El Paseo and Casa De La Guerra
||Santa Barbara, CA|
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El Paseo, a historic adobe plaza that was originally built in 1826, is a wonderful place to walk around. After the earthquake in 1925, it was rebuilt. When you walk into it, you feel you are in the Old World. Colorful flags greet you from terra-cotta rooftops. Rounded archways beg you to explore further. Artfully glazed Spanish tile delights you with its pretty details and primary colors. Everything is perfect! Explore every corner and hallway of this building because there are lots of hidden spots and you don't want to miss anything! There is the Casa de La Guerra, built in 1819, home of the fifth Presidio comandante, Jose de la Guerra. See the old wagon. This affluent house was an important center of social life in old Santa Barbara. When government emissaries visited, gala celebrations were held here (Go inside the museum for more info and to see period rooms and art- you may even talk to elderly people who remember old times at the casa). See the historic sitting room in the delightful hallway where the restaurants are.
Walk the side alley (pictured in photo) that leads to De La Guerra Street and admire its thick wonderful arches and bright waving flags. Cross the street and see City Hall, with its red-tile roof and pretty arched corridor. Here at the De La Guerra Plaza during Fiesta Days (held for a week each August), this area is transformed into a mercado, a Mexican marketplace. There are crafts for sale, eggs filled with confetti, foods, children's shows, and live music.
Across the street, at 29 East De La Guerra Street, see the Orena Adobes, built in 1849. Look at the cute rooftop window! Cross Anacapa Street, and on your left see the old Presidio fortress and Presidio gardens, a pretty area of flowering trees behind a commercial building. Across the street are Santiago De La Guerra Adobe at 100 E. De La Guerra Street and Lugo Adobe in a pretty courtyard at 114 E. De La Guerra Street. At 136 E. De La Guerra Street, stop in at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum to see old possessions from Santa Barbara. There is an interesting exhibit about a Chinese fortuneteller who lived in Santa Barbara. Out back there is a courtyard with old pepper trees and a fountain. On De La Guerra Street, walk past other buildings with gorgeous wrought-iron work and little paintings in the stucco.
If you're hungry, find the magical El Paseo Restaurant inside El Paseo plaza. It's nice because it's semi-indoor semi-outdoor which means you're warm but you can see nature. There are beautiful details everywhere to delight you: fountains, twirls on metalwork, pretty tablecloths and candles. For coffee and a nice atmosphere, head up State Street one block from El Paseo to Cafe Zoma. Inside they have an Italian look with yellow walls, dark wood furnishings, and a fireplace. There's a patio outside on State Street where you can sit and people-watch. There's a movie theatre next door.
A two-hour architectural walking tour leaves from City Hall at De la Guerra Plaza every Saturday at 10am, call (805) 965-6307.
For interesting places on State Street, check out the State Street entry. For more Spanish paseos nearby, go to Paseo Nuevo at the 700 and 800 block of State St, and La Arcada at the 1100 block. Don't miss out on these! They are wonderful, and pretty at night too.
Also nearby, check out the Courthouse with its amazing Spanish architecture, tropical sunken gardens, and tower with 360 degree views of the ocean and the American Riviera. If you love Spanish architecture, check out the cool houses on East Cota Street. You can also combine a visit to El Paseo with a walk around the Presidio area.
Photo GalleryClick on photo to see large version
From Highway 101, exit at Carrillo St. If coming from the 101 northbound, turn right at the exit. If coming from the 101 southbound, turn left at the exit. Continue along Carrillo St and turn right on Chapala Street. There are two parking garages on your left. Park there and walk through Paseo Nuevo. Cross State Street and you will come to El Paseo.
El Paseo Restaurant, 813 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101, call (805) 962-6050.
Cafe Zoma, 918 State St, Call (805) 965-5593.
Santa Barbara Historical Museum, 136 East De La Guerra Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101, call (805) 966-1601. Open Tues-Sat 10-5, and Sunday noon-5pm. Donation accepted for entry fee.
Casa De La Guerra, 123 East Canon Perdido Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101, call (805) 965-0093. Open Thurs-Sun noon-4pm. $5 admission.
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Overall Visitor Rating:
|Fiesta week was great!|
|Santa Barbara is cool, no other place in California like it. Loads of history with an atmosphere that feels European. Stunning beaches that never feel too crowded. Definately worth a stay.|