Nestled between the Santa Ynez mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, Santa Barbara is a coastal city in California. Rightly popularized as the ‘American Riviera,’ the climate here is mediterranean, which makes it a popular tourist destination. So if you’re looking for cheap rooms for rent in Santa Barbara, or wondering about the average rent in Santa Barbara, dive into this article to know all you should know!

Getting to know Santa Barbara

With a colorful past, as vibrant as its geographical climate, Santa Barbara has been inhabited for over 13000 years. First colonized by native Americans, and then taken over by Spanish explorers (who gave the land its current name of the Mission of Saint Barbara,) it was destroyed by a tsunami and earthquake in the 1800s.

Rebuilt in the late 1800s, the Presidio of Santa Barbara survives to this day. After the Spanish reign ended, and a brief Mexican occupancy, the land was won over by the Americans.

During the Gold rush years of California, the town became a haven for bandits, gamblers, turning it into a dangerous and lawless area.

After the war though, the town had the world’s largest movie studio during the era of silent film – Flying A Studios, a division of the American Film Manufacturing Company.

Read this if you’re interested in the detailed history of the area before you commence looking for rooms for rent in Santa Barbara.

Finding rooms for rent in Santa Barbara

Although professionals from different fields (such as real estate brokers, architects, etc.) may refer to neighborhoods in varying terms, Santa Barbara has a range of neighborhoods with distinctive histories, architecture, and culture.

Let’s look at some of them to make looking for cheap rooms for rent in Santa Barbara easier for you.

Top Neighborhoods in Santa Barbara


Carpinteria, a.k.a, Carp, home to the Rincon beach has cheap rooms for rent in Santa Barbara, with a sweet beach-y laid back life to offer its residents. You’ll find surfers in plenty owing to it being one of the best surf spots in all of California.

Mission Canyon

Located in the valley near Mission Saint Barbara, this neighborhood is surrounded by trees and offers residents a shaded, beautiful place to call home. And the view of the highest peak in the Santa Ynez Mountains, La Cumbre Peak will be a big bonus when looking for rooms for rent in Santa Barbara, here.

The Mesa

‘Mesa’ the Spanish word for flat-topped table rightly describes the flat land neighborhood that sits above the city. Covered in parks, playgrounds and the beach close to home, the neighborhood sees more families. But some college students too, owing to its proximity to Santa Barbara city college.

Average rent in Santa Barbara

Okay, so living in paradise isn’t cheap. But you already knew that before trying to find cheap rooms for rent in Santa Barbara, right? Let’s take a look at the average rent in Santa Barbara.

Rooms for Rent in Santa Barbara Average Rent
1 Bedroom Apartment for Rent in Santa Barbara $1,612
2 Bedroom Apartment for Rent in Santa Barbara $2,736

University life in Santa Barbara

There are some great universities in and around the Santa Barbara area. But first, if you’re a student looking for cheap rooms for rent in Santa Barbara, let’s see how much money you really need.

Top universities in Santa Barbara

Average cost of living

Student essentialsCosts
In state tuition$11,442
Out of state tuition$41,196
Room and boarding$15,520
Books and supplies$1,184

How transit-friendly is Santa Barbara?

To find cheap rooms for rent in Santa Barbara, the one thing you need to know well is how to get around, right? So here’s the info on how to get around the city!

1. Walkability in Santa Barbara

The communities in Santa Barbara have been improving their pedestrain routes, and continue doing so. In 2011, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) designated Santa Barbara a Gold Level Walk Friendly Community for its walkability initiatives and programs.

2. Cycling in Santa Barbara

A silver level city in bicycling as per the League of American bicyclists, Santa Barbare has a well planned network of bike trails and other resources for enthusiasts.

If you’re looking for good climbs on your two wheeler, there are many famous climbs to cover such as the Gibraltar road, painted cave, etc.

If you’re a tourist in the city when looking for rooms for rent in Santa Barbara, opt for bike rentals to get around the city. You’ll love the pace, take in the vibe, and save on money too!

3. Airports in Santa Barbara

You’ll find all kinds of commercial flights at the Santa Barbara Municipal airport. And if you’re one of the rich ones (we envy you,) you can find private jets and charters at the Santa Barbara Aviation.

4. Public transport in Santa Barbara

Amtrak’s rail service offers trains at the Santa Barbara and Goleta train stations to get around the city.

And if you prefer buses to get around , the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District offers local bus services all around the city. There’s also Clean air express buses, VISTA buses, and Santa Barbara Air buses to get around when finding rooms for rent in Santa Barbara.

Cultural activities in Santa Barbara

Whale watching

So what if you’re looking for rooms for rent in Santa Barbara and want to start living here ASAP! Do the touristy things first, before you try and fit into the local lifestyle.

Take a break and cruise along the Santa Barbara channel to spot beautiful sea life such as dolphins, and yes, migrating whales!

Ganna Walska Lotusland

Hanna Puazk, a.k.a, Ganna Walska, a famous opera singer, bought this land and renamed it Lotusland (after naming it Tibetland in hopes of turning it into a retreat,) in honor of the sacred Indian lotus growing in one of the ponds on the property.

And then, she fell in love with gardening. She created a beautiful botanical garden of rare plants which is now on display for everyone. If you’re a plant lover, this is something you shouldn’t miss out on, while you’re here.

Madonnari Italian street painting festival

In the mood for art? Head to the Madonnari Italian street painting festival held every year on the memorial day weekend in May, at the old mission.

We’ve got your back!

D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers find cheap rooms for rent in Santa Barbara? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match!