About the Communities of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is a beautiful coastal town in Central California. It lies about 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The population is 220,000. Santa Barbara is known for its mild Mediterranean climate, beautiful vistas and Spanish architecture. Because of the city’s proximity to the ocean, onshore breezes significantly moderate temperatures, resulting in warmer winters and cooler summers compared with places further inland.
As with most cities, Santa Barbara has a range of neighborhoods with distinctive histories, architectures, and cultures. While considerable consensus exists as to the identification of neighborhood names and boundaries, variations exist between observers. For example, real estate agents may use different names than those used by public utilities or municipal service providers, such as police, fire, or water services. The following is a list of neighborhoods with descriptions and comments on each.
- The Mesa stretches 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from Santa Barbara City College on the east to Arroyo Burro County Beach (or “Hendry’s/The Pit” to locals) on the west. This is considered to be a desirable neighborhood due to its proximity to the ocean as well as the college. Residential development began here in the 1920s, but was interrupted by the discovery of the Mesa Oil Field. The field was quickly exhausted, and after the Second World War building of houses resumed, although the last oil tanks and sumps did not disappear until the early 1970s.
- Mission Canyon contains the wooded hilly area beginning at the Old Mission and extending along Foothill Road, east into Mission Canyon Road and Las Canoas Road. A popular spot as an entry-point for weekend foothill hiking, it is one of the most rustically beautiful, yet fire-prone areas of Santa Barbara due to heavy natural vegetation.
- The Riviera encompasses an ocean-facing hillside and back hillside extending for approximately two miles: North from Foothill Road to Sycamore Canyon Road, and South from the Santa Barbara Mission to North Salinas Street. The famous ribbon-like Alameda Padre Serra serves as the principal entry point from the Mission and the City of Santa Barbara. Since the past century, it has been known as “the Riviera” due to its resemblance to the Mediterranean coastal towns of France and Italy. The neighborhood has winding streets with intricate stone work terracing built by early 20th C. Italian immigrants. Most of the topography of the Riviera is relatively steep, making it particularly noteworthy for homes with outstanding views of the City of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean.
- The Westside (“west of State Street”) lies predominantly in the lowlands between State Street and the Mesa, including Highway 101, and also reaches down to Cliff Drive, incorporating Santa Barbara City College.
- The Eastside (“east of State Street”) is generally the area east of State to the base of the Riviera, and includes Santa Barbara Junior High School, Santa Barbara High School, and the Santa Barbara Bowl.
- The Waterfront comprises roughly commercial and tourist-oriented business structures along Cabrillo Blvd including Stearn’s Wharf, the Santa Barbara Harbor and the breakwater, and extending East toward the Bird Refuge and West along Shoreline Drive above the SBCC campus West.
- San Roque is located northwest of the downtown area and north of Samarkand. It is a good spot for families within the Hope School District. This area is said to be a constant 5 degrees warmer than the coastal areas, due to its greater distance from the ocean than other Santa Barbara neighborhoods, and being separated from the sea by a low range of hills to the south. San Roque is also the most popular spot for Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween.
- Samarkand currently has approximately 630 homes on 184 acres (0.74 km2) with a population of about 2000 people. The name Samarkand comes from an Old Persian word meaning “the land of heart’s desire.” It was first applied to a deluxe Persian-style hotel that was converted from a boy’s school in 1920. Samarkand later became identified as its own neighborhood located between Las Positas, State Street, De La Vina, Oak Park and the Freeway. Earle Ovington built the first home here in 1920 at 3030 Samarkand Drive. As a pilot, Ovington established the Casa Loma Air Field with a 1,500-foot (460 m) runway that was used by legendary pilots, Lindbergh and Earheart.
Business in Santa Barbara
In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city economy includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for fully 35% of local employment. Education in particular is well-represented, with five institutions of higher learning on the south coast (the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, Antioch University, and the Brooks Institute of Photography). The Santa Barbara Airport serves the city, as does Amtrak. U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angeles to the south and San Francisco to the north.
Santa Barbara Price Information
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