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


Recommended

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…


Recommended

Lotusland

Bask in Santa Barbara’s botanical beauty on a visit to Lotusland, a stunning 37-acre Montecito estate once owned by the late Madame Ganna Walska. A well-known opera singer and socialite, she purchased the property in 1941 and spent the next…



Surreal Virtual Reality Studio

Surreal will blow you away! It's the ultimate Virtual Reality Studio located right on State street. Fun for all ages and group sizes. Special events and Birthday parties are available. Take on thrilling missions, travel into…


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…


Holiday Inn Express Santa Barbara

Imbued with the history of the century-old Hotel Virginia, the Holiday Inn Express Santa Barbara stands as a symbol of the city’s rich heritage and legacy of enduring hospitality. We offer the quality, convenience, and value that only Holiday Inn…


Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Founded in 1916 as the Museum of Comparative Oology, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has evolved to include more than 3.5 million specimens covering every aspect of natural history—from mammals, birds, and marine life to geology,…


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