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City Guide
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California

So, you're moving to Santa Barbara. I hope you like beaches, laid back vibes, mountains and beautiful scenery. Santa Barbara is a popular destination for surfers, and anyone who likes a good time. Now, let's find you an apartment so you can start enjoying your new city!

What to Expect

Santa Barbara proper is snuggled against the coast by the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains. Outside of town, deep into these mountains, lies Los Padres National Forest, a nearly two million acre park that provides Santa Barbara residents with numerous opportunities for hiking and recreational activities.

Okay, so maybe you're not a nature fan. That's okay! There are plenty of other things for you to do in your new town. Santa Barbara, frequently called the "American Riviera," draws in millions of tourists year round. Santa Barbara has a great nightlife scene, world-class restaurants and nightclubs, and unbeatable shopping.


The Riviera The Riviera is no misnomer. Winding hillside roads prevail in this beautiful, secluded area with great ocean views. The sprawling neighborhood overlooks the downtown scene and boasts gorgeous architectural feats.

East/West/Up/Down State Street, one of the main thoroughfares in town, and Highway-101 create the boundaries for four of Santa Barbara's most populated neighborhoods: the Eastside, East Beach, the Westside, and West Beach. As their names suggest, the first two fall to the east of State Street, while the latter fall to the west. The 101 bisects the town, separating the West Side from West Beach, and the East Side from East Beach. West Beach and East Beach, neighborhoods situated just minutes from the shore, boast gorgeous Spanish-style houses and apartments.

The Mesa The Mesa is located southwest of the downtown, close to the beach. Dwellings in this neighborhood vary from charming houses to drafty apartments to sprawling mansions.

San Roque/Foothills Nice areas that are further away from the beach.

Unincorporated and Far-flung In addition to rentals within city limits, Santa Barbara's surrounding metropolis also has a large amount of housing available.One neighborhood in Santa Barbara is the developing and recently incorporated area of Goleta. This area, nestled between downtown Santa Barbara and Isla Vista, is full of streets with a number of rental properties. Just to the west of Goleta is Isla Vista.

Rental Tips

Though deposits vary based on rental type, you will generally pay at least one month's deposit; some rental agencies charge up to 10% of your yearly rent. This is in addition to application fees that generally range from $35-50.

Most apartments in town can be found without the help of a real estate agent, however, property management companies frequently have multiple available rentals within certain neighborhoods. Once you've found your dream neighborhood, you can go through the same management company to find the right apartment for you.

Getting Around

While rush hour may not be as bad in Santa Barbara as it is in Los Angeles County, getting to and from the downtown in the mornings and evenings can be a headache. Traffic on the main streets of town as well as on Highway 101 can make for a slow-going commute.

Santa Barbara MTD provides several local bus routes throughout the city, a well as into neighboring Isla Vista and Goleta. Additionally, express buses operate into and out of downtown during weekday rush hour.

Recent developments have been made by the city to facilitate easier and safer bike paths, and the effort has not gone unnoticed. Santa Barbarians can been seen biking to and from their destinations any time of day.

So welcome to Santa Barbara! Whether you're here for partying, surfing or, I guess, your job, you'll be sure to enjoy the fun, mellow, sun-kissed vibe.