Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara's climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been promoted as the "American Riviera". As of 2014, the city had an estimated population of 91,196, up from 88,410 in 2010, making it the second most populous city in the county after Santa Maria while the contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, has an approximate population of 220,000. The population of the entire county in 2010 was 423,895.
In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city economy includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for fully 35% of local employment. Education in particular is well represented, with five institutions of higher learning on the south coast (the University Of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, Antioch University, and the Brooks Institute of Photography). The Santa Barbara Airport serves the city, as does Amtrak. U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angeles to the southeast and San Francisco to the northwest. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forest, which contains several remote wilderness areas. Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are located approximately 20 miles (32 km) offshore.
Santa Barbara is a year-round tourist destination renowned for its fair weather, downtown beaches, and Spanish architecture. Tourism brings more than one billion dollars per year into the local economy, including $80 million in tax revenue. In addition to the city's cultural assets, several iconic destinations lie within the city's limits. Mission Santa Barbara, "The Queen of the Missions," is located on a rise about two miles (3 km) inland from the harbor, and is maintained as an active place of worship, sightseeing stop, and national historic landmark.
The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a red tiled Spanish-Moorish structure, provides a sweeping view of the downtown area from its open air tower. The Presidio of Santa Barbara, a Spanish military installation and chapel built in 1782, was central to the town's early development and remains an icon of the city's colonial roots. In 1855, the Presidio Chapel, being in decay, grew into the Apostolic College of Our Lady of Sorrows, now Our Lady of Sorrows Church. The present church, consecrated on the 147th anniversary of the founding of the presidio on April 21, 1929, remains one of the most beautiful churches in California.
Surfing is as much a part of Santa Barbara culture as art. Bruce Brown's cult classic, The Endless Summer, put surfing on the map, and he is often seen around the town. Surfing legend Pat Curren and his son, three time World champion Tom Curren, as well as ten time world champion Kelly Slater, and other popular surf icons such as Jack Johnson call Santa Barbara home. Local surfers are known for going north to The Point, or south to Rincon.