Places to visit in Santa Barbara CA

(Updated: 09/29/2014 3:59 pm EDT)

Places to visit in Santa Barbara CA
Best Places to visit in California
Santa Barbara boasts certainly some of the best beaches in southern California and it's no doubt, one of the top places to visit along the California Coast!

Santa Barbara boasts the richest Spanish colonial heritage which include adobe buildings such as the Mission (pictured) which is the oldest building in California.


Santa Barbara is one of the trendiest and upscale places in California and you can enjoy anything from hikes in the Santa Barbara Mountains, strolls along the beach to fun water activities like surfing, shopping and dining.

If you’re wondering about sightseeing opportunities and tourist attractions, there are many historical landmarks, museums and places to visit in Santa Barbara as well such as:

Museum of Natural History Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara’s history museum is located near Rocky Nook Park and if you’re looking for ways to spend a nice afternoon learning a bit about nature and the history of the area, this museum has nice nature exhibits about butterflies and other wildlife, as well as interesting history exhibits about the Native tribes such as the Chumash.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

If you’re looking for a relaxing place to unwind, or spend a day out with the family close to nature, the botanic garden is located about the Mission Canyon, just a short drive from downtown Santa Barbara.

You’ll be able to take hikes through the Botanic Garden’s many beautiful scenic trails and kids will definitely enjoy chasing lizards and climbing on the rocks.

El Presidio De Santa Barbara State Historic Park

El Presido is a free attraction located near Lobero Theatre in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. El Presidio is another great place to visit if you want to learn more about the founding of Santa Barbara and check out – El Cuartel - which is the second oldest building in Santa Barbara.

Lake Cachuma Recreation Area

If you fancy taking a nature trip not far from Santa Barbara for a day or two to enjoy the outdoors, head to Lake Cachuma Recreation Area.

The recreation area makes for another exciting fun day out with friends or family, and it is 50 minutes drive northwest of Santa Barbara so it’s not too far.

The recreation area is also nearby Santa Ynez Valley wineries where you'll be able to enjoy a bit of wine tasting, if you wished.

Mission Santa Barbara

Located near the Santa Barbara municipal golf course in the downtown area, the Mission (pictured) is the most popular places to visit in Santa Barbara CA because is the oldest Spanish landmark in the city and the best thing is that you can tour the premises and see the actual church, the fountain and the Hannon statue of Blessed Serra.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

The courthouse is definitely one of the top places to visit in Santa Barbara CA because of the observation tower which you can climb to on the elevator to enjoy panoramic views of the city.

The actual courthouse itself is a beautiful building to look at both inside and out as well, and you can explore all of it on a free tour.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

The museum of art is just a short walk from the county courthouse and it’s a great place to visit, not just for the permanent art collection, but also for other international exhibits like on Asian art such as Korean photography. You have to pay to get into this museum, though it is free on Sundays.

Ty Warner Sea Center

The Ty Warner Sea Center is another family-friendly attraction and a great place to visit for a fun and educational day out.

The center is located on Santa Barbara pier and boasts many interactive exhibits like touch screens, and hands on activities where you can enjoy doing experiments in the science lab area. You’ll also be able to pet all kinds of marine life such star fish, shark, etc.

Skater’s Point

Skater’s Point is a nice skate boarding park, located adjacent Ty Warner Sea Center, where you can enjoy a bit of street and bowl riding skating. If you don’t intend on doing skate boarding, you can always see cool moves performed by pro skaters there.

Lake Los Carneros Park

Lake Los Carneros Park is another of the places to visit in Santa Barbara CA where you can soak in Santa Barbara’s countryside and wildlife.

The park is only 15 minutes drive west of downtown Santa Barbara and also features many hiking trails where you’ll be able to walk along while spotting wildlife.

Within the park, you’ll be able to visit other attractions such as the South Coast Railroad Museum and enjoy the fun train ride which takes around the park; as well as a tour inside of the Stow House which remains the same as it was back in the 19th century featuring old photographs and furniture from the time.

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