Santa Barbara County Courthouse

See the best views of Santa Barbara and enjoy a stunning variety of architectural styles at the city’s historic courthouse.

The Old Courthouse has watched over the growth of the sunny Santa Barbara cityscape for almost 160 years. Pay a visit and see an incredible mixture of paintings, murals and architectural wonders, alongside a panoramic view of the city. 

The courthouse was originally built in 1872 and reconstructed after an earthquake in 1925. Its new exterior was designed in Spanish Colonial Revival fashion with white walls that are visually stunning, and functionally cool in the hot days of summer.

Take a walk around the townhouse to enjoy its visual beauty. Delight in the regal, spectacular façades that surround the iconic courthouse clock tower. Then enter through its heavy doors and explore its rooms, enjoying each distinct style. Look out for such highlights as the intricate ceiling detailing in the shiny paint known as Dutch metal and the tiling on the main staircase. 

Enjoy the rich scent and feel of the Old Courthouse’s walnut chairs and oak tables, with each piece featuring unique detailing. While you discover the hallways and chambers, browse one of Santa Barbara’s most treasured art collections, with paintings including those of the well-known Old West painter of the 19th century, Allan Gilbert Cram.

One of the courthouse’s most significant features is its magnificent mural room. Walk around and take in the sight of atmospheric wall paintings lit up by wrought iron chandeliers. Take a seat on its plush leather pews and soak in the grandeur of this room that is still used for committee meetings today. 

After exploring the chambers, climb the courthouse clock tower and enjoy a panoramic view of the sun-blessed coastal city. For a peaceful moment on your way out, take a walk through the courtyard and its sunken garden.

To learn more about the courthouse processes and its history, join a free guided tour. Tours leave from the mural room every day after noon.  

The Old Courthouse is located in downtown Santa Barbara. Nearby attractions include the historic Granada Theatre. Entry to the courthouse is free but a donation is appreciated.


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