Santa Barbara Arts & Culture
Santa Barbara has a thriving arts and culture scene, rich in its historical roots and notable for its diversity and world-class quality. In its many performing arts theaters, audiences experience all genres of music, theater, and dance, including cutting edge theater and filmmaking, the performances of the finest international symphonies, and the talents of local youth. Many of Santa Barbara’s stages have been graced by classic Hollywood stars, and the architecture and ambience of these buildings exude the charm of this era as well as Santa Barbara’s signature Spanish-Moorish style.
Santa Barbara has a lively cultural memory preserved in its myriad of museums and historical sites, which continue to shape the city’s identity and vision for the future. Local historical treasures encompass Santa Barbara’s Native American, Spanish, maritime, marine, and botanic histories. The visual arts also have a powerful presence in Santa Barbara, from the prestigious Museum of Art that showcases the finest in visual arts throughout history and across the globe, to the many galleries downtown and the weekly Arts and Crafts Show along East Beach. Downtown galleries, exhibits, and performances are showcased to the public every 1st Thursday of the month, cultivating a community wide enthusiasm for Santa Barbara’s unique cultural scene.
Beyond these regular offerings are annual festivals and events that highlight the best of Santa Barbara life. The beauty and produce of the local soil and sea are celebrated through the Lemon and Avocado Festivals, the International Orchid Show, the California Wine Festival, the Harbor & Seafood Festival, and Earth Day. Immigrant cultures and food are celebrated through the Greek, French, and I Madonnari Festivals. And, of course, Santa Barbara’s unique cultural history is celebrated through its famous Old Spanish Days Fiesta.