our guide to a staycation in los alamos, ca
If you keep up with our blogs, you'll notice that most of our itineraries are JAM packed with things to do. This time we're sloooooowin' it down with a recap of a recent staycation in the coolest little town just north of Santa Barbara called Los Alamos. We booked a staycation that included lots of eating, sleeping in and hanging by the pool. *We know travel is a little weird right now, so if you aren't comfortable traveling, bookmark + use this blog as inspiration for future adventures.
ABOUT LOS ALAMOS
You've probably heard of Los Alamos, New Mexico, but not California, right?! Located at the northern point of the Santa Ynez Valley and just 20 minutes north of Solvang, you'll find this small town nestled in between rolling hills, grapevines, ranches and farms. It is the definition of small, with the main street known as Bell Street (it's only seven blocks long!) reflecting the Old West Heritage of this town that was founded in 1876! You'll find an eclectic and charming scene filled with antique shops, tasting rooms, art galleries, and a food scene that has been recognized by Esquire, Travel & Leisure, Sunset Magazine and more. I actually first experienced Los Alamos on a company retreat with Soda Pop PR last year and couldn't get enough! Even though it's small, I really fell in love with the energy and environment - I knew I had to take Nathan back! Since his birthday was just around the corner and he wanted to unwind, I booked us a little staycation to celebrate.
OUR ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
Day 1 from Los Angeles
Leave at 9:30 am
Breakfast tacos from Homestate
Stop at Caje Coffee Roasters in Santa Barbara
Walk around in Solvang
Arrive at Skyview Los Alamos
Happy Hour by the pool
Dinner out on the patio at Pico
Breakfast in bed c/o Norman's
Lunch + lounge by the pool
Explore the local shops
Takeout from Industrial Eats
Grab breakfast at Bob's Well Bread
Enjoy the drive home by the coast!
Skyview Los Alamos. This is where we stayed! I first stayed here with SPPR and fell in love with the modern nostalgia vibes. The property is gorgeous and makes you feel like you're hidden away in a secret place, even if it is on top of a hill. They have bikes you can rent to ride into town, a pool, and a restaurant onsite. They also have some communal firepits to hang out at in the evening and enjoy the stars. The room are ultra comfy and the design is so on point! Staff was super friendly as well - they greeted us with cookies = a win.
Alamo Motel. If you want to be right on Bell Street, this is the place for you! Their cool rooms complete with clawfoot tubs make me want to go back just to stay here.
Victorian Mansion Bed and Breakfast. I haven't stayed here or seen the property, but I've read some cool reviews! If you're into something charming and more old school, try this place!
Go wine tasting. We had a tasting flight outside on the patio at Casa Dumetz Wines and explored Babi's Beer Emporium. It was such a fun experience! If you want to further explore the wine scene, try Bodega, Presqu'ile Winery, Riverbench Winery, Martian Vineyard, Bedford Winery, and Bevela Wines.
Walk Bell Street. There are some really cool small shops and antique stores on Bell Street. It's a fun way to explore the neighborhood and who knows what treasures you'll find!
Explore the food scene. There is a huge up and coming food scene here! You seriously can't go wrong. To explore what restaurants we've tried, pop into the food section below for our recommendations.
Soak up the sun by the pool. We used this trip to truly be lazy and hang out in the sun. It was fun to just eat lunch, have some cocktails and read by the pool.
WHERE TO EAT
Pico. This restaurant is SO GOOD. It's a collaboration between Chef Drew Terp and Will Henry, featuring farm-to-fork dining and an extensive wine list. SO much wine! Do yourself a favor and get the Crispy Viet Brussels, Steak & Frites and the Jungle Bird Cocktail.
Full of Life Foods. Not gonna lie, I was bummed we didn't get to eat here because I love pizza/flatbread, but we'll just have to next time. Full of Life has a small menu of wood-fired flatbreads for lunch and then turns their small bakery into a restaurant on the weekend for dinner providing other locally sourced fare & craft brews in addition to their pizzas. Their menu is seasonal, so be sure to check it out on their site!
Bob's Well Bread. Hands down one of my favorite restaurants of all time and they were just featured in Sunset! Their bread is really just that freaking good! It's worth the stop even if you're just passing through. Be sure to try their Egg in a Frame #2, Cobb Salad and Breve. You can't go wrong with any of their breads or pastries.
Plenty on Bell. Another delicious choice! We ate here for lunch with SPPR and it was delish. This farm-to-table restaurant sits in a historic building on Bell Street and features some fun comfort dishes like BBQ Pulled Pork and the Plenty Pot Pie
Industrial Eats. We drove the 15 minutes to Buelton to try this extremely eclectic place and it did not disappoint. Holy COW was it GOOD! We also wanted to try a bunch of stuff so we ordered a few things only to discover their portions were super big! My favorite thing there was the Skirt Steak Pizza (mind-blowing) and Beef Short Rib Shepherds Pie. We also tried their Rabbit Dish, Tomato Gratin, and White Shrimp dish. All good!
Bell's. I haven't eaten here yet but have heard amazing things and they were just in Esquire! Bell's focuses on French-inspired bistro fare. Right now they have an amazing Pre-Fix 5-course dinner special for $65.
Norman's. This is Skyview's restaurant! They serve breakfast, lunch, cocktails and dinner. We had our lunch here by the pool and ordered room service for dessert. Get their burger (SO good) and the chips + guac. Grab the creme brulee for dessert ;)
Even though Los Alamos might seem small, there is so much to do! It's the perfect place for a staycation and I hope you visit to experience the magic of the town for yourself. If you have any questions, be sure to shoot me a DM on Insta!