Santa Barbara offers one of the most remarkable blends of natural scenery, vibrant arts-and-culture, and deep-rooted history in the U.S. An essential part of the local cultural scene—and a portal to learning about all those other dimensions of place—is the city’s excellent lineup of museums.

With boutique accommodations at Mar Monte Hotel, just a stone’s throw from the beachfront, you’re well positioned to tour these fabulous local institutions. Here’s a non-exhaustive survey of museum-going possibilities for your next stay at our family-friendly resort in Santa Barbara!

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History & Sea Center

Established back in 1916 and magnificently renovated in 2018, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a local treasure. Its collection includes better than 3.5 million specimens evoking the diversity of life on Earth as well as the planet’s geologic dimensions and the deep-time realm of the cosmos.

Beautifully positioned amid native oak woodland along Mission Creek, the museum maintains such permanent exhibits as Mammal Hall, Chumash Life, and Gems & Minerals. It also presents temporary exhibitions, among the current examples of which include A Parliament of Owls—a charming assemblage of owl artwork spanning three centuries, on display in the Maximus Gallery through February 5th—and Storytelling: Native People Through the Lens of Edward S. Curtis, open through April 30th.

The museum also runs the separate Sea Center along Stearns Wharf, with live touchpools and up-close looks at sea urchins, sharks, and other native sealife.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art

More than 25,000 works representing thousands of years and international geographies of human creativity and expression distinguish the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, a fixture of our city’s historic downtown. (Its elegant building once served as the post office.)

Among many other treasures, here you can appreciate the greatest Monet collection on the West Coast.

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

Set in the Waterfront Center Building, an easy stroll from the dreamy harbor, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum offers a rich feast of art, artifacts, and other displays evoking the maritime heritage of the mighty Santa Barbara Channel.

The exhibit space covers nearly 8,000 square feet, while the 88-seat Munger Theater presents educational films on its high-definition screen as well as lectures and other interpretive programming.

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration & Innovation

Three levels of all-ages discovery await you at MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration & Innovation, one of the newest members of the Santa Barbara museum lineup.

Get hands-on lessons in everything from music-making to the mechanics of flight, and don’t miss the sweeping cityscape and coastline views available from the rooftop Sky Garden.

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Explore thousands of years of regional history and culture at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, set within Downtown’s El Pueblo Viejo District. Delve into the indigenous heritage of the Chumash people and formative chapters of Santa Barbara’s Spanish, Mexican, and Euro-American timelines.

The museum’s 80,000-odd artifacts include a notable collection of historical paintings.

Museum Experiences on a Mar Monte Hotel Getaway in Santa Barbara

There’s so much to explore, too: from the Native and Spanish Franciscan stories told at Old Mission Santa Barbara and the Old West relics of the Carriage & Western Art Museum to nearby Solvang’s lovely Wildling Museum of Art & Nature.

Enjoy the finest in boutique hospitality along the American Riviera here at Hyatt Mar Monte, and devote some time at our family-friendly resort in Santa Barbara to appreciating the impressively varied museum exhibits and collections our region offers!

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