Do you love sunny skies, stunning beaches, and breathtaking landscapes? If so, then Santa Barbara is the perfect destination for you! With so many things to do and see in this beautiful city, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide of all the best things to do in Santa Barbara. Read on for some amazing activities that will make your visit unforgettable!
1. Mission Santa Barbara
Visitors to Santa Barbara can explore some of the top free things to do including one of the city’s most iconic attractions, Old Mission Santa Barbara. Often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Missions,’ it was founded by Padre Fermín in 1786 and completed in 1820 with the help of Chumash Indians under his leadership. It offers visitors a glimpse at the beautiful Mission church interior and views of the San Ynez mountains and Pacific Ocean.
During the I Madonnari festival, visitors can also see great (but temporary) works of art, hear live music, and enjoy a variety of activities throughout the day. For more outdoor activities, Arroyo Burro Beach Park (or Hendry’s as it’s locally known) is a great family-friendly beach with a gentle surf and plenty of picnic areas. But there is plenty more to explore in Santa Barbara, from downtown shopping to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
2. Explore Downtown Santa Barbara
Exploring Downtown Santa Barbara is a must for any visitor. From the beautiful architecture of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, to the hand-painted murals that adorn the walls, there is something for everyone.
Take a stroll down State Street and explore the numerous boutique shops, galleries and restaurants. Or, enjoy an afternoon at Stearns Wharf and take in the captivating views of the harbor and beaches. No matter what your interests are, a trip to Downtown Santa Barbara is sure to provide something for everyone.
3. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a must-visit for those looking to explore the area’s natural history. From the animatronic dinosaurs in the Prehistoric Forest to the Chumash Life exhibit detailing the lives of Santa Barbara’s native people, there is something for everyone at this museum.
Take a tour of the butterfly pavilion or explore the Curiosity Lab, perfect for discovering new and exciting things. And don’t forget to take a peek at Chad, the 74-foot Blue Whale Skeleton! After a day exploring the natural wonders of Santa Barbara, spend some time fishing off Goleta Pier or take an outdoor excursion at one of the many nearby parks. Whether you’re interested in history or nature, there is something for everyone near Mission Santa Barbara and Downtown Santa Barbara.
4. Outdoor Activities
Santa Barbara has plenty of outdoor activities to keep everyone entertained. From biking and hiking to sea kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, there’s something for everyone. Visit Inspiration Point for incredible views of the city, or take a tour with the Santa Barbara Adventure Company to explore the nearby wilderness. For more adventurous activities, try rock climbing in the Santa Ynez Valley or surfing off Rincon Point.
The Electric Bike Tour is also a great way to explore the city, as you’ll get to see all the sights without breaking a sweat! No matter what activity you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in Santa Barbara.
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