ALTHOUGH OCCUPIED FOR MORE THAN 10,000 YEARS BY Native Americans known as the Chumash, Santa Barbara was formally founded in 1782 as the site of a new presidio, one of a chain of forts built to protect Spain's interests along the California coast. (The solemn ceremony was witnessed by the local Chumash chief, Yanonali.) In the Spanish tradition, construction of a mission followed soon after. Over the years, the mission of Santa Barbara was rebuilt and added on to many times; its impressive design caused it to be called the Queen of the Missions. In the late 1800s, the town's sleepy atmosphere was disrupted: Reports back East of Santa Barbara's delightful weather and healthful springs generated a huge influx of visitors and new residents. The town's new-found fame led to a brief stint as the capital of the motion picture industry (1,200 movies, most of them westerns, were filmed by the studio there). The industry moved on to Hollywood, but many of its stars still come to Santa Barbara to relax.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Santa Barbara, CA, Los Angeles, CA.