Living in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara
Erik S. Haney CEO | Founder
Erik S. Haney
CEO | Founder

Ventura vs Santa Barbara 🚲☀️| Pros & Cons of Living in Santa Barbara vs Ventura CA

The decision to settle down in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara can feel like choosing between two slices of paradise. Both cities boast stunning ocean views, year-round sunshine, and a laid-back California vibe. But where should you choose to spend your time? Santa Barbara, also known as “The American Riviera,” is known for its gorgeous architecture, rich heritage, and endless wine tasting options. The destination town of Ventura is renowned for its great restaurants, award-winning schools, and beautiful beaches. Let’s dive into the nuances of each city to find the best fit for you and your family.

Ventura to Santa Barbara Distance

The distance between these two California cities is only 27.4 miles. This is about a 28-minute drive via US-101.

Pros and Cons of Living in Santa Barbara vs. Ventura CA

Before choosing between Ventura vs. Santa Barbara, you need to know about the strengths and weaknesses of both cities. Here are a few pros and cons of living in Santa Barbara vs. Ventura CA.

Living in Ventura Pros

 

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Ventura offers several incredible benefits. To start, Ventura is slightly more affordable than Santa Barbara, especially when it comes to real estate. Additionally, residents living in the area can enjoy easy access to pristine beaches that are perfect for surfing, sunbathing, and playing in the sand. Another major perk of Ventura is its laid-back feel. Ventura is not as popular as Santa Barbara among tourists, so the city has more of a small-town feel. However, residents can still enjoy easy access to urban amenities in cities like Los Angeles or Santa Barbara.

Living in Ventura Cons

While Ventura boasts many appealing qualities, there are some considerations you should keep in mind. Although Ventura has a small-town feel, some people find that it lacks the same level of nightlife, dining, or entertainment options as larger cities nearby. Additionally, Ventura has a higher crime rate than Santa Barbara.

Ventura is also growing at a rapid rate, which has sparked concerns about overcrowding in the city. The population density is already at 3,400 people per square mile, and residents are concerned that if this grows, the city’s laid-back vibe may disappear.

Living in Santa Barbara Pros

There are several benefits to residing in Santa Barbara. The incredible weather is one of the biggest advantages, as the city experiences sunshine all year round. This gorgeous weather sets the stage for an outdoor lifestyle, and residents can enjoy activities such as hiking in the nearby mountains, lounging on the beach, or walking around the city’s charming streets. Santa Barbara also has a thriving culinary scene, showcasing restaurants with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Additionally, Santa Barbara has a lower crime rate than Ventura, making it a safer place to live. Santa Barbara also has a higher average salary, making it an appealing option for those in the business world.

Living in Santa Barbara Cons

One significant concern for those living in the Santa Barbara area is the cost of living. Santa Barbara is more expensive than Ventura, especially when it comes to housing prices and expenses for everyday goods and services. This can make it challenging for individuals on a tight budget. The city’s popularity as a tourist destination also leads to increased traffic congestion, especially during popular months like August and September.

Comparisons of Ventura vs. Santa Barbara

While both cities are great places to visit, you’ll want to consider the benefits and drawbacks of living in each area. Here are a few comparisons of living in Santa Barbara vs. Ventura CA.

Ventura vs. Santa Barbara Population

The population of Ventura is 110,763, whereas the population of Santa Barbara is 87,533. The city of Ventura is growing at a rapid rate, leading to concerns of overcrowding in the area. With a land area of 21.89 square miles, the city has a population density of 3,400 people per square mile.

 

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Cost of Living in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara

When comparing Ventura vs. Santa Barbara, it is essential to take a look at the cost of living in each California city. As it turns out, the two cities are very similar when it comes to the cost of living! The Ventura Cost of Living Index is 154, meaning that it is 54% more expensive than the national average. The Santa Barbara Cost of Living Index is 154.7, making it 54.7% more expensive than the national average. Therefore, Santa Barbara is slightly more expensive than Ventura.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four in Santa Barbara would need to earn $154,806 to live comfortably in the city, while a family of four in Ventura would need to earn $148,197. You can expect to spend a little more if you decide to settle down in Santa Barbara. Here’s a quick overview of spending in Santa Barbara vs. Ventura.

  • Food: 3.6% more expensive in Ventura
  • Child care: 1.9% more expensive in Santa Barbara
  • Transportation: 3.5% more expensive in Ventura
  • Health care: 7.0% more expensive in Santa Barbara
  • Taxes: 7.6% more expensive in Santa Barbara

When comparing the cost of living in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara, you should also consider the home prices in each location. According to Redfin, the median home price in Santa Barbara is $1.84 million, while the median home price in Ventura is $871,000. Both of these cities are along the coast, so the higher home prices are expected. However, Santa Barbara real estate is significantly more expensive. Santa Barbara home prices are down 13.6% compared to last year, while Ventura home prices are up 6.5%.

If you would rather rent a home or apartment in the city, then Ventura is once again the most affordable option. According to RentCafe, the median rent price in Ventura is $2,784, while the median rent price in Santa Barbara is $2,842.

Santa Barbara vs. Ventura Crime Rates

When it comes to crime in Santa Barbara vs. Ventura, Santa Barbara is the safer option. The Ventura crime rate is 11.7% higher than the Santa Barbara crime rate. However, both of these cities are safe places to live. These cities get very busy during peak travel season, and you’ll find that most of the crime happens in touristy areas that are full of hotels and nightlife.

Things to Do in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara

When comparing Ventura vs. Santa Barbara in terms of fun things to do, both cities have a lot to offer. Many people find that Ventura has a more laid-back vibe, while Santa Barbara is very upbeat as it is more popular among tourists. Because both cities are situated along the coast, you’ll find incredible beaches in each area. However, the beaches in Santa Barbara tend to be a bit more crowded due to there being more hotels and, therefore, more tourists in the city.

Ventura is known for its laid-back Main Street, where you’ll find several small businesses, cozy shops, and family-owned restaurants. Although it is in the heart of Downtown Ventura, Main Street gives off small beach town vibes. Other popular attractions in Ventura include Ventura Harbor Village, Ventura Beach, and Ventura Botanical Gardens.

 

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Santa Barbara also has its fair share of wonderful attractions. The city’s pedestrian-friendly state street offers several dining and shopping opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Santa Barbara is also known for its wineries, with dozens of wine tasting options situated around the city. Some of Santa Barbara’s top attractions include the Santa Barbara Zoo, Pier Santa Barbara, and Stearns Wharf.

Both cities offer easy access to Channel Islands National Park. Channel Islands National Park offers opportunities for camping, hiking, diving, spearfishing, and more.

Schools in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara

Are you curious about education in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara? Luckily, kids in each city have access to incredible education options. Ventura is home to the Ventura Unified School District, which is known for being incredibly progressive and forward-thinking. The district recently announced a plan to become the first district on the Central Coast to launch a clean energy program, which will save $106 million in net energy savings.

Santa Barbara students are served by the Santa Barbara Unified School District, which serves over 12,000 students. In February 2024, teachers in the district were awarded $200,000 to fund field trips, classroom upgrades, and creative projects across the school district.

Weather in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara

What is the weather like in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara? Both of these cities on the coast get to enjoy the warm California sunshine all year round. Santa Barbara tends to be a bit warmer than Ventura, with an average summer temperature of 77ºF (compared to 73ºF in Ventura).  Additionally, Santa Barbara sees 283 sunny days each year, while Ventura sees 273. Some of the best months to visit each city include July, August, and September when the weather is the warmest.

Jobs in Santa Barbara vs. Ventura

Because both cities are popular tourist destinations, the hospitality industry is a major economic driver in both cities. A few of the top employers in Santa Barbara include the County of Santa Barbara, the University of California, and Cottage Health Organizations. Top employers in Ventura include the County of Ventura, Ventura Unified School District, and Community Memorial Health System.

According to PayScale, the average salary in Ventura is $83,000 per year, while the average salary in Santa Barbara is $86,000 per year. The extra money in Santa Barbara will come in handy, as the city is not as affordable as Ventura.

Ventura vs. Santa Barbara: Which City Will You Call Home?

When comparing Ventura vs. Santa Barbara, you can’t go wrong with either option. Both of these scenic cities have incredible amenities, a strong sense of culture, and fantastic neighborhoods to settle down in. If Ventura seems like the perfect town for you, then get in touch with our Ventura movers. If Santa Barbara is more your speed, then our Santa Barbara movers are always ready to lend you a helping hand.  To get started with a free quote, give Movegreen a call today at 866-684-7336.

Erik S. Haney CEO | Founder
Erik S. Haney
CEO | Founder
Movegreen was established in 2007 with a vision to innovate the age old trade of Moving and Storage. The company has grown by over 20% year after year and recently expanded our territory to all of Ventura County and Northern LA County . Movegreen has received more than 15 service awards and is the premier Moving and Storage company on the Central Coast.
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