The Mesa

The Mesa is a neighborhood in Santa Barbara admired for its proximity to the beach and the harbor. Bordered on one side by Santa Barbara City College, and on the other by Arroyo Burro County Beach (more commonly known as Hendry’s beach) this area is home to a variety of beach-loving residents. Shoreline Park is a major draw to the neighborhood. With its 15 acres of manicured grass, jungle gyms, tables, bike trails and pedestrian paths atop the Santa Barbara coastline, everyone from families to runners to picnickers take advantage of the park’s stunning views.

The Mesa earns its name for its geography, much of the area sitting “table”-like atop a flat stretch of land above the shore. Another part of the Mesa is situated hillside, its homes enjoying spectacular ocean vistas. The whole region is known for its weather patterns distinct from the downtown area of Santa Barbara. Due to its proximity to the ocean, the Mesa is prone to fog and temperatures about 10 degrees cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Though the Mesa is much more residential in atmosphere than downtown Santa Barbara, State St. can be reached within minutes by car, bike, or even a leisurely jog. A variety of restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, coffee houses, and shops can be found on the Mesa in the shopping centers at the intersection of Cliff Dr. and Miegs. Local favorites include Rose Café, Mesa Café, Super Cuca’s, Giovanni’s Pizza, and Lazy Acres.

The Mesa also has a lot to offer by way of oceanfront activities. The Santa Barbara Harbor is just below the Mesa, home to all types of watercraft, a maritime museum, and restaurants such as Chuck’s Waterfront Grill, the Endless Summer Café Bar, and Brophy Bros. seafood. Adjacent to the harbor is Ledbetter beach, which runs along the Mesa—equally ideal for water sports and sunbathing alike. Thousand Step beach, located at the end of Santa Cruz Rd., offers a more private beach-going experience, great for dog walking. The Douglas Family Preserve, situated at the southwestern tip of the Mesa, is a 70-acre recreational area left in its natural state for residents to explore.

Elementary schools on the Mesa are Monroe, McKinley, and Washington Schools. Residents are in the Santa Barbara Junior High School and Santa Barbara Senior High School districts. Real Estate on the Mesa averages around $750,000, with ocean view homes and estates upwards of $5 million.

Learn about other Santa Barbara neighborhoods: The Upper East, Hope Ranch, Riviera, The Westside, San Roque, Samarkand, Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria, Goleta.