Discover Santa Barbara with your student
Stearns Wharf is at the end of State Street
19 minute drive
Free (Sea Center admission $6 and up)
Naturally you want to head straight to the water when you’re in southern California. Built in 1872, Stearns Wharf is one of the longest deep water wharves in the state and full of salty charm. As you explore the wharf, you’ll nd restaurants and shops galore (including ice cream, shells and souvenirs), the fun and interactive Ty Warner Sea Center marine museum, and a great view back to Santa Barbara. Take a water taxi (only 50 cents a person) to nearby Santa Barbara Harbor to book a whale watching tour or simply return to the beach to play in the sand and surf.
1100 Anacapa Street
17 minute drive
The iconic Santa Barbara County Courthouse, with its Spanish Revival-style red clay tile roof and white stucco, is on the National Register of Historic Places. A functioning California Superior Courthouse, it is open to the public daily with docent- guided tours available each afternoon at 2 p.m. and at 10:30 a.m. Monday–Friday. Enjoy a panoramic view of Santa Barbara from the four-faced Clock Tower, and if you are able, visit on Wednesday or Saturday afternoon between 1–2 p.m. when the clock gallery is accessible and you can see the mechanics of the weight-driven Seth Thomas tower clock. Finish with a picnic in the delightful sunken garden.
2201 Laguna Street
16 minute drive
$4 and up (additional fee for docent- guided tours) www.santabarbaramission.org
Visit this warm, graceful church with beautifully landscaped grounds above the Pacific — established in 1786 by Spanish Franciscans and still home to an active parish and a community of friars — and you will immediately understand why it’s known as “The Queen of the Missions.” A museum on site invites you to learn more about the Mission’s role in the history and culture of the area. It is open daily; one-hour docent- led tours are available Tuesday through Saturday.
1130 State Street
15 minute drive
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is right downtown, close to State Street’s shops, restaurants and galleries. For a small city, the collection is exceptional, with strengths in French Impressionism, contemporary American art and photography, Japanese and Chinese art, and art produced in 20th century California. One highlight: “Portrait of Mexico Today, 1932,” the only intact mural in the U.S. by David Afaro Siqueiros. There is a lovely museum store you’ll want to browse and a charming café. A perfect time to visit is Thursday evening, when the museum is free.
A labyrinth is not a maze, a puzzle to be solved, but rather a meditative journey. Since ancient times and across cultures and faiths, people have walked labyrinths in order to restore both body and soul. The Lagoon Island Labyrinth — with the ocean on one side and a blue lagoon on the other — is uniquely refreshing. Follow the gravel path and immerse yourself in the scent of owers and the sound of waves, breeze and birdsong. The Labyrinth is accessible from a network of trails as well as a set of stairs leading down to Campus Point Beach.