Pros and cons of living in Santa Barbara, California

Are you looking to move to a city near LA but not too close? Santa Barbara might be what you have in mind. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Santa Barbara?

Living in Santa Barbara can be fun and exciting. It means you get to enjoy the amazing scenery, outdoor activities, higher education opportunities, and great weather. But you also have to contend with issues such as the high cost of living, risk of wildfires, water rationing, and polluted beaches.

It’s important to understand that no city exists without its problems. Once you know that, you can easily decide whether Santa Barbara is a good idea for you. Here are the pros and cons of living in the city.

Pros of Living in Santa Barbara

If you’re moving to Santa Barbara, you can expect to enjoy the following:

Amazing Scenery

Santa Barbara is blessed with breathtaking scenery. No matter where you choose to live in the city, there are plenty of scenic views for you to see. The city has the longest coastline on the west coast, which means you’ll get a great view of the Pacific Ocean. To the east of the city is the Santa Ynez Mountain range, and behind these mountains is the Los Padres National Forest.  The beautiful views of this city are worth waking up to.

Outdoor Activities

The weather in Santa Barbara is great, and the environment makes you want to get involved in all kinds of outdoor activities. If you’re interested in surfing, swimming, kiteboarding, or just lounging by the sea enjoying the warm sunlight, there are beaches all around. It has several parks such that from anywhere you’re in the city, there is a 75% chance that a park is half a mile away.

If you’re interested in biking, Santa Barbara has several bike trails for beginners and more complex ones for experts. No wonder it has a bike score of 66. There are several places to rent a bike if you don’t own one. Hiking is also possible here.

Higher Education Opportunities

Thinking of where to go for tertiary education? Santa Barbara has several options that make it superb. The city might not be home to an Ivy League, but it has the best city community college in the country, Santa Barbara City College. There are several other top institutions here. The University of California Santa Barbara is one of the top 50 universities in the country. Other higher institutions here include Westmont College, Antioch University, Fielding Graduate University, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Barbara College of Law, etc.

Great Weather

Another great quality that you can live for as a resident in Santa Barbara is the weather. Yes, Southern California has great weather, but Santa Barbara’s is exceptional. The city has one of the best climates in the United States. The city is pleasantly warm with about 300 days of sun and an average temperature that doesn’t get hotter than 73.7 degrees or colder than 43 degrees. There’s rainfall during winter, but snow is very unlikely.

Cons of Living in Santa Barbara

There are disadvantages to living in Santa Barbara which you should be aware of. They include:

High Cost of Living

Good things cost money, and in Santa Barbara, they cost a lot of money. The cost of living in the city is 123.4% higher than the national average. This means you have to be earning high to maintain your standard of living. Although the average wage here is higher than the national average, living costs are still prohibitive.

One of the factors contributing to the high cost of living here is housing in the city. Homes in the city are costly, far above the national average and almost double the California average. For example, it costs an average of $1,468,019 to buy a house in the city, and rent is equally expensive.

Water Rationing

Due to the California drought, there is water rationing in the city. In 2019, the city lifted the most severe state of which is Stage 3 of drought restrictions. But there’s still water rationing in the city and prohibition on water wastage is in place.

The city issues water rations weekly for landscaping, and it depends on the weather. So, you have to learn how to manage water while watering your lawn and garden. You may need to use gray water (water from the laundry) for watering your plants. If you live in the city, you have to learn how to calculate water usage to ensure you don’t spend more than you should. Water bills can be costly.

Risk of Wildfires

Another thing to contend with is wildfires. The weather comes with sunshine almost throughout the year, and with this sunshine also comes the risk of wildfires. Anything could start a fire here, which means you have to be careful.

However, the City Council takes wildfires seriously. The Fire Safety Council raises awareness. If you’re living here, you can expect to see at least one wildfire in a decade.

Polluted Beaches

Santa Barbara has magnificent beaches where you can take a stroll and more. But some problems come with this. Oil spills are common here due to the city being on the coast. Oil spills from offshore drilling find their way to the beaches and seaside.

Beyond that, marine hydrocarbon naturally seeps in the Santa Barbara channel. While this leads to offshore oil drilling in the area, it can leave your shoes soaked in oil if you aren’t careful.

In Conclusion

Living in Santa Barbara can be amazing for anyone. Whether you are moving with your family or going alone, there are several opportunities for jobs, schools, and fun in the area. In addition, LA is only 90 minutes away by car, so you have access to a big city. But there are also issues you need to prepare for such as water rationing and the high cost of everything. Regardless, it’s a fantastic place to be.