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.

Arts & Culture in Santa Barbara



Santa Barbara Symphony

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,…


Music Academy of the West

The Music Academy of the West advances the development of 21st century classically trained musicians and cultivates discerning, appreciative, and adventurous audiences. Founded in 1947, the Academy operates on a 10-acre, ocean-side campus in Santa…


PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theatre

PCPA Theaterfest, the Central Coast's Resident Professional Theatre Company, presents a variety of contemporary works, classics and musicals year round in Santa Maria and during the summer in Solvang at the open-air Festival Theater. 


The Painted Cabernet

The Painted Cabernet is a locally-owned paint and sip studio. If you aren’t an artist or haven’t painted before, step into The Painted Cabernet and your inner artist will be found! Our instructional artist will guide you through the…


Cal Coast Adventures

If you’re looking for a rental or tour of Santa Barbara or just something fun to do, you’ve found the right place! Cal Coast Adventures offers 10 different types of bike tours from electric bike tours of the city to leisurely mountain…


Santa Barbara Tasting Tours

At Santa Barbara Tasting Tours, we specialize in intimate food walking tours that give guests a behind-the-scenes look into our bountiful local food scene and the rich history of the area. Our walking tours stop for tastings at…


Additional Experiences


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
historic landmarks santa barbara courthouse
downtown santa barbara
santa barbara architecture