Santa Barbara County Courthouse#2 in Best Things To Do in Santa Barbara
Most travelers scoff at the idea of visiting a courthouse while on vacation. Really dry and boring, right? Wrong. The Santa Barbara County Courthouse epitomizes the Spanish-Moorish architecture that is found across the city. Completed in 1929, the complex impresses visitors with its intricate tile mosaics, colorful gardens and jaw-dropping view of the city and ocean below.
After climbing the stairs or taking the elevator to the top of the 85-foot "El Mirador" clock tower for a few photos, some visitors suggest you take a docent-led tour to learn more about the courthouse and Santa Barbara history.
Many visitors say this must-see sight exceeded their expectations. "The archways, tile floors and ceilings are architectural and design masterpieces that have only become more impressive with age," one recent traveler said.
The courthouse is only a block from bustling State Street, near the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The courthouse is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. On most weekdays, the docent-led tours are given at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. On the weekends, only the 2 p.m. tour is offered. For more information, check out the Santa Barbara County Courthouse website.
More Best Things To Do in Santa Barbara
#1 State Street
Santa Barbara's most famous avenue, State Street cuts through downtown and leads right onto Stearns Wharf. It's nearly impossible to miss with its shops, art galleries, theaters and museums like the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. You can grab a ride on the electric shuttle for 50 cents, but most travelers and locals recommend you walk to truly appreciate the ambiance.
After a few hours of shopping — with more than 300 shops and stores — visitors usually slide into a chair at one of the 160 local restaurants to refuel.
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