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Moving to & Living in Santa Maria, CA

Thinking of Moving to Santa Maria, CA? 🤷‍♀️ | [2024] Top Living in Santa Maria Tips

Last Updated on: 1st August 2023, 12:21 pm

The beautiful, historic city of Santa Maria, CA is located about 65 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, 121 miles west of Bakersfield, and 159 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. It is bordered by Guadalupe, Orcutt, Blacklake, Callender, Casmalia, Garey, Los Berros, Nipomo, Oceano, Sisquoc, and Woodlands.

Founded in 1874, Santa Maria was settled by Rudolph Cook, John Thornburg, Isaac Fesler, and Isaac Miller, whose names you’ll see on local streets and school buildings. Santa Maria was officially incorporated as a city in September 1905 and was a major contributor to the oil industry during the 20th century. During the 1950s, more than 1,775 oil wells were operating in the area, though that number has significantly dropped since then.

The naming of Santa Maria is Spanish for “St. Mary” and was attributed to the Californio ranchero Juan Pacífico Ontiveros who owned land in the area.

Santa Maria is a good place to live and is known for its amazing wine industry and its distinct barbecue, which is cooked in a unique way.

Notable people who have lived in Santa Maria over the years include actress Kathy Bates, NFL football player Mark Brunell, musician Chris Lambert, and Olympic swimmer Josh Prenot.

You can determine the benefits of moving to Santa Maria as you learn interesting facts about what it’s like to live there and whether it’s the right place for you.

1. People Living in Santa Maria, CA – Population & Demographics

How many people live in Santa Maria? There has been massive growth since the 1950s with over 100,000 people relocating to Santa Maria between then and now. The Santa Maria population is currently 107,273 residents with a median age of 29 years old.

Santa Maria demographics show the area’s vast Hispanic heritage as the population consists of 77.4% Hispanic, 59.4% White (15.1% non-Hispanic), 3% Asian, and 2% Black or African American. There are a bit more women than men living in Santa Maria with a sex ratio of 51% female and 49% male.

The median household income in Santa Maria is $69,393 per year, right around the US average.

City Hall in Santa Maria, CA
Santa Maria City Hall

Is Santa Maria a safe place to live? While the crime rate in Santa Maria is about 18% higher than the California state average, it is also 10% lower than the national average. Overall, residents feel that Santa Maria is a safe place to live with plenty of secure communities to choose from.

Locals are served and protected by the brave men and women of the Santa Maria Police Department, which has about 135 active duty police officers.

2. Cost of Living in Santa Maria, CA

The average cost of living in Santa Maria is about 19% higher than the national average but is also about 31% lower than the California state average, making it a more affordable option for the State. Compared to the state, local residents tend to pay less for groceries, utilities, transportation, and the Santa Maria real estate market.

How much does it cost to live in Santa Maria, CA and is it affordable for you? Statistics on Numbeo will give you a better idea of some standard prices you’ll find after moving to Santa Maria.

Typical Santa Maria Cost of Living Expenses

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant $13.00
  • McDonald’s Burger Meal $8.00
  • Milk (regular 1 gallon) $3.00
  • Eggs (1 Dozen) $1.50
  • Bread (1 loaf) $3.50
  • Chicken Fillets (1 lb) $4.00
  • Domestic Beer (1 pint) $6.50
  • Average Cost of Gasoline (per gallon) $3.72
  • Movie Ticket (1st run) $10.50
  • Average Cost of Utilities (per month) $278.71

The homeownership rate in Santa Maria is 49.7% with just under half of its residents buying their houses. As you look through Santa Maria, CA homes for sale, you’ll find that there is a great variety of locations to pick between. The average price of a home in Santa Maria is $560,000, which is a median sale price of $323 per square foot.

The Santa Maria property tax rate is 0.660%, a percentage that equals $3,696 per year for a $560,000 home.

Slightly more than half of the people living in Santa Maria rent. The average price of rent in Santa Maria is $2,009 per month, which could be higher or lower depending on where you live, the size of your location, and other factors.

3. Santa Maria Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Santa Maria

Where should you live in Santa Maria? Check out these top-rated Santa Maria neighborhoods to see which one will be the right fit for your lifestyle:

The Santa Maria Department of Recreation and Parks operates 28 local city parks, which cover over 234 acres across various parts of the city. There are public pools, sports facilities, a lake, and many other outdoor activities.

Find a good spread of convenient shopping in Santa Maria at businesses like Target, CVS, Ross, Santa Maria Town Center, The Home Depot, Walmart, and the North Broadway Plaza Shopping Center.

If you’re looking to travel from Santa Maria to Los Angeles, the drive is about 159 miles away and takes about 3 hours.

4. Santa Maria, CA Weather & Climate

The Mediterranean climate in Santa Maria offers some of the best weather in the country, making it a highly desirable place to live. The weather in Santa Maria only gets about 16.5 inches of rain a year, leaving plenty of sunny days to enjoy. Bring your sunglasses!

The average temperature in Santa Maria during the hottest summer months is between the mid-50s at night and the upper 70s during the day. As winter approaches, the temp occasionally dips into the upper 30s in the evening, followed by highs in the upper 60 in the afternoon, so you may need a sweater or light coat.

5. Things to Do in Santa Maria

There are lots of can’t miss things to do in Santa Maria including local parks and landmarks, points of interest, and popular attractions.

Preisker Park


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Among the top outdoor activities in Santa Maria, the local Preisker Park has a bunch of enjoyable things for visitors to see and do. As the largest park in the city, it features two children’s playgrounds, plenty of open green space, a disc golf course, and horseshoe pits.

Preisker Park, 330 Hidden Pines Way, Santa Maria, CA 93458  (805) 925-0951

Rancho Bowl

One of the best places to visit in Santa Maria is the local Rancho Bowl, which offers fun for all ages. This top-rated bowling alley offers numerous lanes along with arcade games and billiard tables.

Rancho Bowl, 128 E Donovan Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93454  (805) 925-2405

Santa Maria Wineries

The city of Santa Maria is known for being home to a large number of beautiful and extravagant wineries. Many of these destinations offer on-site tours, wine tastings, and other local events throughout the year. Some of the best wineries in Santa Maria include:

Additional Santa Maria Attractions

6. Santa Maria Restaurants

If you’re relocating to Santa Maria, it is essential that you know where to find the top places to eat whenever you need a night out of the kitchen.

Cool Hand Luke’s – Santa Maria


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Considered by many to top the list of tasty restaurants in Santa Maria, Cool Hand Luke’s is a local chophouse with a savory menu you’re sure to love. The Old West-style saloon features mouthwatering steaks, ribs, barbecue, seafood, and many other options.

Cool Hand Luke’s – Santa Maria, 1321 s, Nicholson Ave, Santa Maria, CA 93454  (805) 928-6196

La Picosita Restaurant

One of Santa Maria’s top places to eat is La Picosita Restaurant, a highly-rated spot for delicious Mexican food. Take a look at their menu and make your choice between burritos, tacos, salads, soups, huaraches, and much more.

La Picosita Restaurant, 923 N Broadway, Santa Maria, CA 93454  (805) 347-3333

7. Jobs in Santa Maria

If you’re considering moving to the area, you may also be considering local Santa Maria jobs that fit your skillset. A few of the best places to work in Santa Maria are:

The average salary in Santa Maria is $65,000 per year with a state income tax rate of 9.3%. The current Santa Maria unemployment rate is about 5.4%.

8. Santa Maria Schools

Adding up to over 35% of the population, there are more than 37,545 kids between the ages of 0 and 18 years old residing in Santa Maria. Parents who have children in the area feel that Santa Maria is an excellent place for families to live.

Mountains and vineyards in Santa Maria, CA

Young students living in the area attend campuses within either the Santa Maria-Bonita School District or the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District. The top schools in Santa Maria include:

  • Patterson Road Elementary School
  • Pine Grove Elementary School
  • Kunst (Tommie) Junior High School
  • Family Partnership Home Study Charter School
  • Pioneer Valley High School
  • Family Partnership Home Study Charter School

The colleges and universities that are near Santa Maria are California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo and the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Everyone living in the area has access to the free Santa Maria Public Library, which offers occasional events as well as book and movie rentals.

9. Santa Maria Statistics & Information

Santa Maria county: Santa Barbara

City area: 22.8 square miles

City zip code(s): 93454, 93455, and 93458

City area code(s): 805 & 820

City elevation: 217 feet

City time zone: (PST), which shifts to Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) during daylight savings time

Closest airport to City: Santa Maria Public Airport (SMX), 4.9 Miles away

Map of Santa Maria, CA

Take a closer look at this Santa Maria map to learn more about the area, its local activities, great places to eat, and more.

Tips for Living in Santa Maria

  • The cost of living in Santa Maria is affordable based on California standards.
  • There is a great selection of Santa Maria attractions and restaurants for all residents to enjoy.
  • Make sure you take a look at the local job market and school system to make sure they fit your needs.

Moving to Santa Maria, CA

Do the details above give you enough reasons to move to Santa Maria? As soon as you’re ready to call this amazing community your new home, let the trusted Santa Maria, CA movers here at Martian Movers take on the relocation process. Get in touch with us today at (805) 000-0000 or fill out the Request a Quote form on this page for a free moving estimate!


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