About Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara is located about 90 miles (145 km) WNW of Los Angeles, along the Pacific coast. This stretch of coast along southern Santa Barbara County is sometimes referred to as “The American Riviera”, presumably because its geography and climate are similar to that of areas along the northern Mediterranean Sea coast (especially in southern France) known as the Riviera. The Santa Ynez Mountains, an east–west trending range, rise dramatically behind the city, with several peaks exceeding 4,000 feet (1,200 m). Covered with chaparral and sandstone outcrops, they make a scenic backdrop to the town. Sometimes, perhaps once every three years, snow falls on the mountains, but it rarely stays for more than a few days. Nearer to town, directly east and adjacent to Mission Santa Barbara, is an east-west ridge known locally as “the Riviera,” traversed by a road called “Alameda Padre Serra” (shortened APS, which translates to “Father Serra’s pathway”).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 42.0 square miles (108.8 km2), of which 19.5 square miles (51 km2) of it is land and 22.5 square miles (58 km2) of it (53.61%) is water. The high official figures for water is due to the extension of the city limit into the ocean, including a strip of city reaching out into the sea and inland again to keep the Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) within the city boundary.
Santa Barbara experiences a warm-summer Mediterranean climate characteristic of coastal California. Because the city lies along the ocean, onshore breezes moderate temperatures resulting in warmer winters and cooler summers compared with places farther inland. In the winter, storms reach California, some of which bring heavy rainfall. Summers in Southern California are mostly rainless due to the presence of a high-pressure area over the eastern Pacific.
Santa Barbara is a year-round tourist destination renowned for its fair weather, downtown beaches, and Spanish architecture. Tourism brings more than one billion dollars per year into the local economy, including $80 million in tax revenue. In addition to the city’s cultural assets, several iconic destinations lie within the city’s limits. Mission Santa Barbara, “The Queen of the Missions,” is located on a rise about two miles (3 km) inland from the harbor, and is maintained as an active place of worship, sightseeing stop, and national historic landmark. The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a red tiled Spanish-Moorish structure, provides a sweeping view of the downtown area from its open air tower. The Presidio of Santa Barbara, a Spanish military installation and chapel built in 1782, was central to the town’s early development and remains an icon of the city’s colonial roots. In 1855, the Presidio Chapel, being in decay, grew into the Apostolic College of Our Lady of Sorrows, now Our Lady of Sorrows Church. The present church, consecrated on the 147th anniversary of the founding of the presidio on April 21, 1929, remains one of the most beautiful churches in California.
The annual Santa Barbara French Festival takes place Bastille Day weekend in July. This is the largest French Festival in the western United States.
New Noise Music Conference and Festival, established in 2009, is a 4-day event with the main party in the Funk Zone, a small art and wine tasting section of the city near the beach, and other small bands to local venues around the city. New Noise brings in over 75 bands and 50 speakers to the festival each year.
For over 40 years, the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show has been held on Cabrillo Blvd., east of Stearns Wharf and along the beach, attracting thousands of people to see artwork made by artists and crafts people that live in Santa Barbara county. By the rules of the show, all the works displayed must have been made by the artists and craftspeople themselves, who must sell their own goods. The show started in the early 1960s, and now has over 200 booths varying in size and style on any Sunday of the year. The show is also held on some Saturdays that are national holidays, but not during inclement weather.
In recent years, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, another local non-profit, has also become a major draw bringing over 50,000 attendees during what is usually Santa Barbara’s slow season in late January. SBIFF hosts a wide variety of celebrities, premieres, panels and movies from around the world and runs for 10 days.
The annual Summer Solstice Parade draws up to 100,000 people. It is a colorful themed parade put on by local residents, and follows a route along State Street for approximately one mile, ending at Alameda Park. Its main rule is that no written messages or banners with words are allowed. Floats and costumes vary from the whimsical to the outrageous; parties and street events take place throughout the weekend of the parade, the first weekend after the solstice.
Mission Santa Barbara, also known as Santa Barbara Mission, is a Spanish mission founded by the Franciscan order near present-day Santa Barbara, California. 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 of Santa Barbara County.
2201 Laguna St. Santa Barbara, California 93105
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. Stearns Wharf stands today as Santa Barbara’s most visited landmark. Come for the best food and the best views in all of Santa Barbara. You will find char-burgers and fish and chips at Char West; casual dining at Longboards Grill; fresh fish, steaks, prime rib, cocktails, and fine wines at the Harbor Restaurant; casual dining and the catch of the day at Moby Dicks Restaurant; and local crustaceans, shrimp, and other seafood specialties at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company.
217 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is located at 1100 Anacapa Street, in downtown Santa Barbara, California. 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.
1100 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Widely regarded as a model botanic garden, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a living museum and a member of the American Alliance of Museums, dedicated to research, education, and conservation of California native plants. As an accredited museum and botanic garden, the SBBG differentiates itself from being just another beautiful place with open space and pretty flowers. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a living museum where collections-based research preserves California native plants and displays them in a beautiful setting.
1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountain foothills and the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club beckons to you. Club Members enjoy an array of amenities including 87 well manicured acres, two clubhouses, stabling, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and eight tennis courts. On Friday’s and Sunday’s the Club welcomes the public for Happy Hour and Sunday Polo.
3375 Foothill Rd #1200, Carpinteria, CA 93013
Are you wondering where you can go and please everyone in the family? The Santa Barbara Harbor has something for everyone: boat rentals, kayaks, Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs), jet skis, a Maritime Museum, sunbathing on the beach, restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, a water taxi, and whale watching, even an ice cream cone to enjoy in the shade.
132-A Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109
Quietly nestled against a scenic mountain range, the Vedanta center in Santa Barbara overlooks the Pacific ocean. A convent of four nuns oversees the maintenance of the 45-acre property, manages the bookstore and facilitates public activities at the temple. Activities include daily worship, meditation and vesper services, Sunday spiritual talks, scripture classes, and pujas (special worship services). The Society celebrates Durga Puja every year in the Santa Barbara temple.
927 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Madame Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, purchased the Montecito, California estate in 1941 and spent the next 43 years creating Lotusland, which is now recognized as one of the ten best gardens in the world. The spectacular collections of exotic plants throughout the 37-acre property are a very personal expression of Walska’s penchant for the dramatic, the unexpected, and the whimsical. Lotusland is home to several extraordinary plant collections and around each corner there is the unexpected – a surprise of unique garden design and plant species.
695 Ashley Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108