The “American Riviera,” Santa Barbara, CA, is a picturesque coastal city known for its stunning beaches, Mediterranean climate, and Spanish architecture. With its vibrant downtown area, charming neighborhoods, and a thriving arts and culture scene, Santa Barbara draws residents seeking a laid-back yet sophisticated lifestyle. If you’re considering moving to the coast, keep in mind the average rent in Santa Barbara is $4,733, while the median sale price is $1,744,000.
At Redfin, we’ve gathered a list of 11 popular Santa Barbara neighborhoods to explore this year. Whether you’re looking to buy a beachfront property or a historic home, or rent an apartment in Santa Barbara, this city offers a diverse range of neighborhoods to suit every taste and preference.
1. Bel Air Knolls
Bel Air Knolls is a picturesque neighborhood with stunning city and ocean views. The area is known for its luxury homes and beautiful gardens. In Bel Air Knolls, you’ll have easy access to Elings Park, which has plenty of picnic spaces, a BMX raceway, sports fields, and hiking areas. Bel Air Knolls features a variety of architectural styles, including Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial, and Contemporary single-family homes.
Median Sale Price: $2,795,000
Downtown Santa Barbara is the heart of the city, offering a vibrant and lively atmosphere. The neighborhood is known for its charming Spanish-style architecture and historic buildings. Major attractions in Downtown include the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the bustling State Street, which is lined with shops, restaurants, and theaters. Downtown is just blocks from the beach, where you can check out Chase Palm Park and Stearns Wharf. You’ll find a mix of housing types, including apartments, condos, and historic homes in styles ranging from Spanish Colonial Revival to Victorian.
Median Sale Price: $2,000,000
Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $2,195 | Average Rent for 2-Bedroom Apartment: $3,200
3. East Beach
Located along the beautiful coastline of Santa Barbara, East Beach offers residents a beachfront living experience. The neighborhood is known for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and proximity to famous beaches such as East Beach and Santa Barbara Beach. Major attractions in the area include the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Cabrillo Park. East Beach features a mix of housing types, including beachfront condos, townhomes, and single-family homes.
Median Sale Price: $775,000
Eastside is a diverse and vibrant neighborhood in Santa Barbara, known for its rich cultural heritage and community spirit. The neighborhood is next to the historic Santa Barbara Bowl, where residents can enjoy live music performances. You can also visit some of the local parks like Eastside Neighborhood Park and the nearby Santa Barbara Zoo. Eastside offers a mix of housing types, including Craftsman-style homes, bungalows, and duplexes.
Median Sale Price: $1,355,000
Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $2,400 | Average Rent for 2-Bedroom Apartment: $5,500
5. Hope Ranch
Hope Ranch is a prestigious neighborhood known for its luxury estates and equestrian properties. The area offers a tranquil and private living environment, surrounded by lush greenery and rolling hills. Major attractions in Hope Ranch include the La Cumbre Country Club and the private Hope Ranch Beach, where residents can enjoy outdoor activities and water sports. The neighborhood is also home to the historic Hidden Valley Park, which features beautiful gardens and walking trails.
Hope Ranch features a variety of architectural styles, including Mediterranean, Ranch, and Contemporary. The housing types in the neighborhood range from sprawling estates to ranch-style homes.
Median Sale Price: $4,960,000
Average Rent for 2-Bedroom Apartment: $2,800
Mesa is a coastal neighborhood, often broken down into smaller areas – Alta Mesa, East Mesa, and West Mesa. The area offers residents breathtaking views of the ocean and the Channel Islands. Mesa has a laid-back and beachy vibe, with easy access to popular beaches such as Mesa Lane Beach and 1000 Steps Beach. Major attractions in the area include Shoreline Point and the Douglas Family Preserve, a scenic park with hiking trails and panoramic views. Mesa features a mix of housing types, including beachfront condos, mid-century modern homes, and cottages.
Median Sale Price: $1,897,500
Average Rent for 2-Bedroom Apartment: $2,875
Riviera is a picturesque neighborhood with stunning views of the city, the ocean, and the Santa Ynez Mountains. The neighborhood is known for its beautiful homes and proximity to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Major attractions in Riviera include the Santa Barbara Bowl and the historic El Encanto Hotel. Residents can also enjoy outdoor activities at the nearby Franceschi Park and explore Parma Park. Riviera features a variety of architectural styles, including Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial, and Contemporary.
Median Sale Price: $3,150,000
8. San Roque
San Roque is a charming neighborhood, known for its tree-lined streets. The neighborhood is home to the popular San Roque Park, where residents can enjoy outdoor activities and community events. Other major attractions in the area include the Santa Barbara Golf Club and the Barger Canyon Preserve. San Roque features a mix of housing types, including Spanish-style homes, ranch-style homes, and cottages.
Median Sale Price: $1,920,000
9. Upper East
Upper East is a historic and prestigious neighborhood in Santa Barbara, known for its elegant homes and tree-lined streets. The community is home to the historic Santa Barbara Mission and offers residents a sense of old-world charm. Significant attractions in Upper East include the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and the beautiful Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens. The housing types in Upper East range from grand mansions to charming bungalows. Architectural styles in the neighborhood include Spanish Colonial Revival and Victorian.
Median Sale Price: $3,100,000
Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $3,495 | Average Rent for 2-Bedroom Apartment: $4,545
10. West Beach
West Beach is a popular neighborhood known for its stunning ocean views and proximity to the beach. Residents and visitors can enjoy attractions like Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara Harbor, and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The neighborhood also offers access to waterfront trails like Santa Barbara Harbor Walk, which leads to Point Castillo. West Beach features a mix of housing types, including beachfront condos and single-family homes. Architectural styles in the neighborhood range from modern designs to Spanish Mediterranean.
Median Sale Price: $3,380,000
Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apartment: $1,500 | Average Rent for 2-Bedroom Apartment: $1,550
The Westside neighborhood has a convenient location close to Downtown and the beach. There are plenty of quaint neighborhood cafes and bakeries in the area and parks like Bohnett Park. Westside features a mix of housing options, including single-family homes and apartments in styles ranging from Craftsman to mid-century modern.
Median Sale Price: $1,490,000
Methodology: All neighborhoods must be listed as a “neighborhood” on Redfin.com. Median home sale price data from the Redfin Data Center during November 2023. Average rental data from Rent.com during November 2023.