Course Neighborhoods

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.
We’ve also launched a new podcast mini-season on Santa Barbara! Check it out below 👇

Presented by
Official Real Estate Partner

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 in October or check it out all online at

Run Local Podcast: Santa Barbara

In 2020 we launched a podcast just like everyone else during the COVID lockdown. As live events returned we took a break from podcasting, but we have decided to resurrect it as mini seasons focused on local communities. 

Our first Run Local mini-season starts with none other than Santa Barbara. Get ready for race weekend by hearing directly from local on where to go, what to do and just what makes our community so amazing! 


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.

Locals Tip: West beach is a hidden treasure on Santa Barbara’s oceanfront. On the weekends you will find outrigger canoe paddlers heading out to practice. Young skippers learning to handle their sailboats in the shallow bay of the harbor, sand sculptures that invite you to stop and enjoy. Breakfast at Chad's has become a tourist delight reminiscent of European sidewalk cafes sitting along Cabrillo boulevard watching the crowds walk by. The historic Stearns Wharf is a world-renowned point of interest for anyone visiting Santa Barbara, full of maritime history, numerous restaurants, wine tasting, souvenir shops, and the never to be missed Sea Center are just a few reasons to take the stroll to the end of the Pier.


The Half Marathon will take you through the scenic waterfront region of East Beach and home to the “hard bodies” honed by beach volleyball courts, triathlons, and Reef to Run events to name a few. The recently renovated Cabrillo Bath House and Reunion Kitchen and Bar (a Bloody Mary is a must) invite locals and visitors alike to sit back and enjoy a day at the beach. Just a quick jog across the street you’ll find our beautiful Santa Barbara Zoo, perfect for gazing at exotic animals as well as picnicking on the green spaces with ocean views.
On Milpas St. prior to traveling under the 101 underpass, you can also enjoy a variety of restaurants. Pop into Tri-County Produce and organize a fresh beach picnic or hit some balls at the East Beach Batting Cages. 
Locals Tip: Enjoy an artisan pizza or other Italian fare while enjoying ocean breezes at Convivo Restaurant and Bar at the intersection of Cabrillo Boulevard and Milpas streets. 


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.

Locals Tip: Life on the Mesa is great because we have our own little village, full of great restaurants & shops like CornerTap, Mesa Burger, Alcazar, Lazy Acres & Mesa Cafe, to name a few. Our neighborhood is super kid & pet friendly; you can't go a few minutes without seeing kids cruising on their bikes or skateboards or dogs playing at the parks. We all love frequenting Lovin Spoonful, Blenders & Sweeties for a treat! Oh and the beaches are so close; the Mesa has it all!


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).

Locals Tip: This neighborhood has been a hidden gem for many years but has started to become more discovered and a highly desirable place to live, tucked right between The Mesa and Downtown SB. It feels like a small 2-light town with the ability to walk to breakfast and shopping, but it's central to everything SB has to offer. The Westside has the BEST Pizza in town at Revolver. I recommend calling a couple hours ahead of when you want your pie though, as they are always pretty busy. I also recommend Super Cucas to anyone wanting a great breakfast burrito.


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.

Locals Tip: I love having drinks on the patio at the El Encanto, finding the hidden trails through the lower Riviera + Upper East, roaming the rose garden at The Mission, and admiring the beautiful homes from the 1920's and 1930's that are quintessential Santa Barbara.


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. 

Locals Tip: Downtown is awesome because you can walk to everything - restaurants, coffee, shopping, beach, harbor. Some of my favorite breakfast spots are D'Angelos (gotta get the Eggs Rose), Alessia Patisserie, and Jeanine's on the Beach. I love the Theatre District because it has some of my favorite restaurants (Arigato or Teru for sushi, Corazon Cocina for Mexican food, Ca Dario for Italian food) and you can catch some excellent shows at the Granada and Arlington Theatres.


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.

Locals Tip: The popular and vibrant Funk Zone not only caters to visitors but to locals as well. Just a couple blocks from the beach, one can find many favorite restaurants, wine and beer tasting rooms, shopping and art galleries. My favorite things to do are have brunch at The Lark, wine tasting at Margerum, explore the MOXI museum, and do some shopping at Loveworn for some unique clothing and local art.