Arts and Entertainment Editor
Have you been looking for some good study spots or great food at UCSB? Are you wondering whether you should try out popular chains like Freebirds and Starbucks, or opt for some lesser-known sensations? This article explores the best of the best in and around UCSB for snacking and studying.
10. The Lib: Got a Date with Davidson?
This location barely makes the cut because it’s often overcrowded — just visit the popular fourth floor to see what I mean. However, certain corners inside UCSB’s Davidson Library are perfect study spots. If you’re actually looking to study, not socialize, then the quiet floors on the uppermost levels are generally sparsely populated. If you’re looking for a place to study with a few friends, I would recommend a group study or special collection room. The Ethnic and Gender Studies Collection, located on the second floor of Ocean Side, is one spot that provides a secluded repose.
9. Caje: I Won’t Be Cajey About this Secret
Located near the entrance of I.V., Caje is the perfect Insta-worthy cafe, because the food is just as aesthetic as the atmosphere. Caje has a soothing, earthy vibe, which helps if you’re studying for stressful exams or writing frustrating papers. It has tables, both outdoors and indoors, and free wifi, which makes it a great spot for group studying.
8. The Habit Burger Grill: An Unbreakable Habit
Located just outside Pardall Tunnel, The Habit Burger Grill is on nearly every I.V. resident’s commute home. Now that Silvergreens went and took burgers off their menu, Habit is about the only decent burger place in I.V.
7. Santorini Island Grill: The Only Greek Restaurant at UCSB
Sure, you’ll grab Panda Express or Jamba Juice at the UCEN sometimes, but Santorini Island Grill is about the only Greek food you can find in and around UCSB. I’d recommend the gyros pita meal, the falafel pita meal, or the California pita meal. However, neither vegetarians nor meat-eaters can go wrong with any option. With indoor and outdoor seating, it’s a great spot to eat while you do some reading.
6. The Arbor: The Arbor Has Its Days, but Where are the Trees?
Located just across from the library, The Arbor is the largest convenience store on campus, with a Subway, Woodstock’s, and its own coffee window. It’s often hard to find a seat, but you can always sit on the lawn outside the library. Almost every UCSB student has bought something they’ve loved from The Arbor while hanging out in between classes.
5. The Courtyard Cafe: For Engineering Students (or Those Adventurous Explorers)
The Courtyard Cafe is really the only food option in the far northeast corner of campus. It has hot meals and on-the-go snacks, as well as a yummy restaurant: Yoshinoya. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on their crepes and baked goods. It’s like The Arbor, but more similar to a restaurant or cafe than a convenience store, qualifying as a “hidden gem” on campus.
4. Fire and Ice: Hot Mochi Balls and Cold Boba
Often overlooked, Fire and Ice takes fourth place for its amazing mochi balls and boba. Fire and Ice is the perfect restaurant to check out because it’s located on many students’ route home after a long night at the library. I personally love their mochi balls made out of sesame and their peanut-butter chocolate shake with boba, but anything on the menu is delicious. I’d definitely recommend this place for a late-night study snack.
3. IV Drip: Infusions of Ice Cream
Be prepared to gain the freshman fifteen — or maybe senior seventeen — off IV Drip alone. Don’t go all the way downtown to get your McConnell’s, because they sell it right here on Embarcadero del Norte. They also sell so much more: frozen yogurt, cookies, and coffee. Plus, IV Drip is open until midnight, making it the perfect reward after a grueling night of studying. With a clever name, this heaven-on-earth steals spot #3.
2. The SRB: Try it once, and you’ll BRB
The Student Resource Building may be the most neglected student resource on campus. Even though it houses the Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity, the Student Mental Health Coordination Services, and the Women, Gender, and Sexual Equity (WGSE), among other great programs, it’s generally overlooked by passerby. I encourage all students to take advantage of their free (or tuition-sponsored) events, like study jams with snacks, confidential HIV testing, and yoga classes. A little-known college hack is that you don’t ever actually have to buy scantrons; you just have to stop by a sponsored event to pick them up.
1. The Great Outdoors: Enough Said
UCSB’s proximity to the beach is one of its most enduring draws. We’re one of the few campuses located right on the water, so visit Sands at the end of IV to study there. Hang out at one of the many beach-side parks in IV, like Pelican Park or Sea Lookout Park. Sit on one of the lawns or in a quad on campus — we’ve got dozens of hidden, beautiful ones! Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a returning senior, take the time to enjoy the stunning nature that surrounds us during your time here.