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Review Isla Vista
Isla Vista is a wierd and wonderful college town
Borne of necessity when UC Santa Barbara came to town in the mid 1950's. Isla Vista went from ocean-proximate farm land to a student "town" in the space of about 10 years, with the vast majority of young people temporary students attending UCSB, and a few thousand attending nearby Santa Barbara City College. It is not a family-friendly or even older adult-friendly town because of the temporary nature of student life and lack of home ownership, coupled with noise, trash, constant partying and general frenetic movement of students, even late at night. That said, if you are a college student with strong stomach, it is a great place to get your funk on, and live in a town almost entirely populated by the young and beautiful 18-24 demographic in a sea of tightly packed apartments all nestled right up against the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. Did I say the kids are attractive? They are about the best looking kids you will ever lay eyes on, as they tend to stay fit, wear swim trunks and bikinis and hang out in the surf and sun all day.
The good: In some ways, it is likely the nicest view and location a student will ever have in his/her entire life. One can ride a bike to class in the morning, grab a burrito at Freebirds for lunch, swing by the apartment, pick up a board and wet-suit, and be carving up at a point break in minutes; any one in Isla Vista can have bare feet in the ocean water in five minutes or less. There are plenty of tasty and cheap college type eating establishments, and a few markets with a major shopping center with a Costco and Home Depot just a couple of miles down the road.
The bad: Isla Vista IS major college party town with no adult supervision, with copious amounts of alcohol consumption and rampant recreational drug use 24/7. Isla Vista has about 10 liquor stores on the main drag, and one of the stores reputedly sells the second largest quantity of vodka of any liquor store in the State of California. Renting a room in Isla Vista is crazy expensive for what you get. $900-1000 gets a shared room in an apartment with likely 7 other roommates off the beach area, called Del Playa. On the ocean side of Del Playa itself, expect to pay about $1,500 per month for the privilege of small shared room. It can be quite unsafe at night, especially for college girls with roving bands of young men always on the lookout for easy prey. Finally, for its size, Isla Vista has a high crime rate (mostly property theft and drunk and disorderly conduct) and a couple hundred homeless who have taken up residence in the local parks, making open spaces in the town almost unusable.
The Ugly: Because "I.V." - as it fondly known by locals - was mostly thrown up in a matter of a decade or so in the early 60's, and is now controlled by out-of-town REIT's in the Los Angeles and San Francisco area, there are absolutely no buildings of note nor any architectural gems, only block upon block of hastily constructed apartment buildings scattered among older homes that pre-date the landing of students in the area.
Anonymous (Current resident)
Dec 12, 2020
Isla Vista, La - A Busy City
Living in Isla Vista, La can be challenging, but has some advantages worth getting used to.
First off, the weather in the city is amazing. I love the fact that winter weathers fail to reach anything below 20 degrees; zero degree weathers can be tough for me. Now, the income per capita is a big concern. Compared to the national average, Isla Vista is 69% lower than other cities. The violent crime rate is excessive, nearly 100% higher than the average in the nation. Now, this puzzles me, because the cost of living in every category from housing to goods and services, exceeds the national average, housing costs are over 100% higher.
The educational system, pertaining to student test scores, is nearly average. The poverty level is over 300% higher than the average in the nation. This city appears [on paper] to be a tough city to live in. However, the number of amenities in the city is extremely excessive: fitness, shopping, parks, coffee shops, bars, public transportation, etc. A population of under 28,000, but this city can get extremely busy, if you are a fan of the busy life.
Many people thrive in a busy city. It can be very neighbor interactive. The best areas to live near Isla Vista are Downtown Santa Barbara, which is just nine miles away from the city, and Motecito, which is just under 15 miles away from the city.
May 14, 2018
Source: The Isla Vista, CA data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).