Nestled between the curving bay and the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is one of the prettiest places in all of California. It is little wonder that the Spanish who first established a presidio in 1782 and a mission several years later named it la-tierra adorada (the beloved land). Santa Barbara is the both the largest city and county seat of Santa Barbara County. Found 92 miles north of Los Angeles and 332 miles south of San Francisco, the city usually enjoys a gentle sun overhead and caressing breeze from the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara’s climate is best described as Mediterranean and the city is often promoted as “The American Rivera,” with weather, beaches, and a lifestyle similar to that found in the south of France and Italy.
Breath-taking beaches extending along a stretch of south-facing coastline uniquely distinguishes the area from other beach communities along the West Coast of the United States. Santa Barbara is home to world famous amenities. Tourists and residents alike enjoy sites such as Stearns Wharf, the Santa Barbara Mission, Botanic Gardens, the Santa Barbara Zoo, lovely beaches for family fun, and opportunities for whale watching and coastline tours throughout the year. Expanding the local flavor of the city, Santa Barbara wine country to the north is just minutes away from with at least 175 wineries and tens of thousands of planted acres. Bordered by the ocean and mountains, the area is incredibly diverse with rugged terrain putting nearly one-third of its total acreage in the Los Padres National Forest.
Originally an important center of Spanish culture, Americans seized California in the 19th century and was only returned to its historic roots when a monstrous earthquake in 1925 leveled the downtown area. The area is known for its Spanish and Mission architecture with adobe walls, red tile roofs, rounded archways, and palm-lined boulevards. In a town of 90,000 residents, Santa Barbara features a relatively large service sector in education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. Education is particularly well represented with the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, Pacifica, Antioch University, and the Brooks Institute of Photography. Further connecting the city to the rest of the world, Santa Barbara Airport, Amtrak, and U.S. Highway 101 allows easy access to the near and far sides of the world. The area vibrantly teams with diverse people and breathtaking views, making it easy to access and difficult to leave.