Mission Santa Barbara

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Santa Barbara, CA
Mission Santa Barbara
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The Santa Barbara Mission is beautiful in the afternoon when the light shows off its graceful shape. The mission was built in 1820 to replace the original 1789 church that had been leveled by an earthquake. It has a pretty blend of Spanish and American Indian elements in its beige and pale pink architecture. Out front is a Spanish fountain surrounded by water lilies. Inside there is a museum that has some interesting information, though young kids will find it boring. There are Chumash baskets and tools, a missionary's bedroom, old music manuscripts that are lovely, and religious paintings. The chapel in the back is lit beautifully inside and has ceiling decorations as well as statues in little alcoves. Tropical flowers, palms, ferns, and cacti fill the back courtyard. 

Don't miss out on the gorgeous rose garden across Los Olivos Street, down from the mission. It's even better than the mission if you ask me! On clear days you can see an expansive view over the rose garden and Plaza Rubio (the street below the rose garden filled with Spanish-style homes) to the blue sea and Channel Islands!
At night, the mission is lit with pale golden lights like the monuments in Europe. Also lit at night is the courthouse.
The last weekend in May check out the I Madonnari Street Painting Festival in front of the mission. There are some impressive paintings made from chalk on the asphalt.
If you're hungry, head west on Los Olivos Street to State Street, and head north. You'll find a bunch of food places on your right as you hit the commercial area. I recommend Flavor of India, which has consistently delicious food. Enjoy their lunch buffet and a mango lassi. Kids like Giovanni's Pizza, with its checkered tablecloths, arcade games, and deep-dish pizza.
A lovely walk to do from the mission is the Garden Street Walk, past pretty homes and gardens. You can also walk from the mission to two adjacent parks that are absolute heaven: Alice Keck Park and Alameda Park, which has a wooden castle playground called Kidsworld.
Each California mission is a little different and some people make a tour out of seeing them all! La Purisima Mission in Lompoc is a wonderful salmon pink and each room is set up like it would have been when it was a working mission, which makes it fun. The olive trees and countryside surrounding it are lovely. Carmel Mission in Monterey has the most wonderful flowers in  both gardens. Mission Santa Ines is a yellow mission amongst the Solvang countryside. Mission San Buenaventura in Ventura has a fantastic fountain with blue Spanish tiles and a rivulet that leads down from it for what feels like miles!

Continue to directions...

The pink and beige colors of the mission.

The front balcony.

Fountain with lilies in front of the mission.

Lilies in front of the mission.

View from the mission: the rose gardens, the houses on Plaza Rubio, and the ocean! Wow!

A shady spot to take in the marvelous view!

Ooooh, yeah!

I Madonnari Street Painting Festival at the mission, May 2008. There were some fantastic paintings!

Santa Barbara Mission at night, during Fiesta Pequena.

The chapel and its lovely lighting.

Decorations on the ceiling of the chapel. My baby said "Aaaah" and pointed in delight.

Sculpture lit beautifully.

Courtyard gardens.

Barrel cactus in the courtyard gardens.

Courtyard gardens in the back of the mission- gorgeous palms.

Fiesta Pequena at the mission, in August.

Crowds gather before the start of Fiesta Pequena.

A woman sells festive garlands at Fiesta Pequena.

The festivities begin!

Pink ladies in front of the pink-lit mission!

Moonlit night during Fiesta Pequena.

Colored lights bring out the beauty of the mission.

Bell tower of the mission.

Santa Barbara Mission and rose garden across the street.

The mission gardens, lawn, and mountains.

The mission and the mountains.

I Madonnari chalk paintings, May 30, 2017.

Impressive, huge chalk painting. See these at the end of May at the Santa Barbara Mission!

Raphael La Muta chalk painting, created for the I Madonnari festival.

Colorful chalk paintings in front of the mission during the I Madonnari festival.

Beautiful vivid chalk paintings.


Santa Barbara Mission is located at 2201 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara CA 93105, call (805) 682-4713.
You can't go inside the church without paying $14, unfortunately.
From Highway 101, take the Mission Street exit and follow the signs to the mission. From Mission St after one mile turn left on Garden St, right on Los Olivos St, and into the mission's parking lot.
Flavor of India, 3026 State St, call (805) 682-6561.
Giovanni's Pizza, 3020 State St, call (805) 682-3621.


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Add your comments
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Tue, 03 May 2016

i like the cemtery

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Thu, 23 Feb 2012

Well I am a forth grader at twin Rivers I love the mission so much I can*t keep myself in my saet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Mon, 14 Sep 2009

extensive cemetery in the back with Chumash graves, skeleton engravings over the doorway. interesting place.

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brianna m

Mon, 11 Mar 2019

am doing a project about mission santa Barbara and I love it keep up the good work due 3-18-2019

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Fri, 28 May 2010

Great to see everyone's artwork. What a great event. Starts again tomorrow! I-madonari

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Fri, 09 Oct 2009

By far the best mission in California, and I've visited them all. The flowers in Spring are so colorful! The museum is well kept and interesting. A must see for California history lovers and tourists.

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Fri, 06 Aug 2010

Went to Fiesta Pequena last night here. Great show with beautiful costumes and music. The backdrop, Santa Barbara Mission- can\'t beat that! As we were leaving, they were playing La Macarena...my dd had fun dancing to it

Last Updated: Sun, 15 Jan 2017 23:31:09 GMT

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