The Santa Barbara Mission was established on the Feast of Saint Barbara, December 4, 1786 and was the 10th of 21 California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans.
More than 200 years later, the Mission continues to be the chief cultural and historic landmark in the city of Santa Barbara. Home to a community of Franciscan friars, the Mission also has a retreat center with guest rooms, conference rooms, a fully equipped commercial kitchen and dining room, a beautiful church with a large and active parish, a museum and gift shop, a cemetery and mausoleum and ten acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.
Self-guided tours are available through the main entrance. Tour tickets may be purchased in the main entry, and each visitor will be provided with a museum guide available in 8 different languages. The Mission is open daily from 9am to 4:30pm in the summer (4:15pm other months of the year). Tour admission (as of December 2016) is $9 for adults (ages 18-64), $7 for seniors 65+, $4 youth 5-17 and free to 4 and under. Parking is free.
Points of interest within the Museum and garden tour include a Sacred Garden, Video Room (watch a 18 minute video), Cemetery (1789 to present; contains burial sites of early Santa Barbara settlers and Native Americans), Church, Museum (originally used as living quarters for missionaries and their guests), The Serra Shop (souvenirs and gifts), Fountain (built in 1808) and Aqueduct (ruins of the Mission's early water system visible next to cemetery outside walls).
The Mission Museum also offers docent guided public tours Thursday and Friday at 11:00am and Saturday at 10:30am. Admission for docent guided public tours are $13 for ages 18-64, $11 age 65+ and $8 for youth 5 to 17. Children age 4 and under free. Roughly an hour in duration. Private tours are also available.