Santa Barbara is a coastal city in, and the county seat of, Santa Barbara County in the U.S. state of California. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara’s climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been promoted as the “American Riviera”. As of 2018, the city had an estimated population of 91,350, up from 88,410 in 2010, making it the second most populous city in the county after Santa Maria. The contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, has an approximate population of 220,000. The population of the entire county in 2010 was 423,895.
In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city economy includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for fully 35% of local employment. Education in particular is well-represented, with four institutions of higher learning on the south coast (the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, and Antioch University). The Santa Barbara Airport serves the city, Santa Barbara Aviation provides jet charter aircraft, and train service is provided by Amtrak, which operates the Pacific Surfliner (which runs from San Diego to San Luis Obispo). U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angeles roughly 100 miles (160 km) to the southeast and San Francisco around 325 miles (525 km) to the northwest. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forest, which contains several remote wilderness areas. Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are located approximately 20 miles (32 km) offshore.
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