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

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…


Summer Solstice Celebration

Santa Barbara’s Summer Solstice Celebration is a beloved annual tradition that kicks off the summer season with a dazzling parade and lineup of live performances. This year's festivities will take place on June 23-24, 2023, with a brilliant…



Casa del Herrero

Experience Montecito as it was during the 1920s and 1930s on a tour of Casa del Herrero, one of Santa Barbara’s finest architectural landmarks. Built in 1925 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2009, Casa del Herrero is an…


Architectural Foundation of SB

Founded in 1983, the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara is a public non-profit charitable corporation whose mission is to support and provide programs that promote education about the importance of art, architecture, and design excellence.…


Wildling Museum of Art and Nature

The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature, where art and nature meet, offers visitors a unique perspective on the importance of preserving our natural heritage. Through the eyes of artists, and education and field experiences, guests can renew their…


Hotel Virginia Santa Barbara, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Imbued with the history of the century-old Hotel Virginia, the Hotel Virginia Santa Barbara, Tapestry Collection by Hilton stands as a symbol of the city’s rich heritage and legacy of enduring hospitality. We offer the quality, convenience, and…


Additional Experiences


How SB Got Its Spanish Vibe
From red-tile clay roofs to street names, Santa Barbara is infused with the spirit of Spain.
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Festivals To Plan For
Mark your calendar. In Santa Barbara there’s something to celebrate all year long.
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3 Quintessential Days in SB
It’s easy to see the allure of Santa Barbara. Sample its charms with this 3-day itinerary.
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sb. Snapshots: A Visual Exploration of Santa Barbara