Just west of the UC Santa Barbara campus, Isla Vista is an integral part of life at UCSB. The town is dominated by students at UCSB and Santa Barbara City College. This young population defines a vibrant culture for Isla Vista, as seen from its residents’ obsession with surfing, grab-and-go food, front yard activities and many more essential elements of life there.
Although the coronavirus pandemic means most incoming students will begin their journey away from the campus, we hope these photos taken over a 24-hour period can provide a glimpse into the daily life of the community.
A version of this article appeared on p.8 of the August 27, 2020 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
3 a.m. When the student population of Isla Vista is fast asleep, essential workers are laboring to keep the town running. Here, a truck driver unloads vegetables near the intersection of Seville Road and Embarcadero del Mar, where several popular restaurants are located. (Sicheng Wang / Daily Nexus)
6 a.m. There is nothing more exultant than seeing the sunrise in Isla Vista, especially on the way to campus. Though the campus is closed and all instruction is remote, some students are still up early in the morning. (Kaiyi Yang / Daily Nexus)
9 a.m. Most residents of Isla Vista are still at home during this time, while stores start preparing for the day’s work. Despite fewer students living in Isla Vista, most stores are still open and providing the community with service and convenience. (Kaiyi Yang / Daily Nexus)
12 a.m. People dine at Woodstock’s Pizza, a restaurant popular among students. During quarantine, restaurants have proceeded with outdoor business in Isla Vista. The outdoor tables enable people to enjoy their food and time with friends while maintaining social distancing. (Kaiyi Yang / Daily Nexus)
3 p.m. When the afternoon sun beats down on Isla Vista, one’s backyard is the place for yoga, beer die or at-home concerts powered by a Bluetooth speaker. Even under the unusual circumstances nowadays, one can still enjoy a socially distanced drink. (Sicheng Wang / Daily Nexus)
6 p.m. The evening sun on a drying wetsuit is quintessential Isla Vista. That’s because surf culture is not just a pastime here — it’s a way of life. (Max Abrams / Daily Nexus)
9 p.m. As the sunlight retreats beneath the horizon, it gives way to Isla Vista’s nighttime glow from street lights and neon signs. At SOS Liquor, a splash of light and a natural vignette brought this eclectic storefront to life. (Max Abrams / Daily Nexus)
12 a.m. Coal Oil Point is the westmost corner of the stretch of shoreline that holds UCSB and Isla Vista. Away from artificial light, it is the ideal place to see the galaxy on a summer night. (Sicheng Wang / Daily Nexus)