Santa Barbara earns its nickname, “The American Riviera”, from this neighborhood spanning the ridge that stretches from Montecito to Mission Canyon. Reminiscent of the French and Italian coastline, the Riviera is home to unimpeded views of downtown’s red-tile roofs, the Santa Barbara harbor, the foothills of Montecito and Goleta, and, of course, the ocean and Channel Islands. One of the area’s older, most stable neighborhoods, many of the Riviera’s winding, narrow streets are lined with hand-cut sandstone walls and hitching posts dating from the early 1900s. Residents enjoy its proximity to downtown, and the Mission and Rose Gardens.
Real estate in this area is often divided into two categories: the Upper Riviera (above Alameda Padre Serra, “APS”) and the Lower Riviera (between APS and the Eastside). In the Upper Riviera one finds grand Spanish Colonial Revival houses from the 1920s, stunning contemporary homes, and Mediterranean style villas. The Lower Riviera is more densely populated, primarily with charming Craftsman and California-style cottages.