The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

With the seasonal changes that come with the arrival of the holiday season, hitting the beach may no longer be your weekend activity due to cooler temperatures. Stay warm and immerse yourself in the thought-provoking walls of these local historic sites and museums to learn more about Santa Barbara’s rich cultural history:

Soak up all that nature has to offer through the interactive exhibits at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Home to over 3.5 million artifacts and specimens, the museum lays claim to the title of being one of California’s largest collections.

2559 Puesta del Sol Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Hours:

  • Wednesday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission:

  • Adult (18-64) – $18
  • SNAP/CalFresh – $3
  • Tickets sold here

Learn about the history of the Franciscan missions and the indigenous peoples of the Americas through the exhibits of the former mission of Santa Barbara. Founded by Spanish Franciscans in 1786, the mission houses gardens, archives and a library maintained by an active community of Franciscan friars.

2201 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Hours:

  • Every day, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Admission:

  • Adults (18-64) – $15
  • SNAP-$3

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum takes visitors to the sea through its artifacts and stories documenting the discovery and exploration of the Santa Barbara Channel. Learn about the meaning of nautical tattoos, the experiences of ancient lighthouse keepers, and other maritime secrets.

113 Harbor Way, Suite 190, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

Hours:

  • Thursday to Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission:

  • Adults (18-64) – $8
  • Students with ID – $5
  • SNAP/CalFresh – $2

Widely considered the “birthplace” of Santa Barbara in the 18th century, El Presidio de Santa Barbara is a former military base built by the Spanish in 1782. The Presidio district is located in the heart of downtown and continues to be maintained by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP).

123 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Hours:

  • Every day, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Admission:

  • Adults (18-64) – $5
  • SNAP / CalFresh – Free

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art brings art to Santa Barbara’s doorstep with its collection of over 25,000 works of art spanning over 5,000 years of existence. The museum is home to the largest West Coast collection of French Impressionist Monet and “Portrait of Mexico Today, 1932,” the only fully intact mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros in the United States.

1130 State St. Santa Barbara, CA, 93101

Hours:

  • Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • ex. Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission:

  • Adult (18-64 years old) – $10
  • Tickets sold here

Explore the interior and outdoors at Rancho La Patera & Stow House, a historic site in the Goleta Valley known for its fertile land. Walk through the ranch’s orchards and gardens, and explore the exhibits at Stow House and the History Education Center. Spend your Sunday afternoons at the ranch petting barn animals, driving tractors and relaxing to live music.

304 N. Los Carneros Rd Goleta, CA 93117

Hours:

  • Rancho La Patera – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Stow House – Daily, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Museum shop – Saturday to Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Housing the original documents of mankind’s most influential works, the Karpeles Library is the largest private archive in the world. See drafts of works produced by Edison, Mark Twain, and Michelangelo, as well as manuscripts documenting space exploration, the Civil War, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, Enlightenment, and slavery at the Santa Barbara des Karpeles location.

21 W. Anapamu Street Santa Barbara, CA

Hours

  • Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Admission fee

Delve into the depths of the Santa Barbara Channel with a visit to the Santa Barbara Waterfront Aquarium. The Sea Center at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History features a 1,500 gallon tidal pool and touch pool with live sharks that offers visitors a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with Santa Barbara’s aquatic life.

211 Stearns Wharf Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Hours

  • Every day, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission:

  • Adult (18-64 years old) – $13
  • SNAP/CalFresh – $3

Venture back in time through the collections of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum which houses artifacts, objects and works of art dating back more than 500 years. Learn about the evolution of Santa Barbara over the decades of the Chumash, Late Renaissance, Spanish Colonial, Mexican, and Californian periods.

136 E De La Guerra St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Hours:

  • Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • ex. Thursdays, from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Admission fee

The Santa Barbara Science Museum, MOXI, is short for “The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation.” With three floors of engaging interactive exhibits, MOXI is the perfect destination for visitors to learn about science and technology. The roof of the museum also includes a Sky Garden which gives visitors a bird’s eye view that stretches from the city center to the waterfront.

125 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Hours:

  • Every day, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission:

  • Adults (13+) – $18
  • SNAP/CalFresh – $1

Looking for a one day experience? Consider these organized itineraries from Santa Barbara:

Museum Mile of Santa Barbara

Choosing to follow the Museum Mile route allows its visitors to explore the contents of 12 museums in downtown Santa Barbara. Beginning on State Street and ending on the Santa Barbara waterfront, visitors can truly immerse themselves in local culture and cuisine.

Red Tiles Walking Tour

Put on your favorite pair of walking shoes and head downtown to explore Santa Barbara’s Spanish-style architecture. The Red Tile Walking Tour includes 17 stops and 22 historic adobes, all within walking distance from State Street.

Take a moment during this holiday season to remember and learn about the Chumash people, who originated in the present-day Santa Barbara area. Spend the weekend diving headfirst into Santa Barbara’s vibrant cultural history through the captivating exhibits of its various historic sites and museums.

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