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Best of Santa Barbara Reader’s Poll, 2006

The Santa Barbara-est Place


photos by Paul wellman • illustrations by Joe Bluhm joebluhm.com

Superlatively speaking, isn’t this town the best? Not too big like that megalopolis to the south, or too teeny-tiny like the host of little villages sprinkled between Buellton and Old Cuyama. Surprisingly cultured for a town its size, with great museums, lively stages, and resounding music halls and clubs, it’s also a good place for eats, which comes as a result of its part-time job as a tourist town. We’re well-educated as well, exposed to many smart people from two colleges and a major university. It’s a land of parks and beaches and mountain trails and sunsets over red sails. But beyond all these generalizations is a town full of individuals who go to work, keep their homes nice, barbecue, and get out in the fresh air whenever they can. From those individuals we gleaned a list of voted-upon preferences in 225 categories of daily life here, in maybe a not perfect but definitely best of many possible Southern California worlds.

Butchers to Bakers, Bumper to Bumper, Burgers to Bistro, Bells to Whistles, Roses to Rings, Highbrow to Get-Down, Rugrats to Kittycats, Caffeine to Cocktails, Head to Toe, Jocks to Rocks, Roof to Roots, Wants to Needs.

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