Bel Air Knolls

bel air knollsThe privacy and peacefulness of this hilltop community are surely selling points, but on top of that, it’s hard to beat the location. Conveniently bordered by thoroughfares Las Positas and Modoc roads yet out of the way enough to avoid the noise of much through traffic, this area also backs up to Elings Park, a 230-acre space popular for weddings and celebrations along with all types of outdoor recreation. Yet the Mesa overlooking the ocean and the Westside of downtown Santa Barbara are conveniently neighboring, as well, so amenities and additional outdoor fun are a short drive away.

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Properties are not always available here, and it makes sense that owners want to hold onto what they’ve got: some rather large homes, some with stunning views of the mountains or even the ocean, valued at about a million to $2 million. What a special place from which to enjoy the beauty, leisure, and lifestyle of Santa Barbara.

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Lower Westside

The stories of many real Santa Barbara lives play out in this densely populated area of town. Bordered by main road Carrillo Street, Highway 101, Montecito Street, and Loma Alta Drive/the base of the Mesa, this bustling neighborhood contains modest single-family homes, duplexes, and apartments from the 1960s forward, along with some vacant lots. It may be one of the last places in the area to find a home for well under a million dollars, and one of the first places you’d look for an investment property with rental-income potential. Think barbeques in the yard… many commuters by car, bike, and foot… working people making life work.
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Shop mom-and-pop markets and storefronts, walk under the freeway to retail, eating, and working downtown, and get to know your neighbors. A little more than 20 percent of the Lower Westside’s residents are owners. All of them are true, at-the-heart-of-it-all Sana Barbarans.

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Butterfly Beach

The glamorous Four Seasons Resort: The Biltmore Santa Barbara sits just across the lane from this serene beach in Montecito, the prestigious community known all over the world for housing celebrities and the extremely wealthy. Because this stretch of sand just down the road from downtown Santa Barbara is west-facing, it’s a particularly nice spot to share a romantic sunset or catch up on your reading and relaxation, either reclined on the beach or perched on the wall above. Real estate options include both grand estates and high-end condo complexes.

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The Bonnymede and Montecito Shores developments include apartments and townhomes. Vintage bungalows and newer builds can both be found here, too. Properties may start at around a million dollars, but homes for $7 million and luxury estates for $20 million are on the market, as well. The exclusivity and charm of this beachfront dreamland make it well worth the cost for residents and vacationers from around the globe.

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East Beach

To the east of Stearns Wharf — that famous and historic pier at the end of the even more famous main drag State Street — East Beach stretches down along the California coast toward Montecito. A city Art Walk on the weekends, the hilltop Santa Barbara Zoo, the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, and of course Fess Parker’s Doubletree by Hilton Resort attract visitors and residents to enjoy some of the most well-known features of this beautiful city. Weddings and other special events are fêted at the hotel, the zoo, and on the beach itself.

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Wine and beer festivals, charity walks/runs, fireworks on the Fourth, and more are enjoyed in Chase Palm Park, on the palm-tree-lined lawn that meanders alongside walking and biking paths. You will see many travelers touring during the summer season, living their California dream of cruising with the top down along the oceanfront Cabrillo Boulevard, taking pictures of the palm trees or biking on beach cruisers and surreys between meals and shopping. All year-round, you’ll spy locals jogging and walking the paths, playing volleyball at the far end of the beach on popular courts, and resting on the sand.

Amid all these attractions, people live and vacation in properties ranging from about $500,000 to over a million dollars. Though a very short walk or drive takes you to all the usual markets, drugstores, shopping, and dining of the city, gems like Tri-County Produce Co. (for fresh, local food) and Stella Mare’s Bistro (for a relaxed French meal) are right within the neighborhood. Across from East Beach itself are El Escorial Villas and East Beach Town Houses. Nicely landscaped properties right across from the ocean have a tropical, world-apart feel.
There’s a lot to say about this gorgeous, idyllic California waterfront area, but a glimpse of Cabrillo Boulevard winding gently along the coast, palm trees towering above in a neat line, and the serene Pacific leading out to the horizon pretty much says everything.

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West Beach

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To the west of Stearns Wharf is the thriving waterfront area known as West Beach: Check out the many boats in the harbor, have a bloody Mary and some calamari at Brophy Bros. — which will surely set your weekend off right — or visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. You can even hum a tune with a weekly gathering of ukulele players on the grass as you watch tiny sailboats and huge cruise ships, alike, roll in… and you watch them roll away again.
Popular walking and biking paths continue along the beach, and Santa Barbarans and visitors come from near and far to exercise and relax here, especially along Leadbetter Beach.

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Amid hotels and restaurants, there are multi-unit dwellings and B&Bs housing luxury seekers, vacationers, and Santa Barbara City College students. (The school’s stadium looks out over the sea, and its campus above does, too.) These sell for about half a million dollars to about $1.5 million, with newer/renovated builds going for a million to $3 million. Views of the Pacific out to the Channel Islands, surfing and stand-up paddle boarding just a few steps away, and fresh ocean air coming in your window, beckoning you out to get moving and get social: Living beachside in this special area will very likely put sand between your toes and pep in your step.

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Main Area Map

Downtown

downtownThe cultural and civic center of Santa Barbara County, known all over the world for it’s beauty, history, beaches, and shopping, is downtown Santa Barbara. The Upper Eastside offers exclusive, historic allure neighboring the Mission; the Funk Zone offers art, wine, beer, and everything hipster; and in this small but vibrant city, you can also find just about everything in between.

East of famous main drag State Street (home to shopping, nightlife, theater, and music ranging from highbrow to punk shows) and above Valerio Street (and also bordered by East
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Constance Avenue, North Milpas, and the 101) is the Upper East, a prestigious place, indeed, with each street that slopes up gently toward the mission lined with manicured gardens, mature trees, and all varieties of beautiful homes, from the cutest cottages to the grandest historic mansions. It’s hard to imagine life could be finer when strolling these old yet well-kept streets, on your way to enjoy one of the many attractions downtown offers: world-class exhibits and collections at the S.B. Museum of Art, both touring and local artists and groups at the Lobero Theatre, the S.B. Historical Museum, the S.B. Courthouse and Sunken Gardens, and of course shopping, cafés, and restaurants like classic American Joe’s Café, upscale Bouchon, and many, many more.

From Roosevelt Elementary to Santa Barbara Junior High and High schools, kids will delight in walking with their friends to school, and parents will delight in their children attending these historic and celebrated public learning institutions. Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens offer serenity and shade by the pond, while Kid’s World across the street in Alameda Park is bustling with birthdays and little ones exploring what is likely the grandest castle of a wooden play structure their eyes have ever seen.

Downtown West, bordered by State Street, the 101, and Victoria Street, is full of many types of people, many types of homes, and many trademark red-tiled roofs, and it’s easy to see why the romance and ease of living here draw so many residents and visitors. Old homes with plenty of character, duplexes, apartment buildings, and more make this heart of Santa
Barbara attractive to just about anyone. If you have the privilege of buying here, you will have within walking distance all that there is to enjoy: shopping, dining, and entertainment for any budget, nightlife for everyone from the college crowd on Thursdays to those seeking the romantic date night of a lifetime, movies, film festivals, yoga, barre, and Pilates classes, strolling the beautiful outdoor mall Paseo Nuevo… The list goes on … and it just keeps getting better. Did we mention that at the bottom of State Street is the beautiful, palm-tree-lined beach?

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Gaviota Coast

With very little development, the Gaviota Coast is a treasure of the area for its natural beauty. It’s an unincorporated town of only thirty-something people, 15 miles south of Buellton and 30 miles west of Santa Barbara (residents can easily seek supplies, entertainment, and recreation in the nearby City of Goleta, just down the 101). Gaviota State Park, an extremely popular destination for campers and visitors from all across the U.S., is the site of countless idyllic picnics, gatherings, and vacations — a glimpse of nature’s perfection. The Gaviota Marine Terminal and Gaviota Oil Heating Facility are also located here, so this special place is one of dichotomies. Find caves, sandy shore, marine wildlife, and more at this rare gem of a location. You won’t find anything quite like it elsewhere

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Upper State

upper stateGreat schools and beautiful family neighborhoods are found at Upper State, the area at the top on the “mountain” (as opposed to “ocean”) side of Santa Barbara’s historic main drag, State Street. This section of town is known for its very nice houses, displaying a variety of interesting architecture and often carefully manicured yards. Samarkand, Hitchcock, and especially San Roque are desirable neighborhoods to settle down in.
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It’s the quieter, more residential part of State Street, not the bustling bars, restaurants, and tourists of lower State, but there’s still a lot going on right nearby. Many businesses and banks are here along with the best restaurant you have yet to discover (a wide variety of dining, from the charming hole-in-the-wall to the chain franchise, is here). Five Points Shopping Center, Loreto Plaza, and San Roque Plaza offer conveniently close groceries and health food stores, restaurants and cafés, and local shops. Chaucer’s Books is a community treasure, as is Glenda’s Party Cove (for event supplies).

Locals know that this area has good schools: Peabody Elementary, Adams Elementary, Monte Vista Elementary, Hope Elementary, La Colina Junior High School, and Bishop Gargia Diego High School. They also know and visit this neck of the woods for fairs and events at Earl Warren Showgrounds, shopping at outdoor mall La Cumbre Plaza, enjoying the outdoors at Mackenzie Park, or a round at the Santa Barbara Golf Club.

You can live a comfortable family life at Upper State while still feeling like you’re at the heart of town.

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Cielito/Sycamore Cyn

Cielito sycamoreBehind the Riviera and between Mission Canyon and Montecito lies this neighborhood known for spacious lots and the utmost privacy. Drier, warmer weather gives this area what some describe as a Palm Springs feel, and those looking for a more secluded, remote dwelling with a more spacious lot than other areas of Santa Barbara might offer can find just that, with various types of homes available but mostly contemporary/modern builds from the midcentury. For around a million to $6 million, you can live what feels like a world apart, likely in a unique home that offers great value for your money.
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Being closer to the wilderness and farther from town is just right for residents here, who aren’t strangers to the dangers of wildfire but decide that’s okay given the beautiful natural areas surrounding them, like Rattlesnake Canyon Trail and Skofield and Parma parks. Wildlife, hiking, solitude: If these make you breathe a sigh of relief at the chance to escape a bit from our busy modern world, this unique area just north of Highway 192 is for you.

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