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Santa Barbara Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Santa Barbara

Nowadays widely regarded as a posh location favored by the rich and famous, Santa Barbara is a beautiful coastal town and a popular weekend spot in Southern California. Other than its beaches and warm climate, the city is also famous for its red-tile roofed stucco architecture, reflecting Spanish colonial heritage, and a plethora of cultural attractions. Follow this orientation walk and discover Santa Bardara in its entirety.
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Santa Barbara Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Santa Barbara Introduction Walk
Guide Location: USA » Santa Barbara (See other walking tours in Santa Barbara)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: HollyZ
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • De La Guerra Plaza(City Hall)
  • Casa de La Guerra
  • Santa Barbara Historical Museum
  • Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara
  • Santa Barbara County Courthouse
  • Santa Barbara Public Library
  • Arlington Theater
  • State Street
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art
  • Moreton Bay Fig Tree
  • Santa Barbara Waterfront
De La Guerra Plaza(City Hall)

1) De La Guerra Plaza(City Hall)

De la Guerra Plaza was a public gathering place and festival area as far back as Santa Barbara's Mexican Alta California era. The plaza is located in front of the De la Guerra Adobe.
Now,De La Guerra Plaza is a small park type area in downtown Santa Barbara, next to the Santa Barbara News Press. It is best known for the activities that take place there during Santa Barbara's huge annual Fiesta, early every August. There are booths, musical performances and lots of festivities for the downtown area in De La Guerra Plaza.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Casa de La Guerra

2) Casa de La Guerra (must see)

The Casa de la Guerra was the residence of the fifth commandant of the Presidio de Santa Barbara, José de la Guerra y Noriega from 1828 until his death in 1858. The site is currently owned and operated by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation as a historic house museum.

The time when José lived in the casa it was known to locals as the casa grande (big house), as the thirteen room structure dwarfed the surrounding one room adobes. In the casa grande period, José added the altito structure. The altito structure no longer stands, but acted as José's office and was where he stored his money.

The most significant changes in this time were the removal of the adobe columns in favor of wooden columns and the addition of wooden siding to the house.

The Casa is a Santa Barbara City Landmark, a California Historical Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (as a part of a composite object El Paseo and Casa de la Guerra).

The Casa de la Guerra interior is open to visitors Saturdays and Sundays, although the exterior may be explored any time.

Operating hours: Saturday – Sunday: 12 pm – 4 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Barbara Historical Museum

3) Santa Barbara Historical Museum

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is located in Santa Barbara. It features relics from Chumash, Spanish, Mexican, Yankee, and Chinese cultures, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum boasts artifacts, photographs, furnishings and textiles, dating as far back as the 15th century.

In October 1932 a voluntary association was formed consisting of representatives from a number of local organizations. This new association was the Santa Barbara Historical Society. Soon after its founding, the Society was offered the “tower” room in the Santa Barbara County Courthouse as an exhibition space. The Society’s growth necessitated a larger space than the courthouse tower room. Katherine Bagg Hastings offered her home and arranged to transfer ownership of the house to the Society upon her death. The Society would remain housed in the Old Mission for the next eleven years. In 1959 the Society acquired the Judge Charles Fernald Mansion. After a massive restoration project, Fernald House opened to the public as an historic home museum in 1962.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm; Sunday: 12 – 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara

4) Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara (must see)

El Presidio Real de Santa Bárbara, also known as the Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara, is a former military installation in Santa Barbara. The presidio was built by Spain in 1782, with the mission of defending the Second Military District in California. In modern times, the Presidio serves as a significant tourist attraction, museum and an active archaeological site as part of El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. The park contains an original adobe structure called El Cuartel, which is the second oldest surviving building in California. The Presidio was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Only two portions of the original presidio quadrangle survive to this day: the Cañedo Adobe, and the remnants of a two-room soldiers quarters, called El Cuartel. The site’s operator reconstructed the rest of the site, with the most recent construction—two rooms in the northwest corner of the site—finished in May 2006. The reconstruction is ongoing, with the construction of two more rooms in the northwest corner beginning in December 2007.

The site of the Presidio was chosen by Felipe de Neve, the first governor of Las Californias. Construction began on April 21. By the next year, a temporary facility had been completed. The Presidio was built as a fortress, and therefore included a strong outer wall with an open parade ground on all sides affording clear visibility. Several devastating earthquakes in the early 19th century destroyed much of the structure. In 1963, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation was founded, with the primary mission of restoring the Presidio.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Barbara County Courthouse

5) Santa Barbara County Courthouse (must see)

Spanish Colonial Revival style building was designed by William Mooser III and completed in 1929. Architect Charles Willard Moore called it the "grandest Spanish Colonial Revival structure ever built," and the prime example of Santa Barbara's adoption of Spanish Colonial as its civic style. The building replaced a smaller Greek Revival courthouse built at the same location in 1872–88 and badly damaged in an earthquake on June 29, 1925.

The courthouse is composed of four buildings, totaling 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2). It includes a Jail Wing, which is no longer used to hold prisoners. Visitors may take elevators to the summit of the 85 ft (26 m) "El Mirador" clock tower, which has labeled photographs that show what the viewer is looking at in all directions.

Occupying an entire city block, the grounds contain a collection of palms and specimen trees from more than 25 countries. The courthouse hosts many events, particularly at the Sunken Garden, site of the 1872 courthouse.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Barbara Public Library

6) Santa Barbara Public Library

The Santa Barbara Public Library is the largest element of the library system which serves Santa Barbara County, containing 365,008 volumes. It circulates 1,585,836 items annually to approximately 225,000 residents.

The Faulkner Art Gallery, and Faulkner East and West Galleries, are also located within the library building.

The library building was designed in 1924 by the architect Carleton Winslow in the Italianate style.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Arlington Theater

7) Arlington Theater (must see)

The Arlington Theater is the largest movie theater and principal performing arts venue in Santa Barbara. In addition to regular screenings and artists, it is home to many events associated with the annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The Arlington was built in 1931 on the former site of the Arlington Hotel, which was destroyed following the 1925 earthquake. The current structure was erected in 1930 as a showcase movie house for Fox West Coast Theaters. It was restored and expanded in the mid-1970s by Metropolitan Theaters Corporation. It opened in its current incarnation in 1976.

The interior is elaborately decorated. The ceilings of the lobbies are heavily beamed and painted. The auditorium itself seats 2,000 on the main floor and balcony. It is built to give the theatergoer the impression that he is sitting outside in the plaza of a colonial Spanish town, each wall features houses, staircases, and balconies, not painted on but built out from the walls.
Sight description based on wikipedia
State Street

8) State Street

On State Street , you’ll find plenty of surf shops, as well as the best of the stores and brands you already know and love. Additionally, you’ll find the entrance to Paseo Nuevo Mall. Loaded with shops and showrooms, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, State Street is definitely the main artery in town.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art

9) Santa Barbara Museum of Art (must see)

It was founded in 1941 and currently ranks amongst the top 10 regional art museums in the United States. It is home to both permanent and special collections, the former of which includes Asian, American, and European art that spans 4,000 years from ancient to modern. The permanent collection also includes pre-Columbian sculpture, African sculpture, musical instruments, the Alice Schott Doll Collection, which includes dolls from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, American and European paintings, and French Impressionists. The American art collection contains early portraits as well as 19th- and 20th century still lifes, landscapes and sculptures. The Asian art collection contains art from China, Japan, Tibet, India and South-east Asia.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Moreton Bay Fig Tree

10) Moreton Bay Fig Tree (must see)

Santa Barbara's Moreton Bay Fig Tree is believed to be the largest Ficus macrophylla in the country.

A seaman, visiting Santa Barbara in 1876, presented a seedling of an Australian Moreton Bay Fig tree to a local girl who planted it at 201 State Street. After the girl moved away a year later, her girlfriend, Adeline Crabb, transplanted the tree to the corner of Montecito and Chapala streets on land then owned by the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. The tree was officially designated as a historic landmark in 1970, and the property was deeded to the City of Santa Barbara in 1976. The tree has since been placed on the California Register of Big Trees.

In July 1997 the circumference of the tree at 4-1/2 feet above ground was 498 inches (41-1/2 feet). The average crown spread was 176 feet and the total height was 80 feet. Measured in 2010, the widest spread of the branches is 198 feet (60 m). The trunk diameter above the buttress roots is 12.5 feet.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Santa Barbara Waterfront

11) Santa Barbara Waterfront (must see)

The Waterfront ranges from Leadbetter Beach, past the Harbor, West Beach, Stearns Wharf, Chase Palm Park, the Zoological Gardens and to East Beach. Along this stretch of incredible coastline you will find restaurants, shops, artists, and a bike trail.

Walking Tours in Santa Barbara, California

Create Your Own Walk in Santa Barbara

Create Your Own Walk in Santa Barbara

Creating your own self-guided walk in Santa Barbara is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Santa Barbara Art Galleries

Santa Barbara Art Galleries

Santa Barbara is a poplar tourist destination in California. This lively city has a number of art galleries hosting exciting art collections. Most of the galleries highlight the visual creativity of local artists. The following walking tour will help you discover the most visited art galleries in Santa Barbara.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
Santa Barbara Downtown Walk

Santa Barbara Downtown Walk

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city in California. Popular as a tourist resort, the city has everything you need to enjoy a fabulous holiday – sunny beach, interesting museums, art galleries, numerous lovely shops and an impressive historic architecture. This walking tour will guide you to Santa Barbara’s most popular tourist attractions.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Santa Barbara Shopping Tour

Santa Barbara Shopping Tour

Santa Barbara has plenty of world class retail shops and diverse local crafts shops for pleasing the most meticulous consumers. Wonderful outdoor paseos, shadowed plazas and long-brick sidewalks make shopping in Santa Barbara the most enjoyable way to spend your free time. Take this tour to discover the best venues for shopping in Santa Barbara.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Museums Walk

Museums Walk

Santa Barbara has a variety of interesting museums, most of them situated in the downtown area of the city and in the harbor, the most important of which is Santa Barbara's Old Mission and Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Discover the astonishing Spanish heritage of America and the beauty and richness of local nature through this Museums self-guided walking tour.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.1 Km or 4.4 Miles