The Westside – The Neighborhood West of State Street

Santa Bimagesarbara’s “Westside,” named for its location west of Highway 101 is a big draw for those looking to be closer to both the beach and the freeway.

Commonly known as the area between Santa Barbara City College to the south, La Cumbre Middle School to the north, the 101, and the backside of the Mesa, it is both the oldest residential area in Santa Barbara and the most densely populated.

The region is relatively flat, and a quick bike ride to the downtown area, the mall, and a few different beaches.

The lower Westside, (closer to the freeway and the business district) is Santa Barbara’s low-price real estate leader. The homes are selling for a median list price of $950,000, though the average in sales since January of this year is $682,000. This area is quieter and less busy than the lower east side of Santa Barbara near Milpas Street, but still has its fair share of family owned markets, taquerias, fast food stops, laundromats, and small businesses.

downloadSome real estate experts estimate that up to 75% of homes on the Westside are occupied by renters; this makes sense given the close proximity to Santa Barbara City College. New Westside owners include first-time homebuyers, Cottage Hospital employees, second home escapees, and young families.

The Westside architecture varies with craftsman-style bungalows, hilltop ranches, and newly built moderns; there are also a significant number of older cottages mixed in with condo units, apartment complexes, and duplexes. Standard lot sizes are about a tenth of an acre, hence the increased density in some areas. As you get closer to the backside of the Mesa, lot sizes tend to increase and, as expected, the homes – even though they may be charming and historic fixer uppers – get more expensive. The upper West side, as it’s referred to, also boasts a mix of contemporary homes.

The Westside is centrally located, with easy access to downtown, West Beach, the Mesa, and the freeway. Recent sales have been to young families and just-married couples, it’s clear the neighborhood is up-and-coming.

Locals say the Westside features great soil and garden growing potential, likely due to the historic use of the area: farming.


Because of its location, shielded by the Mesa, the Westside is often warm and sunny, even when there is fog at the coast, which is reason enough to move there.