The American Riviera
Santa Barbara, aptly dubbed "The American Riviera" for its mild Mediterranean climate, is a slice of far-flung paradise right here at home. Here, red-tiled roofs, Spanish-Moorish architecture, and European-style charm reign supreme. Visitors from every corner of the world love the city and its surrounding regions for the picturesque coastlines, majestic mountains, vibrant culture, and wide variety of premier shopping, dining, and wine-tasting experiences.
Santa Barbara is considered a medium-sized city with a population of approximately 88,000 as of the 2010 census, and is the county seat of Santa Barbara County. It is located about 90 miles north Los Angeles and about 350 miles to the south of San Francisco. Nestled between the Santa Ynez mountains to the north and the Santa Barbara Channel to the south, it is often referred to as the "South Coast", as it faces more southward than westward.
The city is somewhat geographically isolated; the only major highway running into and out of the city is U.S. 101. Other transportation options are via Amtrak, whose station is located in a historical landmark downtown, and by plane. Santa Barbara has its own municipal airport (IATA: SBA) near the neighboring town of Goleta, and LAX is nearby, as well.
Once within the city, the main thoroughfare is State Street, which is oriented north to south in the downtown area, and east to west in the uptown area. It then continues westward as Hollister Ave. through the city of Goleta. Directly to the east of lower State Street, between U.S. 101 and the waterfront, is an area known as the Funk Zone. The eastern part of the city has a large Hispanic population and claims Milpa Street as its main street.
Now that we've covered where Santa Barbara is located, let's visit some of the city's neighborhoods and surrounding areas and see what makes the region so amazing: