Named for horticulturist and famed botanist Francesco Franceschi who once owned the property, this 18-acre park offers some of the most wonderful views of the Santa Barbara city and coast. It is well known locally for its wonderful collection of exotic plants. The now-dilapidated Franceschi home, named "Montarioso," is within the boundaries of the park and is scheduled to be torn down some day. There is a small picnic site, a large patio that serves as the group picnic area, restrooms, and parking. This is a great park for lunch or a romantic stroll through the winding paths. The kids might be bored but the adults will love it.
- Features: Alcohol Not Allowed, Parking On Site, Picnic Site, Popular Event Venue, Restrooms, Views
- Dog Policy: Dogs Allowed On Leash
Portable barbecues and camp stoves that are self-contained, enclosed with a lid, and raised at least six inches off a surface may be used on any permanent picnic tables at this park or by permit such as a rental or special event. If there are no permanent picnic tables available at this park and it is not a permitted event then no barbecues are allowed at this park. Barbecue users must remove hot coals and ash from the park, unless a hot coal-disposal receptacle is provided.
Built in 1893 by Franceschi, a 19th-Century Italian immigrant, Franceschi Park was the first home of the Southern California Acclimatizing Society, a group dedicated to botanical study and plant cultivation. Between 1894 and 1913, Franceschi imported hundreds of species of plants. He and local landscape architect Charles Frederick Eaton jointly founded the Southern California Acclimatizing Association in 1893 to introduce new species from around the world to California. The 40-acre property is 700 feet above sea level and had an excellent climate so Franceschi introduced bamboo, cedars, eucalyptus, flowering shrubs, orchids, pines, tropical fruit, and more. Franceschi owned the property until 1927 when Alden Freedman, a philanthropist and social reformer, bought the estate and donated it to the City of Santa Barbara in 1931.
From the 101 freeway take Mission Street towards the mountains and follow until you reach the end. Turn left onto Laguna Street and at the stop sign turn right onto Los Olivos Street. At the fork in the road bear right and follow the Alameda Padre Serra until you reach Alvarado Place. Turn left and when you reach Mission Ridge, turn right. Drive until you see the sign for the park on your left. Take the next left onto Franceschi Road. Look for the park gates on your left marked 1501 about 400 feet from Mission Ridge. (If you get to the top of the hill you have gone too far). Enter the gates and go down a long level driveway to the parking area.