The Mesa is a Santa Barbara neighborhood that embodies a beach vibe. Mesa, a Spanish word meaning “table”, has been applied to the flat bench of elevated land fronting the ocean along Santa Barbara’s southwestern border since the mission days. It stretches from the Santa Barbara City College on the east and extends two and one-half miles to Arroyo Burro County Beach (or “Hendry’s/The Pit” to locals). The neighborhood has beach access to Mesa Lane Beach, as well as Thousand Steps Beach. It is a very desirable neighborhood due to its proximity to the ocean as well as the college. Residential development began here in the 1920s, but was interrupted by the discovery of the Mesa Oil Field. The field was quickly exhausted, and after the Second World War building of houses resumed, although the last oil tanks and sumps did not disappear until the early 1970s. Many families take up residency on the mesa as it is skirted with playgrounds and parks. Both La Mesa Park and Shoreline Park run the length of the entire neighborhood. Shoreline Park is thought to be one of the best parks in Santa Barbara with its wide open spaces, lush grass, playgrounds, and picnic benches, and incredible views. There are bike paths in abundance. Downtown is only a 5-8 minute bike ride away and city college students bike to school.