Getting Around Santa Barbara

Renting a Car
Santa Barbara is a nice place to have a car while visiting. There are many beautiful areas of the countryside outside the city, and these can really only be reached by car. There are two rental car companies that have offices at the airport, Hertz and Budget. Many other companies have offices in the city, and travelers arriving at the airport can give them a call for a free pickup. Be sure to get insurance when renting a car in Santa Barbara. Even though this area is mellower than much of the rest of California, it is still loaded with aggressive drivers.

Walking
The city is fairly compact compared to many other cities in California, so walking makes sense. The weather is almost always beautiful, so it is quite enjoyable to take a stroll along the streets of Santa Barbara.

Bicycling
The excellent weather in this part of the world also makes riding a bike an excellent way to get around the city. It is especially nice to go for bike rides near the ocean. There are many bike rental places that can easily be found along the waterfront.

Taxicabs
Tourists who like to use taxis for their transport should be prepared to pay an arm and a leg in Santa Barbara. There are not a lot of cab companies, and the few that are here are very expensive. It is not very easy to flag a cab down in town, so those who want to use cabs in Santa Barbara should program a cab company's phone number in their cell phones.

There are also a few rickshaw cabs taxis that operate exclusively along the waterfront. These will not travel very far and are more a novelty than a practical means of transportation.

Buses
Unlike many other cities in California, the public transportation in Santa Barbara is actually pretty good. The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (SBMTD) operates the buses that run all over the city. The buses are clean and efficient. Passengers can get a free transfer when they board a bus. The buses all meet up at the central transit hub downtown, which is where passengers can transfer to another bus. SBMTD also runs a cheap shuttle bus that runs back and forth between downtown and the waterfront. This is a great way for visitors to quickly and inexpensively get between the two main tourist areas of the city.