What is it Like Living in Santa Barbara’s Riviera Neighborhood?
The Riviera neighborhood is often touted as one of Santa Barbara’s finest areas. We often get calls and emails asking what it is like living on the Riviera, what types of homes can be found, school information and more. In this article, we’d like to share what clients and friends say about the area and interject a few of our own thoughts.
We’ve split the comments into what we are calling pros and downsides. Naturally, these are subjective opinions and may or may not apply to you. We simply believe in providing people with quality information when considering the various neighborhoods in Santa Barbara. We feel our job is to find the home and area that best match your lifestyle and needs versus simply “selling you a home.”
Where is the Riviera Neighborhood?
The Riviera area lays in the low hills to the east of Santa Barbara between Mission and Sycamore Canyons. It is a hard neighborhood to miss when looking towards the Santa Ynez mountains from the Harbor. The hillside homes combined rich landscaping are a sharp contrast to the mountains behind.
Locals split the Riviera into two sections, Lower and Upper. The Lower Riviera fills the rising hills above Milpas Street to Alameda Padre Sierra (APS). The Upper Riviera consists of homes above APS to the approximate 800’ ridgeline.
Pros of Living in Santa Barbara’s Riviera Neighborhood
There are many wonderful things found in the Riviera Neighborhood. Here are a few. If you live in the area and have input, please add your comments at the end of the post.
- Epic views abound from homes on the Riviera. Homeowner’s love to see visitors stand in jaw-dropped awe of the panoramic views of the city, harbor, Channel Islands and beyond.
- Splendid homes line the winding streets of the Riviera. Here you will find quite a mix of architectural styles from classic Santa Barbara and Mission style to modern homes featuring walls of glass to capture the many views.
- A huge size range of homes. Whether you are looking for a modest single-family house or a grand estate, The Riviera has them all.
- Exceptional landscaping and mature vegetation add to the splendor of the Riviera neighborhood.
- Lots of nearby attractions including Rattlesnake Canyon, Parma Park, the Municipal Tennis and Pickleball courts, The Riviera Theater and concerts at The Santa Barbara Bowl add to the area’s lure.
- Winding streets, many with stone walls, create a unique feel akin to something you might find in Spain or Italy and why the area is called the American Riviera.
The downside to Living in Santa Barbara’s Riviera Neighborhood
Downside is a subjective term and not accurate for everyone. What we mention may not bother some people and will be of value to others. If you have your own thoughts, please leave us a comment at the bottom of the page.
- Street Parking is either impossible or at a premium on the Riviera. Most all homes have garages and/or driveways and not a problem for most homeowners. However, if you are planning on lots of guests, have kids with cars or love to host parties you’ll want to factor that in when viewing homes on the Riviera.
- Winding narrow and sometimes steep roads are not everyone’s cup of tea, especially at night. Just something to think about.
Sidewalks, bike lanes, and dedicated pedestrian paths are not the norm on the Riviera, especially the upper side. If you like to take your pup for morning walks there are several nearby parks and trails.
- Most homeowners we talk with say the Riviera may not be the best place for small children. The steep hillsides and lack of sidewalks may not be right for some families.
- Much of the electric service is above ground. Keep that in mind when home shopping. It seems to be most concerning when it impacts an important view. Homes near the Riviera Theater are generally less affected.
A Pictorial Look at The Riviera
The Riviera Santa Barbara CA
Conclusions About Living on The Riviera
We love this part of town. It is quintessential Santa Barbara and one of the most unique places to live in the US.
We will be happy to take you on a neighborhood tour and show you the highlights. Like many Santa Barbara neighborhoods, the Riviera is filled with surprises and wow moments