Santa Barbara's most popular attractions.Adobes
Many of Santa Barbara's historic adobe houses from the Spanish and Mexican eras are located in the downtown Santa Barbara area. Many of these are now offices or residences, but can be viewed from the outside. Some of these include:
Hill-Carrillo Adobe, 11 East Carrillo Street. The house was originally built by American Daniel Hill for his bride. The city's first wooden floor can be found inside.
Oreņa Adobes, 27-29 East De La Guerra Street (1848-58). These historic houses formerly belonged to some of early Santa Barbara's wealthy Spanish families.
Lugo Adobe, 114 East De La Guerra Street. This adobe is nestled in a picturesque courtyard behind tall, wrought-iron gates. It was remodeled by Bernhard Hoffman in 1922, and includes two wings called the Meridian studios. The studios have been rented by architects, artists, and craftspeople over the years.
Rochin Adobe, 820 Santa Barbara Street (1855). This was built of adobe bricks salvaged from Presidio walls. Although it has been covered with clapboard, it is still possible to see a small square which was part of the original wall. This is a private residence; please try not to disturb the tenants.
Santiago de la Guerra Adobe, 110 East De La Guerra Street (built 1812). This remodeled adobe is one of the city's oldest structures.
Detailed guides to Santa Barbara historic houses and adobes can be found at local bookstores.Andree Clark Bird Refuge
1400 East Cabrillo Boulevard, near the intersection of Cabrillo Boulevard and Highway 101. The refuge consists of a peaceful lagoon, gardens, a variety of freshwater birds, and a footpath and bikeway around the edges. The parking area is located on the north side of the lagoon, near the intersection of Cabrillo Boulevard and Highway 101.Arlington Theatre
1317 State Street, 963-4408. On the site formerly occupied by the grand Arlington Hotel (1875-1926), Fox West Coast Theatres built this motion picture palace with its distinctive "Moorish" spire. The theatre's interior contains a mock Spanish village, and the curved ceiling is "star-studded" to create the illusion of being outdoors. Rehabilitated in 1976, the Arlington now serves as Santa Barbara's performing arts center. In 1988, a magnificent pipe organ was installed in the theatre through the efforts of local volunteers and contributors.Botanic Garden
1212 Mission Canyon Road, 563-2521. Established in 1926 by Mrs. Anna Blaksley Bliss in memory of her father, Henry Blaksley, the garden is devoted entirely to the study of California's native flora. Display areas include the deserts, the Sierra Nevada, the southern mountains, and off-shore islands. Five miles of meandering trails allow visitors a glimpse of cacti, redwoods, wildflowers, and much more. The garden has an excellent library, research facility, and gift shop with books, souvenirs, and native plants. The garden is open from 9 a.m. to sunset daily.Brinikerhoff Avenue
Off Cota Street between De La Vina and Chapala Streets. This quaint block-long street is lined with charming historic houses reflecting turn-of-the-century Santa Barbara architecture. Many of these are now antique and specialty shops. Here visitors can browse and look for fascinating memorabilia and gifts.Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center
1118 East Cabrillo Boulevard, 962-8956. The center, located near the end of East Beach, before the volleyball courts, was built and given to the city by Mr. and Mrs. David Gray Sr. in 1925. Mr. and Mrs. Gray were citizens who worked very hard to preserve and beautify this part of Santa Barbara. The center is the site of various community activities.Carriage Museum
129 Castillo Street. The museum houses a unique collection of horse drawn carts and carriages used by pioneer Santa Barbara families. These include stagecoaches, buggies, army wagons, a bright red steam pumper for firefighting, and a black hearse. Some of the exhibits date back more than 300 years. The carriages are driven on the streets of Santa Barbara every August during the Old Spanish Days parade at Fiesta time.Contemporary Arts Forum
653 Paseo Nuevo, 966-5373. Founded in 1976, the Contemporary Arts Forum is the focal point for contemporary art in Santa Barbara. A new, 4,500 square-foot facility includes three exhibition spaces as well as a media center. The CAF sponsors a year round schedule of exhibitions, performances, and lectures. A number of its shows travel to venues throughout the United States.Dolphin Fountain
Santa Barbara's Bicentennial Friendship Fountain (better known as "The Dolphin Fountain") is located at the beginning of Stearns Wharf at the foot of State Street. The sculpture, created for the 1982 bicentennial by local artist Bud Bottoms, was sponsored by the Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister City Committee. A second dolphin sculpture has been installed on Puerto Vallarta's waterfront, a third in Toba, Japan, and a fourth in Yalta, The Ukraine (formerly U.S.S.R.).El Paseo
Entrances on State, De La Guerra, and Anacapa Streets. Built in the early 1920s its architecture represents the beginning of Santa Barbara's Spanish Colonial Revival style. Recently renovated as the site of specialty shops, art galleries, and fine restaurants including a sidewalk cafe. Open daily. Parking is available on Canon Perdido Street.El Presidio De Santa Barbara State Historic Park
123 East Canon Perdido Street, 966-9719. Founded in 1782, the Presidio includes buildings which were part of the original Presidio Real, the last Spanish military outpost in California. Many of the Presidio's foundations are now being uncovered and restored as part of an extensive excavation and reconstruction project. The Presidio Chapel, reconstructed on its original foundations, contains restored 18th-century decorations. A fifteen-minute slide show and a scale model of the Old Presidio gives visitors a fascinating impression of life in Old Spanish California. The presidio also includes The Padre's and Commandant's Quarters, featuring authentically reproduced furniture and architecture, as well as El Cuartel, the guard's house, 122 East Canon Perdido Street (1788). Located across the Street from the Presidio chapel, El Cuartel is the oldest building in Santa Barbara and second oldest building in California. Caneda Adobe, 123 East Canon Perdido Street, was also a part of the original Presidio quadrangle and is located within the park.
414 West Montecito Street, 966-1601. The 1862 Fernald Mansion is a beautifully furnished, 14-room Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion with a handsome stairway, carved decorations, and many gables. It is one of the finest remaining examples of Victorian architecture in the area. Next door is Trussel-Winchester Adobe (1854), of adobe construction with wood siding. Timbers from a ship wrecked off Anacapa Island were also incorporated into the house. A "Yankee Adobe," it is typical of the hybrid architecture between Santa Barbara's Mexican and American periods. It includes 100-year-old furnishings.Flag Project
The Santa Barbara Flag Project is a non-profit organization sponsoring a series of beautiful, handmade flags lining the Breakwater at the Yacht Harbor. The flagpoles and flags, 26 in all, were first erected in 1977. Each flag represents a community service organization; the Santa Barbara Beautiful Society, United Way, the Girl Scouts, etc. The flags fly Wednesday through Sunday from early morning until sunset, weather and circumstances permitting.Granada Theatre
1216 State Street. Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera's move to the majestic Granada Theatre, in the cultural district of downtown Santa Barbara, marked the revival of a rich theatrical tradition dating back to the Granada's opening in 1924. Built during the city's 'Golden Age of Entertainment' as a home for both theatrical and film events, the Granada has been the venue for such eminent stage artists as Helen Hayes, Henry Fonda, and Sir John Gielgud.Hope Ranch Residential Area
Las Palmas Drive, west of Santa Barbara. This area is one of America's most luxurious residential communities with beautiful homes and rolling wooded hills. The grounds include a private country club and golf course, landscaped lagoon, polo, soccer and baseball fields, and miles of bridle trails. Towering palms, planted in the early 1900s, line the main boulevard (Las Palmas Drive).Lobero Theatre
33 East Canon Perdido Street. The "new" Lobero, a majestic Spanish-style building, is the second theatre on this site. Jose Lobero, an Italian entertainer, opened an opera house here in 1873. In 1923, the old building was demolished and the citizens began a drive to construct a new theatre reflecting the Santa Barbara image. Today the Lobero is the site of numerous plays, concerts, lectures, and other events in Santa Barbara.Mission Santa Barbara
2201 Laguna Street. Mission Santa Barbara, the tenth of the California missions founded by the Spanish Franciscans, was established December 4, 1786. The Mission buildings were severely damaged in both the 1812 and 1925 earthquakes. Following a citizens' drive after the 1925 earthquake, the structures were repaired. The main facade was completely rebuilt in the 1950s. The Mission functioned for many years as the home for Chumash Indians whom the Spaniards trained in agriculture, animal husbandry, and ways of living that would facilitate their life with the Spaniards. Today, the Mission is a Catholic parish church open to the public year round. Visitors can take a self-guided tour through the Mission museum, exotic gardens, courtyards, chapel, and cemetery. Souvenirs are available in the gift shop near the entrance.Moreton Bay Fig Tree
Intersection of Chapala Street and Highway 101. The great Fig Tree is an Australian native from Moreton Bay planted in Santa Barbara in 1874. It was transplanted to its present location in 1877. With a 160-foot span providing 21,000 square feet of shade, it is the largest tree of its kind in the nation.The Nature Conservancy
213 Stearns Wharf. The Conservancy is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of rare and endangered species and habitat types. The Conservancy Visitors Center on Stearns Wharf includes displays concerning the organization's activities and projects throughout California. The Nature Conservancy was recently bequeathed ownership of Santa Cruz Island, and is now managing and restoring it as a world-class nature preserve.Parks
Santa Barbara County has more parks within its boundaries than almost any other area of comparable size in the nation. The parks range from small gardens with quiet groves to vast meadows, hills, and mountains, each with a unique setting for picnics, sports, and relaxation.Plaza De La Guerra
On De La Guerra Street between Anacapa and State Streets. This is where the first City Council met in 1850; it was also one of the city's original parks. Next to it stands City Hall, designed in Spanish Colonial Revival style, and the offices of the Santa Barbara News-Press, Southern California's oldest daily newspaper. During Fiesta Week in August, the Plaza is transformed into a colorful mercado (marketplace).Santa Barbara Historical Museum
136 East De la Guerra Street. This charming adobe complex houses one of the finest collections of regional history in California. Fine art, western saddles, exquisite costumes, and picturesque antique toys highlight the collection. Permanent and changing exhibits interpret Santa Barbara's colorful past from the age of European exploration through the Spanish, Mexican, and American eras. With its extensive holdings of books, photographs, maps, and manuscripts, the museum's Gledhill Library is a rich resource. Adjacent to the museum, two 19th century adobes surround a tree shaded courtyard. Casa de Covarrubias, at 715 Santa Barbara Street, was constructed on this site in 1817. The adjoining Historic Adobe was built in 1836 and later moved to its current location.Santa Barbara Museum Of Art
1130 State Street. One of the nation's outstanding regional museums with important holdings of American art, featuring examples by O'Keeffe, Eakins, Sargent, and Hopper; 19th-century French art including Impressionist works by Monet, Matisse, Degas, and Chagall; and Asian art, classical antiquities, photography, contemporary art, modern European art, and prints and drawings. Special exhibitions throughout the year including major traveling shows explore a variety of themes.Santa Barbara Museum Of Natural History
2559 Puesta del Sol Road. A nationally renowned museum specializing in California and North American West Coast natural history. Highlights include an Indian Hill with a diorama of prehistoric Indian life in the Santa Barbara area and the giant skeleton of a blue whale. Site of the region's only planetarium.Santa Barbara Public Library
40 East Anapamu Street. The popular library is housed in a spacious, two-story Spanish-style building opposite the Courthouse. It includes the Faulkner Gallery and Townley Room, with displays of works by local artists. Magnificent Peake-Warshaw murals can be viewed from the library entrance.Sea Center
Stearns Wharf. The Sea Center, operated by the Museum of Natural History, offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into marine life that inhabits the Santa Barbara Channel. Public parking is available on the wharf.State Street
This is Santa Barbara's main and most famous street. Following the 1925 earthquake, much of lower State Street was rebuilt as a beautiful Spanish style avenue lined with trees, plants, benches, and lamps. State Street is a favorite shopping area for both residents and visitors. Parking is available in ten city lots and garages stretching from Cota to Victoria Streets, with access on Anacapa and Chapala StreeUniversity Of California, Santa Barbara
UCSB's lovely seaside campus is located in Goleta, 12 miles west of Santa Barbara. The university, one of nine University of California campuses, has approximately 19,000 enrolled students (undergraduate and graduate). A highlight of the campus is Storke Tower and its magnificent carillon. The university sponsors many events which are open to the public: lectures, several concert series, films, theatre, poetry readings, and much more.Yacht Harbor And Breakwater
West Cabrillo Boulevard. Over 1,000 work and pleasure craft rest here. The flag-lined, manmade breakwater (constructed in 1924), has a paved walkway offering a 1/2-mile walking tour with harbor, city, and mountain views. Restaurants, shops, and a supply stores skirt the perimeter. This is the departure point for shoreline tours and sport fishing excursion boats. Launch facilities and boats for rent or charter are located at north end of harbor.Whale Watching
Whales, dolphins, and orcas frolic year-round in the nutrient-rich Santa Barbara Channel, one of the world's premier whale-watching arenas. The best time of year to see California gray whales is mid-December through the end of April, when nearly 25,000 of the gentle giants swim along the coastline during their annual north-south migrations. Best sightings of breaching, lobtailing humpback whales occur from May through December. Blue Whales, the largest animals on the face of the earth, often appear during the summer months, from May through September. For a closeup view of the whales, visitors can join a whale-watching expedition by boat. Sponsors of these cruises include the Museum of Natural History, and several commercial operators. These depart from the Yacht Harbor and are listed in the Sports and Recreation section.