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The Santa Barbara Neighborhoods You Should Know About
Real Estate

The Santa Barbara Neighborhoods You Should Know About

Who wouldn’t love living in a place where your biggest concern is whether you’re catching the biggest wave or the most perfect sunset?


5 min read

August 01, 2021

Nestled between the Pacific and the Santa Ynez mountains, Downtown Santa Barbara's natural beauty and historic buildings attract people from all over.

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Named after the Spanish word meaning “flat-topped table,” the elevated two-and-a-half-mile Mesa hovers directly above the sea.

Mesa, Santa Barbara 

Not very far from Downtown Santa Barbara yet worlds away, Mesa oozes with easy-going coastal vibes; the neighborhood is located on the bluffs above the beach after all. This is where you come to bask in the views, munch on good eats, and read a book with the waves as your background music.

If you want to get a true feel of what Mesa has to offer, its main attraction is definitely location, location, location. The neighborhood is situated on a flat mesa above the rest of Santa Barbara—in order to see what the views are, head to Shoreline Park and wait till the sun goes down. Better yet, plan a picnic during golden hour and you’ll be exposed to one of the best vistas on the Central Coast. 

In the mood for food? There are a handful of tasty eateries tucked in Mesa. Rose Cafe, for instance, is a delicious Mexican restaurant with breakfast items served all day. Or alternatively, go green at Mesa Verde, an eatery boasting vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. 

San Roque is where a lot of Santa Barbara local families live. There are great schools, fun shops and delicious restaurants sprinkled in the area.

San Roque, Santa Barbara 

If there's one thing that should be clear about Santa Barbara by now, it's that the city is diverse enough to accommodate lifestyles ranging from "outgoing college student/party animal" to "family of four looking to settle down somewhere nice." San Roque definitely belongs to the latter category. This neighborhood is close to every amenity and yet just far enough to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown. Great schools here come in the plentiful, as well as a bunch of fun shops and delicious restaurants sprinkled throughout the area.

And while there aren't too many natural wonders or museums in San Roque, the easily accessible hiking trails make it very easy to stay active and healthy. Grassy parks clothe the whole neighborhood, making for plenty of room for the little ones to run around. And in terms of food, San Roque boasts everything from old school steakhouses, French breakfast nooks to sushi joints—you won't go hungry here.

The Oak Park area, much like West Downtown, is an area containing older homes that are gradually being replaced with apartments.

Oak Park, Santa Barbara 

Much like West Downtown, the Oak Park area is a delightful mixture of vintage houses, cottages, Victorian abodes, and smaller-scale apartment buildings. The main draw of this neighborhood is definitely Oak Park, a 17-acre family-friendly park running along Mission Creek. This place is a picnic mecca, with grassy areas shaded by mature oak and sycamores—your afternoon will be well spent. In addition to sprouting greenery, there are two public tennis courts, two playgrounds, a raised wooden platform used as a stage or dancefloor, and horseshoe pits. 

The most popular place to stay in Santa Barbara is the neighborhood of West Beach, with its many ocean view restaurants, shops, and shoreline.

West Beach, Santa Barbara 

Commonly referred to as the Ambassador area, West Beach can be summed up in two phrases—Spanish-style buildings and oceanside fun. These two merge together to create a picturesque area tailored for young professionals, and a vintage, historic feel reminiscent of Santa Barbara's olden days. Approximately half of West Beach is taken over by Santa Barbara City College. Situated on a 74-acre bluff, this campus overlooks the harbor and the Pacific—had we known the views were this magnificent, we would have chosen to attend this community college

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