The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own 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 go-to weekend activity due to cooler temperatures. Stay warm and immerse yourself within the thought-provoking walls of these local historical sites and museums to learn more about Santa Barbara’s rich cultural history: 
Soak up everything nature has to offer through the hands-on exhibitions of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Home to more than 3.5 million artifacts and specimens, the museum boasts the title of being one of the largest collections in California. 
2559 Puesta del Sol Santa Barbara, CA 93105
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Educate yourself about the history of Franciscan Missions and Native Peoples of the Americas through the exhibitions of Santa Barbara’s Old Mission. Founded by Spanish Franciscas in 1786, the mission houses gardens, an archive, and library maintained by an active community of Franciscan friars. 
2201 Laguna St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
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The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum sweeps its visitors out to sea through its artifacts and stories documenting the discovery and exploration of the Santa Barbara Channel. Learn more about the meaning of nautical tattoos, experiences of past lighthouse keepers, and other maritime secrets. 
113 Harbor Way, Ste 190, Santa Barbara, CA 93109
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Widely regarded as Santa Barbara’s 18th century ‘birthplace’, El Presidio de Santa Barbara is a former military base built by the Spanish in 1782. The Presidio neighborhood is located at 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
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The Santa Barbara Museum of Art brings art to Santa Barbara’s doorstep with its collection of more than 25,000 pieces of art that span over 5,000 years of existence. The museum is most notably home to the largest West Coast collection of French Impressionist Monet, and “Portrait of Mexico Today, 1932”, the only fully intact mural of David Alfaro Siqueiros’ in the United States. 
1130 State St. Santa Barbara, CA, 93101
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Explore the indoors and outdoors at Rancho La Patera & Stow House, a historic site of Goleta Valley known for its fertile grounds. Roam through the ranch’s orchards and gardens, and explore the exhibitions of the Stow House and History Education Center. Spend your Sunday afternoons at the ranch petting the barn animals, riding tractors, and relaxing to live music. 
304 N. Los Carneros Rd Goleta, CA 93117
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Home to the original documents of humankind’s most influential works, the Karpeles Library is the world’s largest private holding archive. Come see the drafts of works produced by Edison, Mark Twain, and Michelangelo, as well as manuscripts documenting space exploration, the Civil War, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, Enlightenment, and slavery at the Karpeles’ Santa Barbara location. 
21 W. Anapamu Street Santa Barbara, CA
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Admission: Free
Submerge yourself amongst the depths of the Santa Barbara Channel by visiting Santa Barbara’s waterfront aquarium. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center features a 1,500-gallon tide pool tank and live shark touch pool that offers its visitors a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with Santa Barbara’s aquatic life. 
211 Stearns Wharf Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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Venture back in time through the collections of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum that houses artifacts, objects, and fine art dating back more than 500 years. Learn more about how Santa Barbara has evolved through the decades of the Chumash, late Renaissance, Spanish Colonial, Mexican, and Early Californian periods. 
136 E De La Guerra St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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Admission: Free
Santa Barbara’s science museum, MOXI, is short for ‘The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation’. With three floors of engaging, hands-on exhibits, MOXI is the perfect destination for visitors interested in learning more about science and technology. The museum’s rooftop also features a Sky Garden that gives visitors a bird’s-eye view that stretches from downtown to the waterfront. 
125 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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Santa Barbara’s Museum Mile
Choosing to follow the Museum Mile itinerary 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 the local culture and cuisine. 
Red Tile Walking Tour
Lace up 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 educate yourself about the Chumash people, natives to the present-day Santa Barbara area. Spend the weekend delving headfirst into Santa Barbara’s vibrant cultural history through the captivating exhibitions of its various historical sites and museums. 
The newsletter you won’t leave unread.
UCSB ’23
(but via email)
The newsletter you won’t leave unread.

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