Santa Barbara, CA

Population: 90,922

Key findings

  • Santa Barbara has a Livability Score of 66/100, which is considered below average
  • Santa Barbara crime rates are 9% higher than the California average
  • Cost of living in Santa Barbara is 38% higher than the California average
  • Santa Barbara real estate prices are 117% higher than the California average
  • Rental prices in Santa Barbara are 21% higher than the California average

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      Santa Barbara Reviews

      Write a review about Santa Barbara Tell people what you like or don't like about Santa Barbara…
      Overrated, going downhill fast, and living off its past reputation as a paradise
      We moved here in 2001 and at the time I found people neighborly and down to earth, never locked our car or house doors, and while housing prices, gas, rents and taxes were on the high side, it was "just" tolerable because the quality of life was good. We moved away from Santa Barbara for several years and returned last year. It is astonishing to see what has happened to the average way of life here. Let me just say first I am not talking about Montecito, but Santa Barbara city proper. Crime is constant and on the rise, homeless people and less than savory characters frequent what used to be our immensely safe and quiet neighborhoods, start fires and set up camp in the creeks and the community of owners of some of the most expensive homes in the nation are OK with this. Police are nowhere. The schools are absolute s**t some of the worst in the nation now. The medical care, while very expensive, is very average, with wait times of months to see your doctor - they send everyone to the ER because the healthcare system is so bogged down. Traffic has gotten out of control due to overbuilding. Property and other taxes go up with every election/vote, with promises of better things but it just keeps getting worse. Gangs and drug rings are on the rise. Because it's so expensive and many jobs are in the service industry, people vote for increased taxes and more liberal leaning policies because they can't afford to live here anymore. People are not nice anymore, they are downright nasty and think because they put a sign on their lawn signaling that they are tolerant of others that's enough - never mind that they'll run you over for a parking space at Whole Foods or slay you on social media if your view does not agree with theirs. In our neighborhood, you can see people are gradually taking less care of their homes, a sign of slow decline. People are leaving places like Santa Barbara,California for very good reasons. Why pay over a million dollars for a home in this scenario? We're probably going to cash out and buy 3 homes in a place with A+ Crime and A+ School grades and breathe a sigh of relief.
      8 -2
      Santa Barbara, CA In Review
      Santa Barbara is a city most well known because it is the home of Shawn Spencer on TV's Psych. However, Santa Barbara is also a lovely beach community that sits in the countryside outside Los Angeles. People like Rob Lowe have lived in Santa Barbara for years because it allows them to live outside the city without being too far away.

      Santa Barbara has a number of small attractions that make it a great place for a day trip. I have lived here long enough to know that most of the scenes on Psych are shot in Canada, but the overhead shots show you a pier that you can enjoy all the time. Our Pier is one of the best in the country, and you can sail a boat out into the Pacific at any time. You could sail up the coast to Monterrey, or you can sail down by Los Angeles. You have more freedom in the city than you could imagine.

      The city is a place where fine chefs are coming to get out of the hustle and bustle of L.A. Also, the dining in the city allows people to enjoy simple fare that is based on food that was made by Spanish explorers or the native Indians.

      Every person that comes to Santa Barbara, California will walk away with a different memory, but the abiding memory is that the city is comfortable. Santa Barbara is a wonderful place to vacation, but it is also a place where you can live if you want to be outside the big city.
      1 -1
      Santa Barbara is not as great of a community as you might dream of
      So you visited here for a week and fell in love with it. Or you are searching for a place with warmer weather and Santa Barbara seems great. Well it does have a lot of perks that is for sure. But as a resident I want to share some of the downfalls. You have to be extremely wealthy to live here. Most people pay more than the recommended 30% of your income in rent. We are fine to do that for the great city and weather. But finding a place is difficult. Rental companies and mom and pop landlords want you to make 3 times the rental price NET - so here in SB that is about $6,600 for a 2 bedroom apartment. 2 bedroom apartments average $2,000 - a cute SMALL cottage will be $2,500-$3,200 depending on how much remodeling has been done to the unit. - If you love pets it will be a problem. Rarely is there a place that lets you have pets - and if they do you will pay extra for the privilege. The availability rate is point six.
      Some would say it has a great community. I am not so sure. For example UC Santa Barbara the main university accepts more students than there is housing for (university owned or just available.) The housing office on campus has sent out , more than once, please to the faculty and staff to please take in some students - especially the international. They are asking empty nesters especially to help out since they might have an extra room. I work here at UCSB. There are two women who have empty rooms as their kids moved into college. Neither one would take in a student - not even for the short term. - It is just sort of indicative of the self centeredness you find here in SB. SB is sort of a hedonistic town. It is feels good to you then by all means engage in your lifestyle. Your don't need to be bothered with others. - - There are many who feel differently and so there are many organizations to help those in need.
      Which leads me to some of a great things about SB. The are many non profits that do super work. If you are hungry or homeless there is help. There is a NP for just about everything. The school lunches are AMAZING. I have kids in elem school. Almost everything is made fresh daily. Even the salsas. The ground beef us organic. Most produce is local and organic. Salad bars are present and the food tastes great.
      Most schools are good. We still teach musical instruments and cursive writing. Although the PTA at many schools does pay for the specialist such as art, PE and computers.
      Above it listed the population as around 88,000. Just so you know that is a little misleading. The cities of Goleta and Montecito all blend together so the total is closer to 130,000.
      Traffic....Ug. Lots of city traffic. SB believes in one way streets and stop lights every block. I have never lived in Goleta and have always loved living walking distance to downtown, but if I stay here I might consider moving out of the Downtown area.
      Pluses - Lots of parades! Lots of family events - many are free. Very good for families. The nightlife lacks. I would like a place to see live music - not an $130 tickets...I mean lets get a babysitter and go to a nicer restaurant/ venue to see a band. There is one place downtown that is nice and one other near Goleta that is more country music oriented.

      You pick - Few big brand stores. No target, walmat. Some love that, some hate that.

      p.s. One previous commenter said they loved it....note they have lived here since 1949 which means they own a house or two and are not poor.

      P.S. 2 Do not commute from Ventura...the traffic is insanely bad in the morning. Unless you work non standard hours.
      2 -1
      Beautiful city, and boy will it cost you.
      I love living here, but unless I win the lottery, can't live here for much longer. The beach, the weather, stuff to do make it great, but some of the people, and the prices are insane! Nice place to visit, but can't afford to live here. There are great people here for sure, but far too many flaky materialistic rich people that love the smell of their own poo. The city itself is full of great restaurants and bars, stores and cool places to visit, state street is pretty fun on a weekday when there aren't too many tourists. Despite my rating I like living here, I just can't stay here because I could never afford to buy a house here.
      0 0
      Great Civic Pride, Privacy Attainable,Natural Beautiful,Peacefull.....
      I have lived Santa Barbara since 1949. I have not found it's equal.My children,grand children and great grand children were born in SB.
      She seems more expensive when compared to other communities,she's worth it.
      I do not believe areavibes statistics. We have less crime than most. Our educational system, especially when the many private schools are taken into consideration. Amenities are wonderful but not like thrill rides and amusements. Museums,Ocean and Mountain activities, educational and cultura...
      Quality of life is that which my family treasure.
      I would like ArteaVibes to contact me and explain the genesis of their posted information.
      Thank you
      0 -2
      Santa Barbara, CA - Is it Paradise?
      Having lived near Santa Barbara for nearly 9 years, I am still excited when I visit and experience the quaint city nestled between the rolling hills and the sea. When in Santa Barbara it feels as if I'm in Europe with sidewalk cafes stretched the entire length of State Street, and at the end, I find myself on the ocean pier, snapping photos of giant pelicans on the dock or diving into the water to fetch their next meal. With an abundant supply of students from UCSB, there is always something going on here, from music and nightlife to biking, visiting the zoo, exploring nature trails or just lounging by the ocean.

      The weather in the city of Santa Barbara is usually pleasant, although it can dip below freezing on occasion deep in the night, and the need for a jacket during the day can be a necessity when so called "winter" arrives. The culinary experience in Santa Barbara is a delight with cafes and restaurants lining State Street and unique offerings at the marina and throughout the city. Don't get me wrong, it is pricey to live in Santa Barbara, even in this economy. But it is a fascinating little city to experience, and it is a beautiful gem by the sea!
      0 -2
      Source: The Santa Barbara, CA data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).