Many are surprised to learn that the beautiful and abundant rose gardens and extensive grassy area across from the Santa Barbara Mission are public lands managed by the City of Santa Barbara, not lands owned by the Mission. The stunning rose garden features over 1,500 rose plants to visually admire, smell, and photograph. The very large grassy area is a favorite place to enjoy blanket picnics, Frisbee, and sun bathing. The park also has native trees and trails.
Towards the mountains, across Alameda Padre Serra road, there are historic structures, including a gristmill, tannery vats, a reservoir, an aqueduct system, and an olive grove dedicated to World War 1 veterans. The Chumach constructed most of the infrastructure for use by the Mission.
Be sure to visit the entire park, both the lovely Rose Garden and the very interesting historic Mission structures across Alameda Padre Serra road.
2201 Laguna St, across from the Santa Barbara Mission
City of Santa Barbara
10 miles (biking)
Historic/Cultural Interest, Picnicking, Playing on Grass Activities, Relaxing, Studying/Reading, Viewing (roses and mountains), Walking
The beautiful rose garden is maintained by Santa Barbara Rose Society members, volunteers and Santa Barbara Parks Division staff. A lot of the roses in the garden are All-American Rose Selections winners.
The Mission sold most of this land to the City of Santa Barbara, after enough private contributions were raised to purchase it. Subsequently, the Franciscan Fathers gifted the portion of the park to the north of Alameda Padre Serra.
A short distance away to the north is Rocky Nook Park, which is a wonderful, creek-side park with lots of big sandstone boulders, native trees (oaks and sycamore), shade, trails, BBQ grills and picnic tables. This park has a fascinating history. According to Chumash oral history, 1,000 years ago there was a great flood and debris flow that moved the boulders to this and other sites.