Welcome to Downtown Santa Barbara

The most pedestrian-friendly breadth of the city, downtown is where Santa Barbara’s rich Spanish heritage is on vivid display—and where it seamlessly mingles with modernity. Here, patrons of local favorite Handlebar Coffee look out over a 1782 Spanish fortress and the 1873 Lobero theater neighbors a strip of contemporary boutiques. Yet the city’s commitment to Spanish Revival architecture—even national chain banks boast classic red rooftops, white-washed walls, and colorful tiles—visually ties the whole ‘hood together into one delightfully charming package.

Key Details


walkable, shopping, restaurants, tourist friendly, historic, culture, great weather, wineries


Commute Times
Montecito 10m by car
Carpinteria 15m by car
Goleta 14m by car
East to West North Salsipuedes St to the 101 Hwy
North to South Alamar Avenue to the 101 Hwy
Nearby Neighborhoods The Mesa, the Riviera, Montecito

Around the Block

Downtown santa barbara:
The dynamic heart and soul of a postcard-pretty city with a fascinating past.

This vibrant, energetic town center stands as an ode to Spanish architecture—a nod to the Europeans who named and settled the area from the 1600s on—with red tile roofs, white stucco walls, intricate wrought iron railings, and kaleidoscopic tiles the predominant feature of both homes and newer commercial businesses. Known for an abundance of notable restaurants, shopping, entertainment, business, and culture all densely packed into one aesthetically pleasing and easily walkable sphere, this is the urban crux where Santa Barbarans go to see and be seen.

Neighborhood Block

What to expect:
Tons of tourists mixed with locals, side-by-side historic and contemporary buildings, plus scads of culture and charm.

Both a centralized area for employers like Sonos and dozens of startups, and many a visitor’s first stop in the city, downtown has a local attraction, eatery, watering hole, or gallery to satisfy everyone from history buffs to foodies, shopaholics, and art aficionados. The atmosphere is California-casual, the people friendly and welcoming.

Neighborhood Block
Neighborhood Block Neighborhood Block

The lifestyle:
Endless opportunities for shopping, dining, and entertainment, with the stunning coastline just a short distance away.

State Street is the main artery of the downtown area, easy to explore on foot or aboard the electric shuttle that runs its length. On Tuesday afternoons, the famous byway shuts down traffic to make way for a flourishing farmer’s market, filled with the ample bounty of California produce, locally-grown flowers, and folk music. And on any given night, crowds flock to events at historic downtown theaters such as La Granada and the Arlington. State Street eventually flows down to busy Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara harbor.

Neighborhood Block
Neighborhood Block Neighborhood Block
Neighborhood Block

Unexpected appeal:
A thriving culinary scene with ample access to regional wineries.

Santa Barbara’s downtown area is known for its variety of celebrated eateries, from Arnoldi’s, the oldest Italian restaurant in the city, to the modest La Super Rica Taqueria—touted by none other than the late legendary resident Julia Child—to the original outpost of famous McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream. The popular Urban Wine Trail also picks up here, with a booming collection of tasting rooms from area wineries concentrated around East De La Guerra Street and Anacapa Street.

Neighborhood Block

The market:
New apartments, duplexes, townhouses, and condos mingle with older cottages, ranch homes, and bungalows.

Multi-family buildings have arisen throughout the coveted downtown area, but move just a few blocks from central State Street and a mish-mash of quaint single family homes stand at attention. Most residences start at $1 million.

Neighborhood Block
Neighborhood Block Neighborhood Block
Neighborhood Block

You'll fall in love with:
The respectfully preserved historic buildings that add character, dignity, and grandeur to the area.

Locals are proud of their storied history, and the city makes it a priority to maintain and preserve a number of historic buildings. Even a short spin around downtown brings you past significant landmarks like handsome El Presidio State Historic Park, the Casa de La Guerra museum, the proud Old Mission (and its gorgeous rose gardens), and the stately Courthouse, with its jaw-dropping tower top view of downtown.

Neighborhood Block

Other Neighborhoods in Santa Barbara, Montecito, & Central Coast to Explore