Presidio Neighborhood

Take a step back in time and discover Santa Barbara’s unique and rich history in the Presidio Neighborhood. Located in the middle of downtown Santa Barbara, this vibrant, bustling district is where Santa Barbara officially got its start. It’s home to a variety of neighborhood shops and eateries that capture the open-air appeal of coastal California and the European ambiance for which the city is known.

The ivy covered entrance to the walkways of El Paseo.
The ivy covered entrance to the walkways of El Paseo. Photo Credit: Mark Weber

Enjoy a self-guided or docent-led tour inside the Presidio walls and Casa de la Guerra, one of the first Royal Presidio army comandante homes, to gain insight into the daily lives of the city’s founders. If you skip the tours, be sure to walk through parts of the de la Guerra home and El Cuartel — the second oldest building in California — to see how the early settlers lived and worked with their families.

Can’t get enough Santa Barbara history? Visit the Santa Barbara Historical Museum where original relics and art pieces are displayed in rotation every few months from the vast collection housed in the 10,000-square-foot underground vault. Every trip to the museum guarantees a fresh perspective on Santa Barbara’s history. For an active history lesson, try a self-guided Red Tile Walking Tour via podcast any day of the week.

Wander through the catacomb-like hallways of Paseo de la Guerra, one of the oldest outdoor shopping arcades in California, for an afternoon of wine tasting. Half a dozen different tasting rooms make up the wineries of the Presidio Neighborhood and they await your expert palate and opinion.

Popular in Presidio Neighborhood

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The Presidio Neighborhood

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