Arts and Culture

You couldn’t ask for a more inspiring setting. Nestled between the mountains and the sea, Santa Barbara has always beckoned to those with creative spirit — artists and writers, celebrities, philosophers, anyone with a passion for the arts, culture, and the good life.

Thanks to them, and to the many waves of settlers here on The American Riviera®, there’s a rich legacy of cultural institutions and activities that enhance the lives of residents and visitors young and old, enough to keep one busy for a few days or a lifetime.

Santa Barbara and its surrounding areas are full of impressive landmarks that speak to the history of the region, dating back to the Chumash (Native American) tribes who settled in villages here and lived off the bounty of the land and the sea. The Spanish left their mark in architecture that evokes their religion and their homes, while the penchant of “Califorñios” for hospitality, horsemanship, music and dance all linger in Santa Barbara’s festive traditions. (Califorñios were 19th century families given land grants by Spain on which they built ranches and orchards.) Later, those who flocked here brought their passions for horticulture, art, education, and philanthropy, which have shaped the cultural riches we all enjoy. Through their efforts we have an abundance of museums and galleries, gardens and theaters, places to hear music and to appreciate nature.

However, none of this is frozen in the past. The creative spirit lives on, encouraged by today’s renowned college and university programs and nurtured by the keenly appreciative residents who relish the role of arts and culture in their lives.

Featured Arts & Culture in Santa Barbara


UCSB Arts & Lectures

Founded in 1959, UCSB Arts & Lectures is the largest and most influential arts and lectures organization between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This nationally recognized, award-winning program brings exceptional cultural and artistic…

Lobero Theatre

The Lobero Theatre is Santa Barbara's premier performing arts venue, featuring an exciting variety of modern dance, ballet,  jazz, lectures, classical music, opera and contemporary music performances. The Lobero Theatre is proud to be home to…

Old Mission Santa Barbara

The picturesque Mission lies between the majestic Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish heritage of the town is reflected in the architecture and street names of this popular destination.  The Mission grounds house the…

NEIGHBORHOODS & TOWNS NEIGHBORHOODS & TOWNS SIGNATURE EVENT ITINERARY IDEAS

How SB Got Its Spanish Vibe

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NEIGHBORHOODS & TOWNS NEIGHBORHOODS & TOWNS SIGNATURE EVENT ITINERARY IDEAS

Festivals To Plan For

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sb. Snapshots: A Visual Exploration of Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara the american riviera
santa barbara museum of natural history
historic landmarks santa barbara courthouse
santa barbara architecture
santa barbara architecture
downtown santa barbara