The "Queen of the Mission Stations", as Santa Barbara is generally called, was the only one to remain with the Franciscans after being secularized and to be preserved by them in its original condition to the present day. However, this applies only to the buildings, for the large estates which once belonged to the mission were lost after 1834.
Mission Santa Barbara Map
2201 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105-3697, United States
Always closed on: Thanksgiving - USA (4th Thursday, Nov), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee in USD:
Adult $5.00, Senior $4.00, Child 15 & under $1.00, Child 5 & under FREE
Useful tips: Docent tours for schools and other groups are arranged by appointment.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
The church, completed in 1829 after the original had been destroyed by earthquake in 1812, is the work of Father Antonio Ripoli. It has a Roman temple facade and was built by the obviously extremely skilled Chumash Indians. In the library Ripoli discovered the Spanish translation of a work by the Roman engineer and military technician Vitruvius Pollio, dating from the year 27 AD. The drawings by Vitruvius of Doric columns and Roman temples inspired Ripoli's design; a French visitor said of the church that "he had not expected to find such luxury in this country, so far away from all the beauties of Europe". It is the only mission with two towers, and had to be rebuilt in earthquake-proof construction after the 1925 eruption which laid waste the whole of Santa Barbara. Today it serves as a parish church.
Museum, archives, garden
In the buildings of the mission station you will find a museum with objets d'art from the colonial period and many interesting artifacts, as well as the archives of the Californian Franciscans. Until 1968 the seminar of the Franciscan Province of California was also held here. Especially worth seeing are the garden, and the cemetery in which many prominent early Spaniards as well as 4,000 Chumash Indians found their last resting-place.
Near the mission you can see the remains of the extensive irrigation system, part of which is still in use today.
2201 Laguna Street, corner of Oliveros Street, Santa Barbara. Approached from Downtown via the well-signed Santa Barbara Street.