We Gaucho Back: IV Outfitter's Guide for the Incoming Student

Hello fellow Gauchos, family, and friends. Our original intention was to release this blog amongst the spur of joy we had anticipated with a fresh Spring Quarter, which typically is accompanied by waves of acceptance letters and curiosity about the goings on at our little patch of paradise. Our sympathies go out to the first responders, doctors, nurses, janitors, and store staff members who are dealing with the ramifications of this moment head on.

Unfortunately, we're here now with things changing by the day, so we felt it better to release everything for eager learners to understand the culture and lifestyle of Isla Vista and UCSB. While most of our collective plans have been foiled, we urge you to stay connected with UCSB Orientation for content, updates, and information needed to onboard incoming students. The University, departments, and partners have been hard at work 24/7 to make sure the resources that are needed are accessible to parents and students alike.

Our original intention was to release this series of blogs as a type of supplemental assistance for everyone who either a) attended orientation activities and needed a refresher on anything and b) wanted some information and opinions from well-versed UCSB Students and Alumni who are passionate aqbout the school and community. Our intention now is, as always, to present our best. Any pertinent information we can attain as it regards to what you can expect when becoming a Gaucho will be found in any of the blogs we release under this series.

We encourage you to populate the comments section with any questions you might have as it pertains to UCSB and IV living, and we will do our utmost to help you with them. When Fall comes and things, hopefully, get back into their normal routine, we also encourage you to come by the shop to chat about any number of things related to UCSB. Most of us here in the store have an undying passion for this place and we’re sure the stories we mention here pale in comparison to the ones we might bring up over a casual conversation with new faces and new friends. So, from all of us here at Island View Outfitters, we wish you safe times and we proudly present our We Gaucho Back: IV Outfitter's Guide for the Incoming Student.

This content has been written passionately by the team at Island View Outfitters. It consists of student-employees, recent grad-employees, and Garrett, a 2011 Gaucho alumni, who started Island View Outfitters during his time in school. Credit goes to Hunter, Brock, Jayne, and Morgan.

*We will continue to update this page throughout the month. If you have any questions or specific categories you would like us to add, please email us at retail@theivsp.com*



Photo courtesy UCSB Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises

Potentially, housing is the biggest thing we should talk about when entering into the University of California, Santa Barbara. As of now, we definitely would recommend having your housing search/process well underway. 

For Freshmen, it’s a bit easier; Freshman are required to live in one of the designated campus houses, which we will list all of the houses at the end of this section. For most of the campus housing options, they are located on the UCSB campus, which should be a given but we want to point out that two of the residence halls are located down the street from campus, at the corner of El. Colegio and Storke Rd. The residence halls are, in all honesty, a pretty great way to meet the people who will either a) be some of your closest friends or b) guide you to finding your group.

Thanks to the tireless effort of RA’s (resident advisors) and other resident hall staff members, there are countless, inclusive events which offer the opportunity to meet the people who don’t just share a room or a floor with you. When I came into UCSB as a transfer student and found my group, I was honestly very surprised how many of them, at Junior and Senior standings, still kept in touch with the people they’d met during their time in resident halls.

Something else of value, before moving into the transfer student portion of this section, is the knowledge that most of the resident halls are located within relatively close distance to the Dining Halls. We’ll go into more details pertaining to the dining halls later, but we would like to note that the convenience for students offered by the halls’ proximites is something top tier that UCSB has to offer.

Transfer student housing is just a bit different, as transfer students have the option between campus living and Isla Vista living. For everyone who is new to the region, Isla Vista is the adjacent region which UCSB opens into. Transfer students are primarily offered housing in Transfer apartments, which are located along El Colegio and Storke Rd.’s. These apartments can range from 4-6 members and are furnished upon entry, and these are full apartments with kitchens, bathrooms, and showers, whereas residence halls rely on shared amenities of these natures.

Should a transfer student choose housing in Isla Vista instead, there are several companies such as Sierra Property Management Company, Meridian Property Group, and more which offer housing from the 65-68 blocks of Isla Vista. Here’s a web page that posts a list of property managers that lease properties in IV, thanks to Pardall Center - a housing resource on Pardall Road, the main street in Isla Vista, just one block from UCSB.  

IV homes are typically populated by students and younger alumni and can range, on average, from 5 residents to 19 residents. IV houses are typically, depending which street you live on, more likely to be noisy than anything the school will offer, which is due to the variety of parties, concerts, and general events which populate IV on a given day. As far as pricing goes, it tends to get a little higher the closer you get to Del Playa Dr., which is the street next to the ocean. The general consensus with the “IV experience” is that you live on Del Playa at one point during your college time here. Waking up and falling asleep to the ocean waves is cheaper here than most anywhere else and it is an underrated luxury. 

UCSB Residence Halls:

UCSB Transfer Apartments:

Garrett’s top 5 and quick tips:

  1. Anacapa Residence Hall
  2. Santa Cruz Residence Hall
  3. Santa Rosa Residence Hall
  4. San Nicolas Tower
  5. San Miguel Tower

The “CHI-5” area on campus, short for the Channel Island 5 are a cluster of residence halls between Campus Point, the UCSB Lagoon, and Davidson Library. It consists of 3 residence halls (my top 3) -- Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa -- that are two stories tall with four separate wings. The other two are towers -- San Nicolas and San Miguel. There are two close dining commons, De La Guerra and Ortega, that are walking distance that have great variety of food between the two. 

I lived in Anacapa; an experience I will never forget. Due to it being two stories, it felt intimate and easy to get to know most people in our wing top and below. Our hall grew close very quickly; my best friends that I still talk to weekly (and lived with for the rest of college) were only a matter of 3-4 rooms away from me in my hall. You’re 100 steps from the beach, a close walk to sunsets at Campus Point, and can pick and choose between two dining commons, so you don’t get sick of eating the same food. I longboarded around campus my first year since everything was so close. You can get to class in 5 min, so waking up 10 minutes before your 8:00 am class is entirely possible!

Hunter’s top 5 and quick tips:

  1. Santa Cruz Residence Hall - The most newly renovated dormitory has a movie theater room with fun events involving chocolate fountains, old school popcorn makers and more. This dorm is the closest to campus point beach and a beautiful lagoon view. 
  2. Anacapa Residence Hall- I lived in Anacapa my freshman year and had an amazing experience. However, the furniture and lounges are much outdated in comparison to Santa Cruz Hall. I definitely recommend the first floor. 
  3. Santa Rosa Residence Hall- Probably the most social, fun dorm. Very outdated furniture and carpet wise. Won't reveal my sources but also has the best water pressure in the showers. 
  4. Santa Catalina Residence Hall- If you enjoy biking or taking the bus, FT is the place to be! Located next to the best dining commons, Portola, and ocean views from the North Tower. 
  5. San Rafael Residence Hall- I decided to continue living on campus after my first year so that financial aid could help me pay for housing and dining. This was the best decision ever! San Rafael is a seven story tower with ocean and lagoon views. My four person suite had a large living room and large bathroom with only one shower for additional privacy. (I'll add pictures). My second year I frequented the pool and Carrillo Dining Commons and the RA’s made themselves incredibly scarce. It felt much more like an apartment and not at all like a freshman dorm. The cost difference from freshman year was very small considering I had a private bathroom, only one roommate, and a common room .

Brock’s quick suggestions as a Transfer:

  1. Sierra Madre and San Joaquin Villages - These have THE BEST kitchens. It’s super easy to avoid the Transfer 20 (same as the Freshman 15) if you live in either of these locations. The amenities are super nice here outside of just the kitchen; these apartments come fully furnished and are less than 5 years old, which is a big win as far as wear and tear is concerned. Another pro for either of these locations is the proximity you have with other transfer students; it’s super easy to get acquainted with one another and most of the people here are looking to do just that. One major con for these locations is that it is a trek and a half to get to campus. These spots are somewhat isolated and it really forces you to make the effort to commute to UCSB/IV in order to get to class on time and have a social life. I can assure you, however, that riding your bike from El Colegio and Storke on a windy day will get you in the best shape of your life.
  2. Santa Ynez - I found this set of apartments to be as close to cozy as you can get as a transfer student. These have been renovated somewhat recently but they still maintain the 90’s UCSB aesthetic. This set of apartments is also closer to UCSB/IV than Sierra Madre and San Joaquin, so it’s much easier to get to class, restaurants, and friends houses from here. I think the major downfall here is the parking - which also goes for Sierra Madre and San Joaquin - as there is minimal parking compared to the amount of students who live here. My best suggestion is to get ready to bike, board, and bus. 
  3. El Dorado and Westgate are prime for transfer students mainly because they are in IV and they offer not only double, but single bedroom apartments. These will nabbed quickly, as the majority of other transfer apartments do not offer single bedrooms. These apartments were renovated from older apartments and with that history comes just a bit more wear and tear, but the university is there to assist you if anything comes up. For transfers who might feel more inclined to get their feet wet in IV the minute they get boots on the ground, this set of apartments is prime real estate. 

Additionally, I’d like to take the time to talk about how a transfer student might go about finding housemates and a roommate coming into UCSB. This process can be nerve-racking but it doesn’t have to be. Back when I was accepted into UCSB, all transfer students were encouraged to sign up for an app where we were able to ask each other questions about housing choices, financial aid, and major work. We were also encouraged to find people we thought were suitable matches for housemates and roommates and then to message these people to try and make that work. Sometimes it works out great and other times you find out that they already have a roommate or a full house, which happens, but there’s always somebody looking for housemates here. My personal suggestion would be to join the UCSB Transfer Class Admits of 2020 Facebook Group in order to meet and message people about potentially living together. Sometimes, it’s super difficult to find people who are coming in without other friends or who don’t have roommates already set up, which is what happened when I was coming into UCSB. At this point, I just found the best room I could and prayed for solid roommates, which I was pleasant to find I had. Those guys were actually really awesome and the whole idea of living with people who you know nothing about, which can be scary, is also somewhat exciting. If you guys have any other questions about what to expect as a transfer student, in any way shape or form, please feel free to dm my instagram @brockofthehamptons and I’ll do my best to help.

Quarter System

Something which might get overlooked coming out of high school or a community college is the transition from semester-based schooling to the Quarter System. It’s not a completely daunting task to transition from one to the next, but we advocate preparedness first and foremost. 

The first thing you’re going to notice in the quarter system is that things will, likely, be going by a lot faster than you were expecting them to. Reading 3-4 novels in a philosophy class in one semester will be toned down to 1-2, but these are going to provide the bulk of in-class language and concepts, which will then be used on quizzes and tests, so we advocate actually reading the assigned pieces. Also, articles are going to be big here, expect to see a lot of those on Gauchospace, the online site which most professors and TA’s prefer to run their class assignments and announcements through.

Gauchospace is pretty easy to get the hang of; the website is easy to navigate and you can do such tasks as check grades, turn in assignments, and take quizzes on here, just to name a few. By week 3 you should understand this system pretty well. We’d also like to point out that the quarter system is 10 weeks long, with the last week considered “dead week”. Dead week is used for wrapping up final papers and studying for finals. Before this week hits, we highly recommend you get stuff like grocery shopping and laundry out of the way, as this is typically a high-maintenance week. Rest assured, countless Gauchos and Gauchas have survived before and we have the utmost faith that you all will as well.

Something we don’t want to forget to mention is that you have to pick your classes for subsequent quarters during weeks 4-6. During this time period, you’ll receive 3 pass times, where you can accumulate classes and their corresponding units. Each passtime will be about a two day period and you’ll have a unit maximum that you can add each time, this means you will be able to only get a certain number of classes per go. 12 Units classifies as a full course load in the UC quarter system (a standard class is 4 units: a 12 unit quarter = 3 classes) and while you might not be able to get all the units you need to get in your first pass time, rest assured you should be able to on the second go. It is worth noting, too, that classes fill up relatively quickly and you might have to make some adjustments to your schedule. More times than not, we can state that most of us here in the office had to change our schedules based on class availability and unit/passtime restrictions, but take it from us, we’ve all made it through and we’re sure you guys will be able to as well. 

Afraid that you didn’t get into a class because it was full during your pass time? Crashing a class at the beginning of the quarter is standard. There’s hustling and shuffling that happens during the first or second week of the quarter. Make sure you reach out to the professor as soon as possible via email showing your interest in the class. Make sure you arrive on time during the first week to classes you ‘crash’. 

Hot tip: Those enrolled in the Honors Program get top priority in registering for classes. It is, in our honesty opinion, the best perk of being in the Honors program. ** There has been discussion with the university whether they will keep Priority Registration for the Honors Program, so it is important you double check if it is still valid. **


Transportation is going to be a big one coming into UCSB as well so let’s get to it. One of the biggest questions parents and incoming students alike ask: is a car needed? In our and most of everyone else’s humble opinion: absolutely not

A bike or skateboard is going to be highly recommended to get around both IV and campus. Trust me, while some people don’t mind footing it, you don’t want to walk from 65 block to 68 block in IV when the weather is turning and it goes from being 80 degrees all day to like 60 and breezy at night. Either of these two options will for sure help out, but if you want, you can also get one of the electric scooters-by-the-mintue that are just floating around IV. All you need to do for those is download the app and scan the QR code and you should be set to go -- just remember these are usually unavailable from midnight to like 7AM.

The big difference between the rentable scooters and the more permanent options, like bikes and skateboards, is that rentable scooters are not currently allowed on campus, and if you are caught riding one on campus you can be sure to receive a fine. We would also like to point out that we have a fully developed guide to biking which we will link at the end of this segment.

A final word of wisdom would be to mind the busses. The busses are constantly running and your student access card (with your Student ID, you ride free) is all you need to hitch a ride. The bus destinations range from Campus and IV all the way to Goleta and Santa Barbara. We highly recommend getting the MTM App for routes and up to date data on the busses. As far as getting to areas such as Target, Costco, and Albertsons (all located in the Storke and Hollister regions), taking the #27 and #28 busses are definitely the call. Also, we highly recommend making sure you know which busses stay solely in IV, because it would not be fun to wind up in downtown Santa Barbara by mistake. 

Swinging back to the car question: what are the benefits to a first year having a car? Outside of just ease of access around town, as well as the ability to commute to work or back home, not much. Most of your first year life will consist of spending time in the residence halls, studying on campus, eating at the dining commons, and heading out to Isla Vista by foot/bike/board for some food, social activities, or other events.

There may be a few times here and there it is important to run over to Target or Costco, however, it doesn’t justify the cost of a car, a car permit, and/or the risk of parking it in Isla Vista, which is already compacted enough with cars. Must supplies are easily purchased at markets in Isla Vista (support local!), or at our store (shameless plug, we’re sorry), or online (not local, but hey, we all do it). 

IVO Guide to Biking 

Campus Involvement:

Campus involvement at UCSB is, much like the student population, relatively diverse. UCSB does an above average job when it comes to providing a space in which students can learn and grow outside of just a textbook. Some of the mainstream areas of involvement revolve around the bevy of clubs presented within specific majors. A few examples of this would be the Screenwriting club within the Film and Media Studies major as well as IEEE for Electrical and Computer Engineering students. As far as major-specific clubs go, we highly recommend that you search within your classes by asking fellow students, as they potentially overheard or were introduced to some of the clubs you have yet to hear of. Chances are, you will also be introduced to clubs within your major thanks to in-class announcements often presented by members of these clubs. If you’re seeking a club atmosphere that isn’t necessarily restricted by major, there are a wide range of clubs throughout campus that aren’t tied to one specific major. Some clubs to keep in mind include Improvability, Ultimate Frisbee Club, and Fencing Club

A good way to be informed of club opportunities can be found via Kiosks posted throughout campus. These are usually dressed to the brim with everything from club invites to work opportunities, such as tutoring or even babysitting. These Kiosks can be found everywhere on campus, but it is also important to keep in mind the advertisements throughout The Arbor and the University Center, which we simply have dubbed The UCen — we abbreviate almost everything here, just some unwarranted advice that seemed pertinent right now. Anyway, the Ucen and Arbor are great for meeting people and getting club information quickly; however, any UCSB student or alumni will recommend a pair of headphones at the arbor, as this is a site where unwarranted solicitations are rather frequent. 

In any case, these recommendations should be good starting points as far as finding a club that fits. Additionally, we would like to point out that having discussions with your friends might also lead to some great club recommendations.


The Library

The Davidson Library at UCSB is, perhaps, one of the most magnificent edifices ever constructed in the pursuit of higher learning. The eight floors of this contemporary building are, dare we say, a second home to most students. The way the library works is as follows: 8 floors total, 4th is usually where greek life hangs out, and the higher you go, the quieter you’re supposed to be. No joke, if you open a bag of chips on the 8th floor, you might never be welcomed there again. The library offers a range of resources outside of merely checking out books, and these include but are not limited to Print Stations, Reservable Study Rooms, A Cafe, and several water bottle filling stations. (This is also the point when we point out that having a reusable water bottle is not only cool but it’s super cool because it saves the environment). The library staff are well-versed in assisting the student body and we highly recommend turning to them if you have any needs ranging from specific title acquisition to research assistance. Many of the majors have a library technician assigned to them and it might be worth your while to check with academic advisor or teachers to see who this is. They will be informed about the location of and titles within your major’s collection at the library. A final note worth sharing is that the print stations require a print card, which can both be purchased and refilled in the computer area just next to the main entrance. 

The UCen

Briefly mentioned earlier, the University Center is at the center of campus, just across from Storke Tower, and operates a hub for day to day life on campus. The UCen has everything from Restaurants and A Print Shop to A bookstore, which is useful for getting textbooks quickly and grad gear when it comes time. The UCen is a great spot to mellow out for a bit between classes while grabbing a bite and taking in the scenic view, as the back side of the UCen opens into the UCSB Lagoon and Campus Point, which offers a sweeping panoramic of the ocean. It’s also worth mentioning that there is a post office located on the bottom floor of the Ucen, which are mailboxes assigned to various groups of the campus, such as transfer students.


CAPS stands for Counseling and Psychological Services and is UCSB’s onsite department which takes on the responsibility of students’ mental health. CAPS is a terrific resource due to the fact that the changes taking place during one’s time in college, both personally and professionally, are ones which shouldn’t be navigated alone. CAPS offers a safe environment which aids students in a manner of mental health related subjects. If the office or appointment sheets are relatively full, which they are rather often, we recommend asking the receptionist for a list of potential therapist options. These resources are designed to be for the betterment of one’s emotional and mental functions, and we cannot express enough that the campus of UCSB operates a safe space for various identities and mentalities. For more on CAPS and the services they offer, we recommend viewing their website, which we have linked at the bottom of our resources section. CAPS is located along the main thorough fair of campus and is located at Building 599, just across the bike path from Storke Tower. 


CLAS is UCSB’s Campus Learning Assistance Services. At its core, CLAS provides tutoring and education resources which empowers students to take their learning practices to the next level. CLAS has a range of tutors and staff members who are geared at assisting students in graduating to the next rung on the educational ladder. Chances are, a TA of yours might recommend seeing CLAS for some guidance on some of your bigger projects, as the students who work here have likely been in your shoes before. CLAS also offers an excellent opportunity for work and resumes should one be well-versed enough to teach a subject. CLAS is located within the SRB, or Student Resources Building.


The SRB or Student Resources Building operates both as resource establishment and study space for students. The function of the SRB is to offer students a plethora of resources not always available to students in a hands-on manner. Some of the various departments and centers in the SRB include the Office of Judicial Affairs (OJA), the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexual Equity (WGSE), and the Middle Eastern Student Resource Center (MERC). The SRB also printing options for students as well, and given its location right next to IV, comes in handy for students in a hurry to print while on their way to class. The SRB also hosts a range of workshops under the Office of Student Life (OSL), which is important to take not of if you are a part of any of the various fraternities and sororities, as these groups are required to go to several of these workshops. 

Student Health

UCSB Student Health operates like a miniaturized version of a hospital. With admission to UCSB, you are automatically eligible to be a part of the UCSB Student Health network, and, depending on your insurance or financial aid, the costs can be charged to your BARC account. At student health, you can be checked out for anything from minor to major symptoms, and the facilities onsite can take care of several different health needs, which include but are not limited to STI testing, blood tests, and pharmaceutical fills and refills. Student health is located across from the University Track at the North entrance of campus, just off of El Colegio. 

Dining Halls

As mentioned earlier, the dining halls are scattered throughout campus and are a quick way to get the meals you need to make it through the day. The dining halls at UCSB are Ortega Dining Commons, Carrillo Dining Commons, Portola Dining Commons and De La Guerra Dining Commons. These are open to all students with the purchase of a meal plan, which range in price by the option selected. While these are open to any and all students, they are initially aimed at first or second year students who live in residence halls and have limited options in terms of cooking for themselves. 

Rec Cen

The UCSB Rec Cen is the perfect place to blow off steam and stay in shape. This is just off of Ocean Rd. and is situated behind Robertson Gymnasium. The rec can has two gyms, the main gym and the MAC (Multi-Activity Court) and offers everything from personal training (for a fee) to intramural sports opportunities. The rec can also houses the Adventure Program, which, for a fee, allows you to rent equipment, such as kayaks, or join excursions, such as hikes and the like. Students are automatically given a UCSB Rec Cen membership once their BARC account is paid off for the quarter, and for non-students, there are generally discounts to join the gym. The facility itself also includes two pools, several outdoor fields, a bevy of tents courts, and a world-class rock climbing wall

Resource Connections

UCSB Library: https://www.library.ucsb.edu/
UCSB UCen: http://www.ucen.ucsb.edu/
UCSB CAPS: http://caps.sa.ucsb.edu/about-us/about-caps
UCSB CLAS: http://clas.sa.ucsb.edu/
UCSB SRB: http://www.sa.ucsb.edu/student-resource-building/home
UCSB Student Health: http://studenthealth.sa.ucsb.edu/
UCSB Dining Services: https://www.housing.ucsb.edu/dining-services
UCSB Rec Cen: http://recreation.sa.ucsb.edu/

IV Culture

When it comes to understanding what makes Isla Vista Isla Vista, we’re a pretty good source. Island View Outfitters has been part of the community since 2009. If you don’t know about us, we started in an Isla Vista garage by 2nd year Gaucho at the time, Garrett Gerstenberger. The following year, Garrett partnered with tenured screen printer Jose Cardoso, and locked up a lease for our current headquarters and office: 6565 Trigo Road. The rest is history. We’ve become a constant in the ever-shifting Isla Vista business landscape, we keep in tune with the young energy, we channel our creative art and print capabilities as best we can and use it as a vessel for curating and contributing to this unique little beach town. We like to see ourselves as a resource for anyone and anything. A safe space, a happy place, an opportunity for anyone to come in and get advice, honest answers, and a good laugh. Accumulatively, between our collective UCSB experiences and the 10+ years, we get it all. Garrett often cries aloud about how old he feels now that they’ve passed their ten year business mark (hooray for local business!). We student-employees always laugh because while we think he’s old, he’s still young and one of us.

Okay - back to Isla Vista. It has a big heart, creative mind, loving atmosphere, energetic body, playful mentality, mature outlook (at times), and always has your back. It is the 1 square mile directly adjacent to UCSB that stretches along the coast. The 1-square mile town is hyper-condensed with housing. Outside of on and off-campus UCSB housing, it is where 95% of UCSB students live. All of those alumni that have graduated nostalgically look back at Isla Vista as a heavenly paradise they are so grateful to have experienced: living literally on the edge of the California coast overlooking waves crashing against the bluffs, the fact that all of your best friends are walking distance and right around the corner from you, the ability to hop on your cruiser of longboard and be anywhere, including class, within a matter of minutes, to enjoy all the amazing cuisine in Isla Vista’s business district, the amount of art, culture, music, and other creative resources are astounding, the weather, which seems to be perfect 365 days out of the year, the sunsets that never get old, the late nights with people you love and appreciate, all the laughs you have, adventures you make, the friends you’ll have for the rest of your life. Wow, I’m about to cry. 


Now that I feel better saying it out loud, let’s keep it moving. Isla Vista consists of four blocks. The 65, 66, 67, and 6800 block. Our store is located on the 6500 block (6565 Trigo Road). The further away from UCSB you are, the higher # the block/address to the houses. The business district, which is called the Loop - which is home to an amazing and eclectic number of small businesses, mainly food, but some others, like us (sad fact: with Miss Behavin, a women’s clothing boutique store moving downtown, we’re the last retail store in Isla Vista) is located on the 6500 block. There’s a weird mentality - kind of like the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz if you are aware of it’s physical and geo-magnetic oddities - that the 6800 block of Isla Vista is reeeaaalllly far out. Let me break it to you, it’s not. I’ve never understood why the entire population balks at walking to a friend’s house in the 6800 block when in fact it is equidistant to the 6500 block if you were standing in the 6600 block. Oh well, let it be. People don’t learn. The advantage is if you want to live in a little more of a quiet area, the 6800 block is for you. 

We will break down in more detail parts and resources of Isla Vista, but in short, Isla Vista has it’s own beautiful beaches, surf breaks, parks, access to West Campus and Coal Oil Point, amazing food, and most of all, the most unique community you’ll ever find in college. Trust us, we’ve been here for over ten years and almost 99% of the people that come back in our store to bask in “the old days” say how it was Isla Vista (not UCSB) was what shaped them to be who they are today. Folks, school is important, but the social aspect of your lives here is what it is all about. You evolve to understand who you are better than ever. You are independent, understand your feelings, find your passions, learn new skills, make great support systems, be social, and enjoy life. That’s why we’re here; always grateful of our surroundings and absolutely stoked about the present. 

During your first Quarter (Remember, UCSB is on the Quarter System), you’ll have to attend Drug and Alcohol workshops put on by the school. These are usually only 1-2 events but cover everything from biking while intoxicated to what to do in the case that you see someone overdosing on drugs. These are most definitely some of the positives to come out of the party culture UCSB is notorious for, but I do want to emphasize there’s a lot more to IV then just debauchery. We do actually have some pretty delicious food, and I want to point out that there are a slew of events such as concerts, a tanning club, and several outreach programs such as religious centers and the parks and rec department which are super welcoming. There also happen to be a few locations for grocery shopping in IV, such as IV Deli, IV Market, and the IV Co-op. IV is very much meant to be explored and we recommend just taking some time before classes start to meander from place to place. 

Food Culture

Ok, so IV food culture is perhaps one of the most interesting I’ve ever experienced. There is nowhere else on the planet, outside of maybe New York, where you can get a pastrami and mozzarella stick sandwich at 3AM? Nowhere, that’s where. IV food ranges from surprisingly healthy to downright hangover cures and we honestly recommend you sample a little bit from everywhere. 

To the luck of our thin wallets, many of the IV restaurants have deals, whether that be weekly or biweekly, to incentivize people to try them out. For instance, South Coast Deli does a 4:20 deal where on Thursdays, from 4:20-5:00PM you can select a sandwich for $4.20 (from a specific menu). Woodstocks is chief amongst deals, they have everything from Pint Night to, on occasion, Pizza Size Upgrades. It’s not too difficult to figure out these deals, as most restaurants in IV want you to try them out and they’re pretty keen to tell you why. Our personal recommendation is 1) don’t rush yourself, you’ll have time to try everything and 2) as soon as the quarantine lifts, head on into these places because they’re gonna need the business and if they don't get it, we’re gonna be so, so sad when they have to permanently close up shop. 

Additionally, we also would like to point out that there are several grocery spots in IV and Goleta for all those who are inclined to cook. Albertsons, Costco, and Target are all located on either side of Storke Rd and Hollister Ave in Goleta. Additionally, IV Deli, IV Market, and IV Co-op (support local!) are located within IV and they definitely have the items you need if you need them right away. Be aware, though, that sometimes these places will be a bit more picked over than other stores given the sheer volume of bodies in IV. 

Garrett’s Top 5 Restaurants (in no order):

  • Bagel Cafe - The Super Emma on an herb cheese bagel. Try it. 
  • Freebirds - Despite ten years of experiencing the disappointing cost of the burrito always increasing, the good ol veggie burrito packed with guac may be the item I’ve eaten most in my life. 
  • Naan Stop - Best Indian food I have ever had. Hands down. Spicy Coconut Chicken Curry and Saag Paneer. 
  • South Coast Deli - No bad salad or sammie. Always add their Pepper Plant hot sauce.
  • Blaze Pizza - I’m not one to generally support large chains, but the cost for quantity on a fast, build your own pizza is pretty solid. 

Honorable mention to Caje for not just great coffee, but delicious breakfast bowls.

Brock’s Top 5 Restaurants:

Ok let’s break this down (also in no order): 

  • Poketheory - Very new and somewhat unknown, this poke diner replaced Pokerito and, honestly, it does a great job. The men and women here are working diligently during the COVID-19 crisis to not only maintain safety but also to provide the same quality and deals we were promised before everything went down. Definitely recommend giving them a shoutout on Yelp because they’re inclined to hook you up with a free drink or soup. 
  • Freebirds - I wholeheartedly agree with Garrett on this. The increasing price is sad but understandable, but they also provide the Cadillac of burritos in IV. Also, big shoutout to the quesadilla, because they load those up like nothing you’ve seen before. Definitely recommend a plate and fork with this. 
  • South Coast Deli - easily some of my favorite memories are here, and that’s definitely a reflection of both the vibes and the sammis (and salads). I personally recommend the chicken caesar salad or the tri-tip & salsa sandwich. Only sad thing here is that they’re not open past 8. 
  • IV Deli Mart - they have some wicked burgers and sandwiches and they’re open late. Enough said. 
  • Bagel Cafe - The Fire in the Hole is dangerously delicious, also they’re also super fast and super kind every time I go in. 

Beach Culture

There is also something major that is often overlooked and rather serious here that I think it’s time we get into now… going to the beach. At this point you’re probably thinking, “we’re literally on the beach, I’ll be there everyday,” and while that’s completely fine, we definitely need consider the fact that every day can easily turn into every few months. I can’t personally stress this enough, but make time to go to the beach. In my three years living in IV, I can say, outside of going on the occasional beach jog, I only made my way to the beach a handful of times… this is not something to be proud of. I recommend being proactive; get a good group of friends together or cycle between a few groups and plan trips at least once every two weeks. The sereneness of the view we have is easily one of the best things for your mental health in the midst of midterms and finals, which hit a lot quicker here than they do in semester-based schools. 

As far as the beaches themselves, we have a few options to choose from. First, we have Sands. Sands is a 5 minute walk from the end of 68 Block (the last block in IV) and it’s generally the best beach for recreational activities such as spikeball, tanning, and general hangouts with a large group. This beach is generally a hotspot for everyone here, but there’s almost always plenty of room. From Sands, you can walk along the coastline until you hit Campus Point Beach, which is where UCSB is. Campus Point is pretty casual, and you’ll definitely see more people jogging or walking there as opposed to sands. The cool part about campus point has to be that it’s so easy to access from campus, we definitely recommend it as a study break spot.

Also, circling back, the coastline you can walk along from Sands to Campus Point is free real estate, you can drop a towel or set up spikeball anywhere along the coast. Chances are you’ll see some people surfing or on floats in the water, as these are time-honored traditions for UCSB students. The last beach we have in close proximity is Goleta Beach Park. This spot is good for the occasional surf or general recreation as well as fishing, as this park has a pier. Additionally, there is a quaint restaurant at the beginning of the pier that’s really good. 

Friend Culture 2.0

One of the biggest issues when coming into a new school in general has to be the friends issues, which is considerably understandable. You go your entire life with a group or groups of people, only to head off to university and find yourselves amidst a sea of new faces and experiences waiting to be plucked out amongst the masses… this doesn’t have to be as stressful as I make it out to be. There are plenty of opportunities amongst various groups and organizations to find your footing in this new chapter of your lives. As we mentioned earlier, clubs are a fairly streamlined way to find new friends fast.

Conversely, you might be looking for something outside of the school. In IV itself there are plenty of different organizations to join, one of which being greek life. While greek life is technically run through the school, you’re more likely to see it in its entirety while in IV. The greek process at UCSB is relatively simple, we host a range of traditional greek fraternities and sororities as well as education, major, and multicultural fraternities.

Rush primarily takes place in the fall for both Fraternities and Sororities whereas, in the spring, there is typically a rush for Fraternities. As far as rush itself actually goes, you can expect to go from most, if not all of the houses, where you get to engage in conversation with several members of the house. This is easily one of the quicker ways to make friends and find yourself exploring IV more. As per the education, major, and multicultural fraternities, which often offer co-ed membership, the best way to get involved with these is through school and class. Members from these organizations often give presentations at the beginning of the fall quarter. Additionally, you might find an advertisement for these fraternities on the kiosks we mentioned earlier. 

If greek life is not the direction you find yourself wanting to head in, might we recommend several volunteer opportunities in the IV region. Various political campaigns and volunteer operations make homes in Isla Vista due to the influence of the younger generation. These groups provide relatively good opportunities for making friends under the idea of community outreach or shared interests. These opportunities are also terrific resume boosters.  If this seems like too much of an effort, fear not. There are constantly student-run concerts, taco stand pop-ups, parties, and other events that are sure to yield opportunities to find friends.


Party Culture

If you mention you’re going to UCSB to someone, chances are they’re going to hit you with “isn’t that a party school?” And, outside of our #7 Ranking for National Public Schools, they are somewhat right. UCSB does have a reputation of work hard, play hard, but due to some of the crazier incidents in our past, many members of our community have made significant efforts to curtail some of the dangers with this culture and the stereotypes associated with it. For instance, greek like members are required to go to a range of workshops which teach everything from healthy relationships & consent to safe party habits.

As we mentioned earlier, the Gaucho FYI is a great system for teaching new students, both freshmen and transfers, how to operate safely during their time in college. This set of workshops is mandatory and covers topics such as over-consumption of alcohol and drugs to general safety practices, such as not biking or skating while under the influence. Both of these workshop styles are very thorough and actually have well-vetted information that actually sticks with you throughout your time here. Wherever you might find yourself, always remember to be safe and stay with a group, as this is often the best way to make sure you all have a good time and make it back home safely. 

IV Resources

There are a bevy of resources in the region of Isla Vista. IV Foot Patrol is a division of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office that monitors IV regularly and thoroughly. They are an excellent resource for anything from noise complaints to general safety concerns. Additionally we have IV Clinic, which is a healthcare facility and can take care or a range of ailments, or, help you to find a branch of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics which can take care of your specific ailment. 

As far as cultural resources, we’d like you to consider Island View Outfitters as your premier cultural hub. All of the team members here (promptly titled The Island View Crew) have undying passions for UCSB, IV, and the general Santa Barbara area. Our team consists of several UCSB Alumni as well as current and potential students who have all experienced Isla Vista and UCSb in their own unique ways. Whether you have a question or just want to chat, we want you to know that our doors are always open to any member of the community we’re so fortunate to be a part of. 

IV Foot Patrol: (805)681-4179 https://www.sbsheriff.org/command-and-divisions/law-enforcement-operations/south-county-operations-division/isla-vista-foot-patrol/

IV Neighborhood Clinic: (805)968-1511

Island View Outfitters: (805)845-1333, retail@theivsp.com, Insta: @ivscreenprinting Facebook: Island View Outfitters 

From all of us on the Island View Crew, we want to sincerely welcome you to University of California, Santa Barbara. We do understand this might not have been the orientation you were expecting, but we do hope that what we’ve learned sets you on your way for the best possible time you can when you get here. If you have any questions regarding any of this, or if there is a topic we might have missed, please DM us on Instagram @ivscreenprinting or email us at retail@theivsp.com

Additional Information: 
Surviving the IV Housing Search by Morgan Wilson - https://islandviewoutfitters.com/blogs/news/surviving-the-iv-housing-search
Start the Quarter Off Right: Establish Your Study Group by Morgan Wilson - 
UCSB/IV Facebook Essentials by Morgan Wilson - 
Mental Check-In: First Week Back by Brock Clark - 
Hot Spots: IV Food Edition 1 by Brock Clark -
What to Bring to Class Day 1 by Morgan Wilson -
Guide to Biking at UCSB by Brock Clark -
What to do with Free Time Between Classes by Jayne Butler -