Welcome to my hometown…
Santa Barbara is located on the South Central Coast of California, facing the Pacific Ocean, some 90 miles North of Los Angeles and 330 miles South of San Francisco. The city lies in a moderate coastal valley, surrounded by green foothills and rolling surf. The elevation ranges from sea level to 850 feet within the city limits. The city occupies 23 square miles in the county. The Channel Islands are located 36 miles off the coast.
Santa Barbara is reminiscent of a Spanish town and is known for its exceptional beauty, temperate climate and active community. Santa Barbara retains the feel of a small town while having many of the amenities of a metropolis. Red tiled roofs abound, perpetually blooming flora color the city, and miles of gorgeous south-facing beaches provide a natural playground for locals and visitors all year round. These are some of the reasons that people consider Santa Barbara to be one of the most desirable places to live in the world.
Zip code: 93105
Downtown living in beautiful Santa Barbara is considered to be a luxury by many. The main thoroughfare in Santa Barbara is State Street and is the dividing point between the two sides of town. Residential options range from Craftsman cottages, brand new Spanish styled luxury condos and town homes, boasting views of the mountains and the ocean with close access to restaurants, shopping, beaches, theatres, museums and a rich nightlife. Living downtown provides wonderful opportunities for the many young professionals and second home owners who enjoy the close proximity to everything that Santa Barbara has to offer.
There is a sub-neighborhood to downtown that is referred to as “West Beach” and is located below the freeway and between the beach, State Street and the harbor. This area has many hotels, restaurants, bars and vacation rentals.
The “Funk Zone” is a relatively new downtown neighborhood and the hip spot to be! Take an Uber/Lyft down here as parking is limited and the wineries and bars are plentiful. The “Funk Zone” is filled with restaurants, live music, art studios and many community based events.
Things I love about this neighborhood: The harbor area including the wharf, dodging waves along the break water, the Dolphin Fountain, the “Lil Toot”, the Spanish architecture, the library, running along the beach, the Funk Zone.
Zip code: 93109
Mesa, a Spanish word meaning “table”, describes the southwestern bluff located above the Pacific Ocean and downtown Santa Barbara. City weather records show that the Mesa’s winter temperatures are 10 to 12 degrees warmer in the winter than downtown, and 10 to 12 degrees cooler in the summer. This climatic attraction, plus the spectacular marine views, caused a housing boom after World War II. Today, the Mesa is a mix of modest single-family homes and modern two story ocean view homes that tend to be occupied by young families and retired tried and true Santa Barbarans. Whether running at the beach, flying kites at Shoreline Park, walking down to Nite Moves in the summer, walking with your dogs at the “Wilcox Property” (to long time locals) aka The Douglas Family Preserve, Hendry’s Beach or simply enjoying the sunset, the Mesa has many areas that are well suited to enjoying nature and sums up the Santa Barbara lifestyle perfectly!
Things I love about this neighborhood: Wilcox Property (local lingo), Leadbetter Beach, Shoreline Beach Cafe, the Loving Spoonful, Rose Cafe, Hendry’s Beach (for dogs).
Zip code: 93101
The Westside is known as Santa Barbara’s first suburb and is known for its simple, traditional single-family homes. Bounded by State Street to the North, Las Positas Road to the West and the Mesa to the South/Southeast, the Westside today also includes the areas around Cottage hospital and Oak Park. The term Upper Westside is applied when referring to houses built on the hills below the Mesa. I have also dubbed the area near Oak Park and Cottage Hospital, the “Upper Weastside.” Still on the West side of State street but on the opposite side of the freeway from what most consider the true “Westside”.
Things I love about this neighborhood: Elings Park, the community feel of the neighborhood, Santa Barbara City College, the trolley of lights tour route.
Zip code: 93103
The Riviera, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Santa Barbara, is an enchanting area that boasts views of the city, the Pacific Ocean as well as the Channel Islands. This neighborhood is full of winding streets, unique houses, gorgeous stone walls and a semi-tropical appearance. The road, Alameda Padre Serra (known as APS to locals) is the separating point between the “upper” and “lower” rivieras. Spanish and Mediterranean architecture predominates as the style of the area. Santa Barbarans who call the Riviera home enjoy the unique east-west coastline, the only one from Alaska to Cape Horn that provides views to both sunrises and sunsets across the ocean everyday. The neighborhood closer to downtown at the base of the Riviera hills is referred to as the Lower Riviera.
Things I love about this neighborhood: The frog shrine, El Encanto Hotel, California Street, Franceschi Park, the secret paths between streets, the views, the memories from growing up here.
Zip code: 93103
Mission Canyon, one of the most historically rich neighborhoods in Santa Barbara is filled with relics from Chumash Indian times to the Old Spanish Days and of the first American settlers. Mature sycamore and oak trees surround the roads, trails and streams and perpetually blooming flowers decorate the valleys. The hills above Mission Canyon are fabulous for hiking with spots that boast endless views of the city and Channel Islands beyond.
Things I love about this neighborhood: The trails, the Botanic Garden, the eclectic houses, the meandering streets, the weather, the vibe.
Zip code: 93103
The Upper Eastside boasts elegant large homes most of which have colorful gardens and perfectly manicured lawns. Many of the homes in this area date back to the turn of the century and the lot sizes are larger here than in many other parts of the city. The historic Mission was founded in 1786 along the Royal Highway (El Camino Royal) and should not be missed. Next to the “Queen of the Missions” is a magnificent public rose garden that is a perfect place for an afternoon picnic followed by a nap in the sun. The gently sloped streets of the Upper East Side allow for enjoyable strolls around town, whether to view the Mission, gaze at the historic houses or meander downtown for dinner and a movie.
There is also a neighborhood referred to as the Lower Eastside or just Eastside which is located on the East side of State Street leading up to the Lower Riviera area and continuing down to the beach.
Things I love about this neighborhood: The Rose Garden, the hidden pedestrian cut-throughs between streets, the sandstone horse pillars in front of the houses, Crocker Row, the dog statue, the SB Bowl and SBHS- “Once A Don, Always A Don!”
Zip code: 93105
San Roque is recognized for its families who flock to the mountain-view homes that line the winding streets of this kid-friendly suburb who benefit by nearby quality elementary schools. San Roque’s style blends many architectural themes, homes mostly built since 1925 contributing charm and distinction to the area. Bounded by Ontare Road, Foothill Road, Alamar Avenue and State Street this neighborhood is centrally located making shopping, dining and banking only a short walk away.
Things I love about this neighborhood: Stevens Park, Argonne Circle, Chaucer’s Book Store, the “sidewalk-less” lifestyle.
Zip code: 93105
Samarkand, the name originally meaning, “the land of heart’s desire” in the archaic Persian Tongue is also inhabited with young families. Due to its small size, almost the entire neighborhood sits on one gently rolling hill, which allows for stunning mountain and Riviera views. The lots in Samarkand are larger than those of San Roque and the architectural style is also mixed. Las Positas Road to the West, State Street to the North, the 101 Freeway to the South and Alamar Avenue/Oak Park to the East border Samarkand and make it a very convenient place to call home.
Things I love about this neighborhood: Earl Warren Showgrounds, no telephone poles, the deep lots, Oak Park, lawn-bowling.
Zip Code: 93110
Hope Ranch, a wealthy suburb of Santa Barbara located between Goleta and the Mesa is recognized for its quiet neighborhoods, humble ranch land and open bluffs that make up the family-friendly environs. Towering palm trees line the main drive, Las Palmas Drive and over 30 miles of bridle paths wind through the area past distinctive properties. Residents of Hope Ranch, which was incorporated in 1924, enjoy many amenities that come along with their address; membership at La Cumbre Country Club is one perk as well as access to Santa Barbara’s only private beach. Hope Ranch has almost three miles of Pacific coastline and relatively few roads winding through the area, which creates a peaceful part of town that is a delight to visit, and a privilege to call home. The nearby neighborhood is referred to as the Hope Ranch Annex.
Things I love about this neighborhood: The horse trails, the beach, the room to breathe, seeing horses everywhere, the annual Kentucky Derby party, the palm trees and filled up lake.
Zip Code: 93108
Montecito is located 4 miles from downtown Santa Barbara and occupies approximately 8 square miles of lush land and remarkable architecture. Once a fashionable health resort, Montecito now boasts world-class hotels, restaurants and shopping, all reasons that the area has remained a destination for the rich and famous for over 100 years.
Montecito extends from the sandy beaches along the Pacific Coast to the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Many of the estates that are hidden behind tall hedges and up long winding driveways give the area an aura of mystery, privacy and prominence. Whether surfing, hiking, shopping, looking at beautiful houses, or enjoying the unhurried pace of life, Montecito is a treat to behold and residents, many of whom are off-the -radar celebs, Los Angeles transplants, affluent retirees, are fortunate indeed to live in such a wonderful part of Santa Barbara.
Coast Village Road is the main shopping and dining street in Montecito. There are hotels, boutiques, real estate offices, coffee shops and banks! My favorits here are Sakana for sushi, Whickey and Leather, Angel and Whistle Club for shopping.
The Upper Village is located at the intersection of East Valley Road and San Ysidro and offers retail shops, a pharmacy, deli, post office, hardware and drug store. My favorites are Pierre Lafond for a quick lunch, Via Vai for think crust pizza, Wendy Foster and Juniper for clothes.
Things I love about this neighborhood: The views from the trails, The San Ysidro Ranch, Butterfly Beach, people-watching, the gates and walls and architecture.
Zip Code: 93067
Summerland is a quaint beachside community that is located between Montecito and Carpinteria. This part of town is famous for its antique shops, ocean views and steep streets. All residents have P.O. boxes and many conversations take place at the one and only post office. Many of Summerland’s properties are on small lots that look out to endless ocean views. The locals are artists, writers, antique collectors and second home owners who delight in their close access to both beach walks as well as hikes in the foothills.
Things I love about this neighborhood: The hills, the beach, the Bikini Factory, The Nugget, the boutiques, memories of trick-or-treating on the steep streets!
Zip Code: 93013
Carpinteria is located in the southeast corner of Santa Barbara County and is a little piece of coastal paradise tucked midway between Ventura and Santa Barbara. The main street is lined with antique shops, cafes, art galleries and surf shops and ends right at the beach- known as the “world’s safest beach”. Carpinteria is home to a world-renowned surfing area off Rincon Point, an area that not only has great waves but also possesses premier beachfront estates. Nestled in the foothills are many nurseries (of all kinds…), sprawling ranch properties. Carpinteria is known for its laid-back surfer vibe, great waves, safe beaches and quality of life. Many families and retirees reside in this coastal enclave that feels like taking a step back in time.
Things I love about this neighborhood: The sleepy beach town vibe, Rincon, Carp State Beach, Robitaille’s, taking the train down to visit from Santa Barbara, the feeling of stepping back in time.
Goleta and Isla Vista
Zip code: 93117
This thriving community is affectionately known as the “Goodland”. Once considered a suburb of Santa Barbara, Goleta is now an incorporated city of its own. This area was once completely covered in agricultural land. Goleta is the home of many businesses as well as an assortment of great schools including UCSB. Many young families and college co-eds coexist and live in the many single family homes, tract developments, condominiums as well as mobile home parks. The 101 freeway is the line separating Goleta North from Goleta South neighborhoods.
Isla Vista is the community surrounding UCSB and the place where my parents met in the 60’s! This area is fun to visit but be aware of thousands of students on bicyclies cruising all over the place. Filled with dorms, fraternity and sorority houses, burrito and bagel shops, IV is a youthful place to live and visit.
Things I love about these neighborhoods: The butterflies at the bluffs, Girsh Park, the farmland, the orange groves, UCSB, the bicycles, the burritos and bagels and of course, the youthful vibe.
Zip Code: 93460
The serene Santa Ynez Valley is located in northern Santa Barbara County, found by either a coastal trip on highway 101 through historic Gaviota, or up San Marcos Pass on scenic Highway 154. An area of beauty and tranquility with rolling hills and populated with ancient oaks, the valley now houses a myriad of sprawling horse and cattle ranches, alpaca farms, numerous vineyards and wineries, and other outdoor activities. Sunshine is abundant, and the area enjoys mild winters and cool summers.
Things I love about these neighborhoods: The wide-open spaces, miniature ponies, wine tasting, Lake Cachuma, Plenty boutique, Santa Ynez Kitchen,trucks, cowboys, Maverick Saloon, laid back ranch feeling.