santa barbara downtown

Neighborhood Profiles

Santa Barbara and the Tri-County Area offers a wide variety of different living opportunities. Determine how close to campus you want to live and what amenities are important to you. The key for all students seeking housing is to start early.


LOcal Communities
Isla Vista
  • Half a square mile adjacent campus and the Pacific Ocean
  • 16,000 people, more than half of which are college students
  • Dense with apartments; 96% renters
  • Intimately connected to UCSB
  • Some quiet & quaint areas in west end, including many houses
  • Primarily apartment buildings for students
  • 65,000 people
  • Primarily home to families living in houses
  • Some apartments available
  • Rentals mostly houses or rooms in homes
  • Quiet and suburban neighborhoods
  • South of 101 freeway
  • Located 2 miles west of campus
  • Many apartments available
  • Popular neighborhood for graduate students
  • Rental rates generally lower than in IV
  • Nice bike ride or quick bus trip gets you to campus in 15 minutes
El Encanto Heights
  • North of 101 freeway
  • Located 2 miles west of campus
  • Primarily private homeowners
  • Many multi-bedroom houses for rent
  • Popular for groups of students that want to live outside of IV
Santa Barbara
  • Significant distance from campus
  • Offers a home away from UCSB
  • Many opportunities for a "regular" community experience with culture, night-life, and employment opportunities
  • One of the most desirable cities in the country
  • Commutes to campus 25+ minutes by car or 60+ by bus
  • In the heart of a beautiful coastal community
  • Many apartments and studios available in close proximity to the city center is commercial and cultural offerings
The Mesa
  • Many apartments near beach
  • Popular among Santa Barbara City College students because of proximity to their campus.
  • City College students' semester schedule is different from the UCSB quarter schedule so parties may occur when you need to study
San Roque
  • Upper State Street area of SB
  • Increasingly becoming an option for renters
  • Very quiet
  • Not within walking distance of anything but more affordable rates in the area are available
Lower Eastside
  • Many apartments at rental rates lower than most other areas
  • Many conveniences close at hand
  • Longer commutes to campus due to distance and city traffic (25+ minutes)
Other Neighborhoods
  • Upper East Side
  • The Riviera (Alameda Padre Serra area)
  • Samarkand
  • Hidden Valley/Modoc, Mission Canyon
  • Hope Ranch
  • Montecito
  • Westside
Tri-County Area
  • Carpinteria
  • Lompoc
  • Santa Maria
  • Buellton
  • Santa Ynez
  • Ventura
  • Oxnard