Located west of Santa Barbara, Goleta is where the real party is at. The airport is here. The college is here. The most densely populated square mile west of the Mississippi is here. The annual lemon festival is here. The K-Mart and The Home Depot are here. Oh, and the sassy pop firework known as Katy Perry is from here. All elements of an epic party.

The Santa Barbara Municipal Airport is here in Goleta. Plane tickets are slightly more expensive than LAX but worth avoiding the monotony of LA traffic. The Santa Barbara Airport is a hop on hop off sort of place, with mainly business commuters popping in for trips around the globe.

The University of California Santa Barbara is actually just west of Santa Barbara, in Goleta. Home to five Nobel laureates and twelve national institutes and centers, UCSB is grandiose and absolutely gorgeous, and highly academic of course. Since it lounges quite comfortably on the coast, students have to have their swimsuit bodies year round, hence their notable claim to fame as being the second fittest school in the nation. With an incredible men’s soccer team, a very reputable Graduate School of Education, and their own square mile of mayhem in Isla Vista, UCSB has become a magical place to go to school.

Isla Vista. Supposedly the most densely populated square mile west of the Mississippi. Kids stacked on top of kids, stacked on top of some more kids. IV is where most of UCSB’s students reside. Most, as in a very small fraction of the student population chooses to escape the mayhem. Most prefer to wallow in it, indulging in the porridge of Greek life, surf lingo, and bike accidents. Crammed full of recycled apartment complexes and duplexes, Isla Vista is a must see anomaly. Del Playa Street runs parallel and closest to the ocean, and is the party promenade. The chaos diffuses from there as you walk away from the ocean towards El Colegio Road. The IV Master Plan has since redeemed the community. Go check it out, and grab some Freebirds while you’re there.

Santa Barbara is known for its festivals. Every year the city of Goleta hosts the California Lemon Festival. It’s fun. It’s informative. It’s exciting for friends of all ages. And the lemonade is exceptional. Held in October, the Lemon Festival is a fantastic way to kick off the fall season.

The Camino Real Marketplace is one of Santa Barbara’s premier shopping centers and it’s located in Goleta. With big box stores like K-Mart, CostCo, Borders, Best Buy, and Home Depot, you can most certainly find everything you need in this convenient marketplace. The center was designed to provide plenty of free parking with access to all the establishments from that one lot. There are tons of boutiques, restaurants, and convenience stores to choose from and you can leave your car in the same spot the whole time! Also, check out the farmer’s market held every Sunday and Thursday, where you can delight in fresh produce and other goods brought in by local growers. Other marketplaces like the Fairview Shopping Center and the Calle Real Marketplace have everything else that Camino Real is lacking. Fairview has Michael’s and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Calle Real has endless dining opportunities and Trader Joe’s.

Pop princess Katy Perry is from Goleta. Yes, it’s true. She sang in the choir at Dos Pueblos High School, which is located just off Glen Annie Road. Goleta is a family friendly sort of town with several elementary schools, a middle school (Goleta Valley Junior High), and a high school. Plush with parks like Girsh and Evergreen, there’s no limit to recreation in Goleta. They’ve got their own eighteen hole Frisbee golf course, softball, baseball, and soccer fields galore, as well as basketball courts and a myriad of playgrounds to choose from.

Something else to take note of in Goleta is their Ellwood Mesa Open Space. Although a recent housing development has sprouted up, the monarch groves still exist. Every winter the trees of the Ellwood Butterfly Preserve are cluttered with thousands of beautiful orangey black monarch butterflies. It’s an extravagant experience, especially when the sun peeks out, causing the butterflies to flit around with carefreedom. Absolutely magical.

Overall, Goleta is a very desirable place to live and work. A lot of Santa Barbara’s industrial complexes are out in Goleta. Also, Goleta has the only bowling alley in Santa Barbara County, and they’ve got their own library too. This community is Santa Barbara’s young and virile next door neighbor, providing everything that Santa Barbara is lacking. And more.