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Santa Barbara Things to Do – Attractions & Must See

Santa Barbara Things to Do

The sun is almost always shining in Santa Barbara, so you’ll want to slather on the sunscreen no matter where you go. As you’ll see in this list, there are plenty of things to do in Santa Barbara that can keep your mind and body active.


The Mission is one of Santa Barbara’s best attractions for those who love history. The building was founded in 1786 by Spanish Franciscans, and it definitely has attractive Spanish architectural elements. A self-guided tour is available, and you’ll love to learn about the history of the place. The outside gardens are part of the allure, so be sure to go on a day when you can enjoy them.

If you’re interested in the very distant past, you’ll want to head to Chumash Painted Cave Historical Park. This state park has preserved a small cave that shows paintings left by the Chumash tribe over 1,000 years ago. It’s a little difficult to get to on the narrow, rocky path, but it’s worth the effort.


Art-lovers will want to spend some time at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The museum has a decent permanent collection that includes works by famous American artists like O’Keefe and Hopper. You’ll also find pieces from all over the world. It’s large enough to feel like you’re getting your money’s worth, but not so big that you’ll miss something if you only visit for a few hours. If you want to save money, the museum is free on Sundays.

The Funk Zone is a popular neighborhood for modern creative-types. Here, you’ll see wall murals and cool shops for buying unique souvenirs. With a number of small restaurants in the area, you won’t go hungry. Since it’s close to the beach, you can easily head there for the sunset.


If you’re visiting Santa Barbara between February and May, you may get a chance to see whales on their annual migration. For a reasonable fee, boat tours will take you out on the ocean for better views.

Daredevils might want to give skydiving a try. The perfect weather and breathtaking scenery make for the perfect jump for first-timers and experienced skydivers alike.

Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real reviews from travelers about things to do in Santa Barbara, California.

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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