Living in the Mission Canyon Neighborhood

Mission Canyon, A Great Area To Call Home

Santa Barbara has amazing neighborhoods, each with its own character and personality. In this article, we will explore what it is like living in the Mission Canyon neighborhood located in the Northwest part of Santa Barbara, CA.

Living In The Mission Canyon Area -Location

The Mission Canyon area has a rich history. It is an unincorporated part of Santa Barbara County versus being an element of the City of Santa Barbara.

The rough boundaries of the Mission Canyon neighborhood are Foothill Drive (South), Lower Santa Ynez Mountain foothills (North), Mission Canyon/Tunnel Rd (West) and Alamar (East). Some maps show a small area below Foothill as part of Mission Canyon, yet most long-term residents consider the area to the south not part of the Mission Canyon neighborhood.

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Living in the Mission Canyon Neighborhood – Information, Pros & Cons

Mission Canyon Santa Barbara – The Homes

Legendary actress Ethel Barrymore is reported to have said, “Fortunate indeed is the person who can live in Santa Barbara, and double blessed if his home is located in Mission Canyon.” Although Ms. Barrymore was referring to the area around the Mission, many feel the same about what is called Mission Canyon today.

Visitors to homes in Mission Canyon are often confused. Most expect to see homes nestled in a canyon setting. In reality,  most of the houses are hillside places located on La Cumbre Peak rather than the nearby Mission Creek valley.

Most would describe the Mission Canyon neighborhood as eclectic. There is a mix of historic homes from the 1920’s & 30’s along with ranch style, and more modern architecture. Most are located on narrow streets that wind up La Cumbre Peak from Foothill Drive with a smattering in the nearby valley and others behind La Cumbre Peak.

About The Homes:

  • Mostly located on hillside lots.
  • Nestled close to one another giving the area a cozy feel.
  • Homes vary greatly in size from 1200 square feet to over 6000 square feet.
  • Architectural styles are diverse. The area has a number of historic homes including English Cottages, Tudor style, Bungalow, Spanish Style and transitional ranch. In addition to older homes, there are a wide variety of newer homes in both classic Mediterranean and bravura modern.
  • Views are one of the biggest attractions. Many homes face the Pacific with scenes of the Mission in the foreground and the sea and islands in the distance.
  • Landscaping is a big deal throughout Santa Barbara and the Mission Canyon area is no different. The streets and many homes feature stone walls, mature trees and lots of flowers and vegetation. It is not uncommon to see terraced lots with lots of gardens.

Mission Canyon Pros and Cons

Like any area, there are pros and cons. However, what is wrong for one person may be perfect for another. Our approach in this article is to mention items not as good or bad, rather as information to add to your knowledge.

Location: The Mission Canyon area is tucked into the hills of Santa Barbara. It is more remote than some areas.

Drive Times: Although getting downtown is a quick drive, it takes more time to get to the Highway 101 than many other parts of town. That said, Google Maps suggests a drive time of 10-12 minutes to the freeway and about the same to downtown Santa Barbara proper. Nothing, if you come from LA, San Francisco, Chicago or most big cities.

Fire: As you have seen in the papers, fire is a concern throughout much of California. The Mission Canyon area is no exception. There have been evacuations from the area for fire reasons, yet no homes were lost or threatened during the recent Thomas fire or Zaca fire in 2007. The neighborhood has a volunteer association that brings people together annually to clean brush and debris. They also offer information on how to reduce fire risk. Many say these efforts have done much to keep the area safer.

Narrow Streets and No Sidewalks: As mentioned above, most of the Mission Canyon homes line winding narrow streets. This, like The Riviera Neighborhood, doesn’t allow for much extra parking and makes strolling the streets less relaxed than neighborhoods with sidewalks. Some like the feel of the streets as it gives the area personality and wonderful views.

Warmer Temperatures: It is common for Mission Canyon to be warmer than some other areas. For those who don’t like the coastal coolness, it can be a great place. Some homeowners have added AC for the hot times.


Homes Currently For Sale in Mission Canyon Neighborhood

Below is a list of homes for sale in the Mission Canyon Neighborhood. If you see one you like or have questions, give us a call or use the form to contact us. We know the area very well and will be delighted to answer questions or make an appointment to see a place. We can also help you if you are thinking about selling a place.

$2,695,000 - 4Br/4Ba -  for Sale in 15 - Mission Canyon, Santa Barbara
MLS# 24-1216
917 Cheltenham Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Property Type: Home/estate
$3,695,000 - 3Br/3Ba -  for Sale in 15 - Mission Canyon, Santa Barbara
MLS# 24-1177
2929 Selwyn Circle
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Property Type: Home/estate
$2,500,000 - 3Br/3Ba -  for Sale in Santa Barbara
MLS# 24-1031
987 Cheltenham Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Property Type: Home/estate
$1,795,000 - 3Br/3Ba -  for Sale in 15 - Mission Canyon, Santa Barbara
MLS# 24-873
1091 Palomino Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Property Type: Home/estate
$2,190,000 - 3Br/2Ba -  for Sale in Santa Barbara
MLS# 24-263
2920 Kenmore Place
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Property Type: Home/estate

santa barbara groupJoe Parker, Garrett McCaw, Avi Becker
The Santa Barbara Group
Berkshire Hathaway HSCP
3868 State Street Santa Barbara, CA 93105

About the Author

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Gene Urban