Living In Downtown Santa Barbara

As in many cities across America, living in Santa Barbara's downtown neighborhood is growing in popularity. Why is this?

Downtown Santa Barbara offers a lot to its residents. Naturally, there are great restaurants, and pubs, and the nightlife is vital. Add to that are the numerous job opportunities in both professional and service industries.

This article includes a great video by Santa Barbara native Joe Parker. We hope the information and video add to your knowledge about living in downtown Santa Barbara.


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living in downtown santa barbara

Living In Downtown Santa Barbara - Types of Housing

When we talk about living in the downtown neighborhood we refer to the housing, 3 blocks to the east and west of State St and places available in the Funk Zone.

When considering living in the city core, please be advised that most of it is comprised of condos, townhomes and small single-family houses.

There are a few larger homes on the streets that parallel State Street, but not very many until you search a few more blocks out of the central core.


Downtown & State Street

Let's start with some base info to help you get a sense of the downtown area.

State Street is Santa Barbara's main street. It runs north/south, ending at Sterns Wharf and the Harbor area.

The southernmost section is home to some hotels and a lot of restaurants, bars and shopping.

FYI: To the east of lower State Street is The Funk Zone. This is a happening area with even more restaurants, great wine bars and more shopping. Plus, there is some housing in the Funk Zone.

As you go north on State Street, you'll find lots of bars, restaurants, shopping places.

At the end of the downtown part of State St is our arts district. In addition to restaurants and shops, you will find several theaters for both movies and the arts.

NOTE: Santa Barbara is rich in the arts with its own world renown symphony, opera and amazing lecture and concert events.

Although State Street continues north for several miles, this ends its part in the downtown area.



Living in Downtown Santa Barbara - Pros & Cons

Like any area in any town, living in the downtown area is a great fit for some and not for others.

What People Love...

If you want a place where you can walk, run, bike, and such, downtown Santa Barbara has a high walkability score.

In the downtown region, State Street is a pedestrian-only street... no cars allowed.

There are lots of places to eat, drink and be merry with a great variety of food types, breweries, wine bars, live music venues, and more.

There are 4 movie theaters downtown as well as the Granada Theater that has a wonderful mix of live arts and lectures.

There are a couple of amazing farmers' markets happening in the downtown area as well as other pop-up events.

There are lots of job opportunities in the downtown area from tech to law to hospitality and much more.

Things To Be Aware Of

  • The streets are busy and narrow. Not ideal for small children.
  • It's not a quiet area much of the time. Some love the energy and some don't.
  • Housing prices are high, even for small places.
  • Homelessness is a part of the downtown area as is the case in most towns these days.

We hope this article and video have given you some insights into the downtown region of Santa Barbara. If you have questions, we'd love to provide you answers and info. Just give us a call, text, or email.

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