Walking Tour of Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara, California, lies along the coast, north of Los Angeles, and can be easily accessed via the Pacific Coast Highway. The city was originally a Spanish town, dating back to 1782, and still retains many reminders of its past, for example, its white-washed, tiled-roof buildings as well as its mission, Mission Santa Barbara, which is one of California’s best-preserved. It has also gained a reputation as an Art Center, and, in that connection, offers numerous galleries, and several museums.
Begin your walk at the Visitor Information Center, 1 Garden Street, at Cabrillo Boulevard. From here, exit onto the boulevard and turn right on State Street, pass under the freeway, then right Guttierez Street and left on Santa Barbara Street.
Just past Ortega Street, look for the Casa de Covarrubias, on the left, an adobe home, built in the early 19th century. Further up the street, on the right, is the Rochin Adobe.
At the next junction (Canon Perdido) is El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park, which preserves several structures built early in the city’s history (1780’s). Most of these buildings are along Canon Perdido Street, heading southwest (left). The Post Office, ahead on the left, is a recent addition (1937), while the Lobero Theater, originally an opera house, is on the opposite corner.
Now, walk northwest on Anacapa Street to see the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, at the corner of Anapamu Street. It was built in 1929, in the Spanish-Moorish style of architecture. Climb the clock tower for great views and wander around the interior to admire the Spanish/Moorish touches.
Next, turn left on Anapamu Street to find the Spanish-Revival style Public Library. Check out its beautiful murals. At the next corner is the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which includes exhibits of American, Asian, and European Art, as well as some older pieces.
After your visit, continue west on Anapamu Street, and then turn right on State Street, and right again on Victoria Street, to Garden Street. At Garden Street, turn left to visit Alameda Park and the Alice Keck Memorial Garden, on your left.
If you are totally prepared to walk a lot more, continue north on Garden Street, and then turn right on E. Mission Street which becomes Laguna and leads to Mission Santa Barbara, the “queen” of California’s missions, founded in 1786. It has a dramatic hilltop setting with grand views. If you are not sure about the uphill and lengthy walk, save this part for later and access the mission by car.
Leave the mission area by walking south on Laguna Street, to E. Mission Street, and then turn left on State Street, heading back toward downtown. When you reach Carrillo Street, turn left, to see the Hill-Carrillo Adobe, then walk back to State Street and turn left. Two and one-half blocks south, take El Paseo (an alleyway) to reach Casa de la Guerra, a home built in 1828, now a museum.
Leave the house and turn left on De la Guerra Street, to find the Orena Adobes (#27 & 29), and beyond them, the Santiago de la Guerra Adobe (#110), and the Lugo Adobe (#114). Ahead, at #136, is the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, which displays exhibits on the history of the city. Now, continue to Garden Street and turn right to return to the waterfront, and then turn right again on Cabrillo Boulevard to reach the Visitor Center, where the walk started.