Santa Barbara Attractions
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Santa Barbara County is located in California on the west coast’s longest stretch of east-west trending coastline and is bordered on one side by the Santa Ynez Mountains and on the other side by the Pacific Ocean.

The Santa Barbara region includes the cities of Carpinteria and Goleta as well as several unincorporated areas including Mission Canyon, Summerland, Isla Vista, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and Montecito. There are wonderful Santa Barbara attractions in all of these areas.

How many people live in Santa Barbara?

More than two hundred thousand people live in the Santa Barbara area, with more than 90,000 of them living in the city proper. That population often swells considerably with the large numbers of visitors as this whole region is considered a major tourist destination.

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What is the climate of Santa Barbara?

The climate of the Santa Barbara region is considered Mediterranean which somewhat sub tropical with mildly cool and wet winters and dry summers that range from warm to hot.

The beauty of the town and as well as its upscale nature and friendly populace have led to Santa Barbara’s nickname as the American Riviera because of its similarity in its climate as well as its geography to the Mediterranean coastal Italian and French Riviera towns.

What schools and universities are in Santa Barbara?

In addition to the renown learning institution of the University of California Santa Barbara and its large and growing campus, Santa Barbara also have numerous other academic institutions.

Higher learning institutions in Santa Barbara and the adjacent areas include Westmont College, the Brooks, Institute of Photography, Antioch University, Santa Barbara City College, Antioch University, the Music Academy of the West, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Paul Mitchell School, Santa Barbara College of Law, Fielding Graduate University, and the Southern California Institute of Law.

Where is Santa Barbara located?

Santa Barbara sits west-northwest of Los Angeles, which is 90 miles from Santa Barbara. 

How tall are the Santa Ynez Mountains behind Santa Barbara?

The Santa Ynez Mountain Range has peaks that exceed 4,000 feet in elevation.

Attractions Santa Barbara

What are some of the most prominent Santa Barbara neighborhoods?

Mission Canyon is a Santa Barbara neighborhood that is located along Los Canoas Road, Mission Canyon Road, and Foothill Road and borders the Santa Barbara Mission area. Some wonderful hikes start in this area, and it is also a great place to live with a sense of being in very natural, even mountainous terrain yet very close to downtown and the ocean. 

The Santa Barbara Waterfront is spans along the coast at the bottom of State Street and extending in both directions. Stearns Wharf, the Breakwater, and various tourist and commercial operations and restaurants are found in this area. On the western end of the Santa Barbara Waterfront is the Santa Barbara City College and Shoreline Driving leading up toward the Mesa, while on the eastern side of the Santa Barbara Waterfront is the Bird Refuge and other Santa Barbara attractions. 

The Mesa is a Santa Barbara neighborhood that begins near Santa Barbara City College and spans for more than two miles east to Hendry’s Beach, more properly known as Arroyo Burro Beach. Set up on a bluff with great ocean and town views, and with a close proximity to the downtown area as well as other regions of Santa Barbara, the Mesa is one of Santa Barbara’s nicest neighborhoods.

Santa Barbara’s Westside is located between the Mesa and State Street and includes all of the lowland areas on the west side of lower State Street.

Santa Barbara’s Eastside is located from the bottom of the Riviera toward the ocean and encompasses all of the area on the east side of lower State Street to the ocean. Within this area is the Santa Barbara County Bowl as well as Santa Barbara High and Junior High Schools.

Lower and Upper State Streets are names for the areas surrounding these parts of the main downtown thoroughfare of State Street. This is a thriving commercial area with lots of unique shops, major shopping venues, fine restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, book stores, and more. In the upper State Street area there are also many professional office buildings and medical facilities.

San Roque is a Santa Barbara neighborhood that located to the northwest of the downtown region and adjacent to upper State Street. Due to seaward hills that provide some protection from the ocean, the San Roque area is often a bit warmer than the coastal regions of Santa Barbara.

Samarkand is a Santa Barbara neighborhood located between the Hwy. 101  and Las Positas and De La Vina Streets.

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Hope Ranch is an extremely wealthy area of Santa Barbara in a hilly section near the sea, and just west of downtown Santa Barbara. Some hills in Hope Ranch are nearly 700 feet above sea level though much of the region is much lower near and borders the ocean.

The Riviera is a unique Santa Barbara neighborhood that runs from the Santa Barbara Mission and Salinas Street south to Sycamore Canyon Road and Foothill Road and includes some wonderful terracing that was constructed by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s.

Much of the Riviera neighborhood is set on a huge, steep hill that looks over the town and the ocean, while part of it is also on the back of the hill. Alameda Padre Serra Road runs from the city and the Mission area up into the Riviera. 

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Montecito is located just east of downtown Santa Barbara and like Hope Ranch it is one of California’s, and indeed the United States’, wealthiest communities. The town of Montecito is set into the lower mountains of the Santa Ynez Range and includes such mountainous roads as Sycamore Canyon Road, Mountain Drive, and East Valley Road. 

Since John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy came to Montecito for their honeymoon the area has been the home of some famous Montecito residents which now include Carol Burnett, Oprah Winfrey, Al Gore, John Cleese, Jane Russell, Billy Baldwin, Steve Martin, Dennis Miller, Rob Lowe, Troy Aikman, Kenny Loggins, Kirk Douglas, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jimmy Connors, and Eve Marie Saint.

Montecito is home to the renowned botanical gardens known as Lotusland as well as the Music Academy of the West and Westmont College. Footage of Montecito has been seen in some famous films including The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Scarface.

The Santa Barbara coastal plain and surrounding hills have numerous other neighborhoods, some of which have formal or informal names such as Painted Cave up San Marcos Pass and Winchester Canyon in the mountains above the Isla Vista side of Santa Barbara. No matter where you go there are charming and lovely areas that all combine to create the wonderful community of Santa Barbara.

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