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Spanish Colonial Architecture

From red-tile clay roofs to street names, the architecture of Santa Barbara is infused with the spirit of Spain.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Santa Barbara
Old Mission
Known as “Queen of the Missions” for its exceptional beauty, the Santa Barbara Mission was founded by the Spanish Franciscans in 1786.
Santa Barbara Courthouse
Designed in the Spanish-Colonial style and completed in 1929, the still-functioning Courthouse is an iconic Santa Barbara landmark.
El Presidio
The Santa Barbara Presidio is a former military installation built by Spain and founded on April 21 of 1782, while the American Revolutionary War raged across the continent.
Kayaking in Santa Barbara Harbor
Hop in a kayak for an exciting way to see SantaBarbara’s shoreline, perfect for adventure seekers!
Santa Barbara Harbor
With unbeatable views and located along the bustling Santa Barbara Waterfront, this historic working harbour is an excellent launchpad for a variety of adventures.
Stearns Wharf
Completed in 1872, it's California’s oldest working wharf and one of Santa Barbara’s most iconic landmarks.

Related Tours

Private Architectural Tour of Santa Barbara
The Santa Ynez Mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to Santa Barbara a city on the central California coast famous for its architectural style derived from Spanish-revival architecture. Santa Barbara County often called the American Riviera, due to its similarities to the French Riviera, is home to a beautiful landscape and a lovely year-round climate.

Your Private Architectural Tour of Santa Barbara starts at the train station where you’ll meet your expert local guide. On your tour, you will:

  • See the Old Mission and walk around - one of California's most beautiful relics from the 18th-century
  • Learn about the majestic Santa Barbara Courthouse - an exceptional example of a Spanish Colonial Revival style building designed by architect William Mooser III who had lived in Spain for 17 years.
  • See the Presidio - a former military installation also known as the Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara.

The Mediterranean and Spanish-revival architecture is characterised by white stucco walls with contrasting deep red tones, red clay-tiled roofs and polished wood, details from several eras including Spanish Baroque and Moorish Revival. Examples of this can be found downtown where the buildings reflect Santa Barbara’s rich colonial history. This is where you’ll also find luxury boutiques, cafés and restaurants on State Street.  Nearby is one of the city’s main attractions Mission Santa Barbara, founded in 1786 it is home to Franciscan monks and a museum. It is one of California's most beautiful relics from the 18th-century and is the only mission with twin bell towers. Another interesting fact is that it has two founding dates because Father Serra died after he wrote the first founding date. The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is an exceptional example of a Spanish Colonial Revival style building designed by architect William Mooser III who had lived in Spain for 17 years. He completed the Courthouse in 1929. The Courthouse is located in downtown Santa Barbara, close to shopping, dining and other interesting cultural attractions.  El Presidio Real de Santa Bárbara is a former military installation also known as the Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara. The presidio was founded and built by Spain in 1782, for the defence of the Second Military District in California.
 
On your tour you’ll learn about Santa Barbara’s Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, the essence of the city, and how it continues to incorporate this style of architecture in modern buildings.
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