El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

Vacation Travel Guide
El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park which includes signage and heritage elements

Visit this historic landmark to learn about the colonization of the city and see a stunning reconstruction of the colonial era. 

The El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park is the foundation block of the modern Santa Barbara cityscape. Spend an hour exploring this ancient military fortress to engage with the history of the city’s formation and see some significant sights.

Dating back to 1782, the presidio was built as a military base and governmental house to protect the settlers of the budding Santa Barbara colony from attack. Although much of the original design has been reconstructed, the authentic 18th-century American style was retained and the layout still reflects the original building plan.

With this sense of history, take a relaxing walk around the presidio’s impressive whitewashed façades. Grab a map from the visitor center at the southern end so you don’t miss any of the intriguing sights on your self-guided tour.

Start your walk at the Canedo Adobe or the El Cuartel, which display realistic reconstructions of the living quarters of soldiers and their families. See into the lives of other historic residents of the presidio with a stop by the Padre’s Quarters or the Comandancia, where the commander of the fortress used to make a home.

Take a journey through history in the chapel and see its bell tower, which was reconstructed based on 30 years of research on its original design. Continue to the northern end of the park to find the Cocina, a kitchen with authentic period cutlery, and a pleasant garden where you can take a moment’s break.

On your way out, stop by the gift shop, and pick up a book or unique presidio-themed trinket for those at home.

Contact the visitor center to learn about special events where kids can see how to make an adobe brick or watch a vintage cannon get fired. For guided tours, book in advance at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

The El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park, located in central Santa Barbara, charges a small entry fee and is open daily.

Top things to do in El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

Top Hotels Close to El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Santa Barbara Downtown
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Santa Barbara Downtown
3 out of 5
1601 State St, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $143 per night from Nov 3 to Nov 3
Located in Oak Park, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, Arlington Theater, and Granada Theatre. Alameda Park and Santa ...
4/5 Very Good! (968 reviews)
"Hotel is very clean and room is large and updated with a refrigerator and microwave. Beautiful large bathroom with amenities. The pillows were not comfortable and need to be changed. AC didn’t allow us to change the temperature it stayed at 73 until the weather decreased"

Reviewed on Oct 15, 2021

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Santa Barbara Downtown
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
4 out of 5
633 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $234 per night from Nov 18 to Nov 18
Located in East Beach, this beach hotel is 0.5 mi (0.9 km) from Santa Barbara Zoo and within 3 mi (5 km) of Presidio Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Museum of ...
4/5 Very Good! (1,128 reviews)
"Very large and staff is wonderful. The rooms are little boring and not as nice as expected."

Reviewed on Oct 18, 2021

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Inn By The Harbor
Inn By The Harbor
3.5 out of 5
433 W Montecito St, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $199 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Located in Santa Barbara Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Carriage and Western Art Museum, Santa Barbara City College, and Moreton Bay Fig Tree. ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (920 reviews)
"Very clean. Friendly staff"

Reviewed on Oct 25, 2021

Inn By The Harbor
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Santa Barbara Downtown
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Santa Barbara Downtown
3 out of 5
1601 State St, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $143 per night from Nov 3 to Nov 3
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Santa Barbara Downtown
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
4 out of 5
633 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $234 per night from Nov 18 to Nov 18
Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Inn By The Harbor
Inn By The Harbor
3.5 out of 5
433 W Montecito St, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $199 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Inn By The Harbor
Hotel Santa Barbara
Hotel Santa Barbara
3 out of 5
533 State St, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $189 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Hotel Santa Barbara
Hotel Milo Santa Barbara
Hotel Milo Santa Barbara
3.5 out of 5
202 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $239 per night from Oct 31 to Oct 31
Hotel Milo Santa Barbara
Avania Inn of Santa Barbara
Avania Inn of Santa Barbara
2.5 out of 5
128 Castillo St, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $157 per night from Nov 9 to Nov 9
Avania Inn of Santa Barbara
Beachside Inn
Beachside Inn
3 out of 5
336 W. Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $169 per night from Oct 31 to Oct 31
Beachside Inn
Palihouse Santa Barbara
Palihouse Santa Barbara
4 out of 5
915 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $395 per night from Nov 14 to Nov 14
Palihouse Santa Barbara
Brisas del Mar, Inn at the Beach
Brisas del Mar, Inn at the Beach
3 out of 5
223 Castillo St, Santa Barbara, CA
The price is $258 per night from Nov 28 to Nov 28
Brisas del Mar, Inn at the Beach
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.