Welcome to Santa Barbara
Beautiful, paradisal city on California’s central coastline known for pristine beaches, year-round sunshine, and its Spanish heritage.
Nestled on California's pristine coastline with the Santa Ynez Mountains a dramatic backdrop, Santa Barbara is one of the Golden State's most beautiful and revered coastal cities. The historic downtown is the center of culture and brimming with charm in sweeping oceanic views, excellent restaurants, and boutiques. Characterized by broad, sandy beaches, Santa Barbara's Mesa neighborhood has a unique microclimate.
Everywhere you turn in this golden city, you'll discover new sights and Riviera views. After all, Santa Barbara is called the "American Riviera" for a good reason. This historic, private, and peaceful city is heavily influenced by its Spanish-Colonial heritage, with dazzling architectural feats around every corner.
What to Love
- Beautiful, broad, sandy beaches
- Historic Spanish-style architecture
- Stunning cliffside views
- Year-round sunshine
- Excellent schools
- No shortage of things to do
People & Lifestyle
Santa Barbara is a gorgeous, sunny slice of paradise nestled on the central California coastline. While primarily a college town with many young professionals calling the area home, the area has become a haven for retirees. The coastal weather is beautiful, and with sunshine year-round, the city is attractive to nature enthusiasts and sporty types who love being out on the water.
While the city is an expensive place to live, with the high cost of living reflected in high housing costs, there are a variety of neighborhoods at different price ranges depending on your lifestyle. Some of the most popular places to live in Santa Barbara include the historic downtown district, Mesa, Isla Vista, Mission Canyon, Carpinteria, Goleta, and Montecito.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
The Funk Zone
is one of Santa Barbara's most famed and evolving neighborhoods, catering to the city's contemporary sensibilities. Here you'll find several opportunities for boutique wine tasting, great restaurants, cafes, and galleries.
International cuisine from French to Italian is available at Santa Barbara restaurants like Bouchon
Bouchon mixes organic ingredients to make Californian French fare. Toma is a sunny harborside eatery known for authentic Italian dishes. For Spanish tapas, you'll want to try cozy neighborhood staple Loquita
It wouldn't be a beach town without excellent seafood restaurants, and Santa Barbara has those in spades. Boathouse at Hendry's Beach
is an upscale brunch spot boasting panoramic ocean views and a heated outdoor patio. Hip and trendy Brophy Bros
make a killer Bloody Mary, and FisHouse
is a casual waterfront spot.
Former fish market The Lark
and the chic Convivo
will appeal to those who prefer New American fare. If you want something a little different, the Santa Barbara Public Market
is an upmarket indoor food hall where various renowned chefs make a range of cuisines from locally sourced food and drink.
Santa Barbara's Granada and Arlington Theaters are ideal for perfect post-dinner entertainment. The historic downtown Granada Theater
is the central coast's premier performing arts venue. Arlington Theater
is a Mission-style venue showcasing stand-up comedy, live music, and first-run films.
Things to Do
Santa Barbara hosts all kinds of fun events and festivities like Fiesta, a.k.a. Old Spanish Days
, a week-long, city-wide celebration of Santa Barbara's Spanish heritage. The event includes parades, dances, a rodeo, and tons of great food. Then, every May, Santa Barbara is home to the expansive chalk art festival I Madonnari
, featuring more than 150 street-painting squares on the pavement outside the Mission. Movie lovers eagerly await the annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival
, an eleven-day film festival held since 1986.
If you want to learn more about the city's history, look no further than the iconic Santa Barbara County Courthouse
. This city landmark designed in Spanish-Colonial-style offers self-guided tours and more to allow visitors and locals alike to learn more about this city's fascinating legacy.
The Santa Barbara Harbor
is an idyllic location to spend a day by the water or walking along the historic working harbor to find opportunities for whale-watching, sailing, sea kayaking, and much more. As mentioned above, the Funk Zone
is a hotspot for residents and tourists who want to shop vintage or participate in the Urban Wine Trail
featuring 20+ tasting rooms.
Take in a performance at the 4,562-seat Santa Barbara Bowl
, considered one of the nation's premier outdoor concert venues. Then there are the historic Granada
Theaters. Originally constructed as an opera house, the Lobero is a registered California historical landmark.
Santa Barbara is revered for its top-tier schools, including the following:
- Washington Elementary (public, K-6)
- Peabody Elementary (public, charter, K-6)
- Monte Vista Elementary (public, K-6)
- Vieja Valley Elementary (public, K-6)
- Bishop Garcia Diego High (private, 9-12)
- Santa Barbara High (public, 9-12)
- San Marcos High (public, 9-12)
- Santa Barbara City College (public community college)
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