Beyond IV

June 02, 2023 2 min read

This blog post is an excerpt from IVO's We Gaucho Back: UCSB Freshman Student Guide

With everything and everyone being within a square mile, it's normal to feel like Isla Vista is a bubble. Yet, there are so many things to do beyond IV!

Most obvious, there's Downtown Santa Barbara. While Santa Barbara is no big city, there's still tons to do here! For shopping, we recommend heading down State Street and walking through Paseo Nuevo, the outdoor mall.

If you get sick of dining hall food, Downtown is the destination for some good eats. If you're 21, you can find some fun bars and clubs along State Street and in the Funk Zone. College Nights happen every Thursday where there's no cover charge and you can take the bus from IV to Downtown and back for $10-20.

If you're looking for more adventure, the mountains are just the place to go to. While we love having the beach as our backyard, we love having the mountains as our front yard even more! If you're into hiking, there are countless trails in the Santa Barbara area.

The Hot Springs are a must-do on your list while you're here. There's the Gaviota Hot Springs and Montecito Hot Springs—we recommend the latter. Lizard's Mouth is one of the best sunset spots in Santa Barbara. If you head up the mountain early, you can grab a spot on top of one of the water towers. If that's taken, you can head a little further down the road and hit the rocks - where most people have sunset picnics.


Here at IVO, one of our favorite things to do is head to the very place that inspired our name - the Channel Islands. On free weekends, many students go camping on Santa Cruz Island. We highly recommend doing this before you graduate!

One of the best ways to explore our beautiful home is through the Excursion Club! Once you become a member by paying per quarter or paying a cheaper fee for the year, you'll get weekly emails of different excursions. Make sure to keep an eye out and sign up ASAP because spots fill up fast! This is a great way to meet new people and explore the area.

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