Architecture and museums might not be the first thing that come to mind when you think of Santa Barbara, but surprisingly the city has many beautiful indoor spaces. While you won’t find yourself wanting to spend too much time inside while you’re visiting SB, we’ve rounded up the top 5 places to go on the rare rainy day:
The Santa Barbara Public Market is a great place to start your day with a gourmet cup of coffee and pastry, or to stop by for a quick bite to eat. Packed with some of the city’s best restaurant fronts, you’ll find everything from artisanal ice cream to fresh poke bowls, Thai noodles and truly one of the greatest taco stands in town. Even if you just want to peruse the cheese shop or grab a bottle of wine for dinner, you’re sure not to leave empty handed!
Santa Barbara Public Market. 38 West Victoria. 805 770 7702.
For a relatively small city, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is quite impressive. With a draw towards global exhibits and foreign artists, the space is consistently curated as more of an experience than simply a display. It is also a stunning building which will instantly transport you from the beach town to the metropolitan and would be an excellent part of any day in SB. Pro tip: don’t miss the museum gift shop on your way out for unique souvenirs!
Santa Barbara Museum of Art. 1130 State Street. 805 963 4364.
If your next trip is going to be your first time in Santa Barbara, the Old Mission is a must no matter what the whether. It is the city’s most cherished architectural monument and once you step inside, you’ll understand why. Treat yourself to a quick but insightful guided tour to learn about the history of the Franciscans, and be sure to leave time to sit and appreciate the art inside.
Old Mission Santa Barbara. 2201 Laguna Street. 805 682 4713.
The Santa Barbara County Courthouse might not sound like an exciting stop on your tour of SB, but as one of the city’s largest and most beautiful buildings, it is definitely worth a visit. The grounds itself welcome many tourists for outdoor events, but if you head indoors and up to the top floor for arguably the best view of Downtown in town.
Santa Barbara County Courthouse. 1100 Anacapa Street. 805 882 4520.
While the Santa Barbara Sea Center is geared towards a younger audience, it is an absolutely wonderful way to spend part of the afternoon and a gorgeous indoor space. Located at the end of Stearns Wharf, the museum features mostly glass walls that offer views of the ocean, plus a local favorite giant whale replica hanging from the ceiling. While you’re there, be sure to explore the ‘Shark Cove’ touch pool and the beautifully blue-lit jellyfish exhibition.
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. 211 Stearns Wharf. 805 962 2526.