Self-Guided Tours Enhance the Courthouse Experience

Although the Santa Barbara Courthouse remains closed to the public, visitors to the site can enjoy a satisfying and educational experience through a collection of self-guided tours provided by the Courthouse Docent Council. A QR code on the lawn sign in front of the main Anacapa Street entrance allows mobile devices and tablets to access an internet-based menu of four tours.

They are also available directly on the website at

The initial Self-Guided Exterior Tour, successfully launched last year highlighting architectural features, has been enhanced by addition of the most interesting exotic plantings surrounding the site. Because it is outdoors-based, Courthouse visitors have full access to enjoy an in-person view of its points of interest.

Two interactive interior tours will provide the ultimate in-person experience when the Courthouse reopens, but can also be enjoyed remotely. The Mural Room Tour provides a unique experience explaining the iconic enclosure from a wall-to-wall perspective. The self-guided tour of the Clock Tower Interior, takes the user up the fantastic tile-lined staircase, views the Mudejar ceiling and the majestic religious symbols of the second-floor lobby, then continues through the Bisno-Schall Clock gallery to the top viewing deck. In combination, the Mural Room tour and Clock Tower tour will provide the visitor a complete guide to the “must-see” features of the interior.

The three physical feature tours are supplemented by an interactive timeline tour, called “Our Story”, which gives insight into the historic California events that led to the Courthouse creation.

The development team is now working on a “People” section to provide biographical background of the creators and influencers responsible for what has been called the “most beautiful public building in America”.


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