It started out as a walk to get a few things I forgot to pack. The store was closed so I walked to another. I realized I had gone a few miles out of my way and landed fairly close to Mission Santa Barbara so I kept going another few miles to see it. Glad about that.
Mission Santa Barbara is a beautiful example of the architecture permeating the city. The structure and grounds are immaculately maintained and the park across the street is both very active, with people flying model airplanes and pop-up picnics and very tranquil in the nooks created from small hills and tree density.
While the inside of the Mission is beautiful and in perfect condition, its an active church and its small, so playing tourist can be problematic. And probably annoying to the churchgoers.
If you do make it to the Mission, don’t overlook the parking lot. Right, what did he just say? Yes, the parking lot. Look at every single space, each has been appointed with some street art. While not at all visible from the street or even to those standing on top of them but looking upwards and gawking at the bell towers, the parking lot art is a must-see point.
Even if you are staying near the water, I still recommend the several mile walk out to the Mission, taking State St. all the way before hooking right. State St. is a main artery through Santa barbara and you’ll find plenty of interesting architecture, restaurants and people watching. Get ready to cross from one side of State to the other as sidewalks are merely staging areas for what seems an unusual number of construction projects.