Santa Barbara is a captivating community, set on a south-facing coastline of California. With mild tempuratures and refreshing ocean breezes, very similar to the Mediterranean, Santa Barbara is known at the “American Riviera” to many. Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara offers the best of the outdoors, with open wilderness and undeveloped coastline.
Santa Barbara enjoys mild climate much of the year. Because of the city’s location sideshore and onshore breezes keep us cool in the summer and warm in the winter compared to more inland areas. In the summer we do experience some marine layer that burns off in the afternoon, while in the fall there are “sundowners” (evening downslope winds) which can raise temperatures into the upper 90s and drop humidity levels extremely low. Our rain levels vary, with lows of 6 inches to as much as 40 inches, in some cases snow is seen at the higher elevations of the mountains.
Santa Barbara is very well known for its Monterey-style adobe, Spanish Colonial Revival and the related Mission Revival style. After the 1925 earthquake damaged much of the downtown area, city leaders adopted design guidelines encouraging the architectural look of the above styles. When you visit downtown you will notice the red tile roofs and smooth plaster walls that grace many businesses and residences. Some of our more notable architects from the 20s are George Washington Smith (Lobero Theatre and Casa del Herrero), Reginald Johnson, Edwards and Plunkett, and Carleton Winslow.
Santa Barbara has many different neighborhoods with distinctive architecture, from Victorian and Queen Anne style, to California bungalow and craftsman-style. You can find almost any style you desire in many of the older neighborhoods. San Roque and Samarkand embrace the delightful cottages of yesteryear, while upper State Street showcases stately residences. The Riviera homes take full advantage of their ocean views, while the beachy Mesa community shows off their beach bungalows. Don’t forget the Eastside and Westside, Mission Canyon and Foothill neighborhoods. Each has their own personality that captures the soul of the people who reside there.
Santa Barbara is a great place to visit or live in, offering year-round fun and activities. Anytime of year you will be able to explore and enjoy.
Venues for the arts include the Arlington Theatre (home of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, )The Lobero Theatre (historic building that hosts small plays and concerts), the Granada Theater, and the Santa Barbara Bowl (our favorite outdoor music venue). Other smaller venues host local talent as well as well known artists. Be sure to visit Soho Restaurant or Velvet Jones. Santa Barbara is also home to a symphony orchestra, a part-time opera company, and many non-profit classical music groups (such as CAMA). The Music Academy of the West, located in Montecito, provides opportunity to young gifted musicians under the guidance of renowned faculty and guest conductors during summer programs, and offers more than 200 public events onsite and in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara is a year-round destination, with many things to do and see. Of course, the first places to visit are the Santa Barbara Mission and the Santa Barbara Courthouse. On a sunny day take time to stroll out on Stearns Wharf and to the Santa Barbara Waterfront. Enjoy walking through the Santa Barbara Harbor and out onto the breakwater where you will see local surfing legends and kids playing in the waves. For the shopper there is always Paseo Nuevo Shops or La Arcada where you can stroll through charming shops.
There are also our wonderful museums, art galleries, the Zoo, Sea Center, Botanic Gardens, Moxi and the Sunday art show on the beach. You will need more time than you planned for to take in all the sights.
A new Santa Barbara favorite “go to” place is The Funk Zone, a unique neighborhood transformed into a funky artisans district. Give yourself an entire afternoon to explore all the converted warehouses that now showcase wineries, breweries, cafes and galleries full of local wares.
There is no need to drive all the way to Los Angeles for fine dining. Everything you could wish for is right here in Santa Barbara. Farm fresh greens, wild caught fish, every flavor that makes you drool is found in Santa Barbara or close by. If you are looking for beachfront dining you can go to Fishouse, The Harbor Restaurant, Brophy’s, Blue Water, Moby Dicks, and the list goes on and on. For the more elegant affairs be sure to visit The Biltmore, San Ysidro’s Stonehouse, The Rosemond (newly opened at the Miramar), Belmond El Encanto, Lucky’s, Angel Oak at the Ritz Carlton, to name just a few. And then there are the famous hotspots such as La Super Rica (beloved by Julia Child), The Hitching Post (Sideways movie fame), and Cat Cora’s Mesa Burger. I am sure I will upset many by not mentioning their favorite place, but I recommend going out and exploring all the many eateries around the 805.
And let’s not forget our delectable wineries in the area. Whether you enjoy a fruity or dry chardonnay or an earthy cabernet, Santa Barbara County offers a wonderful variety of wines. Take a tour of the area Santa Barbara County vineyards or go to some local Santa Barbara tasting rooms . Be sure to designate a driver because we have plenty of wines to taste. For those that enjoy the heartier flavor of beer and such be sure to check out all the local craft breweries that are popping up.
If you really want to get to know Santa Barbara on a more personal level, give Lorenzen Partners a call and we will drive you around and show you why we love it so much. We can answer your questions on a personal level because we have been in Santa Barbara since 1969.