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As temps cool down in the Northeast, it's hard not to fantasize about riding out winter in warmer weather, and/or permanently relocating to somewhere you don't have to spend four months in a down jacket. Take, for instance, Santa Barbara, a city on California's southern coast.
Santa Barbara's famously temperate weather and pristine beaches has earned it the nickname "the American Riviera," which makes it both a popular tourist destination and a celebrity vacation hideout.
But it's also a prime spot to post up permanently, in addition to year-round sunshine, the city is backdropped by the picturesque Santa Ynez Mountains and, on the other side, the Pacific Ocean. Folks who enjoy outdoor activities will love Santa Barbara, where you can hike and partake in water sports like paddle boarding and surfing. It's also very bike-friendly.
There's some incredible food here, with Santa Barbara harboring some of the best cuisine in California. Julia Child once declared the family-run La Super-Rica Taqueria the best Mexican spot in the city, and it still is; there's also Spanish eatery Loquita Santa Barbara; former stagecoach stop Cold Spring Tavern, which still feels like a Western saloon; and McConnell's Fine Ice Creams, which is a must.
And for fans of Spanish architecture and history, Santa Barbara is extra idyllic. The city has deep Spanish roots, as evidenced by the city's abundant Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, and celebrates its history through a number of festivals, including the multi-day Old Spanish Days Fiesta, which kicks off at the city's 200-plus-years-old Old Mission.
If any of that sounds appealing to you, here's a taste of what's out there.
20 W. Junipero St., Oak Park
This two-bedroom, two-bath house, also pictured top, has a living room with exposed wooden beams and a fireplace; a covered porch with floor-to-ceiling windows, and ample yard space. Other highlights include a kitchen with tiled floors and a separate dining area. The house is located in Oak Park, which is close to the Old Mission and downtown. It is priced at $949,000.
18 W. Victoria St., Apt. 107, Downtown
If you'd like to live in downtown proper, this one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath luxury condo, located just a block from the main drag of State Street. The unit has a picturesque living room, a kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances, and a handsome master bath with his-and-hers sinks. Building amenities include a rooftop deck, private wine storage, and a 24-hour concierge. The unit is priced at $949,000.
1257 Dover Ln., Riviera
Riviera is one of Santa Barbara's most picturesque neighborhoods in a city full of them, mimicking the towns on France's famed Mediterranean coasts. This two-bedroom, one-bath house, built in 1925, is just one of the many beautiful properties in the area, featuring oak wood flooring, lots of windows, and ocean views. Other highlights include a living room with a fireplace and a landscaped yard with an in-ground pool. The house is priced at $1,189,000.
525 Conejo Rd., Cielito
This four-bedroom, three-bath house has vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances. Other highlights include hillside views and a massive outdoor deck that wraps around most of the house. The property is located in Cielito, which is close to Riviera and is home to the scenic Parma Park. The house is priced at $1,050,000.
56 Barranca Ave., Apt. 12., East Mesa
The massive Mesa neighborhood is located close to the beach, and has great access to good walking and biking spots, as well as excellent restaurants and even better views. This two-bedroom, two-bath condo sits just a few blocks from the beach, and has carpeted floors, high ceilings, a formal dining room, and a kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. Other highlights include in-unit washer/dryer hookups and an outdoor balcony. The unit is priced at $775,000.
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