With the Santa Ynez Mountains as a dramatic backdrop, and with dazzling Pacific Ocean beaches at its doorstep, world-renowned Santa Barbara offers unsurpassed natural beauty, climate, culture, recreation and cosmopolitan atmosphere unequaled in North America. Coastal Santa Barbara - reminiscent of the Mediterranean coastline - is often referred to as "The American Riviera." Its temperate weather, Spanish-influenced architecture, fine dining, nearby wine country, and the diversity and sophistication of its locals and visitors alike combine to bless this enchanted town of just under 100,000 residents with a distinctly Mediterranean ambiance.
Located just 90 miles north of Los Angeles and a half-day drive to San Francisco, Santa Barbara offers many of the attributes of a large metropolitan area. The economic base is robust and includes agriculture and its products, technology, service businesses, education, and manufacturing, in addition to the thriving tourism industry. At the same time, there is a vibrant arts community offering theatre performances, a symphony, dance companies, an international film festival, and music festivals as well as wonderful museums and galleries.
Santa Barbara's annual, week-long "Old Spanish Days" Fiesta, as well as its Summer Solstice Celebration, International Film Festival and I Madonnari Festival celebrate the vivid, internationally-influenced lifestyle for which this dynamic community has gained worldwide acclaim.
Within Santa Barbara, distinct neighborhoods offer unique historical, cultural and architectural charms reflected in the lifestyle of their residents. For example, magical homes and estates are found in areas overlooking the vast blue Pacific and the Channel Islands, and in gated communities offering the utmost in privacy and security. The area is unquestionably an inspiring visual paradise blessed with magnificent natural beauty and an enviable climate encouraging lush landscaping and formal gardens.
Upper East Side
Home to beautiful and revered Mission Santa Barbara, this neighborhood is a sparkling potpourri of architectural styles - from large and impeccably preserved historic Crafstman, Cape Cod, Colonial and Spanish Revival homes built for many of the city's early business barons, to modest cottages and bungalows. Beautiful parks, tree-shaded sidewalks and close proximity to downtown Santa Barbara give the Upper Eastside a true neighborhood feel.
Above the Upper Eastside, and stretching from the Santa Barbara Mission nearly into Montecito, the Riviera provides its residents with panoramic views of the town below and ocean and islands beyond. Reminiscent of its European namesake, the neighborhood's hilly, winding streets serve charming red tile-roofed homes, public parks, the popular El Encanto Hotel (currently undergoing extensive renovation) and the internationally respected Brooks Institute of Photography.
Directly across downtown Santa Barbara from the Riviera, the Mesa stands between the town center and the Pacific Ocean. Home to Santa Barbara City College public schools, beautiful parks overlooking the ocean, and its own retail hub offering shopping and modestly-priced restaurants, the Mesa is a perfect neighborhood for families and students.
Occupying perhaps the most dramatic few square miles of any Santa Barbara neighborhood, and stretching from the revered Santa Barbara Mission northward to 3,900 foot La Cumbre Peak, Mission Canyon is a nature lovers' paradise of rugged sandstone outcroppings, native plants, seasonal waterways, spectacular views, and hiking trails. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden occupies 65 acres of the Canyon and hosts 1,000 species of rare and indigenous plants and trees. Although most of the area is in an unincorporated part of Santa Barbara, and there are no amenities such as schools, shopping or dining, its residences are just minutes from downtown.