Between the Music Academy and the Fiesta Days, there’s a lot of extra activity in Santa Barbara in August. But the architectural sights are available any time of year. Of the downtown buildings, the most important is the Courthouse, built in 1929.
The Courthouse’s verdant backyard is sometimes used for free public concerts or for weddings.
I was struck by the resemblance to Turkish tiles in some of the design in the Courthouse interior. As it turns out, I wasn’t far off; the tiles came from Tunisia.
I also liked this series of arches:
And this detail on the ceiling:
The ceilings were painted by Italian Renaissance revival artist John Smeraldi, who is also responsible for the painting in the Blue Room of the White House.
The other reason to visit the Courthouse is the incredible view from the roof.
To the North, the Santa Inez Mountains; to the South, the coastline.
Around the corner is the Art Museum, which has a good general collection of paintings as well as interesting special exhibits. The museum also has an excellent “cafe”. I put it in quotes because it’s really a full restaurant with a tremendously varied menu, and “cafe” makes it sound like it just serves sandwiches. Next to the museum is the Library, with this unusual entrance:
The most famous building in Santa Barbara lies just outside of town, toward the mountains. This is the Mission, where the Spanish attempted to Christianize the Chumash Indians.
Much of Santa Barbara is built in Spanish Colonial style, but nowhere does this architecture look as magnificent as it does in this setting.Google+