Explore Santa Barbara, Goleta, Los Olivos, Buellton and other nearby cities in Santa Barbara County.
Old Mission Santa Barbara was founded in 1786 by the Spanish Franciscans. Originally, there were three adobe churches constructed and each was bigger than the last. After the third church was destroyed by the 1812 earthquake, the present church was built in 1820. Today, the Old Mission is a standing monument that reflects California’s rich cultural diversity.
Cities are always searching for new ways to improve or expand, yet with Santa Barbara’s year-round mild weather, gleaming Spanish colonial buildings, and laid-back surf culture, it’s hard to think of anything that could really improve this California destination.
Santa Barbara County has a long south-facing stretch of the Central California coastline with a Mediterranean feel. It’s no wonder that the city of Santa Barbara is known as The American Riviera. There are several great beaches along this stretch and some get few visitors compared to others.
Santa Barbara is home to rose gardens, estates that evoke the Victorian age, and venues that hark back to Spanish-Moorish styles, which complement Santa Barbara’s architecture. In addition, there are also nature preserves with trails that allow visitors to experience the region’s native flora in its original setting.
Santa Barbara contains numerous performing art venues, including the 2,000 seat Arlington Theatre, which is the largest indoor performance venue in Santa Barbara and site of the annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Other major venues include the Lobero Theatre, a historic building and favorite venue for small concerts; the Granada Theater, the tallest building downtown, originally built by contractor C.B. Urton in 1924, but with the theatre remodeled and reopened in March 2008; and the Santa Barbara Bowl, a 4,562 seat outdoor amphitheatre in a canyon at the base of the Riviera.