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Santa Barbara

Student housing in Santa Barbara

Known as ‘America’s Riviera,’ Santa Barbara offers one of the most fascinating student experiences you can find.

Make your home in this clean, safe, and stunningly beautiful coastal city with affordable student accommodation from Student.com.

We have shared dorms and private student apartments for rent in Santa Barbara at a reasonable cost with everything you need for an enjoyable experience. Live in chilled-out student communities, right next to UC Santa Barbara and just blocks from the beach where you can enjoy fantastic ocean views.

For more information on the student housing in Santa Barbara we offer, call us, or drop us a message on our website’s live chat. Our booking consultants are always happy to help and answer any questions you may have!

Santa Barbara at a glance

One of America’s greatest small towns, Santa Barbara is where the sun feels more golden, the sea and mountains feel as one, and the valleys overflow with a bounty of colour.

Home to just under 100,000 people, you’ll get the cosy feel of a smaller city. But for such a small town in the largely metropolitan coastal California, Santa Barbara gets big love, thanks mostly to its natural beauty.

Stunning landscape

With Instagram-worthy locations abound, it’s easy to get enchanted by the city’s allure.

Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean on the Central Coast of California, Santa Barbara is where stunning oceanic scenery meets fascinating mountain adventures.

Located just 95 miles (150 kilometres) northwest of Los Angeles, this coastal California darling offers sweeping ocean panoramas, exhilarating outdoor adventures, fascinating arts and culture, and a wide variety of local food and wine.

Enjoy wine tasting rooms, art galleries, microbreweries, and other creative local boutiques steps from the beach and downtown. A warm Mediterranean climate ensures that most of the city’s attractions are accessible throughout the year.

Rich Spanish heritage

Dominated by Spanish-style architecture, the city’s red tile roofs dot the landscape of green rolling hills that flatten out into sandy beaches and a bustling harbour.

Picturesque buildings such as the Santa Barbara Mission, known as the Queen of the Missions for its beauty, and the iconic Santa Barbara County Courthouse, provide a glimpse into the past and reflect the city’s Spanish heritage.

Bright and happy, Santa Barbara will also allow you to embrace some of the finer things in life.

Wine Country

While more renowned for its Spanish Colonial architecture, picturesque scenery, historical monuments, and year-round temperate weather, Santa Barbara is also a worthy destination for wine enthusiasts.

Walk the Santa Barbara urban wine trail or take a day trip to Los Olivos’ best wineries to see for yourself why the city has an excellent wine reputation.

Student life in Santa Barbara

With oceanfront views, plenty of sunshine, miles of pristine white sandy beaches, a thriving live music scene, a wide range of restaurants, and plenty of free attractions, what more can you ask for an awesome student experience? It’s clear that Santa Barbara has a whole lot to offer.

And thankfully, you can soak up a lot of it without dipping into your pocket.

Put your credit card away and enjoy Santa Barbara’s many natural charms. Sample the miles of publicly accessible beaches, soaring mountains, verdant vineyards, elevated enclaves, and serene parks.

California’s inviting coastline is perfectly suited to almost every imaginable recreational activity. Take full advantage of Santa Barbara’s most famous natural assets and try surfing or kite boarding at any of its breath-taking beaches.

But there is more to enjoy in Santa Barbara than just soaking up its epic outdoor adventures.

Nightlife

After a long day of sunbathing on the beach or exploring incredible waterfalls while you hike through picturesque mountains, spend the night letting your hair down to some live music or playing bocce ball under the stars.

Whether you’re in the mood for a festive night on the town or a more chilled evening with friends, Santa Barbara’s nightlife has something to suit every mood. Several dive bars, posh lounges, and rowdy clubs serve up live music and special performances.

Live music

Santa Barbara’s live music scene is thriving. Whether you enjoy indie bands or musical giants, there are plenty of options to enjoy a splendid night of music.

The Granada, Arlington, and Lobero theatres sit in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District. For a more intimate and picturesque experience, Santa Barbara Bowl is surrounded by stately oaks and natural rock formations. The 4,500-seat amphitheatre hosts everyone from classic artists to current music sensations.

Bars & lounges

Whatever the occasion, you’ll find the right bar or lounge with fitting ambience and entertainment in Santa Barbara.

Taste the spirits of the “American Riviera” at Cutler’s Artisan Spirits in the “Funk Zone,” the city’s bustling hub of arts, dining, retail, and business. Indulge your senses with a pitcher of sangria on the rooftop of The Canary Hotel. Tickle your taste buds with a hand-crafted cocktail at Loquita, or chug a few beers while catching a game at Sandbar, the festive Mexican eatery & tequila bar.

Dining

With over 450 different restaurants there are plenty of top-notch dining options to choose from in Santa Barbara, from five-star dining to mom-and-pop cafés.

No matter your taste, you’ll certainly find plenty of great food in Santa Barbara that is sure to delight you, from Mediterranean flavours to spicy regional Mexican cuisine.

There are also plenty of farm-to-table and local fare. If you’re a seafood lover, enjoy the catch of the day, fresh from the ocean. Stearns Wharf connects sea and land with its fresh seafood eateries. For more stylish delights, head to State Street. For contemporary cuisines, visit the “Funk Zone.“

No matter where you choose to dine or what you choose to eat, there’s likely to be a selection of local wines grown nearby to jazz up your dining experience. Take advantage of fresh ingredients paired with local wines and beers, you’re likely to discover a taste you won’t find anywhere else.

Where to study in Santa Barbara?

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

The University of California, Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara) is one of the top public universities in the state of California and part of the University of California system.

As one of the so-called Public Ivy universities, UCSB is a highly regarded university, ranking 68th in the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In QS’s 2023 World University Rankings it placed 149th.

Though it specialises in liberal arts, UCSB also introduces students to novel ways of thinking, learning, and conducting research in the engineering and sciences fields.

The university offers over 200 degrees at all levels across The College of Letters and Science, The College of Engineering, and The College of Creative Studies.

A prestigious research institute, UCSB is one of only 62 research-intensive institutions elected to membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities.

The university’s 1,000-member faculty comprises five Nobel Prize winners. It also includes scores of elected members or fellows of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

While close to the city, UCSB is situated between California’s Pacific coastline and the Santa Ynez Mountains, in a setting removed from the urban pressures and distractions. It’s one of a few American universities that has its own beach and a lagoon.

Santa Barbara City College

A fully accredited community college, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is home to over 15,000 students, about 1,000 of whom are international students from more than 80 different countries.

The college offers over 100 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide range of occupation/career fields.

SBCC is consistently ranked among the top community colleges in the country. It was ranked #1 for three years in a row (2018–2020) by Best Value Community Colleges.

SBCC acts as somewhat of a feeder institute for universities, facilitating the first two years of study toward a four-year degree.

Many international students start at SBCC before transferring to UCSB and other four-year schools. It transfers more students to UCSB than any other college.

Located about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles, the SBCC campus is only steps from the beach. Sitting on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it offers one of the most picturesque locations in America.

Frequently asked questions about student apartments in Santa Barbara

How do I apply for affordable, off-campus student housing in Santa Barbara on Student.com?

You can use our search filters and map feature to find the right off-campus student housing in Santa Barbara for you. When you’ve found a place you like, click on ‘View rooms’ to go to the property page.

On the property page you’ll need to choose your preferred room type. Once you’ve made you choice, click on ‘Book now’ and leave your contact details. One of our booking consultants will soon get in touch with you and take you through the next steps of the booking process.

What are the different types of rooms you offer?

We offer three different types of rooms in Santa Barbara:

Shared Rooms – Here you share your room with a roommate. Bathroom and kitchen are also shared.

Private Rooms – You won’t have to share your bedroom, as you’ll get one just for yourself. Depending on the property, your bathroom may be either private or shared. Other living facilities are shared with fellow students.

Entire Place – A fully private self-contained apartment where you’ll have all living facilities to yourself. You’ll have a private bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette, without having to share with anyone. Perfect if you love some privacy!

Are bills included in the cost of the rent?

Bills are not included in the rent for most of the properties we list in Santa Barbara. You can use the filters on this page to find properties that have bills included.

Are the apartments fully furnished?

As with bills, most apartments we list in Santa Barbara do not come furnished, but you can use the filters on this page to find properties that are rented fully furnished.