Architecture of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is one of the most glamorous cities in California, with gorgeous Spanish-style architecture and impressive palm-lined waterfront, all covered in mountains that glow pink in the late evening light. In 1925, a major earthquake destroyed much of the city and it was rebuilt in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, resulting in the exquisite architecture you see today.
Many of Santa Barbara's top tourist attractions are close to each other, making it a convenient city to explore and there are plenty of adventure activities for the kids. Other popular things to do include exploring the magnificent Mission of Santa Barbara and the city's lovely museums, meeting wild animals at the zoo, shopping in the palm alleys along State Street, watching humpback whales jump off the ocean, exploring some scenic hiking trails. The city also hosts eventful parties throughout the year.
Let's take a look at the most famous architecture attractions in this city.
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara was founded in 1786 but remained unfinished until 1820.
The Mission has stunning architecture: its Ionic columns and Roman façade are borrowed from drawings by Vitruvius Pollio dated 27 BC.
Roman features appeared thanks to Saint Barbara, the namesake of the Mission, the first Christian martyr. The Mission played an essential role in the city's life, as many influential hidalgo and americanos attended its school for boys in the middle of the 19th century.
Mission priests helped preserve the Chumash Indians living in the area. A plaque commemorating Juan Maria, a Chumash woman, was one of many dedicated to Native Americans on the mission.
Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Completed in 1929, following an earthquake that destroyed most of the city in 1925, this national (and state) historic landmark is one of the city's architecture attractions. This downtown building occupies a full city block and exemplifies the Spanish Colonial Revival style. As you wander through the tiled corridors, notice the hand-painted ceilings; richly decorated with tiles, some of which are from Tunisia and Spain; and wrought iron chandeliers. Another attraction is the Mural Room, which tells the story of Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara Natural History Museum and Maritime Center
For more than a century, this award-winning museum has featured fascinating displays of the region's natural history. Today, the museum includes two campuses: the Mission Canyon campus, nestled in beautiful oak woodland along Mission Creek, and the Stearns Wharf Marine Center, which offers a window into the underwater world of the Santa Barbara Canal.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art has an impressive art collection for such a small town, with over 27,000 pieces spanning 5,000 years. The museum is particularly renowned for its collection of paintings by Claude Monet, classical antiquities, 19th and 20th century American and European art, contemporary American painting, Asian art and photography.
Arches are found literally at every step and can rightfully be called the hallmark of the city. Almost half of the main street buildings have arched entrances, galleries or windows, which add a special charm to the local architecture.
No city is complete without churches, and Santa Barbara is no exception. The most famous in the city are the Franciscan Monastery and the Church of the Spanish Mission.
Santa Barbara is an interesting romantic small town where you can drink wine, go to restaurants, go shopping, admire the architecture and enjoy a measured lifestyle.