Cristal's Blog


July 22, 2022

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Breathtaking Views and Perfect Weather Set the Stage for Social, Cultural, and Recreational Activities in Paradise

A beautiful Santa Barbara beach

Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Described as the American Riviera and known as a playground for the rich and famous, Santa Barbara is considered one of the best places to live in the United States. To understand why, all you need to do is take a look at our gorgeous city. With the ocean at our doorstep, residents enjoy miles of breathtaking shoreline, amazing views of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and perfect Mediterranean weather. There are plenty of outdoor activities year-round, and abundant social and cultural activities.

Man paddleboarding in the Santa Barbara channel in front of boats

Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash

Outdoor Fun all Year Long

If you're an outdoor enthusiast, then Santa Barbara living will offer you plenty to do. And you can do them all year long within walking distance or a short drive away from your location. The Channel Islands National Park is only a boat ride away, and over 300 wineries in the nearby Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys are waiting to be explored.

The Santa Barbara Sailing Center is the place to charter a boat that suits your fancy. You can rent a yacht, a kayak for two, or try the popular sport of paddleboarding. Don't want to go out on the water? Feel free to hang out on land at the Santa Barbara Harbor. This is the perfect place to stroll, dine, do some shopping and take in all the sights. Hikers should not miss the scenic Inspiration Point. Bring your four-legged friend with you because this hike is dog-friendly.

Along the beachfront, residents can bike, run, kayak, surf, play beach volleyball or stroll out onto Stearns Wharf, a historic wooden pier dotted with shops, restaurants and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, an interactive marine education facility. In addition, the area’s 57 parks, totaling nearly 1800 acres, enhance the quality of life here, along with the beautiful public gardens and nature preserves.

The Santa Barbara Mission tower with mountains behind

Photo by Earl Wilcox on Unsplash

Culture Abounds

Cultural amenities here can easily rival those found in larger metro areas. Besides the 18th-century Franciscan Mission Santa Barbara, where you can still attend services, the city’s own rich cultural history seems endless. The Mediterranean-style stucco buildings found downtown with their red tile roofs reflect the city's Spanish colonial heritage. Take, for example, the Presidio, the Spanish-Moorish style County Courthouse, Casa de la Guerra, and Burton Mound.

Art, historical, and other world-class museums and galleries take center stage here. Entertainment options range from outdoor concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl, to lectures, music, films, and theater performances at smaller venues. In addition, residents enjoy a treasure trove of cultural festivals, including the well-known Old Spanish Days Fiesta; Earth Day, which was born here; the Summer Solstice Festival; the French Festival for Bastille Day; the critically acclaimed Santa Barbara International Film Festival; and the weekly Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show which takes place every Sunday. And that’s just the beginning!

Civic Pride is Contagious

Civic participation is another marker when considering the best places to live, and Santa Barbara has it in spades. The City of Santa Barbara has more than 30 advisory boards, commissions, and committees to that report to the City Council.

Since 1928, the Santa Barbara Foundation has played the role of a community foundation championing local philanthropic efforts. It does this by identifying the areas of greatest need and bringing together generous donors with those who do standout work in the nonprofit community. The Turner Foundation has been lifting residents since 1958 through Community Learning Centers, where a multitude of high-quality programs and services are offered. Girls Inc. inspires local girls to be strong, smart, and bold, teaching them the importance of being active and informed citizens. There are also environmental, conservation, ecological, veterans’ and military, neighborhood and homeowner’s, and active youth organizations.

If Santa Barbara living is your idea of one of the best places to live, sounds like it might be, or if you’re already here and ready to buy or sell a home, call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I’ll happily share more of my favorite reasons why living in Santa Barbara has been the fulfillment of my personal dream for many years.

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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