Santa Barbara, California is one of the best small towns in the USA and a hotspot you can’t miss. Here are 70 Fun Facts about Santa Barbara and the best things to do in Santa Barbara that you can all cover in one day after you’ve see it all on Los Angeles tours.
Facts about Santa Barbara: HISTORY
- The Chumash folks populated this territory for about 13,000 years.
- The oldest human fossils found in the US were excavated about 30 miles from downtown of Santa Barbara.
- First Europeans who visited the region were a Portuguese expedition in 1542.
- The Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino sailed through the channel between Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands in December of 1602 on St. Barbara’s feast day, December 4th, hence the name.
- First permanent Europeans showed up on this area in 1782.
- In 1850, after American-Mexican War the city officially became US territory.
- Santa Barbara experienced an intense population growth: during the “Gold Rush” times in the mid-19th century, after the WWII and during the oil boom in the 1950-1960s.
- During the WWII, Japan attacked 16 shells into nearby Ellwood Oil Field. Speaking of Japan, there is a strong Japanese community in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, don’t miss a chance to check out this authentic neighborhood.
- Due to lack of water sources the legislative act of 1975 restricted the number of Santa Barbara residents to 85 000 and this law was observed for about 20 years.
- Founded on a high seismic zone, St Barbara had devastating earthquakes in 1812 and 1925.
- But due to the ensuing huge rebuilding process the city now is filled with astonishing Spanish-style architecture.
- The design of many of Victorian-style houses in Santa Barabra is by Peter J. Barber, “Santa Barbara’s most prolific architect of Victorian homes and buildings” whose works are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Place. He was also the Mayor of Santa Barbara for two terms.
- For its mild climate and enchanting location Santa Barbara has won the well-deserved recognition as “The American Riviera.” Santa Barbara weather is similar to that of South France, that’s for sure.
- The city was recognized as the first “Hollywood of the North” for producing a large number of silent films in the early of film industry.
- And there’s no wonder that Santa Barbara is still a hot filming spot for movies and TV shows.
- Santa Barbara is a heaven for food lovers. Do not miss one of Julia Child’s favorites, Olio e Limone, Olio Crudo Bar, or Finch & Fork. Julia Child was an American chef recognized for bringing French cuisine to Americans
- The Santa Barbara Symphony is a paradise for classical music admirers. It was founded in 1953 on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra.
- Locals have a thing for surfing, hiking, cycling, kayaking which makes Santa Barbara one of the most athletic cities in the country.
- By the way, SB is one of the least stressed cities in US.
- The American Riviera is a green city. Everything here either has a garden or is a garden. Renowned Lotusland, Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, Shoreline Park, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden with its Redwood Forest. Should we continue?
- It is impossible to imagine SB without surfing and most people raised here will show you how to surf big waves.
SANTA BARBARA ATTRACTIONS AND SIGHTSEEING
- Hit up the Top 5 Santa Barbara’s landmarks: Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County Courthouse, State Street, Casa del Herrero, El Presidio Real de Santa Barbara.
- Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theater is the oldest continuously performing theater in California.
- And the city’s historic Arlington Theater is the largest indoor performance spot in Santa B.
- Take a glimpse at the ancient wooden Stearns Wharf. Keep an eye out for sea lions swimming or bobbing around on buoys.
- The Santa Barbara Museum of Art with its vast collection of American, European and Asian arts is a perfect place not only for fine art admirers.
- On Tuesday nights, city’s prominent State Street miraculously transforms into a flamboyant California Farmer’s Market.
- You’ve probably already heard a lot about legendary Jalama Beach Grill’s beachside burgers. Now it’s time to try.
- Junk food isn’t to your taste? Venture to adjacent Solvang, small Danish style village and sample authentic aebleskivers (traditional Danish pancakes).
- Knapp’s Castle is a hidden gem. The ruins of a castle that nowadays is a great place for hiking in the Santa Ynez Mountains.
- Swimming with dolphins always was your ultimate wish? Experience one of the best California diving options in the protected waters of the Channel Islands National Park.
- Only 4 world’s zoos can boast to have a condor showcase. Luckily for us, the Santa Barbara Zoo is one of them.
- It’s not a secret that SB County has a much-deserved reputation as one of the world’s premium wine-producing regions. Admire the scenic vineyards and enjoy sampling a delicious California Pinot Noir at local Santa Barbara wineries.
- Aren’t you tired yet? How about checking mysterious paintings of Chumash Indians at the Painted Cave?
- Now, this is not really a fact about Santa Barbara, but … have you considered taking one of the amazing courses at the world’s most magnificent Santa Barbara City College? Among notable alumni is Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of presidential affairs and deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.
SANTA BARBARA MISSION
- It is one of US’s astonishing shrines dating back to the 18th century.
- It is the only Franciscan mission that’s been ceaselessly operated since its establishing date in 1786.
- The church was founded on the Feast of Saint Barbara, who was martyred for her faith by her own father.
- Also known as Queen of the Missions, the church was founded to convert the indigenous Chumash tribe to Catholicism.
- It is the only mission with twin bell towers.
- It is the only mission that has two founding dates, because Father Junipero Serra passed away after he wrote the first founding date.
- The church was designed by copying from a book of architecture written in 27 B.C. Take a glance at this antiquity in the Mission’s Museum.
- Even today parts of the Mission’s aqueduct are still in use.
SANTA BARBARA RECORDS AND FUN FACTS
- Just imagine that in 1859 Santa Barbarans experienced the hottest temperature on earth for the last 75 another years – 133 F, or 56 C.
- Californian love to avocado began in 1871 when local Judge R.B. Ord brought in Mexican Avocado tree to the US. Change the numbers a bit – 1781 – and you’ll get a year when Los Angeles was founded (the area of present Olvera Street and Union Station).
- Santa Barbara’s huge and gorgeous Moreton Bay Fig Tree with its more than 21,000 square feet of shade considered to be the largest Ficus in the United States.
- The very first Earth Day in 1970 was inspired by a catastrophic blowout on a nearby offshore oil well one year earlier.
- In 1976 Santa Barbaran Tom Gosnell was admitted as the world’s most rapid (guess who?) tree climber.
- In 2012 the Guinness World Record for the most kisses in one minute was set here in St Barbara.
- UCSB is the number two school in the US in terms of universities with the most impact on the sciences.
- The famed Car free Project was found in 1998 to encourage carefree travel to and around Santa Barbara for cleaner air and healthier planet.
- The SB’s Metropolitan Transit District can boast of the largest fleet of battery operated electric buses in US.
- Part of the events of the Dean Koontz novel “The Servants of Twilight” occurred in Santa Barbara.
- They say Santa Barbara is the city for rich and famous. After all, US $20 million price tags in the suburb of Montecito come as no surprise.
- Ronald Reagan owned a ranch in nearby Solvang and John and Jackie Kennedy spent their honeymoon in the city.
- Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch still attracts curious passers-by.
- Pop superstar Katy Perry was born in Santa Barbara in 1984 (Moved to Los Angeles at age 17).
- Surfing legends Pat Curren, Tom Curren, and Kelly Slater also call Santa Barbara their home.
- Robin Wright (Claire Underwood in “House of Cards”, remember?) began her career in soap opera filming in Santa Barbara, appropriately called “Santa Barbara.”
- Before getting world-famous, Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Johnson were humble UCSB alumni.
- Plus, the list of celebs going here to marry could be continued. Clark Gable, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Jim Carey, Sandra Bullock and Halle Berry are just a few of the stars who pronounced, “I do” here, in Santa Barbara.
62. It is legal to enjoy nude sunbathing in some beaches of Santa Barbara County.
63. It is prohibited to use all fireworks, including the so-called ‘safe and sane’ variety.
- The place is an entrepreneur’s dream. Many word-known companies start their business and succeed in Santa Barbara. The renowned Motel 6 and Fed Ex Office are just few to mention.
- What else to do in Santa Barbara? The Santa Barbara International Film Festival in January hosts plenty of events, premiers and galas.
- The Summer Solstice Parade is a vibrant pageant annually performing in June.
- The cute Canine Cavalcade takes place every July during the Santa Barbara French Festival.
- “Old Spanish Days” in August features citywide parades, carnivals and performances. Viva la Fiesta! Viva la Comunidad!
- The New Noise Music Conference and Festival in October gathers more than 100 bands and music industry speakers annually.
- And besides, you can take a look at the craftwork of more than 250 local artists at every Sunday’s Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show.
And here are all must-see places to get in the spirit of autumn and see all the charm and elegance of Santa Barbara. Save the list! Because you never know…
TOP 10 things to do in Santa Barbara in one day
- Crushcakes Cafe;
- Alice Keck Park;
- Andersen’s Danish Bakery;
- State Street;
- Great Pacific Ice Cream;
- Stearn’s Wharf;
- Savoy Cafe & Deli;
- Moreton Bay Fig Tree;
- Downtown Waterfront Electric Shuttle;
- Santa Barbara Station;
- THE Must-Do is the rooftop of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. The epic icon that reflects it all: white adobe-looking houses, famous Spanish Colonial red rooftops, the mountain views on the one said and the views of the ocean on another. Santa Barbara in all its beauty.
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