Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

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Old Mission Santa Barbara (stock photo)
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By edhat staff

Santa Barbara has been named in the 30 most charming small cities in the United States by TravelMag.

The travel publication invited more than 500 travel writers, bloggers, photographers, and other travel industry professionals to name the five cities they consider to have the most charm and overall appeal. The votes were then added up to produce the top 30.

To be eligible for inclusion, the destination had to have a population of fewer than 250,000 people. According to the US Census Bureau, as of 2019, there were at least 780 cities with a population of 50,000 people or more in the country, and many more above 10,000.

The article highlights Santa Barbara's Spanish-influenced architecture, the Old Mission, Botanic Gardens, and the best of the sea and mountains. 

Three more California cities made it on the list including South Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, and Napa.

Other "charming" cities throughout the U.S. include Ann Arbor, MI; Charleston, SC; Naples, FL; and Santa Fe, NM.

The full list is available at travelmag.com.

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AwareHuman Jun 12, 2021 03:54 PM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

Ashland is almost too quintessential perfect....except for the brutal fact there us zero vacancy there. It has a delightful, charming co-op downtown too, and a lovely park...plus a strong sense of community. Bellingham has been a draw for SoCal people for years..and a SB man has been actively buying property there for years. Best of all, it's an hour , or less,to Vancouver, B.C. and 1 & a half hour drive to Seattle....or take your sailboat ....many boats & yachts the in the harbor. Also about zero vacancy...homes are now really , really hard to find.

fitz Jun 12, 2021 04:12 PM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

Bravo to Santa Barbara. Now every area resident needs to contact a senator or assembly person and tell them to reject SB 9 and 10 which will take away any charm in any California community. And do it today! Sacramento is ramming this through legislation....thanks to big $$$$$ from developers and building trades people. It will NOT solve the affordable housing crisis......it will only line the pockets of developers and building trades.

Byzantium Jun 12, 2021 04:33 PM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

Think about it. People throw red paint to represent blood and scrawl violent graffiti across the Old Mission doors and charge the Fathers with indigenous genocide and worse. The Botanic Garden nearly burned to a crisp due to local mountain bike zealot who wanted to clear nearby trails for his own benefit. And a local cabal of new arrivals is braying for view-blocking high rises and edgy modern minimalist architecture to replace what they thinks is our stodgy Islamo-Spanish heritage look. It would be nice if the current crop of new transplants protected the inherent charms of this place, the very reasons they were attracted to come and live here of this place, instead immediately of demanding we destroy everything that has long been protected by those before them. Polish the jewel; don't wholesale destroy it as is happening with much of the new "development"..

GeneralTree Jun 12, 2021 10:43 PM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

It's a beautiful place. I've always loved it here. The aggressive homeless issue is out of control though. It has gotten dangerous and seems to be coming to a head. The addicts and mentally in need are not the ones easily housed in overnight parking lots or free housing.

Mesarats Jun 12, 2021 11:35 PM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

Increasing homeless population is occurring everywhere. In just the US, during the pandemic 56 new billionaires were created and existing increased their wealth by 55%, the same time the Urban Institute projects “ an overall 2021 poverty rate of 13.7 percent, meaning that about one in seven Americans may have annual family resources below the poverty threshold”

RHS Jun 13, 2021 08:19 AM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

Who takes these 'ratings' seriously? They are just generated to get publicity for the issuer or are bought by the recipient in some fashion. Every see the slick publications rating "best eye doctor" or "best trial lawyer" or "best cancer center"? Would you really trust these things to direct you in a serious matter?

pstarSR Jun 13, 2021 10:44 AM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

its marketing, all they do is sell our city to outsiders. these " awards " are only stars on the sales chart for helping destroy the city we built, to be sold to out of towners that give two sh*ts about it.

doulie Jun 13, 2021 11:00 AM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

RHS - Our Chamber of Commerce at work? 20-40 years back I'd say our town was "charming." Today, unfortunately, not so much. Maybe they considered Montecito a part of SB, even then the rating is a "stretch."

a-1623609161 Jun 13, 2021 11:32 AM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

Yes, well-deserved indeed.
After reading the list of other cities and seeing the photos, I have to remark that the photo here on Edhat is much better than the one in the article, even though it's the same subject.

Babycakes Jun 13, 2021 04:02 PM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

Oh how charming Santa Barbara is. So, so charming. I know that the article is about charming small cities in the US, but I'd say with a true population of around 150K (plus another 150-200K in the surrounding areas), we're hardly small. Of all the charming places I've been in the world, several stand out, and one of them is tiny Dingle, Ireland. Maybe 2,000ish people live there, but much like Santa Barbara, it relies on it's natural beauty and proximity to the ocean to attract tourists. And SB drops them as a sister city because some sensitive poets (I think all related to UCSB) felt that they got "dissed" and were unwelcome by the folks of Dingle. How charming of Santa Barbara. How progressive. How Disgraceful. One last item: when do we get our parks back? Nearly every one of our parks is overrun by those known to the police on a first-hand basis. I'd like to have our charming parks back. No wonder the Mission lawn is packed by kids, families, and those who want to enjoy being outside without fear of stepping on needles, attacked by dirtbags, or gangbangers.

Bird Jun 13, 2021 05:48 PM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

And I would like to not have the tents on East Beach --- there are (or were days last week) two of them west of the toilets so at least the occupants are probably not using the beach for that. If the City is going to allow camping, then....

Lorax Jun 13, 2021 09:49 PM
Santa Barbara Named in 30 Most Charming Small US Cities

One of our most charming places is between the Mission to Rocky Nook Park, the whole area has many Historically Landmarked features from the Mission Creek Bridge built in 1891, also eligable for the National Bridge registry, to the Stegosaurus wall including Rocky Nook park that has been nominated as a Historic Landscape going back to the early California and Chumash era. Please protect this area that is in jeapordy of changes, loosing oak and sycamore trees, some over 100 yrs old . Help us keep the special rural feel of this transition area into Mission Canyon for our community as well as visitors to the area.
https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/help-us-save-the-historic

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