A Stroll Through Santa Barbara: Paseos Set The City Apart


Santa Barbara paseo (pedestrian passage). Image courtesy of AM Weaver © WRCG

Santa Barbara paseo with shops and public art. Image courtesy of AM Weaver © WRCG

Paseo from State Street to Ortega Street parking structure. Image courtesy of AM Weaver © WRCG

Wide sidewalk on State Street, which comfortably accommodates cafe tables and chairs, pedestrians, landscaping, and bike racks. Image courtesy of AM Weaver © WRCG

Parking Map, Downtown Santa Barbara. Image courtesy of City of Santa Barbara

Waterfront and Downtown Shuttle. Image courtesy of Kate Schwab, Santa Barbara MTD

With the exception of the Downtown and Waterfront Shuttles, which run in a relatively compact and highly bikeable area, all MTD buses are equipped to carry bicycles. Image courtesy of Kate Schwab, Santa Barbara MTD

Santa Barbara’s architectural guidelines ensure that, regardless of ownership, parking facilities are unobtrusive. Image courtesy of City of Santa Barbara


The core of Santa Barbara is built on a fine grid of streets and paseos (pedestrian passages) that make the city a highly walkable place.

In the downtown core of Santa Barbara, drivers are directed to strategically located municipal parking structures with vehicle entrances on side streets. Most of these facilities are accessed one block off State Street, the city’s main shopping street, via Anacapa and Chapala Streets or their cross streets. Centralized parking encourages people to park once and walk in the downtown district.

With broad sidewalks and a network of paseos in the historic downtown, Santa Barbara provides a highly attractive pedestrian environment and convenient access for walkers. Paseos provide pedestrian pathways from parking structures to the main thoroughfares and to courtyard shops.

Santa Barbara’s streets accommodate not only automobiles and pedestrians, but also bicyclists and transit vehicles. The city’s major downtown thoroughfares have bicycle lanes and transit pullouts along both sides. The Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) operates 30 regular bus routes in Santa Barbara County. Downtown and Waterfront transit trolleys shuttle visitors and locals up and down State Street, out to the pier, the beach and the zoo. The shuttles are popular with tourists and locals alike. They are critical to reducing traffic in Santa Barbara’s busiest areas, as they allow people to park just once to visit several destinations.

Read more about transit and parking in the walkable city of Santa Barbara: PDF