It used to have character, but the local governement tore down all the historical buildings to "modernize," which then made them neglect the downtown area which has now gone to ruin and is stricken by poverty.
The local government also does a horrible job with maintaining the local economy, by letting in large corporations which push out local business, and making it hard for letting local business to open.
Santa Maria High School's facilities are a joke. The classrooms are out-dated and the football field is hideous. Althought, it had many good programs (the best of which is the welding program) and has more 4-H funding then they can handle.
Pioneer Valley High School has some of the best facilities in the state, taking that they were given over 20 million in state funding, due to a bad write-up by a district member (not going to name names). They have quite a few fountains, a terf football field, rubber track, nice baseball fields, very up-to-date weight room and wonderful tennis facilities.
Local restaurants are wonderful, if you can find them. The large chain restaurants are all located near the freeway, while the wonderful places, such as: Shaw's, DW's American Bistro and Brick's are all hidden inside the city near Broadway.
Santa Maria is overall nicely sized in population, but also known for its strawberries. Santa Maria has the best strawberries in the nation, and any local can tell you that.
Santa Maria is also known for Santa Maria style BBQ, known as tri-tip. Anyone from Santa Maria knows where tri-tip comes from, and now so do you.
Facebook Now has a page that a few thousand people feel that crossing over the Santa Maria Border feels like going into mexico aka Tijuana .
Also know for having the worlds best Strawberries and Santa Maria Stlye BBQ and Tri-tip.
Nice otherwise, though.