Local Atmosphere

Location
Santa Barbara, CA
Undergrads
18,318
Tuition (in-state)
$36,549 ($13,671)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews

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5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Honestly school starts to feel like a bubble especially if you don't have a car. The bus system is really good and there are a lot of places to shop on State street. Still, there isn't much to do besides shop and surf.

5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Santa Barbara is one of the best places on earth. It truly is.

3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: very laid back. mostly residential. not much to do. expensive stuff downtown

5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: There's a city right next to it called isla vista. It's a very pleasant place to walk around at.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Unless you live in Goleta or Santa Barbara, you don't interact with locals for the most part, so I can't really comment on that aspect. Isla Vista is mostly full of city college and UCSB students mixed with low-income families and individuals.

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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Louie Tamayo
Hometown
Long Beach
Major
Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology
Grad Year
2012
View all previous student authors

The neighboring area adjacent to the UCSB campus known as Isla Vista—or "IV" for short—is a student-packed, square-mile town. Isla Vista is made up of small shops, restaurants, houses, and apartment complexes, and has a very local feel. Most residents are UCSB and city college students, and they can be seen roaming the streets on the weekends. Perhaps the most notorious and well-known part of Isla is the last street called Del Playa (DP), located on the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Del Playa is the place to be on the weekends, with parties happening every weekend. Without a doubt, Isla Vista is one of the most unique and fun places most people will ever visit. Where else can you study on the beach, go for a run on the cliffs, party hop from door to door, and run into all of your friends when grabbing food late at night?

Apart from the social scene, Santa Barbara is known for its beautiful beaches and mountains, with several peaks with scenic backdrops. Devereux and Sands beaches are about a five-minute walk from anywhere in Isla Vista, and the Santa Ynez Mountains are a 15-minute drive down the freeway. Fifteen minutes from UCSB is downtown Santa Barbara, which has plenty of restaurants and shops for one’s choosing, but if you want to stay local, Isla Vista has many inexpensive restaurants, and most don’t close until 2 a.m. any night of the week. There are plenty of things to do throughout your four years at UCSB, but be warned: These may also be distractions. The key thing is to enjoy all of the things Santa Barbara to offer, but in moderation.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Big Dogs Brand brand has its headquarters in Santa Barbara.
  2. The first Kinko's was in Isla Vista, created by a UCSB student.
  3. JFK and new wife Jackie O. finished off their honeymoon in Santa Barbara.
  4. Santa Barbara County is becoming one of the best wine-producing regions on the coast.
  5. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Santa Barbara Writers' Conference are annual events.
Notable Natives
  • Kathy Ireland – supermodel
  • Katy Perry – popstar
  • Edie Sedgwick – socialite, actress
Points of Interest
  • Campus Point
  • Coronado Butterfly Preserve
  • Old Mission
  • Red Rock
  • Sands Beach
  • State Street
  • Stearns Wharf
  • Tangerine Falls
Shopping Centers
  • Camino Real Marketplace
  • La Cumbre Plaza
  • Paseo Nuevo mall
  • Plaza Shopping Center
Movie Theaters
Camino Real Theatre
7040 Marketplace Drive
Goleta
(805) 963-9503
Movie Theaters
Fairview Theater
225 N. Fairview Ave.
Goleta
(877) 789-6684
Major Sports Teams
  • Anaheim Angels: MLB
  • Anaheim Ducks: NHL
  • Los Angeles Clippers: NBA
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: MLB
  • Los Angeles Kings: NHL
  • Los Angeles Lakers: NBA
  • Los Angeles Sparks: WNBA
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Las Vegas: : 5 hours
  • Los Angeles: : 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • San Francisco: : 5 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 192 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 193 responses

  • 2% Painfully remote.
  • 7% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 8% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 63% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 19% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 193 responses

  • 17% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 22% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 61% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 192 responses

  • 17% No way.
  • 60% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 22% Totally.

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