Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara’s climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been promoted as the “American Riviera”.
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Top things to see and do in Santa Barbara
Spa & Relax
Enhance your Santa Barbara holiday vacation by enjoying one of several rejuvenating Santa Barbara spa services provided at the locally renowned “Spa del Mar”. Due to the popularity of the spa services, it is recommended that all Santa Barbara spa treatments be scheduled in advance. All scheduled appointments have a 24 hour cancellation policy
Santa Barbara has always been a haven for artists, artisans, wine makers and chefs looking for a slightly different approach. Thanks to the growth of The Funk Zone, this neighborhood location has exploded into a contemporary Santa Barbara sub-culture of artisan shops, art galleries, hip eateries, award-winning microbreweries, and even a craft distillery.
Santa Barbara County offers miles and miles of beautiful beaches, many of which are home to some of the best surf breaks and stand up paddle board zones along the West Coast. Moderate ocean temperatures and mild tides make a day at the beach all that more inviting.
Stearns Wharf is a pier in the harbor in Santa Barbara. When completed In 1872, it became the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Named for its builder, local lumberman John P. Stearns, the wharf served the passenger and freight shipping needs of California’s South Coast for over a quarter century. Before the wharf, passengers and cargo had to be rowed ashore through the breakers and kelp. Today, Stearns Wharf is Santa Barbara’s most visited landmark.
Santa Barbara Zoo
The Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres near the ocean. It was built on the site of what was known as the Child Estate. The zoo has been ranked numerous times as one of the nation’s best small zoos. It has more than 500 animals in numerous exhibits, including capybara and California condors, and is famous for having had a giraffe with a crooked neck. It also features a few non-animal attractions, such as the 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge Zoo Train, complete with a pair of Chance Rides C.P. Huntington locomotives. The zoo first opened in August 1963.
Come take advantage of Santa Barbara Golf with three of the best Santa Barbara Golf Courses in Santa Barbara County. These Santa Barbara Golf Courses include the Glen Annie, Rancho San Marcos, and the Sandpiper golf courses.
Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara is a Spanish mission founded by the Franciscan order near present-day Santa Barbara. It was founded by Padre Fermín Lasuén on December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara, as the tenth mission for the religious conversion of the indigenous local Chumash—Barbareño tribe of Native American people. The mission is the namesake of the city of Santa Barbara as well as Santa Barbara County. The Mission grounds occupy a rise between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains,
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is located at 1100 Anacapa Street. The Spanish Colonial Revival style building was designed by William Mooser III and completed in 1929. Architect Charles Willard Moore called it the “grandest Spanish Colonial Revival structure ever built,” and the prime example of Santa Barbara’s adoption of Spanish Colonial as its civic style. The building replaced a smaller Greek Revival courthouse built at the same location in 1872–88 and badly damaged in an earthquake on June 29, 1925.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a 78 acre botanical garden, containing over 1,000 species of rare and indigenous plants. The purpose of the Garden is to display California native plants in natural settings. There are approximately 5.7 mi of hiking trails within the garden. Mission Creek flows through the premises, and includes a rock dam which was constructed in 1806.
Lotusland is the historic estate of Madame Ganna Walska and current location of a non-profit botanical garden in uniquely designed landscape gardens located in Montecito. The Lotusland botanic garden is open to the public by advance reservation only, with walking tours 1½ to 2 hours long through the distinctive gardens. The gardens are open to the public Wednesday through Saturday for the 9-month period from February 15 to November 15. There are two tours a day, the first at 10:00 am and the second at 1:30 pm. The County of Santa Barbara restricts visitation via a conditional use permit and reservations are required.