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Santa Barbara

150 kilometers north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is the northern end of a nearly continuous urban agglomeration that begins in San Diego and spans nearly 400 kilometers of Southern California coast. The Santa Barbara Visitors Bureau has officially designated the city and surrounding coast the American Riviera (a trademarked slogan, no less). The ocean, beaches, mountains, and Mediterranean climate and architecture certainly suggest the French Riviera, but several other places in Southern California could easily make the same claim.

However it’s advertised, Santa Barbara and the adjacent Santa Ynez Valley are undeniably pleasant and picturesque places to visit. But it’s not so pleasant to consider moving there. A shortage of buildable land and a history of strict growth controls have left the Santa Barbara coastal region with the least affordable housing in California.

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Around Town: The Mission and the Wharf

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Santa Barbara Courthouse: Civic Pride, Spanish Colonial Revival Style

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Santa Ynez Valley: Outdoor Recreation, A Mission, and a Danish Theme Park

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