Cristal's Blog


October 14, 2022

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Beautiful sunset with dark clouds over the ocean looking toward the Santa Barbara harbor and its boats
Photo by DanMcLean, Creative Commons

The quote "The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams," from Montecito resident Oprah Winfrey really sums up the rewards of checking things off your Santa Barbara bucket list. And when you live here, it can be difficult to decide which of our many not-to-miss experiences should be added to your list. So, here are some that come highly recommended by locals like Oprah . . . and me.

  • Sunset and Wine on the Wharf
    Besides great food and drink, the Deep Sea Tasting Room offers 360° views of the Pacific Ocean, the Channel Islands, and the American Riviera. Plus, your dog can join the fun on the outside patio.

  • Picnic at Dusk at the Old Mission Rose Garden
    The beautiful Old Mission Rose Garden is the perfect setting to watch tourists and locals mingle as the sun sets. Breathtaking!
  • East Beach Volleyball
    There’s no place like our East Beach to watch pro, semi-pro and novice volleyball players spike, bump and pass in the sand. Be sure to wear your sunscreen!

    Rock formation atop Inspiration Point at sunrise
    Photo by bdearth, Creative Commons
  • Sunrise at Inspiration Point
    I've taken the trek up to Inspiration Point many times, and suggest everyone catch the sun rising over the coast at least once in their life. Located in the Santa Ynez Mountains, this moderate 3.5 mile trek, with an elevation gain of about 800 feet, is the most popular hike in all of Santa Barbara. 

  • Bike Through Elings Park
    Enjoy breathtaking views of both the ocean and the mountains while riding your bike on any of the park’s trails. At 230 acres, this is the largest community-supported non-profit public park in America, and provides year-round outdoor recreation.
  • Kayak with Marine Wildlife
    Paddle the calm waters that surround Stearns Wharf and extend along Santa Barbara’s local beaches where you might just find yourself passing some of the local wildlife. Seals or dolphins anyone?

  • Sea Kayaking Adventure
    Some of the best coastal kayaking in the world can be found at Channel Islands National Park; encompassing five remarkable islands and their ocean environment. With its unique animals, plants, and archeological resources, this place is all about preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources.

  • Sunset at Franceschi Park
    If you've never seen Santa Barbara from this 15-acre urban park on Santa Barbara’s Riviera, I would highly recommend it. The spectacular, panoramic views of the City are a sight to behold.
Kayaker passing a group of seals sitting on a buoy in Santa Barbara Harbor

Photo Credit: Santa Barbara Adventure Company,

  • Visit the Funk Zone
    Over the past few decades, this district, which spans the area between the ocean and Highway 101 has enjoyed an upswell of boutique wine and craft beer tasting rooms, cafes, galleries, and shops that cater to Santa Barbara’s contemporary side.

  • Read a Good Book at Orpet Park
    Bring a good book to tuck into and read at this four-acre oasis until it gets dark. 

  • Experience the 1st Thursday Art Walk Downtown
    Experience the art and culture of downtown Santa Barbara on the 1st Thursday of each month. Participating galleries and venues offer free access to visual and performing arts in a fun and social environment. 

  • Bocce Ball at Arnoldi's
    I love the aesthetic of Arnoldi's, Santa Barbara's oldest Italian restaurant. The old brick-red door, and the classic 7-Up signs bordering the doorways, and two Bocce Ball courts make it a secret gem.

  • Attend a Sunken Garden Movie at the Courthouse
    This wildly popular tradition could be checked off your bucket list on Friday evenings during July and August. Enjoy some old classic films outside under the stars.
Back of an Australian shepherd dog standing at a bluff looking out at the Pacific Ocean

Photo Credit: Susan Hartzler

  • A Dog Walk Through the Douglas Family Preserve
    Take your dog to this 70-acre oasis for an easy, off-leash walk. I call it heaven on earth.

  • Hendry's Beach Day
    Another good day for you and your dog begins and ends at Hendry's Beach. The off-leash portion of this beach is located west of the staircase at Shoreline Park and is secluded by towering cliffs and a curving coastline.

  • Sunday Art Walk on Cabrillo
    A quick stroll seaside from Stearns Wharf to Calle Cesar Chavez makes the perfect morning, especially since there’s art involved.

  • Stroll through One of Our Lovely Gardens (Or All of Them!) 
    Flora and fauna have a long beautiful history in Santa Barbara. Scattered throughout our communities, parks and gardens such as Lotusland and the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden offer a slice of paradise in which to spend an afternoon.
Evening concert at the outdoor Santa Barbara Bowl showing a lighted stage, with the audience in the foreground

Photo: Mark Krynsky, Creative Commons

  • Attend a Concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl
    Built in 1936 and recently updated and upgraded, this amphitheater is one of the best outdoor venues in the entire county. (Some say in all of California!)

  • Visit a Santa Barbara Farmer's Market
    Visit one of our amazing Farmer’s Markets and buy the ingredients to create a delicious, fresh dinner at home.
  • Buy Your Dream Home
    Who wouldn’t find the image above of my listing A Masterpiece of 21st Century Modern Architecture their dream home? Situated on 42 acres and designed by renowned architect Andy Neumann, this property has sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Extraordinary doesn’t begin to describe the majesty of this ultra luxury property.

If my Santa Barbara bucket list has inspired you to move to your dream home here, please consider any of my current listings in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara's upscale communities. Just check my comprehensive website then give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch