Founded on Dec. 4, 1786, Mission Santa Barbara was built to convert the Chumash (a group of Native Americans) to Catholicism. It was one of many missions built by Spanish Franciscans at the time.
Not only is Mission Santa Barbara an active church, but it's also a top historical attraction in the Santa Barbara area. Tours cost $4 for adults as of 2009. Call (805) 682-4149 for more information.
Mission Santa Barbara is located in Santa Barbara, California, with the Pacific Ocean to its west and the Los Padres National Forest to its east.
While the inside of Mission Santa Barbara looks very much like it did in the 1800s (the building was renovated multiple times after its founding), a 1925 earthquake led to more modern-day construction. Today, the mission features a gift shop, museum and, of course, a chapel.
The mission is named after Saint Barbara, a Christian martyr who was beheaded by her father for following her faith.