Santa Barbara Museums

European settlement in Santa Barbara dates all the way back to 1786. In a region so steeped with history, it’s no surprise that the city celebrates the works of mankind and nature with its many museums; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Historical Museum all offer ways to examine and appreciate the forces which shape and represent the world of today and that of the past. Santa Barbara museums are educational, stimulating, family-friendly, and a trip to one will a feeling of sophistication to your vacation. Read on to learn about these amazing museums in Santa Barbara!

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

No city is complete without an art museum. Similarly, no trip to a city would be complete without visiting such a local treasure. Luckily, there is more than one Santa Barbara art museum to explore! First up is The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which is proudly multicultural, with exhibits reaching into its American, Mexican, and Spanish roots as well as exhibits featuring works from or inspired by cultures from across the globe. Similarly, the museum embraces art in its many forms — from sculptures to sketches, from painting to photography.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Many who come to Santa Barbara come to enjoy its natural beauty. For those who appreciate forces such as climate and geography above those of man, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is the place to be. A historical exhibit in its own right, this Santa Barbara history museum is over 99 years old, and has a proud tradition of showing locals and tourists the magnificence of nature. The museum takes advantage of its location with a sea center that boasts a tide pool tank and a shark-touching pool. For those whose heads are always in the clouds, the museum also boasts a prestigious planetarium, including multimedia shows and presentations. A trip to the Natural History Museum will accentuate one’s love of Santa Barbara and Mother Earth.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Art is always changing — the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (or MCASB) makes sure that bold and innovative approaches to art have the chance to be recognized and celebrated. In accordance with its original vision that art should be accessible to all, this Santa Barbara art museum has no admission fee. With rotating exhibits, MCASB can always carry something unexpected in mediums you never imagined. If you came here once, why not come again and expand your mind even further?

Historical Museum

In a city over two hundred years old, one begins to appreciate the impact of the past on the present. To pay tribute its rich past, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum was founded in 1932. Little treasures from the past are put on display in this Santa Barbara history museum and reveal to us an entirely different world. Check out this view into the past — it’s the closest thing to time travel in the city!

After you are done exploring the many Santa Barbara museums, why not check out these other great activities in Santa Barbara: