El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park

El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park
4
State ParksPoints of Interest & Landmarks
10:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
10:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
10:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
10:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
10:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
10:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
10:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
10:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Top ways to experience El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles143 reviews
Excellent
51
Very good
55
Average
28
Poor
8
Terrible
1

izymassage E
Phoenix, AZ450 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2020
always enjoy exploring historical sites, especially the older ones knowing all those who have walked it thru the ages. Things are pretty well marked, but some not open due to virus when I was there. Second oldest bldg I believe still standing in Cali there. Food and drink options in the same area were fun as well.
Written September 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Oliver S
New York City, NY11,312 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
To begin with, there is no parking. Then, there is not much of anything else, either. They have the real estate and in real estate, it’s all location location, location, right?! But, really, don’t go out of the way to visit, it’s only a location. Don’t even waste your time walking around, just see the movie, that’s enough. They want to catch monkeys with popcorn, i.e. there is nothing there but some muddy walls & foundations, the signage is minimal, nobody around to talk to or ask questions, exhibits at an absolute minimum. Admission is nominal, but even that is not worth it.
Written December 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bazi43
Oakland, CA223 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Friends
There's so much history here, and it's unfortunate that so many people pass it by.

This is one of the historic landmarks of early California history under the Spanish rule, and much of it is original (not rebuilt). They have a small vineyard and garden on-site, and they are making the place as much as possible like it was hundreds of years ago.

The museum is filled with interesting bits of local history - even including articles dug up in recent excavations. One cool thing is that the original walls are marked out in the local streets, so you can see the actual extent of the place from which much of California was ruled for a time.

One reason that the Presidio is overlooked is that the word itself in Spanish means "prison," so many Spanish speakers avoid it because - well, who wants to visit a prison?

Another reason that more folks don't just drop in on their way to or from Nordstrom (just cater-corner across the street) is the decision to keep the front of the building in its "original condition."

And lots of folks think that this is just a wrongheaded plan - I mean, there is this big empty lot in front with *nothing* growing in it - "original condition" in this case means before there were sprinkler, back when the place was still half-desert, orangey soil just not looking too inviting.

They really need some box hedges and a nice front lawn, so that even more people will decide to be married there (they already host almost a hundred weddings a year there). They could have a big photo of what the joint looked like in the 1500's - set in a frame with an explanation ab out irrigation techniques or ;some historical notes. As lacking in historicity as box hedges & grass would be, it would be an enticement to more photographers to snap shutters there and would lead to great use by locals and visitors alike.

But don't be fooled by signs nor appearances - the place is a cool little wonder of great historical value. They even have on sale small bottles of olive oil from their own local grove, pressed locally and beating anything on the market shelves. And there is word that they will soon sell bottle of local wine, produced from grapes grown in a Presidio-owned vineyard not far from the museum itself.

It's all there - open daily and only a few bucks to wander around and take in the sights... what it was like in Santa Barbara 435 years ago.
Written August 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CaliforniaLen
California162 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2019
We were glad we took the informative self-guided tour and learned about the presidios that provided the military support for the missions in early California. Very easily reached from State Street that runs through the center of town.
Written September 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kenneth L
Los Angeles, CA404 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Couples
Several years ago I visited the Presidio and helped make adobe bricks. Today I came back to see the wall that the bricks went into. We bought a membership and we began our tour. Almost half of the Presidio have been reconstructed with city streets piercing the walls in two places. Restoring the outer defense wall is the current project and many more adobe bricks will be required.

We followed the tour path through the various buildings and areas, across the streets several times and got a feeling of what Presidio life was like two hundred years ago.
Written August 10, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

July1955
California64 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2013 • Friends
If you have any interest in history this is a required stop. It's right in the city, and won't take more than a couple of hours. Most of the standing Presidio is restored, not original, but the feel is authentic. Go into the Gift Shop to pay the $5 and get a pamphlet to guide you around if you want to get the most out of it. Right outside the gift shop there's a notice that the tour starts there and payment is in the shop, but the way the place is split up, I'm sure people wander in and out of a few areas without realizing it's all connected and accessible through the far end. There is 75 minute parking on the street, but the woman in the gift shop was nice enough to let us know that it is STRICTLY enforced. She gave us a map showing the parking lots and after an hour we moved our car to a lot. The first 75 minutes is free in the lot, and it's something like $1.50 per hour after that. Between parking on the street and then moving to the lot we didn't have to pay for parking.
Written July 19, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Griselda CT
Los Angeles, CA110 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Couples
Another place for history lovers. Got to see how the spanish army lived upon settling at this spot. Small quarters for soldier and the family, with a small garden. My favorite part of the whole area is the kitchen. A lot of spanish, native, and mexican artifacts.
Written May 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rlepson
Scottsdale, AZ451 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Couples
Would have liked to have actually toured the place, but the front desk welcome center service was non existent. We walked in, and for 20 minutes nobody was manning the register to take our fee. Ok, so we took pictures outside and called it a wrap. Shame the service wasn't better. It's a stretch it appears visiting here to begin with, but a no brainer when not helped.
Written June 7, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

340bill
Seattle, WA8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017
If you like history then this is worth a visit. It doesn't seem to be very popular which can work to your advantage.
Written May 20, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ThomasL
Switzerland514 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2017 • Family
A rather small and mediocre exhibition (being currently under refurbishment). OK, if you need to kill an hour but not too informative and exciting.
Written May 14, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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