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Santa Barbara is just one of those places that seems to have it all. It’s beautiful, has a lot of history, a great climate, good beaches and some of America’s best vineyards are only miles away. Santa Barbara has a number of sights that are historically and culturally significant.  As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 92,325. The metropolitan area, which includes the adjacent cities of Goleta, Carpinteria, as well as the unincorporated communities of Montecito, Summerland, Isla Vista, Hope Ranch, and other adjacent areas, has a population of approximately 200,000.

Mission Santa Barbara, "The Queen of the Missions," is located in Santa Barbara. It was founded on December 4, 1786, on a rise about two miles inland from the harbor. A Spanish Presidio was also founded at the city, in 1782, and the town developed around the presidio. The city sustained heavy damage in an earthquake on June 29, 1925 which was followed by substantial rebuilding. Santa Barbara is popular as a tourist destination and celebrity hideaway. The Santa Barbara campus of the University of California is located next to nearby Isla Vista.

The Rafael Gonzalez House, the adobe residence of the alcaldé of Santa Barbara in the 1820s, the Santa Barbara Mission, and the county courthouse are national Historic Landmarks. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden contains a diverse collection of plants from around California; it is located in Mission Canyon directly north of the city.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is located immediately behind the Santa Barbara Mission in a complex of charming, mission-style buildings set in a delightful park-like campus. The Museum offers outstanding indoor and outdoor exhibits and a state-of-the-art planetarium.

The Ty Warner Sea Center, owned and operated by the Museum of Natural

History, is located on historic Stearns Wharf and offers a wealth of fun, interactive exhibits featuring the environment and life in the Santa Barbara Channel and the ocean beyond.

The Santa Barbara Airport offers commercial air service. Amtrak offers rail service through the Coast Starlight and popular Pacific Surfliner trains.

The Mission is where it all began for Santa Barbara. One of the most beautiful buildings in the state and offers real historic insight. Many events are scheduled at the Mission and it continues to be a focal point of cultural and religious activity. The area around De la Guerra is eaulayy rich with history. Santa Barbara was once the military and spiritual hub of the Spanish and Mexican governments for this area. Add the local stage coach run and it’s not too hard to tell why Santa Barbara grew into the governmental and cultural hub that it is today.

Other areas of interest include downtown Santa Barbara. There’s no place quite like downtown Santa Barbara - and State Street is its heart. Don’t miss La Arcada, just next to the Museum of Art.

Another very nice area in town is the waterfront. The harbor of Santa Barbara developed because the Channel Islands have provided a haven from severe weather. The waterfront area grew up around that harbor and is currently a working harbor with a very productive fishing fleet. It also hosts five parks, a wharf, numerous restaurants, quaint shops and a walking/biking path that stretches almost five miles.

Santa Barbara has a wide variety of arts. The city hosts a wide variety of art shows, and is considered a haven for classical music lovers with a symphony orchestra and many non-profit classical music groups (such as CAMA). Many organizations sponsor the arts in the city (in many cases, the county).


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