How To - Oak Park, Santa Barbara

Oak Park lies in the center of Santa Barbara, just off the 101. The park is a great location for all kinds of festivals and has become particularly popular for cultural events like the Greek Festival and the French Festival as well as many others through the summer months. Oak Park is unique in that it can be used for one giant affair, or broken down into zones so that several things can be happening simultaneously.

Proving handy for cultural festivals, the south west end of the park is divided by Mission Creek, Santa Barbara’s meandering waterway. On either side of the creek, connected by a nice bridge, there are picnicking areas, horseshoe pits, a raised dance area, huge industrial barbecue pits, built in bathrooms, water connections, tennis courts and even one of the city’s maintained swimming pools.

During the rainy season, taking a stroll through Oak Park is magical as the creek rushes full. During the parched seasons the park lives up to its name, being full of oak trees and sycamores, providing much shade. On the north end of the park, one can even reserve a barbecue area shaded with oaks and very large sycamores. It is great for company parties. Reservations can be made through the Santa Barbara Parks Department.

Getting to the park - is easy, but with there is a little twist when coming from the North.

Coming south on Highway 101, exit Mission Street (exit 99) turning left onto Mission Street, under the overpass and get back onto Highway 101 North. Follow the entrance lane to the right, and reexit the highway at Pueblo Street (exit 99B).

Exit Highway 101 at Pueblo Street (exit 99B).

Follow the exit a block and a half to the stop sign and turn right on Junipero Street. Another half block and the park begins on the left with two parking lot entrances before Mission Creek.

Another half block up on the left is Alamar Street; the park continues up Alamar and around following Mission Creek for another three blocks.

Parking - can be rough sometimes. The park does have its own lot, although at major festivals it is often used for service vehicles like ice, beer, etc. However the parking lot can be a wonderful meeting, picking-up and dropping off spot. The park lies half into a neighborhood and is close to Cottage Hospital. There is heaps of fee street parking, but be sure to read the signs knowing you are in a correct zone. Santa Barbara parking enforcement is pretty strict, since the streets in the area of town tend to be narrow.

Note: Alamar Street has speed bumps, just for that reason. Watch your speed, there are lots of families with kids in and around the park. Calle Real can be a good parking option too, but remember this is a major thoroughfare and a freeway off ramp.

Hope you learned something, and to see you at the park. Feedback is great, so leave a comment.


Robert Jones, Jr.

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