Everywhere you look in Santa Barbara there is some history to take in. Santa Barbara celebrates its heritage with a variety of attractions that focus on history and art native to the region. Take a look at these Santa Barbara attractions for a historical journey!
El Pueblo Viejo District
When visiting Santa Barbara, you have to check out the downtown neighborhood, the El Pueblo Viejo District. This historic area features building designs and artwork that is evocative of the city’s heritage. Expect to find red tile roofs and beautiful ironwork. El Pueblo Viejo District is home to many of the city’s historic attractions, making it easy to stop at a few all in one day. Also, don’t forget to check out the many unique shops and restaurants while you’re in the neighborhood!
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
One of the more popular and historic buildings in Santa Barbara is the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. This historic landmark was erected in 1929 and still functions as the county’s courthouse to this day. The building was designed in the Spanish-Colonial style for which Santa Barbara is known and boasts a red tile roof, elegant gardens, and a four-faced clock tower. As you tour the facility you will notice beautiful hand-painted murals that come to life. Even with the courthouse still operating, it is open for free daily tours. Drop-in tours are welcome Monday through Friday during the week from 8:00 AM to 5:00PM and on weekends from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. You will be provided with views of the incredible architecture and also a historical view into the county’s history.
One of the most exciting way to dive into the rich history of Santa Barbara is to explore the historic theatres in town. The Arlington Theatre has been open for nearly 100 years and first opened up as a movie palace. This historic theatre continues to host award winning plays, dance productions, independent films, and unique comedy productions every year. You can also catch the Santa Barbara International Film Festival here every February. Another historic theater to see in town is the Granada Theater found in the downtown neighborhood. You can catch ballet and symphony productions that feature national and international tours. There are several more historical theaters in town such as The New Vic and Riviera Theatre that offer a look into the history of the performing arts found in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara Historic Museum
One of the best ways to understand the history of Santa Barbara is by visiting the Santa Barbara Historic Museum. This historic attraction is found in the El Pueblo Viejo District and is one of the oldest institutions in the city. The Santa Barbara Historic Museum shares its extensive collection of artifacts, paintings, textiles, and decorative arts to its visitors. Each exhibit focuses on over 500 years of history found in the area with Mexican, American, and Spanish influences to be seen. The signature exhibit of the museum is The Story of Santa Barbara. This exhibit focuses on how the region evolved from the home of the Chumash people to the capital of the performing arts. You can also see the onsite historic pueblo buildings that date back to 1817 and 1836. The Sala Gallery features artwork that rotates every few months to offer a fresh selection to view. The Santa Barbara Historic Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sundays from noon to 5:00 PM; admission is only $7 for adults and free for children under 18 years of age.
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Santa Barbara also has a vital history with the Santa Barbara Harbor. Come see how the local community connects with the sea by visiting the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. This interactive museum features an array of exhibits including preserved artifacts, films, and pieces of art. Many of the exhibits are hands on letting your family understand the importance of the shore including its kelp forest and how to sail. The multimedia Munger Theater showcases a variety of films that further enhance the experience. Last but certainly not least, visitors will want to make sure to step out onto the harbor. You will be treated to panoramic views of the harbor and the local murals on display. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is open Thursday through Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
More History and Santa Barbara Attractions to Explore
As you can see, there are plenty of historical attractions to visit during your stay in Santa Barbara. Enjoy your stay by reserving one of our exclusive vacation rentals in the city. You will be close to all of these wonderful attractions while enjoying luxurious amenities.