Santa Barbara is a city in Santa Barbara County, California, United States. Situated on California’s “South Coast,” the city is sheltered by the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains behind it, which give it a year-round mild Mediterranean climate. Santa Barbara is often referred to as the "American Riviera." As of the census of 2000, the city had a population of 92,325, while the contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria and the unincorporated areas of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, had an approximate population of 200,000.
Offshore, the Santa Barbara Channel features some of the richest and most diverse marine environments in the world and constitutes a great place for seeing whales, dolphins, and sea birds. Across the Channel, the beautiful islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and Anacapa are part of the Channel Islands National Park. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forest, which contains several remote wilderness areas.
In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city has a robust economy which includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. Santa Barbara is home to several institutions of higher learning, including the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, Antioch University, and the Brooks Institute of Photography. In agriculture, wines produced in Santa Barbara County have attained national and international acclaim, and the vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley are popular visitor destinations.
Santa Barbara is served by air through the regional Santa Barbara Airport and by train through Amtrak. U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angeles to the south and San Francisco to the north.
Santa Barbara is rich in cultural institutions. Other museums in Santa Barbara include: