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Santa Barbara is a city in Santa Barbara County, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker. Situated on an east-west trending section of coastline, the longest such section on the west coast, the city lies between the steeply-rising Santa Ynez Mountainsmarker and the sea. Santa Barbara's climate is often described as Mediterraneanmarker, and the city is sometimes referred to as the "American Riviera." As of the census of 2000, the city had a population of 92,325 while the contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goletamarker and Carpinteriamarker, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vistamarker, Montecitomarker, Mission Canyonmarker, Hope Ranchmarker, Summerlandmarker, and others, had an approximate population of 220,000.

In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city has a robust economy which includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for fully 35% of local employment. Education in particular is well-represented, with five institutions of higher learning on the south coast (the University of California, Santa Barbaramarker, Santa Barbara City Collegemarker, Westmont Collegemarker, Antioch University, and the Brooks Institute of Photography.) The Santa Barbara Airportmarker serves the city, as does Amtrak. U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angelesmarker to the south and San Franciscomarker to the north. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forestmarker, which contains several remote wilderness areas.


The history of the city begins at least 13,000 years ago with the ancestors of the present-day Chumash. Evidence for a Paleoindian presence includes a fluted Clovis-like point found in the 1980s along the western Santa Barbara County coast, as well as the remains of Arlington Springs Man, found on Santa Rosa Island in the 1960s. Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 Chumash lived on the south coast of Santa Barbara County when Portuguese explorer João Cabrilho sailed through the Santa Barbara Channelmarker in 1542, anchoring briefly in the area. In 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino gave the name "Santa Barbara" to the region, in gratitude for having survived a violent storm in the Channel on December 3, the eve of the feast day of that saint.

Spanish period

Video of the Mission in Santa Barbara in (1 minute, 29 sec.)
A land expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá and accompanied by missionary Padre Junipero Serra visited in 1769, but did not stay. The first permanent European residents were Spanish missionaries and soldiers under Felipe de Neve and again accompanied by Serra, who came in 1782 to build the Presidiomarker and Mission. They were sent both to fortify the region against expansion by other powers such as England and Russia, and to convert the natives to Christianity. Many of the Spanish brought their families with them, and those formed the nucleus of the small town – at first just a cluster of adobes – that surrounded the Presidio. Mission Santa Barbara was dedicated December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara. The Mission fathers began the slow work of converting the native Chumash to Christianity, building a village for them on the Mission grounds. Many of the natives died in the following decades of diseases such as smallpox to which they had no natural immunity.

The most dramatic event of the Spanish period was the powerful 1812 earthquake and tsunami, one of the strongest in California history, which destroyed the Mission as well as the rest of the town; water reached as high as present-day Anapamu street, and carried a ship half a mile up Refugio Canyon. Following the earthquake, the Mission fathers chose to rebuild in a grander manner, and it is this construction that survives to the present day, the best-preserved of the California Missions.

The Spanish period ended in 1822 with the end of the Mexican War of Independence which terminated three hundred years of colonial rule. The flag of Mexico went up the flagpole at the Presidio, but only for 24 years.

Mexican and Rancho Period

After the secularization of the Missions in 1833, immense amounts of land formerly held by the Church were distributed by the Mexican governors of California to various families in order to reward service or build alliances. These land grants commenced the "Rancho Period" in California and Santa Barbara history. The population remained sparse, with enormous cattle operations run by wealthy families. It was during this period that Richard Henry Dana, Jr. first visited Santa Barbara and wrote about it in Two Years Before the Mast.

Santa Barbara fell bloodlessly to a battalion of American soldiers under John C. Frémont on December 27, 1846, during the Mexican-American War, and after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo it became part of the expanding United Statesmarker.

Middle and late 19th century

Change came quickly after Santa Barbara's acquisition by the United States. The population doubled between 1850 and 1860. In 1851, land surveyor Salisbury Haley designed the street grid, famously botching the block measurements, misaligning the streets; wood construction replaced adobe, as American settlers moved in; and during the Gold Rush years and following, the town became a haven for bandits and gamblers, and a dangerous and lawless place. Charismatic gambler and highwayman Jack Powers had virtual control of the town in the early 1850s, until driven out by a posse organized in San Luis Obispo. English gradually supplanted Spanish as the language of daily life, becoming the language of official record in 1870. The first newspaper, the Santa Barbara Gazette, was founded in 1855.

While the Civil War had little effect on Santa Barbara, the disastrous drought of 1863 ended the Rancho Period, as most of the cattle died and ranchos were broken up and sold. The building of Stearns Wharf in 1872 enhanced Santa Barbara's commercial and tourist accessibility; previously goods and visitors had to transfer from steamboats to smaller craft to row ashore. During the 1870s, writer Charles Nordhoff promoted the town as a health resort and destination for well-to-do travelers from other parts of the U.S.; many of them came, and many stayed. The luxurious Arlington Hotel dated from this period. In 1887 the railroad finally went through to Los Angeles, and in 1901 to San Francisco: Santa Barbara was now easily accessible by land and by sea, and development was brisk.

Early 20th century to World War II

Just before the turn of the century, oil was discovered at the Summerland Oil Field, and the region along the beach east of Santa Barbara sprouted numerous oil derricks and piers for drilling offshore. This was the first offshore oil development in the world; oil drilling offshore would become a contentious practice in the Santa Barbara area to the present day.

Santa Barbara housed the world's largest movie studio during the era of silent film. Flying A Studios, a division of the American Film Company, operated on two city blocks centered at State and Mission between 1910 and 1922, with the industry shutting down locally and moving to Hollywood once it outgrew the area, needing the resources of a larger city. Flying A and the other smaller local studios produced approximately 1,200 films during their tenure in Santa Barbara, of which approximately 100 survive.

During this period, the Loughead Aircraft Company was established on lower State Street, and regularly tested seaplanes off of East Beach. This was the genesis of what would later become Lockheed.

The earthquake of June 29, 1925, the first destructive earthquake in California since the 1906 San Francisco quake, destroyed much of Santa Barbara and killed 13 or 14 people. The low death toll is attributed to the early hour (6:23 a.m., before most people were out on the streets, vulnerable to falling masonry). While this quake, like the one in 1812, was centered in the Santa Barbara Channel, it caused no tsunami, and most of the damage was caused by two onshore aftershocks. It came at an opportune time for rebuilding, since a movement for architectural reform and unification around a Spanish Colonial style was already underway. Under the leadership of Pearl Chase, many of the city's famous buildings rose as part of the rebuilding process, including the Santa Barbara County Courthousemarker, sometimes praised as the "most beautiful public building in the United States."

During World War II Santa Barbara was home to a Marine base, at the site of present-day UCSB; a Navy installation at the harbor; was near to the Army's Camp Cook, present-day Vandenberg Air Force Base; and contained a hospital for treating servicemen wounded in the Pacific Theatre. On February 23, 1942, not long after the outbreak of war in the Pacific, a Japanese submarine surfaced offshore and lobbed 16 shells at the Elwood Oil Fieldmarker, about west of Santa Barbara, the only direct attack on the U.S. mainland during the war, and the first wartime attack by an enemy power on U.S. soil since the War of 1812. Although the shelling was inaccurate and only caused about $500 damage to a catwalk, panic was immediate. Many Santa Barbara residents fled, and land values plummeted to historic lows. Numerous dud shells have been retained by memorabilia-seeking locals.

After World War II

After the war many of the servicemen who had seen Santa Barbara returned to stay. The population surged by 10,000 people between the end of the war and 1950. This burst of growth had dramatic consequences for the local economy and infrastructure. Highway 101 was built through town during this period, and newly built Lake Cachumamarker began supplying water via a tunnel dug through the mountains between 1950 and 1956.

Local relations with the oil industry gradually soured through the period. Production at Summerland had ended, Elwood was winding down, and to find new fields oil companies carried out seismic exploration of the Channel using explosives, a controversial practice that local fishermen claimed harmed their catch. The culminating disaster, and one of the formative events in the modern environmental movement, was the blowout at Union Oil's Platform Amarker on January 28, 1969. Approximately 100,000 barrels of oil surged out of a huge undersea break, fouling hundreds of square miles of ocean and all the coastline from Ventura to Goleta, as well north facing beaches on the Channel Islands. Two legislative consequences of the spill in the next year were the passages of the California Envirnomental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA); locally, outraged citizens formed GOO (Get Oil Out).

Santa Barbara's business community strove to attract development until the surge in the anti-growth movement in the 1970s. Many "clean" industries, especially aerospace firms such as Raytheon and Delco Electronics, moved to town in the 1950s and 1960s, bringing employees from other parts of the U.S. UCSB itself became a major employer. In 1975, the city passed an ordinance restricting growth to a maximum of 85,000 residents, through zoning. Growth in the adjacent Goleta Valley could be shut down by denying water meters to developers seeking permits. As a result of these changes, growth slowed down, but prices rose sharply.

Four destructive fires affected Santa Barbara during this time: the 1964 Coyote Fire, which burned of backcountry along with 150 homes; the smaller but quickly moving Sycamore Fire in 1977, which burned 200 homes; the disastrous 1990 Painted Cave Fire, which incinerated over 500 homes in only several hours, during an intense Sundowner wind event; and the November 2008 Tea Fire, which destroyed 210 homes in the foothills of Santa Barbara and Montecito before being put out.

When voters approved connection to State water supplies in 1991, parts of the city, especially outlying areas, resumed growth, but more slowly than during the boom period of the 1950s and 1960s. While the slower growth preserved the quality of life for most residents and prevented the urban sprawl notorious in the Los Angeles basin, housing in the Santa Barbara area was in short supply, and prices soared: in 2006, only six percent of residents could afford a median-value house. As a result, many people who work in Santa Barbara commute from adjacent, more affordable areas, such as Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Ventura. The resultant traffic on incoming arteries, particularly the stretch of Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara, is another problem being addressed by long-range planners.

In 2006, in a controversial move, the city's major news daily, the Santa Barbara News-Pressmarker, fired, or accepted the resignations of, a large portion of their newsroom staff. The departing reporters and editors claimed that the ethical standards of the newspaper had slipped, in particular that owner Wendy McCaw inappropriately inserted herself into content decisions. Some of the staff, including columnist Barney Brantingham, joined the competing Independent. News-Press management described the departures as having occurred over "differences of opinion as to direction, goals and vision."

Geography and Climate

Street scene in Santa Barbara
The coastline of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is located about WNW of Los Angelesmarker, along the Pacificmarker coast. This stretch of coast along southern Santa Barbara Countymarker is often referred to as the "American Riviera" because its geography and Mediterranean climate are reminiscent of the French and Italian Riviera coastline along the Mediterranean. The Santa Ynez Mountainsmarker, an east-west trending range, rise dramatically behind the city, with several peaks exceeding . Covered with chaparral and with sandstone outcrops, they make a famously scenic backdrop to the town. Sometimes, perhaps once every three years, snow falls on the mountains, but it rarely stays for more than a few days. Nearer to town, and directly east and adjacent to Mission Santa Barbaramarker, is a hill known locally as the "Riviera," traversed by "Alameda Padre Serra" (shortened APS), "Father Serra's pathway." The hillside, made accessible by the advent of the automobile early in the 20th century, is now built with relatively expensive homes. A spectacularly beautiful area looking south toward the Pacific and the Channel Islands and having sunrise to sunset views, Santa Barbara became the winter destination for the titans of post-Civil War America. Private railroad cars clustered on the sidings at Santa Barbara. The Potter Hotel overlooking Santa Barbara's West Beach was a world renowned resort. Owners of industry visited Santa Barbara and chose Santa Barbara hillside locations for their grand estates. Others preferred the beach and built palatially there, from Sandyland Cove, Padaro Lane, the city beaches, and west to what is now Goleta.

The architectural image of Santa Barbara is the Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture adopted by city leaders after the 1925 earthquake destroyed much of the downtown commercial district. The residential architecture of Santa Barbara is predominantly California bungalows built in the early decades of the 20th century, with many Victorian homes adorning the "Upper East" and Spanish style homes designed by well known California architects in Santa Barbara and on estates in Montecito and Hope Ranch. The city has passed ordinances against billboards and regulates outdoor advertising, so the city is relatively free of advertising clutter.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.4 square miles (107.3 km²), of which, 19.0 square miles (49.2 km²) of it is land and 22.4 square miles (58.1 km²) of it (54.17%) is water. The high official figures for water is due to the city limit extending into the ocean, including a strip of city reaching out into the sea and inland again to keep the Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) within the city boundary.


As of the census of 2000, there were 92,325 people*, 35,605 households, and 18,941 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,865.3 people per square mile (1,878.1/km²). There were 37,076 housing units at an average density of 1,953.8/sq mi (754.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.04% White, 1.77% African American, 1.07% Native American, 2.77% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 16.37% from other races, and 3.85% from two or more races. People of Hispanic or Latino background, of any race, were 35.02% of the population. (*This number was revised to 89,600 when it was discovered that a dormitory population outside the city was erroneously included in the 92,325 figure. )

There were 35,605 households out of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.8% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.8% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,498, and the median income for a family was $57,880. Males had a median income of $37,116 versus $31,911 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,466. About 7.7% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.8% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over. If one compares the per capita income to the actual cost of living, the number of people living below the poverty line is considerably higher.

In 2006, according to the California State Department of Finance, the population of Santa Barbara (now 89,548) had been surpassed by that of Santa Mariamarker, which had thus become the most populous city in Santa Barbara Countymarker. Santa Maria's growth can be attributed to its cost of living, Santa Barbara's limited growth policies, and more available land area for Santa Maria([16132]).


As with most cities, Santa Barbara has a range of neighborhoods with distinctive histories, architectures, and cultures. While considerable consensus exists as to the identification of neighborhood names and boundaries, variations exist between observers. For example, real estate agents may use different names than those used by public utilities or municipal service providers, such as police, fire, or water services. The following is a list of neighborhoods with descriptions and comments on each.

  • The Mesa stretches from Santa Barbara City College on the east to Arroyo Burro County Beach (or "Hendry’s/The Pit" to locals) on the west. This is considered to be a desirable neighborhood due to its proximity to the ocean as well as the college.

  • The Riviera encompasses an ocean-facing hillside extending approximately two miles (3 km) span between Mission and Sycamore Canyons. For the past 65 years it has been known as "the Riviera" due to its resemblance to slopes along the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy. Most of the area has curving streets with mature trees and foliage, and most of the topography of the Riviera is relatively steep.

  • The Westside ("west of State Street") lies predominantly in the lowlands between State Street and the Mesa, including Highway 101, and also reaches down to Cliff Drive, incorporating Santa Barbara City Collegemarker.

  • The Waterfront

  • Lower State Street is the most "touristy" part of town, usually defined as Anapamu to either the intersection with 101 or Stearn's Wharf. It features primarily commercial properties, as well as a thriving nightlife.

  • Upper State Street is a residential and commercial district which includes numerous professional offices, and much of the medical infrastructure of the city.

  • San Roque is located northwest of the downtown area and north of Samarkand. It is a good spot for families within the Hope School District. This area is said to be a constant 5 degrees warmer than the coastal areas, due to its greater distance from the ocean than other Santa Barbara neighborhoods, and being separated from the sea by a low range of hills to the south, occupied by the Mesa and Hope Ranchmarker. San Roque is also the most popular spot for Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween.

  • Samarkand currently has approximately 630 homes on with a population of about 2000 people. The name Samarkand comes from an Old Persian word meaning "the land of heart’s desire." It was first applied to a deluxe Persian-style hotel that was converted from a boy’s school in 1920. Samarkand later became identified as its own neighborhood located between Las Positas, State Street, De La Vina, Oak Park and the Freeway. Earle Ovington built the first home here in 1920 at 3030 Samarkand Drive. As a pilot, Ovington established the Casa Loma Air Field with a runway that was used by legendary pilots, Lindbergh and Earheart.

  • Hope Ranchmarker is an unincorporated suburb of Santa Barbara, west of downtown. As of the 2000 census, the area had an approximate population of 2,200. The neighborhood occupies a hilly area immediately adjacent to the coast; the highest elevation is 691 feet (211 m). Hope Ranch is one of the wealthiest areas in California; the median price home was $2.61 million in 2006.

  • Noletamarker is an informal name for the unincorporated suburban area west of Santa Barbara. It is bounded on the east by Santa Barbara and Hope Ranch, on the west by Goleta, on the north by the Santa Ynez Mountains and on the south by the Pacific Ocean, and largely includes the zip codes 93105, 93110, and 93111. Approximately 30,000 people live in the area. The area is called Noleta because of its history of voting "no" on incorporation with the City of Goleta (i.e. "no" to "Goleta"), and as a pun on the more famous neighborhood "North of Little Italy" in New York City. Residents have the address of Santa Barbara.


Performing arts

Santa Barbara contains numerous performing art venues, including the 2,000 seat Arlington Theatremarker, the largest indoor performance venue in Santa Barbara; the Lobero Theatre, a historic building and favorite venue for small concerts; the Granada Theater, the tallest building downtown, originally built by contractor C.M. Urton in 1920, but with the theatre remodeled and reopened in March 2008; and the Santa Barbara Bowlmarker, a 4,562 seat amphitheatre used for outdoor concerts, nestled in a picturesque canyon northwest of Santa Barbara at the base of the Riviera.

The city is considered a haven for classical music lovers with a symphony orchestra and many non-profit classical music groups (such as CAMA). The Music Academy of the West, located in Montecito, hosts an annual music festival in the summer, drawing renowned students and professionals.

Current event listings can be found at Santa Barbara Performing Arts League [16133]

Tourist attractions

A view of a Santa Barbara sunset looking over the ocean.
Santa Barbara is a year-round tourist destination renowned for its fair weather, downtown beaches, and Spanish architecture. Tourism brings more than one billion dollars per year into the local economy, including $80 million in tax revenue. In addition to the city's cultural assets, several iconic destinations lie within the city's limits. Mission Santa Barbaramarker, "The Queen of the Missions," is located on a rise about two miles (3 km) inland from the harbor, and is maintained as an active place of worship, sightseeing stop, and national historic landmark. The Santa Barbara County Courthousemarker, a red tiled Spanish-Moorish structure, provides a sweeping view of the downtown area from its open air tower. The Presidio of Santa Barbaramarker, a Spanish military installation built in 1782, was central to the town's early development and remains an icon of the city's colonial roots.

Also famous is the annual Fiesta (originally called "Old Spanish Days"), which is celebrated every year in August. The Fiesta is hosted by the Native Daughters of the Golden West and the Native Sons of the Golden West in a joint committee called the Fiesta Board. Fiesta was originally started as a tourist attraction, like the Rose Bowl, to draw business into the town in the 1920s.

Flower Girls and Las Señoritas are another attraction of Fiesta, as they march and participate in both Fiesta Pequeña (the kickoff of Fiesta) and the various parades. Flower Girls is for girls under 13. They throw roses and other flowers into the crowds. Las Señoritas are their older escorts. Many Señoritas join the Native Daughters at the age of 16.

For over 40 years the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show has been held on Cabrillo Blvd., east of Stearns Wharfmarker and along the beach, attracting thousands of people to see artwork made by artists and crafts people that live in Santa Barbara county. By the rules of the show, all the works displayed must have been made by the artists and craftspeople themselves, who must sell their own goods. The show started in the early 1960s, and now has over 200 booths varying in size and style on any Sunday of the year. The show is also held on some Saturdays that are national holidays, but not during inclement weather.

In recent years, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival [16134] (SBIFF), another local non-profit, has also become a major draw bringing over 50,000 attendees during what is usually Santa Barbara's slow season in late January. SBIFF hosts a wide variety of celebrities, premieres, panels and movies from around the world and runs for 10 days.

The annual Summer Solstice Parade draws up to 100,000 people ([16135]). It is a colorful themed parade put on by local residents, and follows a route along State Street for approximately one mile, ending at Alameda Parkmarker. Its main rule is that no written messages or banners with words are allowed. Floats and costumes vary from the whimsical to the outrageous; parties and street events take place throughout the weekend of the parade, which is invariably the first weekend after the solstice.

Surfing is a much a part of Santa Barbara culture as Art. 3 time world champion Tom Curren, 10 time world champion Kelly Slater, and other popular surf icons such as Jack Johnson call Santa Barbara home. Local surfers are know for going north to The Point, or south to Rincon.

Other tourist-centered attractions include:
  • Stearns Wharfmarker – Adjacent to Santa Barbara Harbor, features shops, several restaurants, and the newly rebuilt Ty Warner Sea Centermarker.
  • Rafael Gonzalez HousemarkerAdobe residence of the alcaldé of Santa Barbara in the 1820s, and a National Historic Landmark.
  • Moreton Bay Fig – a giant Moreton Bay Fig, tall, which has one of the largest total shaded areas of any tree in North America
  • Burton Mound – on Mason Street at Burton Circle, this mound is thought to be the Chumash village of Syujton, recorded by Juan Cabrillo in 1542, and again by Fr. Crespí and Portolá in 1769. (California Historical Landmark No. 306)
  • De La Guerra Plaza (Casa de la Guerra) – Site of the first City Hall, and still the center of the city's administration. (California Historical Landmark No. 307) Also the location of the Santa Barbara News Pressmarker.
  • Covarrubias Adobe – Built in 1817; adjacent to the Santa Barbara Historical Museum on Santa Barbara Street. (California Historical Landmark No. 308)
  • Hastings Adobe – Built in 1854, partially from material recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Winfield Scott. (California Historical Landmark No. 559)
  • Carrillo Adobe – Built in 1825 by Daniel Hill for his wife Rafaela L. Ortega y Olivera; currently at 11 E. Carrillo St.
  • Cold Spring Tavernmarker
  • El Paseo Shopping Mall – California's first shopping center.
  • Santa Barbara Zoo


With its abundance of seafood, awareness of farming methods, and nearby wineries, Santa Barbara has many restaurants. In 2008, the Santa Barbara Dining Guide listed 674 separate restaurants in the region.


Many artists make Santa Barbara their home, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Artmarker is home to a significant permanent collection. Other art venues include the University Art Museummarker on the UC Santa Barbara Campus, various private galleries, and a wide variety of art and photography shows. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural Historymarker is located immediately behind the Santa Barbara Missionmarker in a complex of Mission-style buildings set in a park-like campus. The Museum offers indoor and outdoor exhibits and a state-of-the-art planetarium. The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is located on De La Guerra Street and offers free admission. The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is located at 113 Harbor Way (the former Naval Reserve Center Santa Barbaramarker) on the waterfront. The Contemporary Arts Forum, located on the top floor of Paseo Nuevo shopping mall, contains exhibits of new works in all media. The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum (free admission) houses a collection of historical documents and manuscripts.


Santa Barbara has two newspapers: the daily Santa Barbara News-Pressmarker, with a circulation of about 30,000 and the Santa Barbara Daily Sound, published six days a week. The New York Times Companymarker sold the News-Press in 2000 to local resident Wendy P. McCaw. Other media available include Edhat Online Magazine Edhat, an aggregation of citizen news and links to other media websites, the Santa Barbara Independent, an arts and entertainment newsweekly with a circulation of 40,000, audited readership of 120,000-plus, Pacific Coast Business Times, a weekly business journal covering Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties[16136]; Santa Barbara Life [16137]; Builder/Architect Gold & Central Coast Edition; and Shape of Voice[16138], a non-profit youth created publication which focuses on social justice and youth issues. Local television stations include KEYTmarker 3, an ABC television affiliate; KPMRmarker 38, a Univision affiliate; Santa Barbara Internet TV [16139], and Santa Barbara Channels; and 17 (Community Access) and 21 Arts & Education [(formerly owned by Cox cable)]. Although Santa Barbara has radio stations including KJEE (92.9 mhz), The Vibe:Hip Hop y Mas 103.3, KTYD (99.9 mhz) and KLITE 101.7 owned by Rincon Broadcasing, some Los Angeles radio stations can be heard, although somewhat faintly due to the distance. Santa Monica-based NPR station KCRWmarker can be heard in Santa Barbara at 106.9 mhz, and San Luis Obispo-based NPR station KCBX at 89.5 mhz and 90.9 mhz. Last, but certainly not least, there is the radio station housed on the UC Santa Barbara campus and funded by the students of UC Santa Barbara, KCSB at 91.9 mHz - which is the only non-commercial radio station based in Santa Barbara.


Santa Barbara has many parks, ranging from small spaces within the urban environment to large, semi-wilderness areas which remain within the city limits. Some notable parks within the city limits are as follows:

Some notable parks and open spaces just outside of the city limits include:

The first Motel 6, in Santa Barbara
Barbara's many tourist attractions have made the hospitality industry into a major player in the regional economy. For example, Motel 6 was started in Santa Barbara in 1962.


Santa Barbara Public Library.

Colleges and universities

Santa Barbara and the immediately adjacent area is home to several colleges and universities:

High schools

Secondary and Primary School students go to the Santa Barbara and Hope district schools. There are also a variety of private schools in the area. The following schools are on the south coast of Santa Barbara County, including the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, and contiguous unincorporated areas.

Carpinteria High School, 9-12,Rincon/Foothill High School, 9-12 (CUSD)

Junior high/middle schools

Carpinteria Middle School, 6-8 (CUSD)

Elementary schools

  • Adams Elementary School, K-6
  • Cesar Estrada Chavez Dual Language Immersion Charter School, K-6
  • Cleveland Elementary School, K-6
  • Cold Spring Elementary School, K-6
  • Crane Country Day Schoolmarker, K-8
  • El Camino Elementary School, K-6
  • Foothill Elementary School, K-6
  • Franklin Elementary School, K-6
  • Harding Elementary School, K-6
  • Hollister Elementary School, K-6
  • Hope Elementary School, K-6
  • La Patera Elementary School, K-6
  • Marymount School, K-8
  • McKinley Elementary School, K-6
  • Monroe Elementary School, K-6
  • Monte Vista Elementary School, K-6
  • Montecito Union Elementary School, K-6
  • Mountain View Elementary School, K-6
  • Open Alternative School, K-8
  • Peabody Charter School, K-6
  • Roosevelt Elementary School, K-6
  • Santa Barbara Charter School, K-8
  • Santa Barbara Christian School, K-8
  • Santa Barbara Community Academy, K-6
  • Vieja Valley Elementary School, K-6
  • Washington Elementary School, K-6

Canalino School, K-5 (CUSD)Aliso School, K-6 (CUSD)

Private schools


Santa Barbara is bisected by U.S. Route 101, an automotive transportation corridor that links the city to the rest of the Central Coast region. The Santa Barbara Airportmarker offers commercial air service. Amtrak offers rail service through the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner trains at the train stationmarker on State Street. The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit Districtmarker (MTD) provides local bus service across the city, and Greyhound bus stations are located downtown and in nearby Goleta. Electric shuttles operated by MTD ferry tourists and shoppers up and down lower State Street and to the wharf. The League of American Bicyclists recognizes Santa Barbara as a Silver Level city.

Sister cities

Dingle, Ireland, was established as a Santa Barbara Sister City in Spring 2003. Puerta Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, became a Sister City in 1972. San Juan became a Sister City in 2000. The Toba City/Santa Barbara affiliation was begun in 1966, and there have been several visits by citizens and officials of both cities. Weihai, in Shandong Province, China, became a Sister City to Santa Barbara in 1993.
Santa Barbara, looking northeast from above Santa Barbara City College, towards the harbor

Santa Barbara, looking west-northwest from the County Courthouse tower, with Mission Santa Barbara and San Marcos Pass in the distance

See also


  1. New York Times article on Santa Barbara
  2. Santa Barbara economic statistics, 2005
  3. Tompkins, 1975, p. 11
  4. Baker, p. 12-13
  5. Los Angeles Times article on 1812 tsunami
  6. Tompkins, 1975, p. 13-14
  7. Tompkins, 1983, p. 113
  8. Baker, p. 34-35
  9. Baker, p. 39
  10. Baker, pp. 56-59, 66
  11. Baker, p. 63
  12. Tompkins, 1976, p. 258
  13. Baker, p. 72
  14. Birchard, p. 49
  15. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation: page on the Lake Cachuma project
  16. Baker, pp. 88-89
  17. Tompkins, 1975, p. 115
  18. Baker, pp. 89-91
  19. County of Santa Barbara News Release 008, November 16, 2008
  20. Los Angeles Times article on Santa Barbara growth policies
  21. Los Angeles Times article on the controversy
  22. Baker, p. 91
  23. restaurant listings


  • Baker, Gayle. Santa Barbara. Harbor Town Histories, Santa Barbara. 2003. ISBN 0-9710984-1-7
  • Birchard, Robert S. Silent-Era Filmmaking in Santa Barbara. Arcadia Publishing. 2007. ISBN 0-7385-4730-1
  • Graham, Otis L.; Bauman, Robert; Dodd, Douglas W.; Geraci, Victor W.; Murray, Fermina Brel. Stearns Wharf: Surviving Change on the California Coast. Graduate Program in Public Historical Studies, University of California, 1994. ISBN 1-883535-15-8
  • Tompkins, Walker A. Santa Barbara, Past and Present. Tecolote Books, Santa Barbara, CA, 1975.
  • Tompkins, Walker A. It Happened in Old Santa Barbara. Sandollar Press, Santa Barbara, CA, 1976.
  • Tompkins, Walker A. Santa Barbara History Makers. McNally & Loftin, Santa Barbara. 1983. ISBN 0-87461-059-1

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