Santa Barbara has a long and fascinating European history which dates back to the 1600s when the first Spanish missionaries arrived in California. Thanks to this Mediterranean influence, Santa Barbara has many iconic terracotta-red tiled and whitewashed buildings, a warm, year-round climate and a Spanish colonial appeal.
Historic Hotels in Santa Barbara
A hundred miles up the coast from LA and sandwiched between the Santa Ynez mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is a popular weekend destination for the LA crowd who come to stay in its chic historic hotels.
Head to the stylish suburb of Montecito or for trendy Spanish-style inns, or to downtown Santa Barbara for sprawling 19th-century villas and upmarket B&Bs in Spanish Colonial Revival-style homes.
Stay near Santa Barbara's Historic Attractions
First stop on your history visit to Santa Barbara has to be the Mission Santa Barbara, just north of downtown. Known as the Queen of the Missions, this beautiful pink-and-white church has a fascinating museum depicting missionary life in the 18th century, and stacks of Chumash artwork from the earlier settlers.
From the Mission, it's a short hop to El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. Built by the Spanish in 1782, the four presidios played a vital role in Spain's occupation of Alta California. Learn more about Santa Barbara's early years in the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, which is tucked away in a stunning cloistered courtyard downtown.
Shopping and Dining in Santa Barbara
Renowned for its wealth of rich and famous residents, Santa Barbara has a fantastic shopping scene. Head to the Historic State Street Plaza, a pedestrianised open-air mall where designer stores line up next to hip surf labels and high-street shops.
After a day of sightseeing or shopping, retire to your Santa Barbara historic hotel for a drink in the bar, before heading out to explore downtown's many SoCal or Mexicana restaurants, chic cocktail lounges and wine bars around Lower State Street.
From 19th-century hacienda-style guesthouses to plush hotels built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, use Expedia to find the best deals on historic hotels for your next stay in Santa Barbara.