This place has multiple opportunities for photos, so you can kill two tigers... err, birds... with one stone.

Photo courtesy of Amber Dolyak Photography


5. The Pink Wall

Not far from Tyger Tyger is "the pink wall." The pink wall is... well, a pink wall. See some pictures that Amber Dolyak (Instagram: @amberdolyak ) shot for me here:

Photo courtesy of Amber Dolyak Photography


6. Knapp’s Castle

It's a bit of a trek from SB if you're only visiting for a bit, but if you're wanting to get a workout in and get some beautiful photos at the same time, head to Knapp's Castle up the 154. Take the 154 east, and then take Painted Cave Road until you get to the end. A lot of people do the hike, but if you're lazy (like me) you can also drive up there too ;-)

Photo courtesy of Kendal Riley Photography -


7. Lotusland

For exotic plants that serve as an interesting backdrop, head to Lotusland, which is a botanical garden in Montecito.

Photo courtesy of Lotusland -


8. The Stairs at SB Public Market

Who knew stairs could be so visually appealing? Well, with decorative Spanish tiles like these, the colors are sure to make any photo pop.

Photo courtesy from left to right: ; ; Santa Barbara Public Market Facebook page


9. The Yellow Garage Door

The beauty about the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara is that there are so many visually appealing places all within short walking distance. Like the pink wall, the yellow garage door is just next to Tyger Tyger, but in the opposite direction.

Photo courtesy of Amber Dolyak Photography


10. Mission Rose Garden

An iconic Santa Barbara staple, the Mission rose garden offers the interest of a historical landmark, coupled with the beauty of the attached rose garden. You can get some interesting shots with the roses in the foreground and the mission in the background, or vice versa.


11. Stearn’s Wharf

There are a ton of different options for photos at Stearn's Wharf. You can take lifestyle photos (like the ones below), or get stunning shots of the city from a different vantage point. From the pier, you can see all of Cabrillo Boulevard and the palm tree lined street, views of the riviera, and then Santa Barbara City College and the Harbor to the northwest.


12. Santa Barbara Courthouse

Okay, so I might be a little biased, but I think this is quite possibly the best places to take photos in Santa Barbara. It's so beautiful that I chose to get married there. Whether you're indoors or outdoors, the beauty is everywhere. Climb to the top of the tower for insane views of the city, visit the mural room to see the old Spanish design and stunning paintings, and take a stroll through the exterior grounds, which are beautifully landscaped against the stunning arches and interesting architectural features of the building.

Wedding Photos Courtesy of Kiel Rucker Photography


13. Lucky Penny

Remember what I said about the Funk Zone? Yeah, well there's tons of places to take photos there. Lucky Penny is one of them. Outside this super trendy pizza restaurant and cafe is a wall of pennies, making the perfect backdrop for a more edgy shoot.

Photo courtesy of Lucky Penny -


14. The Stairs at Paseo Nuevo

Again, it's hard to go wrong with colorful, hand-painted Spanish tiles. Frame your subject in the middle of the stairs to create symmetry in your photo.

Photo courtesy from left to right: ; Pinterest;


15. Douglas Family Preserve

Often used by locals taking their dogs for a walk, the Douglas Family Preserve is a stunning area on a bluff near the Mesa. This 70 acre preserve has tons of wildflowers in the spring and ocean views year round.

Photo courtesy of Kiel Rucker Photography


16. Butterfly Beach

If you've found yourself in Santa Barbara at a time when most of the beaches are busy, head to Butterfly Beach in Montecito to get away from the crowds. Parking is often quite difficult, but if you can snag a spot along the road, you can park, head down to the beach, and walk southeast toward Coral Casino (an exclusive, members only beach club). Palm trees line the beach, and it's absolutely stunning at sunset.


17. Red Rock

Okay, so this one is really a trek, but if nature is what you're after, head up the 154 and hike to Red Rock Pools. These naturally formed pools and water slides offer a space to cool off in the summer and make you feel like you're someplace completely different.

Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service -


18. Rosewood Miramar

One of Santa Barbara's newest properties, the newly renovated Rosewood Miramar sits just off the beach, has stunning ocean views and gives off east coast vibes with a sweeping green lawn, impeccably manicured landscaping and Adirondack chairs to watch the waves.


19. Figueroa Mountain

Go in springtime to see stunning blooms of wildflowers, with lupines and poppies galore. You'll see pops of purple, orange, yellow and green, so dress in complimentary colors like yellow, blue, purple or pink.

Photo courtesy of John McKinney -


20. Santa Barbara City College

This college is arguably one of the most beautiful campuses in the entire United States. With most of the classrooms set on the bluff overlooking the ocean, you can't beat these views. There's also some beautiful sculptures, and you can see the harbor in the background.

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara City College -


Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions. Email me directly at

Where to get the best photos in Santa Barbara
The Top 20 Most Instagrammable Spots in SB

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