Course Neighborhoods

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Santa Barbara is so much more than just a bunch of beautiful beaches and when you’re running or walking through the downtown neighborhoods the course will take you through, we want you to have a deeper knowledge of the community.
On the map below, click on a region that the course touches to learn a bit about them.
You can also visit the following local organizations to get up-to-date info on events and local businesses.

Local’s Tip: Pick-up the Santa Barbara Independent’s “Best of” issue on newstands beginning Thursday, October 21 or check it out all online at independent.com.

WEST BEACH

Encompassing both the West Beach and Lower State neighborhoods, this is your start for the Half Marathon and the SB Independent 5K events! You’ll begin your journey near Pershing Park on Cabrillo Blvd and across from the Santa Barbara Harbor where you can enjoy some of the country’s best seafood, including the world-famous Santa Barbara Sea Urchin. The Harbor is also your launch pad to ocean adventures from kayaking to whale watching and much more! 

Also in the neighborhood, is Santa Barbara City College, one of the top-ranked community colleges in the country, as well as a variety of waterfront hotels and restaurants.

LOCAL’S TIP: Talk to fisherman and purchase the freshest seafood you can get at the Saturday Fisherman’s Market on the City Pier (within the Harbor) from 6am – 11am. Learn more on the Commercial Fisherman of Santa Barbara’s website.

EAST BEACH

Miles 2-4 of the Half Marathon will take you through the scenic waterfront region of East Beach. It is home to the recently renovated Cabrillo Bath House and the famed East Beach volleyball courts along the waterfront. While across the street from the Pacific Ocean you’ll find the Santa Barbara Zoo, which is on the cusp of opening its new Australian Walkabout exhibit, and the neighboring Andrée Clark Bird Refuge. 

On Milpas St. prior to traveling under the 101 underpass, you can also enjoy a variety of restaurants, pop into Tri-Valley Produce and organize a fresh beach picnic or hit some balls at the East Beach Batting Cages. 

LOCAL’S TIP: Adjacent to the East Beach Batting Cages devour the Triple Play at East Beach Tacos – your choice of 3 tacos for under $10, including their Ahi Poke or Korean Beef tacos.

MESA

Half Marathoners are now heading back past the starting line, past Leadbetter Beach, and up Cliff Drive for miles 6 to 9. While the course itself runs adjacent to the beautiful Shoreline Park and turns around just past La Mesa Park overlooking the ocean, keep traveling past the course itself during race weekend to unlock great restaurants on Cliff Drive.

LOCAL’S TIP: Grab a burger at Iron Chef Cat Cora’s joint, Mesa Burger, or enjoy the mouth-watering vegan-friendly dishes at Mesa Verde.

WESTSIDE

You’ve conquered Clif Drive and the energy is building toward the downtown finish. Half Marathoners and 5K runners alike will run up Castillo St. and turn onto Haley St. where they’ll be hitting mile 10 and mile 1 respectively. While the course itself touches just a sliver of the Westside region, this is an often overlooked neighborhood offering more great food (do you sense a trend here).

LOCAL’S TIP: Drive up to San Andres St. and visit one of Super Cucas three locations off of Micheltorena St. Santa Barbara’s first taqueria, Super Cucas has been making award-winning burritos and more since 1991. Bonus tip. If you’re in the mood for New York style pizza, Revolver also has you covered in the neighborhood. 

EASTSIDE

You’re now cresting the gentle incline of Chapala & State Street and will turn into a portion of the Eastside neighborhood as Half Marathoners pass mile 12 and 5K participants mile 2. You’ll make your way around three iconic downtown parks, including Alameda Park which makes up two of them. Aside from hosting the annual Earth Day and Summer Solstice festivals, Alameda Park is also home to Kids World, an old-school wooden fort that will also have adults finding their inner child.  Across the street you’ll find Alick Keck Park Memorial Gardens, which is home to 75 different tree and plant species a koi pond; sensory garden with audio posts and interpretive Braille signs among a few items. 

But, this is just one aspect of the Eastside. Travel down from the parks and onto Milpas St. and enjoy some of the best Mexican food you’ll find anywhere. While Julia Childs made La Super-Rica Taqueria, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

LOCAL’S TIP: On most Wednesday’s beginning around 5:30pm enjoy “Santa Barbara Old-Time Music” by the Glendessary Jam group at Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden’s sundial. While on Sunday’s you might find an Irish music session beginning at 3:30. 

DOWNTOWN

It’s all downhill from here! You’re back on State Street for the final mile of your race where you’ll enter the HOKA ONE ONE Time to Fly Zone at the beginning of the State Street Promenade. Museums, restaurants, bars, and more. You’ll find it all. We’re not going to pretend that we can out info all the other travel websites, so we encourage you to check out what’s hot from one of the local organizations listed above, especially the Downtown Organization.

LOCAL’S TIP: Take the Red Tile Walking Tour established by Santa Barbara Car Free, a project of the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. 

FUNK ZONE

You’ve done it! You’ve crossed the finish line and now it’s time to relish your accomplishment. Just a short walk from your finish you’ll turn left on Yanonali and enjoy the Finish Line Festival as well as the numerous establishments in the Funk Zone. But Santa Barbara’s hottest neighborhood isn’t all food, beer and wine. Also enjoy shopping, artists galleries, installations and more. 

After your race you can also head down to the waterfront and enjoy the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show along Cabrillo Boulevard which is open on Sunday’s from 10:00am until dusk.

From the Parks and Rec Department…The Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show was established in 1965 by local artists, inspired by the sidewalk art shows of Europe and the prestigious “Jardín del Arte” in Mexico City. Sponsored by the City Parks and Recreation Department since 1966, the show is now the only continuous, non-juried arts festival of original drawings, paintings, graphics, sculpture, crafts and photography in the world. Whatever the size, subject, media and price, all are original art, done by the artists you meet.

LOCAL’S TIP: Right next to Biergarten where you’ll pick-up your race packet on Friday & Saturday, stop into Loveworn, a locally-owned clothing retailer as well as Wallace Piatt’s Rodeo Gallery.