what to see
what to see

For a city the size of Santa Barbara, the number of must-sees is quite astonishing. This is only a partial list:

Santa Barbara Mission and Rose Garden // 2201 Laguna St // Daily 9AM to 5PM
Santa Barbaras Old Mission is a superb example of California's Franciscan Spanish architecture. The tenth California Mission to be constructed, today it is both a scenic wonder and a fine anthropological study of original native culture in the surrounding area. $4 if you want to go through a self guided tour. Worth the trip to just see it from the outside and visit the rose garden!

Stearns Wharf // located at the end of State Street along the Waterfront
This picturesque 1872 wharf is the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco and has tons of history. Badly damaged several times by fire, Stearns Wharf has been repeatedly rebuilt and restored and today features more than a dozen shops and restaurants, and one of the best views in California from the end of its pier. Free.

Santa Barbara Zoo // 500 Ninos Dr // 10AM to 5PM
Small but well-represented with over 600 animals, the zoo has provided entertainment for all ages since 1963 and is the largest zoo between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Adults: $10. Children under 13/Seniors :60+ $8. Children under 2: Free.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden // 1212 Mission Canyon Road // 9AM-6PM
Located on 65 acres in the foothills just above the city, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden features exquisite exhibits of California native plants displayed in beautiful landscaped settings. Walk along a meadow, through a canyon and redwood forest, across a historic dam, and along ridge tops that offer sweeping views of the Channel Islands. Adults: $8. Children under 12: $4. Children under 2: Free.

Santa Barbara Courthouse // 1100 Anacapa Street // M-F 8AM to 5PM // Weekends 10AM to 430PM
Visiting the Courthouse is a must for any Santa Barbara visitors. The tower will provide great views of the city and the ocean, and the grounds are beautiful!

Lower State Street // Park anywhere between Micheltorena and Guiterrez
Take a walk up and down the famous State Street filled with shops and restaurants galore! There is plenty of parking downtown, the first 75 minutes are free, each hour after is $1.50 (cash only). The outdoor Paseo Nuevo Mall is between Ortega and Canon Perdido.