Founded in 1786 as the tenth of 21 Franciscan missions in California, and known as the "Queen of the Missions" for its graceful beauty, this stunner seems to reign over the city of Santa Barbara from its elevated 10-acre setting. Tours here include the Sacred Garden, historic cemetery, still-functioning church, and nine rooms of Mission-era artifacts (my fave is the kitchen, with its original 1790s adobe wall) that include a unique Chumash altar. This is the most visited landmark in the city, with the lined-up tour buses to prove it, but don't be deterred—get here early and take a self-guided (20 to 40 minute) tour. Or time things out for a 1 hr. docent-guided tour on Thursdays and Fridays at 11am or Saturdays at 10:30am. Don't miss the informative 18-minute video on the history of the Mission and the Mission today. If you happen to be here during Memorial Day weekend in May, stroll through I Madonnari, the Italian Street Painting Festival on the asphalt in front of the Mission. Across the street, the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden's 1,500 rose plants are also worth a look.