Downtown Santa Barbara Santa Barbara’s main thoroughfare, State Street, which divides the city of Santa Barbara between East and West, begins at Stearn’s Wharf and continues for miles throughout the city. State Street itself is a microcosm of the entire city: filled with architectural beauty, performing arts and cultural centers (including the stately Arlington, Lobero and Granada Theaters and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art), numerous fine restaurants and cafes, and world class shopping from chic boutiques to modern malls (including the historic El Paseo, California’s first shopping center built in the 1920′s). The downtown area is very walkable and gently slopes up away from the ocean with peak views of the mountains and ocean depending on location. Downtown Real Estate values average around $600,000 to $1.75 million.
The Mesa, a Spanish word meaning “table”, has been applied to the flat bench of elevated land fronting the ocean along Santa Barbara’s southwestern border since the mission days. Stretching from the Santa Barbara City College on the east and extending two and one-half miles to Arroyo Burro County Beach (or “Hendry’s/The Pit” to locals), the Mesa is an extremely desirable neighborhood and has often been voted the “Best Neighborhood” in a local paper’s poll. Residents of the Mesa cherish their accessibility to the beach and to two of Santa Barbara’s most wonderful open spaces. Shoreline Park, a magnificent 15-acre bluff-top strip of lawn, bike and pedestrian trails, picnic tables and jungle gyms, is regarded by many as the finest park in Santa Barbara. At the southwestern tip of the Mesa, the Douglas Family Preserve (known to locals as the “Wilcox property”) is a stunning 70-acre recreation area left in its natural state, conserved as a peaceful retreat for all to enjoy forever. Mesa residents also appreciate the convenience of the shopping centers at the intersection of Meigs Road and Cliff Drive and the excellent schools that serve the community. Mesa residents also enjoy the distinct weather that occurs on the Mesa: city weather records show that the Mesa’s winter temperatures are 10 to 12 degrees warmer than downtown, and 10 to 12 degrees cooler in the summer. Half of the Mesa is relatively flat while the other half sits on a hillside (a smaller and less steep version of the Riviera neighborhood). The downtown can be leisurely reached with a 5-8 minute bike ride. The Mesa Real Estate values average around $700,000 to $1.5 million. The Mesa view homes and ocean front estates start at around $1 million and can go up to $3 million.
Few residential neighborhoods of Santa Barbara can boast the rich historical background of the San Roque and Rutherford Park areas. Ten thousand years ago the area, bounded by Ontare Road, Foothill Road, Alamar Avenue and State Street, was an open expanse of treeless grassland, sloping up to the knees of the foothills and bisected by the jungled course of San Roque Canyon. Now a built-up, economically stabilized suburb, it is admired for its sweeping curved streets, its luxuriant landscaping, and its harmonious blend of many architectural themes – Spanish Colonial, English Tudor, French Normandy, California Redwood, Italian and American Colonial, mostly built since 1925. San Roque features older, custom homes with charm. For many, San Roque is Santa Barbara’s quintessential family neighborhood. The entire area is relatively flat and great for walking or biking. Most homes have views of the mountains. San Roque Real Estate values average around $750,000 to $1.35 million. The largest homes generally sell around $1.35 to $1.95 million.
The Riviera: Bridging the two mile span which separates Mission and Sycamore Canyons, the sylvan uplift which the padres knew as the “mission ridge” has for the past 65 years been known as “the Riviera” due to its resemblance to slopes along the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy. Residents lucky enough to live on this ridge attach premium value to their homes because of their unsurpassed views of the city, mountains, sea and islands. Most of the area has curving streets with mature trees and foliage. The topography of the Riviera is relatively steep and not easily reached via walking or biking. The Riviera Real Estate values average around $950,000 to $2.3 million. Spectacular view homes and estates start at around $1.6 million and can exceed this amount threefold.
It is generally believed the Upper East is one of Santa Barbara’s most prestigious neighborhoods. The “Upper East” is defined by its location east of State Street and above Valerio Street, and then eventually merges into the Mission Canyon neighborhood and the Riviera foothills. The Upper East is a wonderful walking neighborhood, though residents often do not get too far for the frequency with which they run into friends to chat with along their way. Because the topography is relatively flat to gently sloping, a healthy walk to downtown is very “doable”, as is a stroll through the nearby Mission rose gardens. Residents especially enjoy the convenience of being minutes from the city stores, museums, theaters and most of downtown. The newly reconstructed and very highly regarded Roosevelt School serves the Upper East and many of its students walk the few blocks to and from school each day. The area gently slopes away from downtown towards The Mission and the base of the Riviera. Many homes have great mountain views and some have peaks of the ocean. The Upper East Real Estate values average around $1.1 million to $2.4 million with the highest end estates generally in the $2.5 to $3.5 million price range.
Samarkand Area Samarkand meant “the land of heart’s desire” in the archaic Persian tongue. It identified the fabulous Asian city where a mythical Queen Scheherazade spent her 1001 Arabian nights. In Santa Barbara, the melodic oriental name was first applied in 1920 to a deluxe Persian style hotel, formerly a boy’s school. As the dominating landmark of a hilly, elevated neighborhood, the Samarkand gave its name to an area bounded on the east by Oak Park, on the north by Hollister Avenue (now De La Vina Street), on the west by a ranch boundary fence centered on modern Las Positas Road, and on the south by the old Coast Highway and the railroad. Samarkand is a delightful area of homes full of charm. The topography of the area is gently rolling hills with most homes having mountain views and some even peaks of the ocean. Samarkand Real Estate values average around $750,000 to $1.3 million. The largest estates command prices generally around $1.3 to $1.75 million.
Mission Canyon, which with the Old Mission complex and the area bounded on the south by Mission Street, making up Santa Barbara’s “Mission District,” is unique. No residential neighborhood in the city boasts a richer historical background, or offers more relics and landmarks of Old Spanish Days Fr. Junipero Serra, when he helped found the Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara in 1782, intended Santa Barbara’s Franciscan mission to be built in El Montecito near the present site of Our Lady of Mount Carmel church on East Valley Road. But four years later, when his successor, Fr. Fermin Lasuen OFM, arrived to establish our mission, he decided that Montecito was too infested with grizzly bears and renegade Indians to risk building a mission so far removed from the protection of the presidio soldiers, so he looked elsewhere. Mission Canyon has numerous rolling hills and is home to several parks as well as starting points for hikes in the local Santa Ynez Mountains. Many homes enjoy mountain views and/or ocean views. Mission Canyon Real Estate values average around $750,000 to $1.6 million. Spectacular view homes and estates start at around $1.2 million and go up to $2-4 Million.
Campanil Hill and Yankee FarmViews from Campanil Hill Located on the sea-cliff just outside the boundaries of Hope Ranch, Campanil Hill and Yankee Farm is a gorgeous private feeling neighborhood filled with larger homes and estates. Most of these homes have expansive views of the ocean and Channel Islands and sit on nicely landscaped parcels of .5 acre to 6 acre lots. The entire area is relatively small and sits on a gently sloped hill just outside the gates of Hope Ranch. The Campanil Hill and Yankee Farm Real Estate values average around $1.5 million to $3.5 million. Spectacular view homes, estates and ocean front property start at around $1.8 million and can exceed this amount fivefold or tenfold.
The WestsideView Looking over The Westside The “Westside Story” of Santa Barbara is laid in our city’s first suburb to be initiated by Anglos rather than Hispanics; the Spanish genesis of the city was located on the Eastside. In 1850, when the United States annexed California to the Union, the Westside was open grazing range and farmland, turning marshy near the beach. Today this area is solidly overlaid with urban development extending inland to the Goleta Valley, making it the most densely populated neighborhood in Santa Barbara. The earliest historical reference to the Westside came in 1793 when Captain George Vancouver, a British explorer-scientist, who was circumnavigating the globe, anchored the Discovery off West Beach and received permission for his sea-cook to chop stove-wood from the Mesa oak groves and refill his water tanks from a steep at the base of the Mesa bluffs near Pershing Park. The Westside is relatively flat until it reaches the backside of the Mesa hills. Downtown is easily reached via walking or biking. The Westside Real Estate values average around $500,000 to $800,000.
Santa Barbara’s renowned beauty is more than skin deep. Active, community-minded residents have shaped this metropolitan area into a well-rounded, multifaceted gem of a place for the discriminating person to live and work, many who are convinced they live in paradise.
Known as “The American Riviera,” the mix of so many cultures and people with world travel under their belts makes for an exciting mix of life. Opportunities abound in Santa Barbara to enjoy a life tailored to families as well as the individual’s needs. There is quality shopping, over 400 fine restaurants, numerous cultural activities, countless active outdoor pursuits, top educational institutions such as the University of California, and a small local airport to shoot you off to wherever you may need to go…while counting the days until you return. Yes, the climate here is wonderful.
Early on, Santa Barbara’s soothing climate provided a prime stomping ground for the Chumash Indians. They were followed by the Portuguese, Spaniards and Franciscans, who later left their stamp with the beautiful Mission Santa Ines in Solvang, La Purisma Mission State Historic Park in Lompoc (one of the most complete and authentic missions standing) and the Queen of the Missions, Mission Santa Barbara. Mexico stepped in for 24 years before Colonel John Fremont crowned Santa Barbara a U.S. territory in 1846.
In the early 1900s, Santa Barbara became the film capital of the world before the motion picture industry centralized in Hollywood. More than 1,200 movies (mostly Westerns) were made in a 10-year span and Santa Barbara became a favorite retreat for such legendary film stars as Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin.
The area soon evolved into a haven for wealthy Easterners and a hot spot for health-seekers lured by the city’s curing mineral baths. At the turn of the century, luxury rail cars turned out the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Carnegies and Duponts, followed by an artistic swell of painters, poets and authors.
Today, Santa Barbara proper is home to some 95,000 residents and still exudes the warmth and relaxation of a small city, coupled with the major attractions of a metropolis. Many of the buildings, homes and estates built in Santa Barbara have a Spanish-Mediterranean architecture and are located anywhere from the relaxed pristine coastline to the foothills.
Pedestrian-friendly with roughly 76 designated historic landmarks, an impressive line-up of performing arts venues, museums, galleries and restaurants, the area is an excellent vacation destination, especially from the California hubs of Los Angeles (92 miles south) and San Francisco (332 miles north).
Santa Barbara’s unique neighborhoods vary in size, topography and real estate values, all with their own unique characteristics.
Santa Barbara Real Estate values vary based on areas, but average around $500,000 to $3 million.. Spectacular view homes, estates and ocean front property start at around $1.5 million and can exceed this amount fivefold, tenfold or more…