Traveling through time and combining history, story telling and architecture, this 105 minute tour of lower downtown is suited to those wanting to explore Santa Barbara’s original town center – Old Town – the 400 to 600 blocks of State Street, understand those events that ushered in the Spanish-Colonial style of architecture, take in the unusual Brinkerhoff Victorian District of the late 1800’s, and, finally, gaze in wonder at three of architect Jeff Shelton’s 21st century buildings that are now ranked among Santa Barbara’s most frequented architectural attractions. After the tour, you might enjoy lunch at one of the many eateries in Old Town or continue exploring on your own, taking in the nearby El Paseo, Courthouse, and Paseo Nuevo shopping mall.

What You Will Learn:

Key talking points include:

  • The History of Old Town; the 400, 500 and 600 blocks of State St
  • Old Town’s Transformation and its Remaking
  • “El Pueblo Viejo” – How Santa Barbara Acquired the Spanish Colonial Style of Architecture
  • Key Influencers: Pearl Chase, Bernard Hoffman and George Washington Smith
  • 1925 Earthquake – How a Disaster Helped Shape a City’s Future
  • The Fifthian Building, Hotel Santa Barbara, and Hotel Savoy
  • The Historic Brinkerhoff Victorian District + the Ghosts of Ogle House
  • Santa Barbara’s Infamous 4-Stoplights on Highway 101
  • General Electric’s TEMPO Division- A Military Think Tank
  • Hendry Brothers Iron Works , Joe’s Cafe, Gutierrez Drugs, Casa De Sevilla, and Seaside Oil Co.
  • Jeff Shelton’s Pistachio House, El Andaluz and Ablitt (“Dr. Seuss”) House architectural masterpieces

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.

Your guide carries 11 x 17 old photos to help place you back in time and relates entertaining and interesting stories along the way. At the end of the tour, every tour participant receives the Old Town Map, a guide to over 50 eating and drinking establishments along the tour route, a chance to win a McConnell’s ice cream and, finally, the option to purchase wine tasting vouchers for $10 good at Santa Barbara Winery – the best deal in town.