|Population: 88,000 people|
County: Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, settled by Spaniards in 1782, is one of the oldest cities in California. The place is mentioned in 1542 chronicles, when the first Spanish expedition reached the North America western shore. The city received its name in memory of the events of year 1602, when one of the Spanish vessels was caught in a heavy storm near the California coasts, and the sailors were saved just in the Catholic day of the Saint Barbara.
Though more than 300 years has passed since then, Santa Barbara still preserved the characteristic Spanish look. The ocean coast is covered with many whitewashed, red tile-roofed buildings; the names of streets and attractions are Spanish. Among them are El Presidio De Santa Barbara State Historic Park, the site of the 1782 Spanish outpost used by first settlers to the area, a Franciscan monastery or Mission Santa Barbara, Called "Queen of the Missions" for its beauty, or 1788 El Cuartel, the second-oldest surviving structure in California. Among the attractions of later, "American" period, one should mention Stearns Wharf, a wooden pier, built by John P. Stearns in 1872, the oldest functioning wharf on the west coast, and Santa Barbara Courthouse, of Spanish-Moorish style, built in 1929.
Santa-Barbara is not just an attraction city; it is a very popular California resort, with many entertainments to any taste at any time of year. It has anything one may want to spend a vacation or a week-end, amazing beaches, picturesque gardens and parks, yacht clubs and golf clubs, museums, concert halls, hotels, camps, vast number of cafes, small and big, restaurants etc. By the number of eating-houses per citizen Santa Barbara has no equal in US, and the gourmets can try as "classic" foods, that is, American fast-food, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, French etc, as well as such totally exotic ones, as Lion steak.
Soft climate and picturesque vicinities made Santa Barbara one of the fashionable US resorts. The real estate prices long ago rocketed far above anything affordable to most Americans, and a property sale figure of several million dollars is nothing exceptional. Movie stars, sport and show-business stars constitute a great deal of local population. Probably that is why the popular TV series with the same name, that brought the city world renown, were placed there. By the way, the movie industry in Santa Barbara started even before Hollywood; several hundred movies were created here in 1910-1920.
The industry of Santa Barbara grades up to its "star" status, the city has aerospace industry, semiconductors, IT, ocean bed oil mining. Vandenberg Air Force Base nearby is a part of the national antimissile defense system. When you search for "Santa Barbara" on the Internet, the city name is equally often mentioned in connection with the above-mentioned TV series, as well as with IT news, computer systems and components, software, networks, internet commerce, and advertising. Many hi-tech companies, such as Interactive Software Engineering, PaceBlade Technology, Citrix Online, Echo Digital Audio Corporation, Linear Technology, Commission Junction and many others are either based in or in some other way connected to Santa Barbara.