Santa Barbara City College

View over the buildings and coastline of Santa Barbara

Student life in Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is located in California on the west coast of the U.S.A., just 1.5 hour away from Los Angeles. The city of 90,000 inhabitants is a gem between the mountains of Santa Ynez and the sea. Combining the best of what California has to offer, Santa Barbara is an amazing place to live and to study!

Student life in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is truly a student city, as both the Santa Barbara City College and UC Santa Barbara are found here. There are also many opportunities for the sporty, the adventurous and the cultural types. Get active with some great outdoor sports, go shopping on State Street and enjoy some of the best restaurants and nightlife this country has to offer. Nestled between the ocean and the mountains, this city has everything what California is about, combining the art & culture of the big city and the convenience and safety of a small, coastal town. Santa Barbara is an amazing place to live and to study!

If you want to get the big city feeling, Los Angeles and San Franciso are not too far away for a getaway. After an only 1.5 hour drive, you can be soaking up the atmosphere in LA. Getting up to San Franciscoo will take you approximately 6 hours. Rent a car and get out there in your free time for some adventures.

Los Angeles is only 1,5 hours away of Santa Barbara


California has something for everyone. If you like beaches, you are in the right spot. With a coastline of more than 1.100 miles you will definitely find something that will suit you. But beaches are not the only thing California has to offer. Being the creative and cultural headquarter, the cultural and artistic scene is so diverse, offering something for everyone. If you are looking for more outdoor activities, have a look at the beautiful national parks, lakes, forests, sports and vineyard this area has to offer. From Death Valley to Yosemite National Park, from beaches to snowy mountains and a great nightlife scene California has it all. 

Travel and see Yosemite National Park

15 things to do for free in Santa Barbara

Even though Santa Barbara can be quite expensive, there are still plenty of things to do for free. Enjoy some museums, parks, beaches and more without spending a fortune during your time abroad.

  1. Head down to State Street and get a feeling of the local culture. 
  2. For beach lovers, one of Santa Barbara's best kept secrets is Santa Claus Beach! For some celebrity spotting and showing off your beach body go to Butterfly Beach in Montecito.
  3. Do some whale watching from Shoreline Park from where you will have a view on the migratory path of the whales. 
  4. Sniff up some local culture by participating in a downtown art walk, hosted every first Thursday evening of the month. Expect for galleries, art-related venues and shops opening their doors, you can also enjoy some wine tastings, live music and performances.  
  5. Every Sunday, you can stroll along the waterfront on Cabrillo Boulevard to see the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show and enjoy the creations of local artists. 
  6. Take a daytrip to the Nojoqui Falls and make the 15 minutes uphill walk to see the waterfall. 
  7. Enjoy some delicious food and the atmosphere at the downtown Farmer's Market.
  8. Make a drive along the scenic Highway 154 to the Santa Barbara Wine Country (the scenery is free, although the wine on the way not).
  9. Relax at the oceanfront Carpinteria State Beach Park. 
  10. Try out your skater skills at Skater's Point with its ramps, halfpipes and rails, located right at the beach along the Cabrillo bike path. 
  11. Go for a hike to Inspiration Point, one of the most popular hiking destination in the Santa Barbara region. The hike up will take you about one to two hours.
  12. Head out to the Guadalupe Dunes. During summer some parts can be fenced off as it is the nesting season of the snowy plover birds. 
  13. Check out the catch of the day at Stroll Stearns Wharf, the oldest still working pier on the west coast.
  14. Between December and May, you can visis the Carpineria Sea Sanctuary and enjoy watching the seals along the shore.  
  15. Enjoy the pitoresque sunset view of the coastline at Goleta point. This peninsula is also perfect for hiking. 

Enjoy a bike ride in sunny California

Activities for students at Santa Barbara City College

At Santa Barbara City College life is about more than just studies alone. Outside of class, you have the option to participate in sports, social events, theatre, arts and different organized hikes. With almost 50 different student clubs, you will for sure find something of your taste and it is a great way to get involved and meet other students. If not, no panic, you can always just start your own club. 


The climate is subtropical and comfortable year round. The average temperature varies between 15°C and 25°C in August and between 7°C and 18°C in January.

Rent a car in California

California is a great destination for a roadtrip. Rent a car and go for a weekend getaway with your friends along the coast or plan the roadtrip of your life after finishing your semester. 

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