A Guide to Student Life at SBBCollege Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is the second most populous city in Santa Barbara County, and is popular with tourists thanks to its Mediterranean style climate. The exotic weather and the many beaches and parks which cover the city make for a uniquely relaxing environment to study in.

Set in the busy downtown region of the city, our college in Santa Barbara is close to the many amenities and activities which are available in the area. You will find nothing is particularly far away from the campus, making it a great place for students of any age to enjoy an active social life.

On Campus

SBBCollege in Santa Barbara was our original campus, established in 1888 – making it one of the oldest colleges in the country. This established presence, and its central location in one of the liveliest coastal areas of California, makes it a popular campus choice for many students.

Set in busy downtown Santa Barbara, there is always something to do on and around the campus. Whether it’s joining in with our regular campus activities and fund-raising events or exploring the local parks, beaches and shopping areas - you can afford to relax as we provide all of the resources to make sure you get the most out of your education.

Nearby Facilities

Shopping: Santa Barbara has a range of world class shopping options, from high class fashion brands to small independent stores. Just off campus you will find State Street, the hub of shopping in the city with a range of malls and street front stores. There is a mini-mart 2 minutes off campus, and a supermarket only a short drive away.

US Post Office: The local Post Office can be found on Anacapa Street, less than 10 minutes’ walk from campus.

Public Library: Less than one mile from campus is the large Santa Barbara Public Library, which has a large collection capable of meeting the research needs of most students.

Movie Theaters: There are 4 movie theaters within one mile of the campus, showing a wide range of new releases and classic films. The closest is the Metro 4 Theatre, just a few minutes’ walk away.

City Parks: Santa Barbara has many centrally located parks; within walking distance of the campus you will find Pershing Park, Shoreline Park and Honda Valley. All of these areas offer a range of leisure facilities and extensive walking routes.

The Santa Barbara Bowl

Music lovers will love The Santa Barbara Bowl; an outdoor amphitheater carved into the hillside. This historic music venue was first built in 1936, and has undergone major redevelopments without losing its unique character. It now plays host to the biggest names in music, making sure all the best tours hit Santa Barbara – and it’s only a 10 minute drive from campus.


Santa Barbara has an almost overwhelming selection of beautiful golden beaches. Within walking distance of our campus is East Beach and Leadbetter Beach, both popular locations with facilities including barbeque pits, bike paths, volleyball courts and tidal pools.


Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History: The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is well known for an impressive selection of exhibits, including an iconic Blue Whale skeleton which weighs almost 8000 pounds.

Santa Barbara Historical Museum: The Historical Museum, just 10 minutes’ walk off campus, has a large selection of over 80,000 artifacts. The Story of Santa Barbara exhibit offers a fascinating insight into the history of the city.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art: This local institution is less than a mile from campus and offers a stunning selection for art lovers, showcasing a wide selection of Ancient Art from around the world alongside a regular rotation of new exhibits.

The Waterfront

Santa Barbara’s Waterfront area is a popular spot with locals, thanks to the wide range of bars and restaurants on offer. Stretching across most of the city’s coastline, the Waterfront is always a hive of activity with something worth checking out. 

Lake Cachuma

Just a 25 minute drive off campus is the stunning Lake Cachuma, a man-made artificial lake which offers exceptional views over the Santa Ynez Valley. As well as soaking up the views, you can partake in a number of organized activities such as wildlife cruises, nature walks and camping by the lake.

Urban Wine Trail

Santa Barbara is a wine region, and the Urban Wine Trail is one of the most fun ways to experience this part of the culture. The trail hits 22 independent downtown wineries and provides the perfect excuse to sample the many great wines created in the region. Best of all, you don’t have to complete the full trail, just stop off for a taste where you feel like it.

Channel Islands National Park

Encompassing five of the eight Channel Islands off the main coast of California, this spectacular attraction is home to a huge number of plant and animal species – you can glimpse everything from seals and sea lions to owls and even a blue whale.  

Channel Islands National Park

Photo Credit: Derek Lohuis, National Park Service - Channel Islands National Park.

1st Thursday

1st Thursday is a celebration of art and culture held on the first Thursday of every month in downtown Santa Barbara. Participating shops and galleries across the area host free art events which are open to the general public. Best of all, a number of the participating venues are located on the nearby State Street, making it super convenient for campus students.


A major benefit of Santa Barbara’s coastline location is the incredible selection of fresh seafood available throughout the city. This culminates every July with the city’s popular Seafood Festival, which coincides with the opening of lobster season.

Local News

In such a busy community, you will need these local media sources to keep you up to date with everything that’s going on.

Find out more about the great range of programs available at SBBCollege Santa Barbara.

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