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A Nice City, But . . .
It's a beautiful town with stellar ocean views, a laid-back vibe and a climate that can't beat. Small wonder they call this the "American Riviera." So what's not to like? Plenty, if you're constantly worrying how you're going to make next month's rent. As the numbers show, the cost of living is EXTREMELY high anywhere along this coast, and a rental room could cost you close to a grand a month.

Unless you're a movie star, independently wealthy or a trust-fund baby, you're never going to own a home here. And with a limited employment base (tourism is the main industry), you're chances for professional advancement are severely limited.

As a result, this is a city with a sharp divide between the "haves" and "have-nots." If you're a "have," dig the coastal lifestyle and small-townish feel this may be paradise for you. If you're a "have-not," probably not, unless you're low on ambition and don't mind living hand-to-mouth for the rest of your days.

I spent three years here in the late 1980s and left with no regrets. I went back to visit recently and didn't feel a twinge of nostalgia.



Very high cost of living.



climate great



Wonderful climate, high cost of living



Great Quality of Life, Prettiest City in US, but T
SB is an amazing city to live. Great People, almost without pretension. It is super laid back, billionaires hang out with starving students, surf attitude all day long. If you wear a suit and tie, you are felt sorry for because you must be a lawyer or banker - guys that would be envied in any other town. Sure its expensive, but you trade a standard of living for a lifestyle, and that style is outdoor activities year round, too much to do all the time to do it all, GREAT CHURCHES (who would have guessed?) great people.

But it is CA, and there is no summer here, it is always bloomin freezing. Even the people that LOVE the weather (my wife included) actually enjoy the fact that you need a jacket at night. Have they never enjoyed a warm summer evening....anywhere else on Earth? In 2011 there was not one day the whole year that didn't require a light jacket or heavier. After living here 10 years, I'd say that on average there are five evenings a year that don't require a light coat or more. And the water temp - forget about it without a wetsuit, the water rarely is over 60, and only above 55 for two months a year.

You also have to look very hard for a decent meal in this town, the Santa Barbara restaurant scene is a city of expensive mediocrity. We nearly always come away from a dinner out wishing we had cooked at home or driven to LA. But there are maybe 5 good places to eat in the area, and tons of average though expensive places.

I love the city, love my friends, love the lifestyle, LOVE my church. But I am just soooo over freezing my toes off all year long. Take me home to Miami!



Used to be home
Went to La Colina, San Marcos High. Great schools. But like others have commented, in the 80's, the movie stars took over. The house I grew up in Hope Ranch annex, my parents paid $28,000 for and added the high ceilings and put in pool. A Dr. bought it for one million. Please............... a tract home.... I saw the house when it was on the mmarket, again. Not much has changed with that house on corner lot to boot. Off Puente. Really now.. Used to ride horses on Mora Mesa, motorcycles, climbed up and down the cliffs. Now, it's all homes. All family and friends have relocated to other areas. My family, FL, friends, AZ, etc...some still live in Santa Maria, Grover Beach..not Santa Barbara. Al Reese still plays piano, unreal...he is good! Saw him every weekend, in my younger days.. My boyfriend at the time was singer in the movie Carrie. Where is Glen today? Not SB. Neither is Michael T...I saw it coming....Well, Florida life on the Gulf I have settled for in a house I can afford as Secretary. Ha... Take care and enjoy the scenery. I had my time in SB...never to forget. Cheryl



What's Not To Like?
Housing costs, taxes, growing crime, illegals, state and county fiscal health.



Economic recovery
Santa Barbara has a university (UCSB), agriculture,oil and gas (much of it not yet developed),and tourism. This diversified economy,cultural and arts, and nice weather year round make it a very desirable place to live.



Santa Barbara and environs
A little bit of paradise lies nestled between the blue Pacific and the gorgeous Santa Ynez Mountain Range. Known as the American Riviera, the greater Santa Barbara area (from Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito to the South; Goleta to the north) stretches 26 miles along the coastline approximately 90 miles north of Los Angeles on Highway 101. Santa Barbara's south facing orientation keeps her blessed with a temperate climate and stunning visual beauty. It has been said that this is why the approximately 120,000 (greater Santa Barbara area)captive residents are so friendly and hospitable.

Housing costs are quite high mainly due to a very long time "no-growth" political environment; and thus many people make sacrifices to call Santa Barbara home. However, if you are one of the blessed few who can choose your place to call home; I can't think of a better community to raise a family, get a higher education at one of our many higher educational institutes, enjoy a plethora of recreational and cultural amenities, enjoy active retirement or develop your career.

The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB)located on the Beach, Santa Barbara Community College, located directly across from the beach and the Harbor, Westmont College, The Pacifica Institute, The Fielding Institute all bring tremendous culture, educational programs, lectures, sports, entertainment, national and international speakers to our community along with their interesting and diverse staff as community citizens. Not to mention the numerous innovative start-up companies which have sprung from these wonderful facilities and come full circle by giving back to the community and their alma matters.

Santa Barbara is as diverse in it's choice of restaurants, wineries, and hospitality resources as one can imagine. From the Burger Bus and famous Hot Dog Stand to the Stone House Restaurant at the luxurious San Ysidro Inn (where Jack and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned). From the many lovely Bed & Breakfast Inns and Beach Motels to the stunning Four Season's Biltmore Hotel on Butterfly Beach in upscale Montecito (owned by Beanie Baby Mogul, Ty Warner).

All but two of our beaches are open to the public with plenty of parking access. Hope Ranch Beach is a public beach located in the exclusive Hope Ranch enclave, only accessible by boat or private entry access; and Hollister Ranch further north up the coast, which also has private entrance but can be reached by boat.

Santa Barbara has over 30 public parks, including the Mission Rose Gardens at Mission Santa Barbara and several botanic parks which charge an entry fee. The Santa Barbara Zoo is an amazingly beautiful botanic and zoological treasure with animals in natural settings and lots of activities for families and children.

Art galleries and restaurants are as prolific as the Palm Trees lining Cabrillo Boulevard, where on Sunday's much of the boulevard is lined with artist and artisans offering their creativity for sale. All art is juried and one can find modest and modestly priced art to pricey and major art.

Santa Barbara real estate ranges from the low end of approximately $400,000 for a modest 2 bedroom condo to a $29 million amazing beach estate on Padero Lane just south of the city of Santa Barbara. Oprah paid $50million for her stunning estate in Montecito.

We Realtors are often surprised at how many people can pay cash for their properties. We are a little cosm of the world as many people from all over the globe choose their only or second home in our community. This makes for a most interesting mix of citizens. While strolling on downtown State Street (the main artery bi-secting Santa Barbara from the Ocean to the Financial District), many languages can be overheard.

Santa Barbara has a pretty laid back atmosphere and therefore casual (not sloppy unless you are a college student) dress is very acceptable almost anywhere in town. Always bring a long a sweater as evening cools down and the ocean breezes keeps our temperature pretty steady from 65-75 degrees.

Come discover our beautiful community, just like Padre Junipera Serra did in 1786 when he decided that Santa Barbara was the place to build his Queen of the Missions.

There is much more to discover than I can possibly tell you about in this review. I have lived in four countries and have traveled some, but have never found a replacement for beautiful Santa Barbara. A terrific resource is "Santa Babara & The Central Coast" written by travel, food and wine writer Michael Cervin, available at For more information visit my webesite:



Expensive Lifestyle
I have visited Santa Barbara and found that it is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in the United States and the weather is almost perfect. Too bad that the only ones who seem to be able to live here are either the very rich or the homeless! You get the feeling that the city fathers like to have you come to visit but would rather not have anybody else come here to live!



If you're not wealthy, you can't afford to live he
No seriously, you really can't. Santa Barbara home values have even outpaced the wealthiest sections of Los Angeles.



Santa Barbara
The climate is wonderful, restaurants are great and the people are friendly



One reason I love it here.
Beautifl and nearly perfect weather.



Great place, wonderful people, year round vacation
13 Years here and loving it! High cost of living, but well worth it!



santa barbara marina
Of all marina's on the US west coast, the one in Santa Barbara ranks as one of the most pretty. Beautifull back drop of palm trees, cliffs, mountains, ocean and sometimes (depends on ocean fog) islands views. Downtown state street, beaches, musea, wharf, and great bike path's within walking distance. Harbor relatively small (1104 vessels), yet interesting mix of vessels and occasional super yachts. One meets people from literally all walks of life within a few acres and many foreigners and sailors from around the world. Excellent sailing weather with predictable winds in the afternoons. Harbor restaurants extremely popular. The funny thing is that quite a few yacht club members have no boats but enjoy the scene so much they joined anyhow. On the down side is the scarce availability of boat slips and if you have a multi hulled vessel, forget it. Micro climate better than the city itself due to the ocean breeze. A stunning place. "Wet Wednesday" during the Summer months provide competitive sailing opportunities and beatiful vista's of inflated spinnakers sails as seen from the breakwater. Seakayaking, spear fishing, beach volleyball, and scuba all add up to a diverse pleasure ground.


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