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ventura vs santa barbara living

Ventura vs Santa Barbara – Which Is Better? 🤷 [Pros & Cons, Cost of Living + More]

Last Updated on: 2nd August 2023, 03:40 pm

Are you moving to California and trying to decide between living in Santa Barbara or Ventura? You can come to a conclusion more easily if you can start by observing Ventura vs. Santa Barbara’s advantages and disadvantages. This decision can be challenging given that both are remarkable cities with vibrant arts and culture scenes, outdoor adventures, tasty cuisines, beautiful mountains, and waterfronts. Nevertheless, both cities come with their own set of unique characteristics.

In order to figure out which city is the best fit for you, there are several benefits and drawbacks to consider. The climate, amenities, population, and cost of living are all important factors to learn about the city prior to relocating. Luckily for you, we’ve come up with this highly detailed Ventura and Santa Barbara pros and cons list In order to make things easier.

Living in Ventura Pros

Ventura has affordable homes compared to many other CA cities

It’s no secret that the overall home prices and real estate in California are alarming to many outlining states. The median home price in Ventura is $818,000, which is around the same as the state median. However, when you consider its excellent geographical location along the charming California coast, Ventura, or San Buenaventura, provides more affordable home prices as opposed to many other coastal cities in California, including Santa Barbara. In fact, homes in Ventura can be twice as cheap compared to other cities in the state.

Ventura boasts a quiet and laid-back ambiance

Unlike many other beach towns, the city of Ventura is home to friendly and relaxed residents. Ventura boasts a small-town feel and family-oriented activities like Marina Park and Golf N Stuff – the city’s top-rated amusement park. With a great sense of community, a laid-back atmosphere, and a booming economy Ventura CA is a peaceful and family-friendly city to live in.

There is an excellent public education system in Ventura

The beautiful city of Ventura is served by the Venture Unified School District with its highly-rated schools and a student-teacher ratio of 25:1. When it comes to public schools in Ventura, the city spends more money on each individual student than many other parts of the country. There are 18 elementary, five middle, and five high schools in the city. You can also access the district’s Schools of Choice program to help you choose which school is best for your child.

Living in Ventura Cons

The overall crime rate in Ventura isn’t the best

In Ventura, you have a 1 in 32 chance of being a victim of crime – the national average is 1 in 43. Likewise, Ventura has a total crime rate of 3,124 per 100,000 which is 21% higher than California and 33.2% higher than the country. However, violent crime in Ventura is 32.1% lower than in the state, which means most of the crime in Ventura is property crime which is 32% higher than in the state.

Ventura struggles with overcrowdedness

With a population of 110,763 and a land area of 21.89 square miles, the city of Ventura, CA has a population density of 5,061 persons per square mile, which is quite high compared to most cities. Due to the city’s growing economy and new housing developments, the city’s overpopulation has led to crowdedness, traffic, and fewer green spaces compared to ten years ago.

Ventura has limited public transportation

The location of Ventura can be a downside for many people who depend on public transportation and short commutes to get around. The city operates Gold Coast Transit, the VCTC intercity bus, and a free trolley downtown that goes a short distance. Other than that, you’ll have to leave the city and go somewhere like LA to find more public transportation options, such as Metrolink.

Living in Santa Barbara Pros

The beaches in Santa Barbara are top-notch

While Ventura’s pristine beaches are fantastic, they don’t get nearly as much praise as the beaches in Santa Barbara. In fact, the upscale city of Santa Barbara is known for its calm, sandy, and picturesque beaches. There are over four miles of sun-kissed beaches in Santa Barbara that provide serene views of the ocean. A few of the best beaches in Santa Barbara include Arroyo Burro Beach for gentle waves and dog access, Leadbetter Beach for surfing and sunbathing, and Shoreline Park Beach for lovely views and kids’ entertainment. While some are busier than others, most of the beaches here have plenty of parking spots along the waterfront.


If you’re a college student moving to the area, take note that there are over 10 private, public, and community colleges in and near Santa Barbara. One of which is the University of California, Santa Barbara, with over 23,000 students. From the various college options to the bustling nightlife scene, Santa Barbara is an excellent place to live for college students.

Santa Barbara has a lively arts, culture, & restaurant scene

If you love the excitement of an upbeat and vibrant culture, Santa Barbra does not disappoint. Unlike Ventura, Santa Barbara is more of a destination town which means there’s automatically an abundance of things to see and do. The city of Santa Barbara is home to world-class resorts, incredible dining, quaint coffee shops, upscale shopping like at the Paseo Nuevo, and an overall diverse economy. In addition to all the great restaurants, popular bars, and lively nightlife, Santa Barbara further boasts gorgeous architecture and rich history spread throughout the city.

Living in Santa Barbara Cons

Santa Barbara has high home prices

With a median home price in Santa Barbara at a staggering $2,255,000, which increased by 12.8% from 2022-2023, home prices aren’t affordable to many. Likewise, the average Santa Barbara apartment rent is $2,660, which exceeds the state average by nearly $1,000.

Santa Barbara is expensive

Living in Santa Barbara isn’t cheap. The cost of living in Santa Barbara is between 57% and 120% higher than the national average and has gone up 2.5% since last year.

Santa Barbara has a high chance of natural disaster

The natural disaster risk score in the area surrounding Santa Barbara is 65%. 37 disasters have occurred in Santa Barbara since 2000. Many of the past and potential disasters include wildfire hazards and earthquakes.

The Cost of Living in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara

Nearly all factors on Numbeo’s cost of living index indicate that Ventura is more affordable than Santa Barbara. Below is a list of typical living expenses that show how Ventura versus Santa Barbara varies in price.

  • The overall cost of living in Ventura is at least 9.5% lower than in Santa Barbara
  • Rent prices in Ventura are 30.5% lower than in Santa Barbara
  • Restaurant prices in Ventura are 57.9% lower than in Santa Barbara
  • Grocery prices in Ventura are 48.8% lower than in Santa Barbara
  • Basic utilities are 4.1% more in Ventura
  • Local transportation is 20% more in Ventura

Not only does Ventura have an overall lower cost of living, but the average monthly net salary in Ventura is slightly higher than in Santa Barbara. This means that Ventura residents make more and spend less.

Additional Things to Consider Between Ventura vs. Santa Barbara


There are over 22,000 more people living in Ventura than in Santa Barbara. The land area in Ventura is just over 2 square miles less than in Santa Barbara, which makes Ventura 10% more densely crowded than Santa Barbara.

Crime rate in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara

Curious about the differentiation between the crime rate in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara? The crime rate in Ventura is 21% higher than the state, as opposed to Santa Barbara, where the crime rate is just 8.9% higher than the state.

Ventura vs. Santa Barbara climate

The weather difference between Ventura vs. Santa Barbara’s climates is hardly noticeable. Both cities have summer highs in the low 70s and winter lows in the low 40s. The weather is comfortable in both Ventura and Santa Barbara – especially in July, August, and September. The two main differences in climate are that Santa Barbara is slightly warmer than Ventura, and Ventura has a few more more sunny days than Santa Barbara.

Ventura to Santa Barbara distance

If you’re wondering how far it is from Ventura to Santa Barbara, the distance from Ventura to Santa Barbara is 27 miles south along the coast. The best ways to get from city to city are by driving a car, taxi, or bus via Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) or Amtrak.

Culture and things to do in Ventura vs. Santa Barbara

While both cities have a small-town vibe, spectacular beaches, breathtaking sunsets, unique downtowns, and excellent food scenes, Ventura has a more laid-back, casual, and family-friendly culture, whereas Santa Barbara gives off an upbeat and touristy vibe.

Ventura vs. Santa Barbara: Where Are You Moving?

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the Ventura vs. Santa Barbara pros & cons, ups and downs. Based on your preferred lifestyle, it’s up to you to decide whether Ventura or Santa Barbara is fitter for you.

If moving to Ventura or Santa Barbara is on your list of things to do, Martian Movers is more than ready to ensure your relocation journey is as smooth and stress-free as possible. Get in touch with the best movers in Santa Barbara at 805-779-3844 today!



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