Tuition (in-state)
$36,624 ($13,746)
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4 College Junior

Nightlife: Every weekend you can find something to do or some party to go to. There are always parties and kickbacks going on just about every day of the week. Del Playa is the street that is most well known for its party scene and for good reason. It's right on the beach and every weekend is like some sort of public event there. The downtown scene is also really great and many students go there often. There are buses that drive students downtown to the bars and also an uber taxi service so it's easy to find rides and designated drivers. I think that the prevalent party scene could either have a negative or positive impact on life depending of the student. it is easy to get caught up in everything and let grades slip, but if you stay responsible, the parties are a great way to be sociable and meet all kinds of people. the community here is very open and friendly.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: It's really easy to find a place to have a good time. Study hard & play hard is what you should aim for

3 people found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Our school is known internationally for its parties!


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 1st
    Biggest Party Schools
  • 429th
    Best Drink Prices
  • 1372nd
    Tamest Party Scenes

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

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

Chances are you have probably already heard about UCSB’s reputation as a party school, but that is what makes the campus one of the most unique colleges in the nation. The atmosphere is completely centered on student life, and the majority of students seems to enjoy the nightlife. Isla Vista is notorious for house parties, and downtown Santa Barbara has some of the best bars around. The 21-and-up life consists of going downtown to various nightclubs and bars all along State Street. Students have a set schedule of going to Old Town Tavern on Wednesdays for Karaoke Night then downtown (or "DT") for College Night on Thursdays.

One of the best things about UCSB is that you do not have to be over 21 to participate in a lot of action. If there's one thing UCSB students can agree on, it's their love of day-drinking and day parties that take place along the 6500 to 6600 block of Del Playa Drive, where local DJs play on balconies and hundreds of students roam the streets. One word of advice is to be responsible—if you act a fool, chances are you will be ticketed.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Downtown Goleta
  • Downtown Santa Barbara
  • Isla Vista
Student Favorites
  • Madison's
  • Q's
  • Tonic
Other Places to Check Out
  • The Brewhouse
  • Dargan's Irish Pub & Restaurant
  • Elsie's Tavern
  • Indochine
  • The Press Room
  • Sandbar Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar
  • Santa Barbara Brewing Co.
  • Statemynt
  • Velvet Jones
  • Whiskey Richards
  • Wildcat Lounge
  • Zodo's Bowling & Beyond
Local Specialties
Santa Barbara Blonde beer: Get it at Santa Barbara Brewing Company.
Favorite Drinking Games
  • "The Loop" (aka having a beer at every place in Isla Vista that serves alcohol)
  • Beer pong
  • Flip cup
  • Gaucho ball
  • King's cup
  • Snappa (or beer die)
Useful Resources for Nightlife
Closing Time
12 a.m. in Isla Vista 2 a.m. Downtown
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
Local house parties in Isla Vista—nothing is cheaper than a free beer out of a keg or a shot of alcohol from one of your buddies.
Organization Parties
There are regular parties put on by the Excursion Club, Ski and Snowboard Club, and surf team.
Did You Know?
Del Playa Drive, the main party street, is slowly eroding away from the surf pounding the rocks. In many years, the side opposite ocean side will become "ocean side."

Club ListingsWhat's This?

Tonic Nightclub

Tonic is a nightclub and bar that is known for its college nights on Thursdays as well as raging day parties on the weekends.

634 State St.


(805) 897-1800

The Savoy

One of the hotter clubs downtown, The Savoy boasts multi-level floors and a huge sound system.

409 State St.


(805) 957-4111

Baja Sharkeez

Recently remodeled and now having more than 20-plus TVs for sports watching, Baja Sharkeez is both a restaurant and a bar, plus a great place for happy hour.

525 State St.


(805) 845-9572

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Old Town Tavern (OTT)

OTT is not exactly your bar of choice if you are looking for a quick drink; however, Wednesdays are known for attracting college students, due to the bar's karaoke night and large stage.

261 Orange Ave.


(805) 967-2403

O'Malley's Bar

This is a local dive bar.

523 State St.


(805) 564-8904

The Study Hall

The Study Hall has a full bar and gets packed with students who don't want to make the drive downtown. Frequently, it is a big Greek place. The Study Hall is the most popular bar in Isla Vista. Happy hour is Monday through Friday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

6543 Pardall Road

Isla Vista

(805) 685-0929

Creek Side Inn

Creek Side is a fun place to go line-dancing on Wednesday nights.

4444 Hollister Ave.

Santa Barbara

(805) 964-5118

Dublin's Sports Grill

Hailed as the best college bar around, Dublin's attracts a crowd that wants to watch the game on the big-screen TV, sing karaoke, play pool and air hockey, or just hang out for a while.

910 Embarcadero Del Norte

Isla Vista

(805) 685-1503

The James Joyce

A great, chill bar on State Street, sometimes James Joyce has live music, sometimes the pool table is open, but it always has lots of free peanuts!

513 State St.


(805) 962-2688

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

Zodo's Bowling & Beyond

Students of all ages can go to Zodo's Bowling & Beyond.

5925 Calle Real


(805) 967-0128

Isla Vista parties

No one is checking IDs at the door when it comes to IV house parties—just be careful not to get caught by the IV Foot Patrol.

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 147 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What's the best way to get to the popular nightlife spots?    Based on 164 responses

  • 0% There are no good options.
  • 10% Use a designated driver.
  • 7% School-provided shuttles/buses.
  • 10% Public transportation.
  • 3% Taxis.
  • 70% Walk.

Where can you find the best parties?    Based on 30 responses

  • 36% Del Playa
  • 31% IV
  • 21% Depends what kind of party you're looking for
  • 5% The Frat Houses
  • 5% Anywhere
  • 2% Anywhere in Santa Barbara

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 34 responses

  • 50% Deltopia
  • 24% Halloween
  • 15% Halloween, Deltopia
  • 9% Extravaganza
  • 3% Excursion Club

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 166 responses

  • 1% Parties? What parties?
  • 2% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 5% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 54% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 38% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.
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