Orange Roofs Buildings Coastline Pacific Oecan Santa Barbara California

With extensive beaches, beautiful downtown buildings and picturesque mountains, Santa Barbara has many sights well worth seeing. But where can you find the best spots with the most to see? Check out these locations.

Courthouse Clock Tower

Built in 1929 the Courthouse Clock Tower was thought to be one of the most impressive Spanish Colonial Revival style structures of its time. The Courthouse Clock Tower itself is covered in hand-laid mosaics, Spanish inscriptions in stone and other art styles from the time. Wind your way to the top of the Clock Tower stairway for an unbeatable 360 panoramic view of all of Santa Barbara, from the city to the mountains to the harbor.

Franceschi Park

Franceschi Park is one of the great tucked away gems of Santa Barbara. This old, rundown botanical garden use to be owned and run by Francesco Franceschi, a noted Italian horticulturist, who brought plants from around the world and grew them here. While most of the park is now run down, its elevation provides remarkable views of Downtown Santa Barbara that sweep from upper State Street all the way down to the harbor.

Mountain Water Tower

There are more than a dozen great places to find a good view in the Santa Ynez Mountains, but many times you’ll find locals choosing on the one of the old water towers that line the ridge. These spots are particularly gorgeous, because not only can you see Santa Barbara and the ocean, but you can also see the mountains located further east and the backcountry. The contrast of sparkling water and dry shrubs and oak provides a different point of view than you can find Downtown.

To find these towers drive up East Camino Cielo till you hit the ridge top, then continue on until you find one of the cement water towers along the side of the road (there are many).

Inspiration Point

No other name could be more accurate. If you are looking for a little easy exercise try out this short but sweet hike (3.5 miles long, there and back). This trail snakes up an old service road and cuts up left of a valley, which skirts around the outside to hillside that provide 180 degree  views of Santa Barbara and the Pacific. This trail crosses Mission Canyon, which has a seasonal stream that flows from the base of Arlington Peak, another favorite local hike (although a lot more intense than Inspiration).

Find directions to the start of the trail here.