Sometimes called America's Riviera, Santa Barbara is known as one of the loveliest towns in America. It does not boast "must-see" tourist attractions, but offers natural beauty, red-tiled roof architecture, one of the most desirable climates in the world, and a certain je ne sais quoi. Santa Barbarans enjoy the majestic beauty of the sloping foothills of the Santa Ynez mountains, palm-lined white-sand beaches, and the city's distinctive Spanish-Mediterranean architecture.
The Santa Barbara Mission, founded in 1786, is the tenth of 21 Franciscan missions in California and is the only one in constant operation by the Franciscan Order since its founding. The mission is the grandest, established by the Spanish and is often called the "Queen of Missions." The thriving Santa Barbara art community offers galleries, museums, a symphony, and theaters. In summer, the Music Academy of the West features a concert series open to the public. Just a short drive away lies the Santa Inez Valley, home to more than 30 wineries. In May, the average maximum daily temperature is 69°F (20.6°C), but evenings can be cool; the average minimum is 52°F (11.1°C). Bring a sweater or jacket.