Santa Barbara's Milpas Street

The city's working-class heart has rewards of its own

Jerry Camarillo Dunn Jr.

Literally and figuratively, Milpas Street is on the far side of town from Santa Barbara's upscale State Street shopping neighborhood. On Milpas, you'll find useful things for everyday people ― from the famed fresh tamales at La Super-Rica to old vinyl records.

The street runs from the Santa Barbara Bowl amphitheater through a largely Latino neighborhood and ends at a wide, white beach bordered by swaying palms.

Getting there

Milpas Street is on Santa Barbara's east side. From U.S. 101, take the Milpas Street exit.

What to do

East Beach: Winter temperatures in the mid-60s are perfect for biking along the beach's paved path. Milpas Street at Cabrillo Boulevard; parking is adjacent.

American Pie Records: A "Vast Vault o' Vinyl" with 60,000 records, mainly '50s and '60s LPs, including a rare $1,250 Platters original. Info: Mon-Sat; 614 N. Milpas; 805/965-2161.

Centro Musical de Santa Barbara: Warmhearted Maria Perez has served the neighborhood for 25 years with "a little of everything," from cowboy hats to comic books to saints holy cards for Sunday Mass. Info: 514 N. Milpas; 805/962-2785.

Steven Handelman Studios: Ornamental iron lighting, fireplace screens, and home accessories. Info: Mon-Sat; 716 N. Milpas; 805/962-5119.

Tri-County Produce: Open-front warehouse offering local produce and staples (including more than 20 types of granola). Info: 335 S. Milpas; 805/965-4558.

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