Moving to Santa Barbara

Related page: Visiting Santa Barbara

Parent Q&A

  • Moving to Santa Barbara - how to find out about schools?

    (2 replies)

    My partner and I are contemplating a move to Santa Barbara, along with our kids, who will be in 3rd grade and kindergarten next year. We know Santa Barbara really well (my partner is from there), and we have visited tons of times. But we don't know much about schools and are unsure how to find out more. Can anyone recommend any of the following...

    --any Santa Barbara area resources for parents that might give us more info about schools?

    --any friends you know who have kids in SB schools and might be willing to talk with me more about it?

    --any direct personal experiences with schools in SB that you would like to share? We will be keeping our house in Oakland and renting in SB, so we have a lot of flexibility regarding where to live and will probably choose our neighborhood in large part based on schools. I would particularly like to find a school that is on the smaller side. My older child's current school is 100 kids per grade, and that feels too large to us. We are seeking a more caring, intimate environment, if at all possible. Open to privates and charters, but would prefer public. 

    Thanks for any wisdom you can share! 

    My husband is also from SB and we very casually talked about a move there about a year ago, when our kids were about your kids' age. He grew up in San Roque and also had family on the Mesa, so we were thinking about those two areas. His old elementary school (Monte vista) is part of a tiny school district - not SB Unified - that then feeds to La Colina JH and now (not then) to SBHS. The advice here is to think NOW about which high school you want. My husband feels strongly that SBHS is the best HS in the area although this is based more on his experience growing up and going to San Marcos HS than the current situation, so you should research each school's offerings and then pick your residence accordingly. MV is still pretty small for a public elementary school and has a nice playground and a YMCA aftercare program.

    My immediate suggestion is to get down to SB for a couple days for spring break and sign your kids up for a couple days of camp at the SB Zoo, and then hit up other parents at dropoff and pickup for tips!!

    Hi, we brought up our child in Santa Barbara.  We sent her to the Monterssori Center School there.  We love the School and my husband's 2 grand kids are going there.  For public school, the most desirable one will be in the Montecito area.  Good luck with your search.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


April 2008

Re: Best town in California to live?
I read your question and thought of Santa Barbara, where I lived for 6+ years. It may be bigger than you have in mind, but I thought it is worth mentioning. In case you don't know the town is nestled between the ocean and 3000 ft mountains. That may not sound so high for mountains, but consider they are starting at 0 ft. So you have views of those mountains from everywhere. Tons of hiking trails. All kinds of beach experiences. Wonderful cultural opportunities. Sigh. Many places where lots of walking is possible, particularly near downtown, also in an area called the Mesa.

Politically/cultural it is interesting. There are various contingencies. There is certainly a progressive/liberal one, which I was part of. There were certain places that these people shopped, hiked, went to the beach, celebrated. So I found that I ran into people I knew constantly. I liked that small town feel.

Good wishes with your decision. Karin


Relocating to Santa Barbara, finding housing & childcare

Aug 2006

My family and I are relocating to Santa Barbara in about a month. I have a job offer there and we are moving to be closer to family. My biggest concerns are finding appropriate housing and child care. I am assuming that there is nothing like BPN down there. Does anyone have advice on my best approach for finding a house to rent and either a nanny or a home-based child care situation for an eleven-month old? (We have a nanny share now and would love to continue with something like that if possible). Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you Nina


Hi! I grew up there, and I think Santa Barbara is a wonderful place. The weather is fantastic and it doesn't have that big-city feel. It can definitely be challenging financially and socially though. For housing and child care, if you're starting from scratch, you'll probably have to do what you'd do anywhere else, which would be to check the newspaper classifieds. http://www.newspress.com/Top/index.jsp

There is also a Santa Barbara craigslist that's not very active- -that can be a good thing if you're looking to be selective, because craigslist tends to catch on first with a certain crowd. http://santabarbara.craigslist.org/

And then there's an active Santa Barbara community on LiveJournal, complete with rentals and things to do. This might be your best bet--check it out: http://community.livejournal.com/santabarbara/

Hope this is helpful. Have fun in one of the most beautiful, livable climates on earth! Lisa