Santa Barbara Attractions
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Best Santa Barbara Attractions

Fun Places to Visit in Santa Barbara
Best Things To Do In Santa Barbara
Parks - Museums - Theater - Art Galleries - Antiques
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Attractions Santa Barbara Visitor Destinations

Santa Barbara Mission - The Queen of the Missions, this treasured Santa Barbara landmark was established in 1786. Mission Santa Barbara is the tenth of a group of 21 Franciscan missions that are located throughout California.

Mission Santa Barbara is still an operating church and holds regular masses. The public is allowed to view the mission grounds and self-guided tours are available daily from 9 to 5 for a fee of $4. To take the guided tour visit the gift shop which is located just to the left of the main church area.

Today more than two centuries after its founding the Mission remains not only the most prominent historic and cultural landmark of Santa Barbara, it also houses a community of Franciscan friars and an active Parish.

Also part of the Mission complex is a retreat center as well as conference rooms and guest rooms, gift shop and museum, a cemetery, and a mausoleum all set amidst beautiful landscaping. 

Mission Santa Barbara was founded on December 4, 1786, which is the date of the Feast of St. Barbara. The Spanish Franciscans who founded the first nine Franciscan missions in California included Padre Junipero Serra who had passed away two years prior to the founding of Mission Santa Barbara.

Serra had raised the cross at the Presidio of Santa Barbara in 1782 in anticipation of founding a mission in the area. After Serra passed away his successor Padre Fermin Francisco raised a cross at the Mission Santa Barbara site.

A companion of Padre Junipero Serra named Padre Antonio Paterna was placed in charge of Mission Santa Barbara and oversaw the construction of the initial buildings and was also responsible for bringing the first converts to Christianity into the Mission fold.

Before the construction of the church that you see on the site today, three churches made of adobe comprised the mission, and each was a different size. In 1808 the Mission Fountain was completed. 

The earthquake of 1812 destroyed one of the church structures, and then in 1820 the current church was dedicated. In 1870 the two-story Mission Friary was completed.

The ground would shake again in 1925 when an earthquake caused significant damage to the Mission Church as well as the Mission Friary. 

By 1927 repairs had been completed, and reinforcements to the church towers took place in 1953. 

Today more than two centuries after its founding the Mission remains not only the most prominent historic and cultural landmark of Santa Barbara, it also houses a community of Franciscan friars and an active Parish.

Also part of the Mission complex is a retreat center with conference rooms and guest rooms, a gift shop and museum, a cemetery, and a mausoleum all set amidst beautiful landscaping. 

Today a visit to Mission Santa Barbara is like a trip back in time to those historic days when the native Chumash people had villages throughout the area. Call (805) 682-4149 for more information. Mission Santa Barbara is located at 2201 Laguna St. in Santa Barbara.

Attractions Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Waterfront

Attractions Santa Barbara - Here are some great ideas of fun things to do in Santa Barbara and also a variety of fun Santa Barbara Attractions

Kayak Along the Coast - Several kayak and paddle sports companies offer guided tours along the Santa Barbara shoreline as well as Channel Island tours. Paddling along amidst the bird and sea life is an exhilarating experience you won’t soon forget. This can also be combined with a whale watching adventure (see above). 

Hike Santa Barbara - The scenic mountain country bordering the length of the Santa Barbara region provides a variety of opportunities for short or long mountain hikes, along streams, through oak groves and stands of mature sycamores and other trees, and along mountaintop ridges with spectacular views of the city of Santa Barbara, the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean, and the Channel Islands beyond. Santa Barbara is a hiker’s paradise.

Horseback Ride the Santa Barbara Back Country - Explore Santa Barbara’s wilderness areas on horseback to sense this area before it was settled. The scenic rolling hills make for great horseback riding adventures. Several companies offer horseback riding in Santa Barbara, and Captain Jack’s offers one tour that is combined with a kayaking adventure.

Surf the Waves of Santa Barbara - People travel from very far away to surf the waves of Rincon Point  just south of Santa Barbara, and it’s gentle cove area is a good place for beginners to practice when the waves are not too large. That is just one of many surf spots in the region, and you can rent surfboards at various Santa Barbara surf and sports shops. A fun local beach for beginners is Ledbetter Beach right near Santa Barbara City College.

Attractions Santa Barbara

Go Golfing - Santa Barbara’s moderate climate, which is not too hot or too cool, makes for perfect golfing conditions. If it is your first time try out the local favorite Sandpiper Golf Course (see above).

Watch a Santa Barbara Polo Game - On Sunday afternoons during the summer you can enjoy the sophisticated and rough elegance of a polo game in Carpinteria. The matches are sponsored by the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, and at half time you can help replace all of the divots! 

Visit a Santa Barbara Park - There are so many great parks in Santa Barbara that it is hard to know where to start. From Oak Park with its rustic natural setting to the Alameda Park downtown with its amazing kids playground, the choices are many. See our page in this website detailing all of the parks in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara Beaches - From the picnic-friendly Goleta Beach to the surfer’s paradise Ledbetter Beach to the popular volleyball site of East Beach and so many in between, Santa Barbara has a wonderful array of scenic and fun beaches to explore and enjoy. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Take a Tour - You can take trolley tours of downtown Santa Barbara and the 90-minute narrated tour shows you many Santa Barbara landmarks and historic structures. You can also venture up into the wine country of Santa Ynez Valley and beyond and take a wine tour. There are also lots of other tours available in the Santa Barbara area.

Rent a Bicycle - Enjoy the warm Santa Barbara breezes on leisurely bike ride along the waterfront, or if you are really adventurous ride up into the mountains. A variety of different wheeled vehicles are available for rent by the Santa Barbara Waterfront including rollerblades and vehicles for multiple people. Once you have worked up an appetite you will be right near the downtown area and all of its wonderful food choices.

Santa Barbara Attractions

Play Some Santa Barbara Tennis - There are a number of public tennis courts around town that beginners as well as experienced tennis players will enjoy. While kids under eighteen play for free, if you are an adult you need to buy a daily or an annual tennis permit.

Skateboard the Santa Barbara Skate Park - Located just near Stearns Wharf is Skater’s Point, a fabulously designed skating area for kids to practice their skills.

Go Fishing in Lake Cachuma or Lake Casitas - These two lakes very close to Santa Barbara town are fun places to throw out a line and see what strikes it. Santa Barbara also has fishing clubs and plenty of enthusiasts who will share your passion.

Attractions Santa Barbara - Your Source for Safe and Fun Santa Barbara Attractions.

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