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Here's our growing guide to essential California adventures, easy to edgy. We'll be adding to it daily all year. And we won't suggest an adventure unless one of the Travel section's staffers and contributors have tried it. Tell us what's on your California...

Stearns Wharf keeps Santa Barbara's beachfront hopping with restaurants, a fortune teller and a mini-aquarium

Here's our growing guide to essential California adventures, easy to edgy. We'll be adding to it daily all year. And we won't suggest an adventure unless one of the Travel section's staffers and contributors have tried it. Tell us what's on your California...

Stearns Wharf keeps Santa Barbara's beachfront hopping with restaurants, a fortune teller and a mini-aquarium

Here's our growing guide to essential California adventures, easy to edgy. We'll be adding to it daily all year. And we won't suggest an adventure unless one of the Travel section's staffers and contributors have tried it.

Tell us what's on your California bucket list. Email [email protected] and put California Bucket List in the subject line.

Why: Because this is the damp, wooden heart of the California Riviera.

What: Stearns Wharf goes back to the 1870s and gives you a wide view of prosperous Santa Barbara. The palm-shaded homes of the rich and famous climb the hills. The college students scuffle among the bars on State Street. The gulls wheel overhead. And you stand over the ocean, choosing among various restaurants, shops and others.

The wharf includes Madame Rosinka (a palm reader whose business license is said to date to 1951 ) and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center , which includes many hands-on exhibits, among them a "shark touch tank."

Where: 217 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara city and county, 95 miles northwest of downtown L.A.

How much: Free, at least until the palmistry begins.

Info: Stearns Wharf

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