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Santa Barbara

Comprising just over 18 square miles in land area, the city of Santa Barbara is bounded by the unincorporated high-end residential area of Montecito to the east, the city of Goleta to the west, the Pacific Ocean/Santa Barbara Harbor/Pier area to the south, and foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountain range to the north. The beautiful Channel Islands are also just off the coast to the south. Though the “American Riviera” is a very desirable area along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline to be found anywhere, population growth in recent decades has been relatively low given deliberate slow-growth policies by local government agencies, and relatively high real estate values. 

The City is uniquely identifiable for its predominantly Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style, especially in the downtown core. The County Courthouse building constructed in the late 1920’s is one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture to be found anywhere and is designated as a national historic landmark. Also of note in downtown Santa Barbara along State Street is the historic and recently renovated Granada Theater home known for live performing arts such as the ballet as well as the historic and grand Arlington Theater. 

Beginning at the historic pier (Stearn’s Wharf), State Street is known for its charming storefront shopping& restaurants. Make sure you check out La Arcata Plaza constructed in the late 1920’s – it’s like stepping back in time! Also of note is the Paseo Nuevo shopping center. The Annual Fiesta (“Old Spanish Days”) are centered around this area with parades featuring days-gone-by along State Street in August. Also of note is the historic Santa Barbara Mission from the 1800’s which is situated just inland at the foot of the ocean-view Riviera hillside area. The Riviera features the beautifully reconstructed ocean-view Belmond El Encanto Hotel. 

The harbor area is also home to many private yachts and is also served by yacht charters, tour boats, and fishing/diving expeditions. Check out the Land Shark for amphibious fun! The Funk Zone, known for its wine/beer tasting, is just up from the pier behind State Street adjacent to the newly constructed 

East Beach features Sand volleyball courts just across from the Santa Barbara Zoo and the historic Childs Estate. Other beautiful beaches include Leadbetter Beach at the foot of the Mesa neighborhood and Hendry’s (Arroyo Burro) Beach nestled between the Douglas Preserve and the exclusive equestrian oriented oceanfront community of Hope Ranch. This beach features the oceanfront restaurant known as The Boathouse. 

The area is served by the convenient Santa Barbara Airport and Amtrak, as well as several higher-learning institutions including Westmont College, the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), and Santa Barbara City College.

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