Santa Maria, California
What do wine, amazing weather and Zorro have in common? They all reside (or have resided, RIP masked man) in Santa Maria.
Located in Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria is bursting with great apartments to rest your head at night, something you’ll need considering all the wine that flows through this part of California. Known for more than just the hideout of a well-dressed superhero, Santa Maria is adored by locals for its prime location, fantastic weather (think blazers nine months out of the year) and, most importantly for some, its very own specialty cut of meat: the tri-tip. Yes, it’s that serious.
Southwest: The apartments in this end of town are mighty nice, featuring some pretty sweet upgrades for residents (FIOS, balconies, heated pools, granite counters, some paid utilities). Floor plans often consist of condo-style, two floor layouts, studios and lofts…just take your pick. Pricing will range here (lofts at about $950 and a 2bed/2bath for $1600 or so a month). The area is convenient—close to the 135 freeway. You will see a lot of larger homes here (think 5 bedrooms) in this suburban end of town.
Southeast (Orcutt): Located a little closer to the ocean (about 12 miles to be exact), shopping and entertainment, this end of Santa Maria is made up of large, single-family homes and apartments (some studios, but mostly 2 bedrooms and up). “But what’s the beauty of this end of town, aside from proximity to the beach?" Accessibility to the 101, of course! Although 101 can be a real nightmare sometimes, it’s clutch for those who need to commute for work or want to shoot out of the city on a moment’s notice.
The apartment living situation here often includes some luxurious extras such as a business café, washer/dryer in unit, garages and spas. Southeast Santa Maria is also a great area for outdoor lovers, as there are a few parks in the vicinity. Living here isn’t necessarily the cheapest (we blame the beach proximity), but you may be able to score a cozy one bedroom for around $1100. For a few dollars more, you can find 2bed/2bath for around $1400 or so with varying deposit prices based on credit.
Downtown: Smack dab in the middle of Santa Maria. Wineries, hiking trails, bars and performing arts are right in your backyard. Many of the complexes here are upgraded, luxury living types, featuring spacious, condo-style living, fitness centers, gourmet kitchens, private parking, etc, and the pricing for these kind of accommodations isn’t too shabby for the area, either. Here, a 2bed/2bath can run for about $1400. A 3 bedroom will cost you about $1600.
There are a few things to know when moving to Santa Maria: 1) Try as you might to avoid traffic, the 101 and the 135 are your friends—though it may seem like quite the opposite. These roads will connect you to other cities and will most likely become your main method of getting from point A to point B in your new hometown. For public transit, rely on the bus system (SMAT), which runs between Santa Maria and neighboring town San Luis Obispo during the week (only about $2 a trip!), and the Amtrak. A main line will take you on long distance travel, while the Pacific Sunliner will bring you to San Diego and Los Angeles (with two trips daily).
Whether you opt for the wine country or the bar scene, there’s rarely a dull moment here. Check out the theatre, hit the putting green or try dining at one of the hundreds of restaurants located here.
While we’re talking about going out, remember to bring a jacket. Santa Maria has what those in the know would call a “coastal climate,” meaning there’s typically a breeze, highs are usually only around the upper 70s and the winters can be chilly (about 40-30 something). Living your days with the windows open is possible, but we don’t advocate sleeping with the windows open. It’s not the 1950s.
Now that you know what’s in store for you here, there is nothing left to do but pack your belongings and head for the hills/valley. On second thought, you might want to check this site for housing first. Just remember the difference between Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio. Happy hunting!