Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

How to pronounce street names in Santa Barbara, California


When I moved to Santa Barbara in 1983, I joyfully read the street signs, remembered my Spanish pronunciation from High School, and promptly mis-pronouced all of the street names. My local friends took me pity on me and helped me learn the correct pronunciations, so I would look less like an idiot. So here are a few

Santa Barbara - No T in Santa, simply Sanna BARBARA.

Milpas - No, it's not MEEL - pas, it's "MILL - pus".

Gutierrez - Pronounced "Goo - TERRACE"

Canon Perdido - No tilte on the n, just "Canon Per - DIDO". And by the way, it's not named after a lost canyon, anyway. It's named after a lost cannon, which sunk in the mud the old Spanish times.

Cabrillo, Carillo and Castillo - Pronounce the two ls as a y as you would in Spanish, but be very clear about the rest of the pronunciation. Why a little town like Santa Barbara has three streets that are so similar is beyond me.

Alameda Padre Serra - Just say APS. No one even tries this one.

Also note that when you are standing on the beach in Santa Barbara, you not looking towards Hawaii, you are looking towards Antarctica. But don't mention that to locals, assume that you are looking west. And don't bother with direction, anyway, just say inland.

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