Mention Santa Barbara, California and it’s likely that visions of sun, sand, and surf will come to mind. While the majority of the time this picturesque view of the city is accurate, even Santa Barbara holds the potential for a rainy day or two. Fortunately, Santa Barbara is a city packed with potential for indoor entertainment that makes it just as easy to enjoy a trip this direction when the weather isn’t quite cooperating. Save working on that tan for another day and instead, add these five activities to the itinerary when you’re headed to Santa Barbara and looking for some indoor fun as the rain falls.
Make the Most of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Just because you can’t get out on the water and enjoy the open air on a rainy day in Santa Barbara doesn’t mean you can’t take time to appreciate the city’s connection to the sea. Head over to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum when the sky is gray and get an insider’s look at how the city has thrived as an access point on the coast. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is located at 113 Harbor Way #190 and is open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm with adjusted hours on Saturdays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm.
Guests are invited to come in and browse the many exhibits that highlight the area’s rich maritime history. A children’s gallery makes this a family-friendly stop that’s engaging for guests of all ages while everyone loves looking out over the water from the visitor center observation point. Exhibits featuring everything from lighthouse lenses to model boats make this an engaging museum that’s easy to explore.
Browse the Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Get out of the rain and step into some creative inspiration by making time for a visit to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art on a rainy California afternoon. Situated at 1130 State Street, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is open every day of the week between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm. Since opening in 1941, this museum has delighted guests with a collection of permanent exhibits that include European, Asian and American art.
The museum regularly houses and presents special collections as well, making every visit different and exciting. Guests are often inspired by the vast range of artwork on display, some of which extend to time periods of more than 5,000 years ago. With more than 27,000 works of art on display, there’s sure to be something to invigorate every visitor who steps through the door.
Savor Time at the Santa Barbara Winery
When it’s raining in Santa Barbara, it’s time to settle in and savor the flavors of the region. Make your way to the Santa Barbara Winery with family and friends and enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting when the rain keeps you inside. Located at 202 Anacapa Street, the Santa Barbara Winery is an elegant, yet laid-back and welcoming establishment where you can sip an afternoon away in style. In addition to a tasting, guests are free to browse the many retail items available for purchase including cheese, jams, glasses and much more.
Encounter the Old Mission Santa Barbara
Standing proudly at 2201 Laguna Street, the Old Mission Santa Barbara is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city and the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon cozied up with history. The mission is open daily from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm with the last guided tour available at 4:15 pm. The Old Mission was first established in 1786 and since that time, has continued to house Franciscan friars and function as a church and parish.
Guests are welcome to come in and enjoy the architecture while also making the most of the attached gift shop and museum. The Old Mission houses a mausoleum and when the rain lets up a little, be sure to step out and take in the views provided in the 12 acres of gardens. The Old Mission also has a cemetery that can be toured on better weather days.
Enjoy a Show at the Lobero Theatre
A rainy day is a great excuse to purchase a ticket to a show. When you’re one for entertainment, make sure to combine the experience with some history by enjoying a performance hosted at the Lobero Theater. Situated at 33 E. Canon Perdido Street, the Lobero Theater is California’s longest-operating theater having first opened its doors in 1873.
Today, visitors to Lobero Theater can enjoy a variety of performances by local talent and big-name performers in dance and song. Taking in a show at the Lobero Theater makes every guest a part of the celebration of performing arts that the city of Santa Barbara holds so dear.
Caitlyn Knuth is a travel writer whose own adventures have inspired her to write about everything from the most delicious cafés in Paris, France to the breathtaking salmon runs in Juneau, Alaska. Working in association with Paradise Retreats, she enjoys writing and sharing about Santa Barbara in the hope others will pack up and head out on California-bound adventures of their very own.