December 29th, 2023 at 11:00 am


Santa Barbara Neighborhoods to Consider

Updated Jan 11, 2024

With the Santa Ynez Mountains as its backdrop and its location along the California coast, Santa Barbara is one of the most breathtaking areas in all of the United States. 

It’s filled with Mediterranean-style buildings and red-tiled roofs, endless options for shopping, and plenty of local eateries along the popular State Street. 

If you’re considering living in this area, there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to Santa Barbara neighborhoods. They each boast their own personality and offer different ways to explore this city by the sea.

From Carpinteria and its small, beachy feel, to the luxurious streets of Montecito, pack your bag and take a trip with us through the streets of the American Riviera. 

If you’re interested in this home or other real estate in the area, contact our Santa Barbara REALTORS® .


Carpinteria, with its charming small-town ambiance, offers a delightful and homey feel that captures the essence of coastal living. The heartbeat of this beach community is Linden, its main street, lined with an array of specialty shops and a diverse selection of restaurants. 

Carpinteria State Beach, a beloved local gem, welcomes both families and surf enthusiasts with its inviting shores. The wide expanse of Carpinteria State Beach creates a picturesque backdrop, inviting residents and visitors alike to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand in perfect harmony.

Downtown Santa Barbara 

Downtown, one of the most important parts of Santa Barbara, revolves around the heartbeat of State Street, making it a key spot in the city. Situated right in the midst of the hustle and bustle, State Street is surrounded by a mix of trendy shops and diverse dining spots.

If the idea of being in a lively city center, with plenty of options for shopping and eating, appeals to you, then exploring the neighborhoods around State Street is a smart move. Here, you’ll experience the city’s vibrant culture firsthand, with an assortment of shops, restaurants, and cultural spots that define the unique character of downtown Santa Barbara. It’s the place where Santa Barbara truly comes to life.

Hope Ranch

Hope Ranch was incorporated in 1924 and is known for its equestrian community and palm tree-lined streets. With 1863 acres of land, homes are a mix of estates and ranches with views of the Pacific Ocean, rolling hills, and the valley. 

There’s easy access to the 101 freeway and the airport is just 10 minutes away. Because Hope Ranch is divided into plots of different sizes with different shapes, each has its own unique personality. 

If you’re searching for an exclusive residential community, Hope Ranch is one of the best in all of the Santa Barbara area. 

Santa Ynez Valley

From museums to spas to exploring the great outdoors, the Santa Ynez Valley offers a little something for everyone. It’s divided into six amazing areas: Ballard, Los Olivos, Buellton, Los Alamos, Solvang, and Santa Ynez.

As locals like to say, the communities are clustered together like grape bundles and each offer something different. Buellton, for example, offers charm while Los Olivos is fit for the wine and art lover. 


Known as one of the most luxurious areas in all of America, Montecito is filled with famous residents, like Oprah, and some of the most spectacular coastline in all of Santa Barbara. 

There’s Hammond’s Point, the iconic surf break, and the magical waters of Butterfly Beach. In Montecito, you’ll find a mix of surfers and sailors in the water and beachgoers on the sand soaking up the sun. 

There are a wide variety of hiking and walking trails filled with flowers and plants and views of both the city and the Channel Islands. Visit the botanical wonder that is Lotusland, a 37-acre Montecito estate that was owned by opera singer and socialite Madame Ganna Walska. 

Experience oceanfront dining at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore or catch a concert at Music Academy of the West. 


Located between Carpinteria and Montecito, Summerland is a quaint and coastal small town. It’s a relaxing spot with a mellow pace and is filled with local eateries and boutiques. 

The Main Street, Ortega Hill Road, is filled with places for antiquing, dining, and wine tasting. For wine lovers, the area is also home to Summerland Winery, a dog-friendly boutique wine company with a charming tasting room just a few blocks from the beach. 


Filled with a mix of professionals and long-term residents, the Riviera is a hillside community north of downtown Santa Barbara. It’s a sought after community, in part, because of its resemblance to the coasts of the Mediterranean. 

It’s divided into an upper and lower section by Alameda Padre Serra and the views of downtown and the Pacific Ocean are some of the best in all of Santa Barbara. The area is filled with 100-year-old oak trees, 20th-century Italian terracing, and Spanish-style homes. 

For a location with panoramic views that beckon residents to enjoy their morning coffee and evening cocktails on the deck, go for the cliffside Riviera. 

Upper East

The serene Upper East neighborhood of Santa Barbara is filled with large and gorgeous homes and tall hedges to offer privacy and solitude. 

Many of the homes here are historically significant, which adds to the charm that the area exudes, and the Pearl Chase Society even offers annual walking tours. This area is home to The Santa Barbara Mission, too, which was founded in 1786 and has a rose garden and ocean views.


Home to the college crowd and the airport, Goleta, known as “The Good Land,” is a busy Santa Barbara hot spot. It’s home to the laid-back brewery and restaurant, Hollister Brewing Co., and also hosts a farmers market a few days a week. 

For the cyclist, the Coast Route bike path leads through Goleta and Isla Vista and offers a stunning seaside ride. Goleta abounds with activities, like the West Wind Drive-In Theater for date nights and the championship course of Glen Annie Golf Club for the golfer in the group. 

Make sure to catch a few waves at Goleta Beach, which is famous for its surf break named Campus Point or visit the Goleta Monarch Butterfly Preserve for a whimsical afternoon. 

Mission Canyon

Mission Canyon is located north of the city near Mission Santa Barbara. It’s a private place surrounded by trees and places for hiking. La Cumbre Peak is actually the highest peak in all the Santa Ynez Mountains. It offers a waterfall at the top and trails for hikers of all skill levels. 

Rocky Nook Park is the perfect place to take a book and a lunch picnic on a sunny day, and the area is also close to attractions like the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens. 

In Mission Canyon, locals enjoy mountain and ocean views from their homes and a sense of privacy and tranquility. 

San Roque 

The San Roque neighborhood is located northwest of downtown. It’s a popular place to live with a variety of home styles and lots of beautiful, big trees. The area is well-known for its iconic architecture, like English Tutor Revivals, French Normandy, California Ranch, and more. 

This is a wonderful area for outdoor enthusiasts, as it boasts three incredible parks. There’s the 25-acre Stevens Park, which is located in the San Roque Canyon and features picnic benches, walking trails, and play areas for kids. San Roque Park is small and grassy and Willowglen offers places to play, explore, and ride bikes. 

There are grocery stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Gelson’s Market, as well as a florist, a post office, and a number of banks. For restaurants, there are places like The Habit Burger and Natural Café and breakfast spots like Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro.


With a name that means “the land of heart’s desire,” Samarkand is a community located between the 101, Las Positas, De La Vena, and Alamar. It offers easy freeway access and is just a short distance to State Street, a top choice for those who love dining out and shopping. 

Trees line the sidewalks and the community focuses on wellness initiatives like fitness, creative pursuits, and spiritual fulfillment. It’s a peaceful place for older residents who are looking to build relationships and live a customizable lifestyle. 

The Mesa

Aptly named The Mesa, this neighborhood rests above Santa Barbara and offers beautiful city and ocean views. It’s located along a two and a half mile stretch between Santa Barbara City College and Hendry’s Beach. 

The locals living in this Santa Barbara area are a mix of students and young families, thanks in part to the parks that dot the landscape. Shoreline Park is well-loved and offers playgrounds and places to picnic. Downtown is less than ten minutes by bike and the beach is easily accessible, too. 

For grocery shopping, there’s Lazy Acres, a natural foods market with a selection of everything from organic products to a stellar salad bar. 

Explore Santa Barbara

From the big, meandering trees of San Roque, to the coastal vibes of Summerland, there’s certainly something for everyone in the city of Santa Barbara. Not only is the landscape stunning, but the weather is ideal, the people are kind, and the options for food and recreation abound.

Whether you’re looking for a sprawling Mediterranean estate or an artistic cottage, there are plenty of places in Santa Barbara to fit your dream home requirements. Reach out to one of our experienced agents today and make sure to sign up for our free e-newsletter to stay in the loop with current listings

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