Santa Maria, CA

Population: 103,642

Key findings

  • Santa Maria has a Livability Score of 54/100, which is considered poor
  • Santa Maria crime rates are 18% higher than the California average
  • Cost of living in Santa Maria is 14% lower than the California average
  • Santa Maria real estate prices are 32% lower than the California average
  • Rental prices in Santa Maria are 7% lower than the California average

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      Santa Maria, CA

      Santa Maria is a city that is surprisingly known for BBQ, and this local favorite's fame has spread far beyond the Central California Coast. In addition to offering delicious smoked meats, the city provides its residents with affordable housing and good schools. Santa Maria has a population of over 100,000 making it one of the largest cities in the area. Its population is larger than neighboring San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. Santa Maria is a great place to raise a family thanks to the many outdoor activities that the area has to offer. There are parks and playgrounds where your kids will be able to run wild and free.

      Allan Hancock College and Laurus College are two institutions of higher learning that also provide a large number of employment opportunities to teachers and administrative staff. The local area high schools also provide a lot of job opportunities to people in the local community. Speaking of schools, parents speak highly about Juan Pacifico Ontiveros Elementary School, Santa Maria High School, and Joe Nightingale Elementary. Each of these schools are located in nice areas in the city where families should consider renting or buying a home.

      In general, Santa Maria is a safe place to live. The area does not have nearly as many problems with traffic as some of the other cities in California. The city also offers public transit services for those who want to leave their car at home. Busses and shuttles serve a number of fixed routes throughout the city and beyond. Bicycle is also a popular means of travel in and around the city thanks to the beautiful weather that blesses the city throughout the majority of the year.

      Guadaloupe-Nipomo Dunes is one of the area's leading attractions. Locals love to escape to this sand-filled area of the city to go for hikes along the miles of coastal trails. Presqui'ile Winery is one of the best in the area, and wine lovers from near and far come to sample the vintage offerings that are sold in their store. The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum gives kids hands-on opportunities to learn about science and nature in a setting that is designed specifically for them.

      The area has a number of restaurants and shops that are quite popular. The Swiss Restaurant is a long-time favorite of Santa Maria that offers a delicious taste of the Old World with a couple of modern additions. North China Restaurant is a good option for those who have a craving for some General Tso's Chicken. Jaffa Cafe on Broadway offers diners classic comfort dishes that are perfect after a late night in the office or a long night out on the town.

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      Santa Maria, CA: Luxury By The Sea

      Located in the scenic county of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria is a coastal Southern California city with beauty and charm. Year-round Santa Maria city is mild in temperature and sees little rain since it is so close to the ocean. I have traveled to Santa Maria as a destination several times, mostly for dining at various restaurants or spa treatments.

      Santa Maria was put on the map of fame by their renowned and delectable BBQ style. One of the best places in this city to find great BBQ is Barbecue Land. The food is delicious and fresh, served with a gourmet twist. There are several great spas in Santa Maria too, all very clean and luxurious. Boutique stores are present in plentiful numbers here. Several upscale nightlife venues and cocktail lounges are also found throughout the city.

      Living in Santa Maria is a notion many people in the greater Los Angeles area strive toward or just fantasize about. Real estate rates are fairly average for California and the city is far enough away from the Los Angeles area that commuting would be impossible or extremely undesirable. Those who are able to work in Santa Maria will enjoy living there though.
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      Source: The Santa Maria, CA data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).