Santa Barbara, California is a great place for a second home!
Santa Barbara is a wonderful city in southern California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 92,325. The metropolitan area—which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria; the unincorporated communities of Montecito, Summerland, Isla Vista, and Hope Ranch; and adjacent areas—has a population of approximately 200,000.
Santa Barbara is located about 85 miles west-northwest of Los Angeles, along the Pacific coast. This stretch of coast along southern Santa Barbara County is often referred to as the "American Riviera" because of its Mediterranean climate. The Santa Ynez Mountains, an east-west trending range, rise dramatically behind the city, with several peaks exceeding 4,000 feet. Covered with chaparral and with sandstone outcrops, they make a famously scenic backdrop to the town. Nearer to town, and directly east and adjacent to Mission Santa Barbara, is a hill known locally as the "Riviera" or "Alameda Padre Serra" (shortened APS) for the street that traverses it, which is built up with expensive homes.
Much of the architecture in the city is Spanish Colonial in style, although much of it was actually constructed starting in the early 20th century in connection with the Mission or Spanish Revival movement. White buildings with terra cotta tile roofs are a trademark sight.
Santa Barbara is home to a vibrant artistic community, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is home to a significant permanent collection. Other art venues include the University Art Museum on the UC Santa Barbara Campus, various private galleries, and a wide variety of art and photography shows.
Santa Barbara has many parks, ranging from small spaces within the urban environment to large, semi-wilderness areas which remain within the city limits.
Santa Barbara boasts numerous performing art venues, including the 2000 seat Arlington Theatre, the largest indoor performance venue in Santa Barbara; the Lobero Theatre, a historic building and favorite venue for small concerts; the Granada Theater, originally built by a contractor named CM Urton in 1920, now the tallest building downtown; and the Santa Barbara Bowl, the 4562 seat amphitheatre is a concert space, nestled in a picturesque canyon in downtown Santa Barbara.
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.
Santa Barbara is a year-round tourist destination renowned for its warm weather, downtown beaches, and Spanish architecture. In addition to the city's cultural assets, several iconic destinations lay within the city's limits. Mission Santa Barbara, "The Queen of the Missions," is located in Santa Barbara. It was founded on December 4, 1786 on a rise about two miles inland from the harbor, and is maintained as an active place of worship, sightseeing stop, and national historic landmark.