Village Properties as put together a brief overview of Santa Barbara neighborhoods. Riskin Associates' supplements these areas with a few luxury locations as well. Santa Barbara has a diversity of residential areas. Made up of many neighborhoods and areas you will find information provided on several below.


The Mesa is located on the bluffs just beyond the harbor and extends from the ocean up to the top of the hill. There are both tract and custom homes, many with ocean and/or city views.

The Wilcox Property, now known as the as the Douglas Family Preserve, at southwestern tip of the Mesa was a commercial nursery, currently preserved for public use. The neighborhood between Mesa Lane and Oliver Road, while originally plotted as early as 1920, did not develop until after World War II when many veterans built homes with the help of GI loans.City weather records show that the Mesa's winter temperatures are 10 to 12 degrees warmer than downtown, and 10 to 12 degrees cooler in the summer.


The "Westside Story" of Santa Barbara is laid in our city's first suburb to be initiated by Anglos rather than Hispanics; the Spanish genesis of the city was located on the Eastside. In 1850, when the United States annexed California to the Union, the Westside was open grazing range and farmland, turning marshy near the beach. Today this area is solidly overlaid with urban development extending inland to the Goleta Valley, making it the most densely populated neighborhood in Santa Barbara. The earliest historical reference to the Westside came in 1793 when Captain George Vancouver, a British explorer-scientist, who was circumnavigating the globe, anchored the Discovery off West Beach and received permission for his seacook to chop stovewood from the Mesa oak groves and refill his water tanks from a steep at the base of the Mesa bluffs near Pershing Park.

Mission Canyon

Mission Canyon, which with the Old Mission complex and the area bounded on the south by Mission Street, making up Santa Barbara's "Mission District," is unique. No residential neighborhood in the city boasts a richer historical background, or offers more relics and landmarks of Old Spanish Days.Fr. Junipero Serra, when he helped found the Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara in 1782, intended Santa Barbara's Franciscan mission to be built in El Montecito near the present site of Our Lady of Mount Carmel church on East Valley Road. But four years later, when his successor, Fr. Fermin Lasuen OFM, arrived to establish our mission, he decided that Montecito was too infested with grizzly bears and renegade Indians to risk building a mission so far removed from the protection of the presidio soldiers, so he looked elsewhere.

San Roque

Few residential neighborhoods of Santa Barbara can boast the rich historical background of the San Roque and Rutherford Park areas. San Roque is a charming area with smaller, individual homes in a quiet, yet convenient in-town location. Ten thousand years ago the area, bounded by Ontare Road, Foothill Road, Alamar Avenue and State Street, was an open expanse of treeless grassland, sloping up to the knees of the foothills and bisected by the jungled course of San Roque Canyon. Now a built-up, economically stabilized suburb, it is admired for its sweeping curved streets, its luxuriant landscaping, and its harmonious blend of many architectural themes - Spanish Colonial, English Tudor, French Normandy, California Redwood, Italian and American Colonial, mostly built since 1925. San Roque features older, custom homes with charm.


Samarkand meant "the land of heart's desire" in the archaic Persian tongue. It identified the fabulous Asian city where a mythical Queen Scheherazade spent her 1001 Arabian nights. In Santa Barbara, the melodic oriental name was first applied in 1920 to a deluxe Persian style hotel, formerly a boy's school. As the dominating landmark of a hilly, elevated neighborhood, the Samarkand gave its name to an area bounded on the east by Oak Park, on the north by Hollister Avenue (now De La Vina Street), on the west by a ranch boundary fence centered on modern Las Positas Road, and on the south by the old Coast Highway and the railroad. Samarkand is a delightful area of homes full of charm.

The Waterfront

The Spaniards who founded Santa Barbara in 1782 were soldiers and priests, not seafaring men. Perhaps that is why no provision was made for a seaport. The waterfront, extending 3.6 miles from Shoreline Park to the Bird Refuge, offers no natural headlands to create a safe anchorage. Early-day mariners dreaded Santa Barbara's exposed roadstead so much they used to drop anchor a mile offshore, ready to slip their cables and head for the open sea if foul weather threatened. As recently as 70 years ago the ocean used to cover what today is the City College football field, dashing its surf against cliffs now paneled by La Playa Stadium. Leadbetter Beach did not exist. But just around the corner, east of Castle Rock (a long-vanished promontory), semi-sheltered West Beach became the traditional landing place for visitors. It is thus overlaid with history covering two centuries.

The Santa Barbara Waterfront stretches from the Harbor across from Santa Barbara City College along Cabrillo Boulevard past Stearns Wharf to East Beach, which is near the Santa Barbara Zoo and Bird Refuge. There are Hotels and Motels located along the Waterfront, but behind them are charming homes, duplexes, triplexes and apartment buildings.

By Village Properties

The Riviera

Bridging the two mile span which separates Mission and Sycamore Canyons, the sylvan uplift which the padres knew as the "mission ridge" has for the past 65 years been known as "the Riviera" due to its resemblance to slopes along the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy. Santa Barbarans lucky enough to live on this ridge attach premium value to their homes because of their unsurpassed views of the city, mountains, sea and islands.

This chic modern residence sits at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac on the Riviera.
This chic modern residence sits at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac on the Riviera.
Offered at $3,195,000
Offered at $3,195,000

Surrounding Santa Barbara are a number of luxury enclaves: Montecito, Hope Ranch, Carpinteria and Summerland.

Hope Ranch

Hope Ranch is a place like no other in the Santa Barbara area. As you pass under the filigreed sign suspended across Las Palmas Drive, you feel as if you’re entering a world all your own. Towering palms line the main drive, and a feeling of serenity is ever present throughout the community. It is situated in the southeastern portion of Santa Barbara County between Highway 101 and the ocean, and emcompasses 1,863 acres. The broad, flat mesa and low rolling knolls are punctuated by a magnificent valley of live oak trees, which makes it an ideal location for equestrian-minded residents.

Hope Ranch real estate includes elegant french country homes, Mediterranean villas, equestrian estates and everything in between. Homes sites were developed to enjoy a variety of views from the landward purple mountains of the Santa Ynez range to the seaward views of the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands. Governed by homeowners since the 1920s, Hope Ranch prospers from a heartfelt sense of community and concern for the quality of life of every resident. A golf course and country club, small lake, private beach and bridle paths are just some of the benefits of living in this elite residential area.

A property new on the Hope Ranch market, this exquisite estate encompasses 8 magnificent acres.
A property new on the Hope Ranch market, this exquisite estate encompasses 8 magnificent acres.


Just south of Montecito you'll discover the peaceful seaside city of Carpinteria. Home to a world-renowned surfing area off Rincon Point, it is easy to get caught up in the laidback feel of the community and the naturally beautiful surroundings. Luxury Carpinteria real estate includes everything from beachfront estates to sprawling ranches and elegant hillside villas with remarkable ocean views. Carpinteria notably harbors the historic Santa Barbara Polo Club, one of the oldest in the United States. The deluxe Club with its four elegantly groomed polo fields and clubhouses, offers weekly polo games throughout most of the year.

Carpinteria State Beach encompasses over 4,000 feet of ocean frontage and secluded wooded groves, offering overnight camping in addition to esteemed surging and fishing. Just a few blocks from the ocean you’ll find wide, tree-lined streets with charming shops are restaurants creating an idyllic downtown atmosphere. Carpinteria often showcases parades. Craft shows and other events that evoke a gentle way of life.

Rustic ocean-view home in Carpinteria
Rustic ocean-view home in Carpinteria


With unsurpassed Pacific Ocean and Channel Island views, Summerland is a tiny beachside community with less than 2,000 residents. Snuggled on the coast between Montecito and Carpinteria, its homes, businesses, beaches and parks beautifully reflect its relaxed nature and small-town sensibility.

There are a number of charming markets, antique stores, clothing shops and restaurants to enjoy, as well as a range of real estate options suitable for all tastes and budgets from luxury estates to small homes, contemporary condominiums and sprawling ranches.

For more information about real estate in Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas, please contact Riskin Associates.