Neighborhoods

"Santa Barbara is full of unique communities and neighborhoods. There's something for everyone here. My job is to give my clients an unvarnished look - to give them the best information possible. After thirty plus years I've found this is what works best for buyers and sellers."

Please click on a neighborhood for more information.

Chris Casebeer




 Historic Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Overview

Santa Barbara is unique. It's like a wonderful island—not far from major cities, yet far enough away to make a major difference. It's a beautiful place to live. I've lived and worked here for more than 30 years so I know Santa Barbara well.

Santa Barbara is a large county, divided north-south and roughly separated by the Santa Ynez mountains that line our coast. The north, being more rural, is experiencing more growth. The south, what we call the South Coast, is where the City of Santa Barbara is located, and that's the subject of this Web site. Roughly half of the county's 400,000 people live along the South Coast.

Santa Barbara Map 

South Coast communities are strung along a very narrow coastal shelf that is hemmed in by large mountains, making for dramatic views. Because California's coastline makes a bend toward the Pacific at Point Concepcion, our South Coast is actually on an east-west axis, which can be confusing when giving directions. When you go “Up the Coast” here, you are really going west, not north. Similarly, communities like Montecito and Summerland, which are “down the coast” from Santa Barbara, are actually further east, rather than south, of the city.

South Coast weather is mild—mostly sunny but seldom hot, thanks to the California Current, which brings us cool water and moderates our temperatures. Our winters feature many beautiful days and cool or cold evenings. Winter also brings our rainy season. (We average 17"/year.) If we're lucky, our mountains will be capped with snow for several days. Our springs are mild. We do get fog and overcast skies, mostly during spring and early summer. This is especially so near the beach. Late summer and early fall are warmer and dry. If it's going to be hot, it usually hits us in September or even October. This is also the time when we can have powerful down-canyon winds called Santa Ana.

The South Coast consists of five areas, from south to north: Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, Santa Barbara, and Goleta, all linked by US Highway 101. The centerpiece of the South Coast is the City of Santa Barbara.

The area was first settled by Chumash people, who had lived and thrived here for a millennium before the Spanish came. A Spanish garrison followed Father Serra and founded the Santa Barbara Presidio and Mission in 1782. In many ways Santa Barbara remains an old city. Descendants of the Presidio soldiers still live in Santa Barbara. Like many Santa Barbarans, I find our history fascinating.

Santa Barbara has kept its Spanish tradition alive in its architecture and in its culture. The dominant theme of Santa Barbara architecture is Spanish-Mediterranean, which adds to the city’s charm.

Because people want to live here, our economy generally does well. But it is largely based on service industries: tourism, agriculture, a small contingent of high-tech companies, and the University of California. You won't see large factories here.

Everyone will tell you that Santa Barbara is special. Few places are blessed with our marvelous climate, spectacular views, and abundant natural beauty. Another major reason Santa Barbara is special is that we've fought hard to keep it that way. Growth here is limited and development restricted. We don't want to see ourselves go the way of the rest of Southern California.

Santa Barbara has evolved into a small city with amenities some metropolises would envy: fine restaurants, good theater, a first class art museum, excellent symphony orchestras, galleries, book stores, good shopping, you name it. It's also a great place for outdoor activities. We live with the Pacific Ocean on one side, and on the other, one of the most beautiful and remote wildernesses in the country. For more on activities, click on my "Best of Santa Barbara" link, where you’ll find comprehensive information on the best about our town as well as colorful photos and art from my own office.

As with most beautiful places in the world, housing is relatively expensive. But as I'll show you, there IS something for everyone. That's my strength as a real estate broker. I know the market well. I am good at getting my clients what they want.

For detailed information about Santa Barbara's neighborhoods, click on the above links. Each area has its charms and challenges. I strive to give my clients the facts about both so that they can make informed choices about buying in Santa Barbara.

Enjoy!

Search Active HomesDowntown Active Homes

Downtown is the heart of historic Santa Barbara. It's the area from Valerio Street down to the beach, and the area "east" and "west" of State Street. It grew up around the old Spanish Presidio (now being wonderfully restored). It's the center of our business, shopping, restaurants, and theater. But it still has a small town feel.

When you walk down State Street, the main commercial avenue, you'll notice that very few buildings are more than two stories and that most of the buildings are a variant of Spanish-Mediterranean architecture. There was an earthquake here in 1925 that ruined many of the old masonry buildings. The town rebuilt in a Spanish Revival architectural theme. Go see the Courthouse: it's recognized as one of the great public buildings in the world. As for earthquakes, state law mandated that all old buildings be retrofitted to meet seismic safety standards. California has strict rules on seismic safety for new buildings.

State Street is a fun place to be. At night it bustles with activity: restaurants, movies, theater, concerts, and night clubs. In the summer months you can hear a babble of French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese on the street.

The beach is the site of the yacht harbor (the Breakwater), Chase Palm Park, hotels, and Stearns Wharf. It's a busy place on weekends. Sundays on Palm Park next to the beach, crafts people and artists line Cabrillo Boulevard selling their works. Restaurants on the Wharf and Breakwater are full. Boats and windsurfers run the Channel. There's surf at Ledbetter beach.

I love Downtown because of the historic old Spanish buildings being restored (Presidio, Casa de la Guerra, many landmark adobes) and some great Spanish Revival buildings built in the 20s and 30s (Courthouse, Arlington Theater, Lobero Theater, El Paseo, the Meridian complex).

Can you live Downtown? Many people do. Once you get away from the commercial corridor there are many small and medium size homes, condos of all sizes, and apartments.

Downtown Map


Search Active HomesGoleta Active Homes

Goleta is the area west of the City of Santa Barbara, roughly from San Marcos Pass Road to the upper end of the South Coast. Again, I have to remind you that directions are confusing in Santa Barbara. The South Coast is actually arranged east to west rather than north to south. So, when I say "west" most people think that it's "north" because "up the coast" is north-south everywhere else in California. See the map and you'll see what I mean.

Goleta is an area which contains the newly formed City of Goleta, the University of California, Isla Vista - the primary UCSB student residential area, and large unincorporated areas of the county. It's also the location of the Santa Barbara Airport, behind the University. Goleta is connected to Santa Barbara by Highway 101. It's normally not more than a 15 minute drive to downtown Santa Barbara even from the far end of the area known as Elwood.

It is a more family oriented area, with many housing areas. It's where our more affordable housing is located.  As you get into the foothill areas, there are still large farms and hilltop estate homes.

The main retail shopping areas are along Hollister Avenue, including the City of Goleta's Old Town, the Fairview shopping corridor, and the new Camino Real Marketplace, home of the South Coast's first "big box" shopping center, with a Costco and a Home Depot, restaurants, and movie theaters. There's a well renown luxury resort out near the Elwood area (The Bacara).

The weather mirrors most of the rest of the South Coast. It's cooler and foggier down near the beach and warmer and sunnier toward the foothills. Also, the farther up the coast you go, it tends to be windier along the beach zone. See the Santa Barbara Overview page for more weather information.

UCSB has the most influence over the area. It is the largest employer in the County and has about 22,000 students. The population of Goleta is about 80,000. Here is where you will find the South Coast's research and development industry and high tech businesses. Here as well, growth is regulated, but there are pressures on the area to accommodate new housing and R&D development. The City of Goleta has put a temporary halt to new development in it's boundaries.

There are good schools here. There are two public high schools (San Marcos and Dos Pueblos), and a Catholic high school (Bishop), as well as a junior high school and elementary schools. School information can be found in the Resources page of this Web site. Please check the school district to find which schools service any address in this area.

There are 2 public golf courses here: Sandpiper and Glenn Annie, and 3 9-hole courses: Twin Lakes, Ocean Meadows, and Hidden Oaks. There are some major sports fields located adjacent to the new Camino Real Marketplace. Every weekend you'll find them packed with young families and children playing Little League, softball, and soccer. UCSB is a major host of AYSO games. There are parks such as the Monarch Butterfly Preserve, Tuckers Grove, and Stowe Park.

Historically, Goleta was the site of the highest concentration of Chumash villages on the South Coast. There were about 1,500 people living on sites around the Goleta Slough, which then was a deep water bay. The name "Goleta" comes from the Spanish name of a smaller of sailing galleon. Legend has it that Juan Cabrillo came ashore here in the late 1500's. Now the bay has become silted and marshy. The remainder of the slough is now a preserved salt water marsh studied and extensively monitored by the University.

Goleta Map


Search Active Homes  Hope Ranch Active Homes

Hope Ranch is one of Santa Barbara's exclusive residential areas. It is a private community unto itself, though it is part of the City of Santa Barbara. It was created from the 6,000-acre Las Positas and La Calera ranchos, and was named after Thomas Hope who acquired it in the 1880s. In the 1920s it was developed as a planned community by a company headed by Harold Chase (the father of Pearl Chase, who spearheaded Santa Barbara's Spanish Revival renaissance after the 1925 earthquake, and also founded a tradition of public activism to preserve Santa Barbara).

Hope Ranch is a beautiful, secluded, densely wooded residential area. It stretches from roughly Las Positas Road to Vieja Drive and from the beach to Modoc Road. It's a hilly area, which lends to its charm and provides great views from the hilltops. The hills are laced with equestrian trails and many residents live here to keep and ride their horses—one of the few places in metropolitan Santa Barbara where you can ride. Hope Ranch has a private beach for homeowners—one of the best in the area. It even has its own water district.

Because Hope Ranch borders the beach its temperature is cooler and more influenced by the marine climate than inland areas. Hope Ranch itself has no retail area, although it is convenient to Upper State Street shopping, particularly La Cumbre Plaza, a large shopping center anchored by Robinsons-May Company, many fine shops, and a large Vons market.

The beautiful La Cumbre Country Club is located within the boundaries of Hope Ranch. It has one of the best golf courses on the South Coast, and fine tennis facilities as well. Membership is not limited to Hope Ranch residents. It is a proprietary ownership club.

Hope Ranch homes vary from large, ranch style homes to palatial Mediterranean estates.

Everything in Hope Ranch is governed by covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), which are overseen and enforced by the Hope Ranch Homeowners Association. Every homeowner becomes a member of the Association. There are height and lot coverage limitations, and other restrictions governing home construction. There is a minimum one-acre lot size.

Hope Ranch has no public schools within its boundaries, but there are several excellent schools that serve it, including Vieja Valley Elementary, La Colina Junior High, and San Marcos High School. It's also the location of Laguna Blanca School, one of the best private schools in the county, which serves grades K through 12. School information can be found in the Resources page of this Web site. Please check the school district to find which schools service any address in this area.

Hope Ranch Map

Search Active Homes Mesa Active Homes

The Mesa district of Santa Barbara is located on a bluff overlooking the harbor and the Pacific ocean. It is west (up coast) of the harbor, bounded by City College on the east, Las Positas Road in the west, and rises up to a high hill behind it.

If you continue driving up the coast from the harbor you will be on Shoreline Drive which eventually intersects the Mesa's main commercial thoroughfare, Cliff Drive. If you cross the Cliff Drive intersection, the road is called Meigs Road and climbs the hill to the top of the Mesa and then goes down the back side into downtown. Please see the link to the map below.

Mesa Map

Much of the lower Mesa was originally developed in the 30s and 40s and has smaller, older homes and cottages. With rising prices however, the area is changing and you see a lot of remodeling transforming the older homes. The area above Cliff Drive, going up the hill was developed in the 60s and 70s and here you will find ranch style homes from the modest to the elegant, especially on top where there area great views of the ocean and coastline on one side and the City and mountains on the other side.

The weather is a cooler, marine climate, which, like the rest of Santa Barbara near the ocean, gets foggy and overcast from May-June to July-August. You can't predict the season with accuracy, so this is a loose range. Generally it burns off by the afternoon, but it can stay foggy here most of the day while it can be sunny near the foothills.

The Mesa has it's own shopping area located at the intersection of Shoreline/Meigs and Cliff Drive. There are shopping developments on each corner. There are banks, super markets, restaurants, shops, and offices here.

There are three elementary schools in the area: McKinley, Washington, and Monroe. The junior high school is La Cumbre and the high school is Santa Barbara High. It is right next to Santa Barbara City College, one of our local educational treasures. School information can be found in the Resources page of this Web site. Please check the school district to find which schools service any address in this area.

The Mesa is generally beach oriented. On the weekends, Shoreline Park is where families picnic, play frisbee, and fly kites. Ledbetter beach next to the harbor has a good surfing area at the point below Shoreline Park. Two of our newest parks are located here: the Douglas Family Preserve-named by Michael Douglas for his father Kirk, but many locals still call it the Wilcox Property; and Las Positas Park, the former Jesuit property, now  known as Elings Park. Names can be confusing here. The beach at the east end of the Mesa is officially Arroyo Burro Beach, but most locals call it Hendry's Beach.


Search Active HomesMission Canyon Active Homes

Mission Canyon was named because of the influence of the Santa Barbara Mission and Mission Creek. The Mission was rebuilt in 1812 but dates back to 1782 when the padres and soldiers first settled the area. Mission Creek drains several canyons and provided the water supply for the Mission and its activities. The Mission’s original waterworks is still in existence and can be seen behind the Mission.

Mission Canyon extends from the Mission up Foothill Road to the top of the foothills, from Mountain Drive on the east to San Roque on the west.

Mission Canyon is a rural environment of single-family homes. The hidden lanes, lack of sidewalks, secluded canyons, lush vegetation, and presence of the creek itself, give it a country feel. The older, lower section near the Mission ranges from quaint cottages to fine new homes. Above Foothill Road, going up into the foothills and canyons, you will find newer homes (post 1950s) from ranch style to Mediterranean estates. Here you will find fabulous views of the ocean, the Channel Islands, and the coast.

The climate is mild in the lower canyon, warmer in the upper canyon and foothills. In the summer months, temperatures in the canyons and foothills can be 10° or more warmer than in downtown Santa Barbara. The canyons and foothills can also be host to the backcountry’s flies and gnats during the summer.

Despite its rural character, Mission Canyon is within easy reach of downtown Santa Barbara. However, there are also destinations within Mission Canyon itself. Behind the Mission is the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, which showcases our local environment, both past and present. Farther up the canyon is the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, which displays botanical environments—from redwoods to sage—common (and occasionally unique) to the area. Off Foothill Road is Santa Barbara Tennis Club. And Mission Canyon also provides good access to the Santa Barbara backcountry. You will find the Rattlesnake Canyon and Tunnel Road trailheads here.

Roosevelt Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High, and Santa Barbara High schools serve some of this area. School information can be found in the Resources page of this Web site. Please check with the school district to find which schools service any address in this area.

Mission Canyon Map


Search Active HomesMontecito Active Homes


Montecito is an unincorporated suburb east (down the coast) of the City of Santa Barbara, and extends from the beach to the top of the foothills. It’s been one of Santa Barbara’s most exclusive residential communities for almost 100 years, when the railroad first brought wealthy families from the East and Midwest to winter here. These socially elite families built many fabulous estates, which were known by the names of their owners: the Armours, Bacons, McCormicks, Mortons, and more. More recently, Montecito has become the retreat of movie stars.

Although most of the old estates still survive and their homes restored, their vast landholdings have been subdivided over the years. Nevertheless, Montecito retains a lush rural environment with very secluded properties.

Montecito was one of the first communities to establish building codes and property restrictions. There is a one-acre minimum parcel size, as well as lot coverage restrictions. Like most of the South Coast, there are few building sites left in Montecito, so there has been a lot of remodeling or tear-downs of smaller homes to make way for big luxury homes.

Montecito has its own planning review organization, the Montecito Planning Commission. The County of Santa Barbara has respected this tradition, since the Montecito Planning Commission’s requirements have generally been consistent with, if not more rigorous than, the County’s.

Montecito 14,000 residents are served by neighborhood shopping areas, schools, and the community’s own water and sewer districts. Montecito’s two public elementary schools are Montecito Union and Cold Spring. Santa Barbara Junior High and Santa Barbara High School also serve Montecito residents. Public school information can be found in the Resources page of this Web site (link). Please check the school district to find which schools service any address in this area.

Montecito also has several excellent private schools, including Crane School, serving grades K through 8; Laguna Blanca’s primary school, serving grades K through 4; and Westmont College, a 1,200-student Christian college.

Montecito has two upscale shopping areas—Coast Village, with many shops, restaurants, and services, including a Von’s super market—and the Upper Village, with several small markets, banks, offices, restaurants, services, and exclusive shops.

Montecito also offers three country clubs with golf courses: the Valley Club, the Montecito Country Club (recently remodeled), and Birnam Wood Country Club. There is also a family-oriented tennis club, Knowlwood Tennis Club. A private beach club, the Coral Casino, is located on part of the Biltmore Hotel grounds.

Montecito also provides good access to the backcountry and trails. The Montecito Trails Association has established a network of hiking and equestrian trails in the area, including Cold Spring, San Ysidro, and Romero Canyon.

Montecito weather is much like the rest of Santa Barbara: cooler by the beach and warmer as you go toward the foothills. Overcast and foggy weather occurs in April-May to July-August, depending on the year. In the summer months, it can get much warmer (10° or more) up in the canyons and foothills than in lower Montecito. You can also experience the backcountry’s flies and gnats up in the canyons during the summer, especially above East Mountain Drive.

Montecito Map


Search Active Homes San Roque Active Homes


San Roque is family oriented neighborhood in the mid and upper State Street areas of the City of Santa Barbara. It is bounded by State Street up to the foothills and from Mission Canyon in the east to San Marcos Pass to the west. It's known for its quiet neighborhoods, and lush, quiet, curved streets. It was named by Gaspar de Portola during his 1769 expedition in California.. He named the local creek after Saint Roque and the area has been known as such ever since.

The area is oriented to the mid and upper State Street areas, including La Cumbre Plaza and DiLoreto Plaza shopping centers. But, with its central location, it is within easy reach of downtown Santa Barbara.

There's a mix of homes here, from Tudor, Ranch, Normandy, Colonial, and Spanish. The area was mostly developed after the 20s through the 50s. As with much of Santa Barbara, many of the homes have been, or are being, remodeled.

Elementary schools in the area are Monte Vista, Adams, and Peabody. The area is split between La Cumbre, Santa Barbara, and La Colina Junior High schools, as well as between Santa Barbara and San Marcos High schools. School information can be found in the Resources page of this Web site. Please check the school district to find which schools service any address in this area.

The climate here is mild to warm as you go above Foothill Road into the foothills. The area below State Street (referred to as west of State) to the freeway (Highway 101) encompasses other neighborhoods from the Upper Westside to the Samarkand area. The Upper Westside includes smaller, older California bungalows, and many condos. The Samarkand is a smaller central neighborhood of single family homes similar to San Roque, but slightly less expensive.

This area of town is close to Cottage Hospital, the Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic, Earl Warren Showground, the Municipal Golf Course, and the Santa Barbara YMCA.

In the foothills, Jesusita trailhead and Stevens Park have good hiking trails and access to the backcountry.

San Roque Map


Search Active HomesUpper East & Riviera Active Homes

Santa Barbara's Upper Eastside and the Riviera, two adjacent neighborhoods, offer many fine, old single-family homes. Together they encompass the central part of Santa Barbara, from State Street up to the foothills, and from Valerio Street to the Mission Canyon area. Alameda Padre Serra, which runs east to west through the lower foothills, is generally recognized as the border between the two neighborhoods.

The Upper Eastside contains many of Santa Barbara's Victorian-era homes, as well as many stately homes developed before the 1950s. Owners have carefully restored most of these classic older homes, within walking distance of downtown Santa Barbara.

The Riviera is located on the hills above downtown and the Upper Eastside. It was developed at the turn of the century when better roads and water were available to the area. Fine old homes and cottages characterize the lower Riviera, and newer, modern and Mediterranean style homes predominate as you go up the hills. The Riviera was the location of the original University of California, and its predecessor, Santa Barbara State Teachers’ College.

The climate is mild in the lower areas around Upper State and warmer as you go up the hill. Residents of both areas frequent downtown Santa Barbara businesses and shop along the State Street corridor. Supermarkets serving this area include Von’s and a beautiful new high-end Ralph's Market. For shopping and recreation see the section on Downtown Santa Barbara.

Schools serving Upper Eastside and the Riviera include Roosevelt and Franklin elementary schools, and Santa Barbara Junior High and Santa Barbara High School. School information can be found in the Resources page of this Web site. Please check the school district to find which schools service any address in these areas.

Upper East Map