After leaving the UK, Harry and Meghan lived in Canada, then moved down to Los Angeles and have now reportedly settled in Santa Barbara. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been spotted out and about in LA – where Meghan grew up – and now news outlets suggest they’ve bought a house nearby on the California coast. Santa Barbara is known for its beautiful nature and architecture, as well as being home to the rich and famous. Here’s everything you need to know about the city and surrounding area.
Known as the American Riviera, the city of Santa Barbara is about an hour and a half drive from LA. It earned its nickname because the weather, architecture, and nature are similar to the Mediterranean; it’s a coastal city looking out onto the Pacific Ocean, with the striking Santa Ynez Mountains towering in the background.
The Santa Ynez Mountains form part of the Los Padres National Forest, known for its popular hiking trails. Harry and Meghan have already been spotted hiking in LA, so it’s likely they’ll take advantage of the trails in Santa Barbara as well. One of the most well-trodden routes is Seven Falls – a relatively easy hike that finishes up at a serene pool with a waterfall.
If hiking isn’t your thing, turn back to the water because Santa Barbara is famous for its surfing scene.
Much of the architecture in Santa Barbara has Spanish influences – the terracotta roof tiles are a big giveaway – and this is down to colonial forces settling in the area in the late 1700s. As an actor, Meghan will likely appreciate the film history of Santa Barbara. The area was home to many movie studios and played a part in making silent films before Hollywood became the main hub we know today.
The couple will no doubt respect the eco-credentials of the town too – Santa Barbara was the first place to officially celebrate Earth Day and holds a festival for the occasion every April. This is hardly the only big event on the town’s calendar — Santa Barbara is also known for a festival celebrating its Latin heritage, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the Summer Solstice celebration, and the Santa Barbara French Festival.
Santa Barbara is popular with tourists and visitors, but the area is also known for its high real-estate prices and celebrity residents.
According to Visit California, some of the area’s famous residents include Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Spielberg, and Ellen Degeneres. Montecito is the area where the rich and famous tend to live, and is reportedly where Harry and Meghan have bought a home.
Travel + Leisure named Montecito one of its 50 best places to travel in 2019, citing the fancy boutiques, top restaurants, stunning nature, and exclusive hotels.