We stopped in Santa Barbara after a few hours of driving from LA. It seemed like a good idea to stretch our legs and walk around a bit. We found a public parking lot. For less than an hour the parking was free. Since our PT cruiser's radio did not work, we decided to buy a Wireless transmitter so that we could hook up our iPod. This set us back $53.86 at the local Radio Shack. Make sure your rental car radio works before you leave the rental agency.
After walking around we found a great shop called Marcel Monsivais [531 State Street] (805) 963-8387. Being from the dark and wintry upstate New York, we were in much needed shading and protection from the sun. I bought a very nice hat for $24.73. The shop also had originally designed clothing by the owner.
We did not have to spend more than hour, as downtown Santa Barbara was not too enticing for us. We were glad we stopped but glad we did not linger too long.