Visit Old Mission Santa Barbara

by Wendy VanHatten

According to the mission, Old Mission Santa Barbara is a community of many parts, but one spirit. The Mission has served as a gathering place and spiritual home for many since its establishment in 1786.

Today the Mission operations include a museum, gift shop, cemetery and mausoleum, and several historic gardens, as well as being the home to a community of Franciscan Friars on about 15 acres. The Mission is also home base for Saint Barbara Parish, which operates under the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library, a separate Franciscan-sponsored non-profit, and a Novitiate which provides the first year of education for Friars in training from across the United States.

We spent about two hours wandering through the multiple gardens and touring the Old Mission Santa Barbara. Our self-guided tour allowed us access to the museum where historical artwork, artifacts, and information on living here many years ago gave us insight into the history of this area.

The Mission church, mausoleum, and cemetery offered a calming effect as we reflected on life centered around a Mission. The grounds encompass 15 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Peaceful is the best way to describe the visit.

Definitely worth time to visit when you are in the Santa Barbara area.

If You Go: The Old Santa Barbara Mission is located at 2201 Laguna Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105. There is a small charge for admission.

Self-guided tours are now open daily 9:30am – 4:00pm.

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