Santa Barbara (Spanish: Santa Bárbara, meaning ‘Saint Barbara’) is a coastal city in Santa Barbara County, California, of which it is also the county seat. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara’s climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been dubbed “The American Riviera”. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the city’s population was 88,665.
In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city has a diverse economy that includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for 35% of local employment. Area institutions of higher learning include the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, and Antioch University. The city is served by Santa Barbara Airport and train service is provided by Amtrak, which operates the Pacific Surfliner, which runs from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. The Santa Barbara area is connected via U.S. Highway 101 to Los Angeles 100 mi (160 km) to the southeast and San Francisco 325 mi (525 km) to the northwest. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forest, which contains several remote wilderness areas. Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are located approximately 20 miles (30 km) offshore.
Things to Do
- charity walks
- Runs, and other public events are part of what makes Santa Barbara a vibrant, fun, connected community.
Santa Barbara experiences a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csb) characteristic of coastal California. Santa Barbara’s weather was ranked number 1 in the United States in 2018 by U.S. News & World Report. Because the city lies along the ocean and parallel to the predominant westerly winds, sideshore and light onshore breezes moderate temperatures resulting in warmer winters and cooler summers compared with places farther inland.
In the winter, storms reach California, some of which bring heavy rainfall but the rainshadow effect of the coastal mountains can at times moderate or enhance the rainfall depending on local storm wind flows. Local rainfall totals can be enhanced by orographic lift when storms are accompanied by southerly flow pushing moist air over the Santa Ynez mountains, producing greater rainfall than in other coastal areas. Diurnal temperature variation reaches a maximum in winter due to lower humidity and the absence of summer fog. On average, only 1.7 nights have freezing lows.
Summers in Santa Barbara are mostly rainless due to the presence of a high-pressure area over the eastern Pacific, but summer showers can happen due to tropical hurricane/Monsoonal flows that rarely reach the region; thunderstorms can also occur during the North American Monsoon. In the fall, afternoon or evening downslope winds, locally called “Sundowners”, can raise temperatures into the high 90s °F (high 30s °C) and drop humidities into the single digits, increasing the chance due to downed power lines, etc., and severity of wildfires in the foothills north of the city.
Annual rainfall totals are highly variable and in exceptional years like 1940–1941 and 1997–1998 over 40 inches (1.0 m) of rain have fallen in a year, but in dry seasons less than 6 inches (150 mm) is not unheard of. Snow sometimes covers higher elevations of the Santa Ynez Mountains but is extremely rare in the city itself. The most recent accumulating snow to fall near sea level was in January 1949, when approximately 2 inches (5.1 cm) fell in the city.
Santa Barbara, California, should definitely be on your radar for the best summer beach vacations in the U.S. With so many options for fun in the sun, you won’t be disappointed.
Start off with a stroll around Stearns Wharf, where you can take in gorgeous ocean views and maybe catch a glimpse of a sea lion or two. If you’re into water sports, you have plenty of options here — from surfing to swimming to even taking a sunset kayak tour.
After you’re done catching rays at the beach, head to Downtown’s Funk Zone by State Street. It’s one of the coolest neighborhoods to visit for some unique shopping, art galleries, and delicious dining options. Make sure to make a reservation at The Lark for a meal you won’t forget — it is one of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara!
And if history is your thing, don’t miss the Old Mission Santa Barbara. For families traveling with kids, the Santa Barbara Zoo is a must-visit. Love the movie Sideways? Take a wine-tasting day trip to Solvang, Los Olivos, or Ojai for some great California wine.
The best place to stay is at one of Santa Barbara’s cool boutique hotels like the Hotel Californian. With the perfect mild climate with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s, Santa Barbara is truly a summer paradise. Just don’t forget to pack a jacket along with your bathing suit, since it gets a bit chilly at night.
- Chuck’s of Hawaii
Chuck’s of Hawaii takes great pride in our unwavering commitment to meeting each and every guest’s individual taste and exceeding expectations. We accomplish this by: Serving only the highest quality hand-cut steaks , and an array of the best local and imported seafood; Procuring the freshest produce for our salad bar; Offering an award-winning wine selection – Winner of the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, 36 years and counting; and Providing exemplary service and hospitality. Chuck’s of Hawaii—a monument of Santa Barbara’s Upper-State Street, leaving a lasting impression on the heart, mind, and palate.
- Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch
Various Locations. The Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch has been serving up the best Mesquite Bar-B-Q’d chicken and tri-tip for over 25 years, in both our Santa Barbara and Goleta restaurants. We cook with only real Mesquite charcoal imported from Mexico. No gas grill, no frying. Nothing gives you that delicious, smoky, Mesquite grilled flavor like real wood charcoal. We serve our tasty tri-tip and chicken with traditional Mexican sides like whole pinto beans, warm tortillas, spicy salsas and pico de gallo made fresh daily. We also serve up some of the biggest and tastiest burritos in town. Locations include 2618 De la Vina Street and 149 N. Fairview Avenue (Goleta).
- Ca’ Dario
805-884-9419. Ca’ Dario Ristorante at 37 E. Victoria Street, Ca’ Dario Ristorante at 1187 Coast Village Road in Montecito, and Ca’ Dario Cucina Italiana at 250 Storke Road in Goleta now offer a family menu in addition to their regular menu. Ristorante and Cucina Italiana are now open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday evening from 4-8 pm. Service is available for take-out, curbside pickup, and delivery with Restaurant Connection and GrubHub. DoorDash will be added soon. Ca’ Dario Ristorante and Cucina Italiana are offering 20% off all delivery and phone orders. Call to order, or follow the link on any of our restaurant pages and enter the code DARIOTWENTY at checkout. Visit cadariorestaurants.com.
- Rusty’s Pizza Parlor
805-564-1111We’re excited to partner with LOCAL WINERIES and BREWERIES such as Kunin, Fess Parker, J. Lohr, Rabble, Brander and Firestone to help SUPPORT their business and offer you some great options for pairing with your pizza, hot wings and salads. Call our phone center at 805-564-1111 to have them delivered or picked up from our 8 locations. Being a local company, we hope to offer a bit of comfort food to the Santa Barbara community in this time of uncertainty-Your health and safety is foremost on our minds, therefore we are offering “No Touch Delivery” upon request. Additionally, our food handlers wear protective masks, gloves, and are constantly sanitizing highly touched areas. We’ll get through this together Santa Barbara! www.rustyspizza.com.
- Double Down Delivery
Santa Barbara’s newest and finest food delivery! Locally owned and operated to eliminate high fees and better serve our local restaurants and service to our customers. Double Down Delivery adds convenience to your busy life. We are a truly local small food delivery business based out of Santa Barbara with service to all customers from Carpinteria to Goleta. We charge our restaurants minimal fees unlike all of our competitors so that restaurants can keep their profits in our local community. Not only do we pay our drivers cost of living, our delivery fees and tips are solely for drivers. Please check out our restaurant selections, drive for us, partner with us and support a small business that truly loves our community with ethical business practices — for our drivers, for our restaurants and for you, our esteemed customers.
Santa Barbara Attractions
Mission Santa Barbara
Old Mission Santa Barbara is considered ‘Queen of the Missions’ for its graceful beauty. Founded on December 4th, 1786, it was the tenth.
Stearns Wharf is a pier at the cross section of the end of State Street and Cabrillo, in the harbor in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara Harbor
Santa Barbara Harbor is one of the most picturesque boating locations in Southern California.
County CourthouseThis magnificent Spanish-Moorish.
State Street Promenade
Santa Barbara’s downtown area has transformed into a pedestrian mall, with restaurants, bars, and other businesses expanding onto sidewalks and into the main boulevard.
Santa Barbara renowned for being home to some of the most revered art galleries in the country.
Landmark DistrictThe Landmark District is a living example of the growth of local residential neighborhoods in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Carriage and Western
Art MuseumEstablished in 1972, the Carriage and Western Art Museum of Santa Barbara is a non-profit organization.
Casa de la Guerra
Santa Barbara is a city so rich in history that its easy to sometimes miss something very interesting.
If ever wanted to see a rainbow close-up but could never catch it, there is one in Santa Barbara just waiting for you.
Chumash Painted Cave
Santa Barbara’s Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park preserves centuries old Native American artwork that is adorn.
Cold Spring Tavern
If you want to step back in time and experience a bygone era of the Old West, be sure to visit Cold Spring Tavern.
SANTA BARBARA: Kids World is the mother of all playgrounds in Santa Barbara.
La Cumbre Peak
Santa Barbara Community
- Real Estate Voice
- Senior Care
- Spa & Wellness
- Business Directory
- Live Web Cams
- Environmental Organizations
- Local History
- Performing Arts
- places of worship