Isla Vista is a census designated place directly west of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and immediately north of the Pacific Ocean. Residents of Isla Vista (known locally as simply IV) have mailing addresses in the nearby town of Goleta. According to the 2000 census, the population is 18,344. Most of these are students at the university. Some attend Santa Barbara City College, and some, known as "locals", aren't necessarily students at all.

Since the University moved to its current location the number of locals in IV has been declining as the student populatino has increased. Recently some apartments have begun to evict local residents, with the goal of converting them to student-only housing.

Isla Vista is a practical paradise for students. Food of many types is readily available. The two most well-known resturaunts are Freebirds and Woodstock's, serving burritos and pizza, respectively. Freebirds is also noteworth for being open 24 hours a day. There is also sushi, curry, sandwiches, coffee, hamburgers, and many other types of food available.

And of course no discussion of Isla Vista would be complete without touching upon Del Playa. DP is the street closest to the ocean, with the homes on its southern side practically falling off the cliff into the ocean. This street is famous for its wild parties. On an average Friday or Saturday night half the houses on the street are hosting parties, and many of those are open to anyone who wants to wander in from the street.

There is a heavy police presence in IV, primarily because of the party atmosphere. The Isla Vista Foot Patrol is a collaboration between the UCPD and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff. A number of officers from both police departments are stationed there, and patrol the area. Additionally, the CSO is an organization of students associated with the UCPD that is authorized to issue bicycle related citations, and also helps escort students around IV and campus late at night.