Bridging the two mile span that separates Mission and Sycamore Canyons, the sylvan uplift which Padres knew as the “mission ridge” has for the past 70 years been known as the  “Riviera” due to its resemblance to the slopes along the Mediterranean coast of France and Italy.  Santa Barbarans lucky enough to live on this ridge atttach premium value to their homes because of their unsurpassed views of the city, mountains, sea and isalnds.


The Riviera is famous for its semitropical appearance.  The flowing curves at the west end of Alameda Padre Serra (APS) today mark the old streetcar right of way, the curves being essential to provide a gradient which elecgtric cars could negotiate.

Riviera Research Park

One of the older and more stabilized neighborhoods in the city, the Riviera also ranks as one of the wealthiest and best-educated.  “We know how lucky we are not to have to go to Europe to enjoy the Rivera lifestyle”…we’ve got a better Riviera right here in Santa Barbara.”

View from 10 Rincon Vista - my sale in 2005 for $2MM

The following information was derived from the original General Plan for the City of Santa Barbara. 

Neighborhood Boundary – Upper Riviera

Area: approx. 634 acres
North: the top of Mission Ridge
South: Alameda Padre Serra
East: Sycamore Canyon Road
West: Mountain Drive

Schools, Parks and Places of Interest

The Riviera is served by Franceschi Park and a portion of Hillside (Orpet) Park. Marymount School (Private) is located in this neighborhood, as is the Riviera Research and Development Park, the Riviera Theater, and the soon to be rebuilt El Encanto Hotel Facility.

Neighborhood Profile

This is one of the most popular residential sections as it affords sweeping views of the City, harbor, ocean, Channel Islands, and the Mesa Hills. The General Plan protects this single-family neighborhood with densities of one and three dwelling units to the acre, and current zoning conforms with these designations. Approximately 25 percent of the land in the Riviera is undeveloped, and although it is often steep, there is potential growth, especially in the eastern portions.

Most of the Riviera is primarily in single-family use. Notable exceptions to this are the remaining portion of the old college campus on Alameda Padre Serra, now in instructional and office uses, and the adjacent garden apartments

Neighborhood Boundary

Area: approx. 309 acres
North: the bottom of the Riviera and Alameda Padre Serra
South: Laguna Street and Milpas Street
West: the Old Mission
East: Canon Perdido Street

Schools, Parks and Places of Interest

The Lower Riviera contains the Roosevelt Elementary School, Mission Park and Hillside (Orpet) Park serve the district. The County Bowl is also located in this area. It is an approximately 3500 seat outdoor amphitheater (and one of Kathleen’s favorite venues!)

Santa Barbara Bowl

Neighborhood Profile – Lower Riviera

The Lower Riviera is primarily given over to residential uses, with single-family home development predominating, but with significant pockets of more intensive duplex and multiple-unit development. Generally, the area contains many attractive homes with views overlooking the City. The General Plan designates this neighborhood primarily for a density of three dwelling units to the acre with small portions to the west and south at higher densities of twelve dwelling units to the acre. Any growth that may occur will take place in the areas now designated for higher-density development. Lot sizes, in general are rather small, considering the steep topography of the Lower Riviera neighborhood.


Comments are closed.