Santa Barbara Courthouse
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

This magnificent Spanish-Moorish "palace" was built in 1929 and is surrounded by lawns and a sunken tropical garden that plays host to many functions through out the year. Hardly a Sunday afternoon goes by that a festival, concert or get together of some sort isn't taking advantage of the beauty of this setting.

The architecture of this building is quite beautiful and all the details are well thought out. Hand-painted ceilings, wrought iron chandeliers, giant murals, imported tiles give this relatively new building an ancient feel.

Believe it or not, this building is a fully functional courthouse where lawyers and judges actually handle judicial business!

Of course, no trip to the courthouse would be complete without an ascent to the tower, which offers 360 views of the city, mountains, ocean and on a clear day the islands. You will probably recognize the famous arches from numerous television and print shots. The tower closes early, however, so make sure to get there by 3:30 or 4 p.m. at the latest.

Directions: From the 101 take the Garden Street exit and turn away from the ocean. When you come to Anapamu Street, turn left until you come to Anacapa, where you turn left again. There is a parking lot to your right where there is usually parking.


Designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, construction started in 1926 during the period when this style was popular. It took just short of three years to build; being finished in 1929; it was dedicated during Fiesta that year.

In 1982 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places; later in the same year the site and building were designated city landmark.

In March 2004 it became a State Historic Landmark and in May 2005 it became a National Historic Landmark. With its clay tiled roof, white stucco walls and many different window shapes and balconies, it could be a castle in Andalusia, Spain. While it may look like a castle or a cathedral, it is a fully functional California Superior Courthouse.

Wandering through the interior, you will see a variety of arches, decorative tiles, wrought iron gates and window grilles and other Spanish-Moorish elements. In all, the project cost $1.3 million, or about $25 million in today's dollars