This free (tip-based) tour is a blend of the city’s historical richness and unique architecture. Millions visit here to bask in its architectural heritage, yet few know the fascinating story of how the Spanish-Colonial style took root here. Your local guide will walk you through the City’s original town center, escort you through the historic Brinkerhoff Victorian neighborhood, and finally, mesmerize you with the architecture of Jeff Shelton*. Guests will be awestruck by Shelton’s buildings; many of whom say rival the Old Mission and Courthouse in terms of “must see” sites in Santa Barbara. Your adventure begins at 10am starting in the 700 block of State St and ends around noon. Besides delving into the city’s Spanish-Colonial and Victorian styles of architecture, we’ll stroll through Old Town, revealing its transition from 1850 to the present day, the history behind the Hotel Santa Barbara, Drift Hotel and Hotel Savoy, Gutierrez Drug Store, Hendry Brothers Iron Works, Casa de Sevilla restaurant, ghosts of Ogle House, and finally, Shelton’s Pistachio, Ablitt (aka “Dr. Seuss House”), and El Andaluz Gaudi-like structures. 11 x 17 old photos help place you back in time. After the tour, continue exploring on your own taking in the nearby El Paseo, Courthouse, and Paseo Nuevo shopping mall. (Note: there is no seating on this tour.) 2 for 1 beer or wine tasting vouchers given to all tour goers; redeemable at Validation Ale or Santa Barbara Winery. (Does not have to be used the day of the tour.)¬†Cash or Venmo accepted.

*On weekday tours, we often visit Jeff Shelton’s studio.

Not Included on This Tour:

Historical information and other items of interest above Ortega Street e.g., El Paseo, Lobero Theatre, Courthouse, Meridian Studios, etc.

Parking Options

  1. Park in the parking garage of the Paseo Nuevo mall.  Short 5 minute walk to tour start point.
  2. Park at the parking garage at 16. E. Ortega. Short 5 minute walk to starting point
  3. Parking rates: first 75 minutes are free; $2.50 per hour or fraction thereof thereafter