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, including:

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.

Arts & Culture in Santa Barbara


Recommended

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation

Ignite your mind at MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, Santa Barbara’s one-of-a-kind destination for hands-on scientific and creative experiences. Located in the flourishing Funk Zone neighborhood, MOXI invites kids, families…


Recommended

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Celebrate 5,000 years of human history and creativity on a visit to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. First opened in 1941, the Museum is located in the heart of downtown in a stately building that was once the Santa Barbara Post Office.…


Recommended

Santa Barbara Zoo

Explore the wonders of the natural world at the Santa Barbara Zoo, where the beauty of the wildlife is matched only by the lush grounds and sweeping views. Located just two miles from State Street, this 30-acre park is home to more than 146…


Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club

Established in 1911, the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is the third oldest polo facility in the United States and is world renowned for its four lush polo fields and international outdoor competition. In addition to the playing fields and…



The Simpson House Inn

Nestled within an acre of lush English gardens is Simpson House Inn, a Santa Barbara historic landmark featuring 15 guest rooms, suites and cottages. A short walk from the bustling downtown and State Street shopping, the Simpson House Inn is…


Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure – Santa Barbara

Turn Santa Barbara into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt adventure.  Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour.  Guided from any smart phone, teams make their way among well known and…


Additional Experiences


How SB Got Its Spanish Vibe

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Festivals To Plan For

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3 Quintessential Days in SB

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sb. Snapshots: A Visual Exploration of Santa Barbara