Stearns Wharf
1 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Stearns Wharf is a pier at the cross section of the end of State Street and Cabrillo, in the harbor in Santa Barbara, California, United States. When completed In 1872, it became the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Named for its builder, local lumberman John P. Stearns, the wharf served the passenger and freight shipping needs of California's South Coast for over a quarter century. Before the wharf, passengers and cargo had to be rowed ashore through the breakers and kelp. Despite the great convenience offered by the wharf, Santa Barbara remained a fair-weather harbor with an acute need for a breakwater. During December 1878, storms destroyed and washed away more than 1,000 feet of the wharf. Despite these losses, it would be another 52 years before Santa Barbara got its needed breakwater.

When the railroad reached Santa Barbara in 1877, Stearns added another spur to the wharf, providing a necessary transport link to his lumberyard and the nearby Southern Pacific Depot. The spur was damaged by severe storms in the early 20th century and was finally abandoned in 1923.

The Harbor Restaurant was built on the wharf in 1941, marking an end to the shipping and transportation era of the 19th century. The restaurant proved to be the economic backbone of the wharf.

Since its beginning, Stearns Wharf has had several natural and economic disasters, from the big earthquake in 1925 to a fire in 1973 which caused its closing. The wharf stayed closed for six years until restorations were completed in 1981. Another fire in the winter of 1998 devastated the last hundred and fifty feet of the wharf, including Moby Dick Restaurant. Though the rest of the wharf remained open during this period, the rebuilding took over two years. Stearns Wharf stands today as Santa Barbara's most visited landmark.

Currently, Stearns Wharf is a great place for locals and tourists of all ages to eat, shop, fish, or simply walk and enjoy the view. There are more than a dozen businesses on the Wharf open to the public, ranging from restaurants, wine tastings, museums, souvenir shops, and smaller eateries, such as an ice cream parlor and candy store. Kiosks hours are 7am - 10pm, business hours vary depending on each location. Parking is usually not a problem, with many lots on the pier. A complimentary valet service is also available for all customers. The first 90 minutes are free, with a small fee for each hour, or part of an hour, thereafter. There are also various parking spaces off Cabrillo and the areas across Cabrillo. Take note of the parking signs to avoid any parking tickets. During the summer, parking is harder to find due to the higher tourist traffic on the pier, so plan your trip accordingly. Overall, Stearns Wharf is a must see all tourists.
 

 

Santa Barbara Waterfront Shuttle

Running from noon until sunset every half hour, the Waterfront Shuttle cycles continuously between two hugely popular local destinations - the Santa Barbara Harbor and Stearns Wharf. Santa Barbara Waterfront Shuttle puts you in touch with everything the Harbor and Wharf has to offer. Junior Captains: Under the watchful eye of Capt. Fred, children are encouraged to steer the boat and sound the "Lil Toot" steam whistle. Your child at the wheel of "Lil Toot" is a great photo opportunity.

Video: Take a ride on the shuttle

 

 

The Harbor Restaurant

The quintessential snap shot of Santa Barbara is the long range view of the city’s famous pier, with a picturesque boat harbor in the foreground and a background framed by the majestic Santa Ynez Mountains. The anchor of this famous pier is one of Santa Barbara’s most popular eateries, the Harbor Restaurant on Stearns Wharf. The 150 year old pier was a working pier from its infancy. It housed the Santa Barbara Yacht Club in 1929 and the pier’s first restaurant opened in 1941, owned by famous actor and nearby San Ysidro Ranch owner, Ronald Colman. Colman sold the restaurant to another famous actor, James Cagney, who later sold the restaurant to the Castagnola family in 1955. The Harbor Restaurant and Stearns Wharf were destroyed by fire in 1971 and rebuilt in 1981 when the Williams family operated the Harbor Restaurant until selling to its current owner, John Scott, in 1988. Enter the Harbor Restaurant and take in the panoramic ocean views from your window table.  Enjoy the freshest seafood that arrives daily in the Santa Barbara harbor or a USDA prime char-grilled filet mignon prepared expertly by the Harbor Restaurant chefs.

 

Sea Center

Discover the wonders of ocean life at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. Located on historic Stearns Wharf, this highly interactive marine education facility offers you close encounters with marine animals from the Santa Barbara Channel. In addition to permanent exhibits, the Sea Center hosts unique events and special educational programming, including the Live Dive series. Using a gentle two-finger touch, you can interact with marine animals such as sharks, rays, sea stars, sea urchins, and sea anemones. On our wet deck, be a scientist and use oceanographic tools to sample the ocean and examine marine life. Start your investigations with the Secchi disk, Ekman grab, Van Dorn bottle or crab net. Which tool would you like to use first? Upstairs, you can relax in our Channel Theater, observe mesmerizing jellies, a captivating octopus, and tour a unique marine mammal mezzanine to see life-size Gray Whale replicas. Learn about the Sea Center’s White Abalone Captive Breeding Program, which is working to bring this endangered marine snail back from the brink of extinction.

 


Moby Dick Restaurant

Enjoy seafood on the pier with ocean views from every seat. Moby Dick Restaurant is a classic all American seafood restaurant where you can find dishes unique only to Moby Dick Restaurant as well as some classic and authentic seafood favorites. Moby Dick Restaurant, located on the end of the wharf, provides the freshest seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is always something exciting going on at Moby Dick – big waves, surfers, sailboat races, visiting whales, and dolphins. If you are a local and you’ve never been to Moby Dick before, give it a try. Moby Dick's goal is to provide fresh food, great service and spectacular views. The restaurant has a wonderful banquet room that accommodates up to 80 people for meetings, parties, etc. They  also have an outdoor cocktail patio and the Sunset Room which is a perfect setting for an evening meal.

 

 

 

Old Wharf Trading Company

More than just nautical gifts, the Old Wharf Trading Company is the largest general merchandise store on the wharf. It feature a wide variety of gifts and decorator items, along with clothing, toys, books and much more. Purchase Santa Barbara souvenirs of every type and browe the huge collection of shirts, sweatshirts, hats, swimwear and more.

 

 

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company was established in 1980 as a buying station for local Santa Barbara shellfish and fish and a place to sell crab. From sea to skillet to plate sums up this end-of-the-wharf seafood shack that’s more of a buzzing counter joint than a sit-down restaurant. Chase away the seagulls as you chow down on garlic-baked clams, crab cakes and coconut-fried shrimp at wooden picnic tables outside. Awesome lobster bisque, clam chowder, and ocean views. The family that brings you award-winning Santa Barbara Shellfish Company also owns and operates other local restaurants including FisHouse (near Stearns Wharf), Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, and Casa Blanca Restaurant & Cantina.

 

 

 

 

Char West

Started in 1969, Char West is a quick service restaurant featuring Burgers, Fish Tacos, Fish n Chips, Clam Chowder, Burgers along with additional seafood with stunning views.

 

 

 

Deep Sea Tasting Room

The Deep Sea Wine Tasting Room is the home of Conway Family Wines. The space features 360 degree views of the Pacific coastline, Channel Islands, Santa Barbara Harbor and the Riviera. They offer Two Wine Tasting Flights, all of our wines by-the-glass and also by-the-bottle. The Deep Sea Tasting Room is open 7 days per week, and is available for Private events and Receptions. Reservations are not required, but are recommended for groups of 8 or more.

 

 

 

 

Longboards Grill

Burgers, fish and chips, clam chowder, and more -- all served alongside beach-inspired cocktails and beautiful oceanfront views. Located upstairs on Santa Barbara’s iconic Stearns Wharf, Longboard’s offers gourmet burgers, famous fish and chips, a lively full-service bar, and incredible waterfront views in a casual, family-friendly environment. A fun-filled beach-and-surf-themed eatery, they’re the perfect spot to kick back, relax, and enjoy bites and sips in the open ocean air. Longboard's loves being a go-to spot for both locals and vacationers, because that means every day is a chance to make new friends from all over and hang out with our awesome regulars.

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Pacific Ice Cream Company

32 flavors of Thrifty ice cream and sherbets. Open 7 days a week.