10 Best Party Schools In California


What is the #1 party school in California?

California is home to some of the best colleges in the nation. With over 150 schools, it’s hard to pick just 10. That being said, there are certainly some standouts that have become a household names for their parties and culture.

1. University of California, Santa Barbara

UCSB is a large public university located in Santa Barbara, California. It is one of the top party schools in California, as well as being ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best universities in the nation for undergraduate teaching and research.

UCSB offers over 100 majors and programs, including communication studies; environmental studies; international business; psychology; sociology; theater arts, and performance studies. The school also has several art museums on campus—including an art gallery that displays student work—as well as a botanical garden with more than 3,000 species of plants from around the world.

Related: 51 Best Information Technology Colleges In California

2. University of Southern California

All of these factors contribute to USC being ranked the #1 party school in California. The university has a high rate of binge drinking, heavy alcohol consumption, and drug use. It also has a high rate of sexual assault and sexual violence as well as suicide.

If you’re looking for a fun college experience, then USC may not be the best choice for you.


3. California Polytechnic State University

Located in San Luis Obispo, the Cal Poly party school is home to 19,868 students. The college was founded in 1901 and quickly gained a reputation for being one of the best party schools in California.

The university has a 9.5/10 rating on the Princeton Review’s list of top party schools for 2019, which makes it number one on our list of 10 best party schools in California!

4. UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz is a public research university located in beautiful Santa Cruz, California. Originally founded as a branch of the University of California system in 1965, UC Santa Cruz has since become an independent institution with its own administration and budget—and it shows! The school’s stunning campus is home to 18,057 undergraduate students who enjoy incredible weather and tons of activities year-round.

UC Santa Cruz offers 105 different majors across seven schools: Engineering and Applied Sciences; Arts & Humanities; Social Sciences; Physical Education & Recreation; Biological Sciences; Education; Linguistics & Literature (the only department not located on campus). Students at UCSC can choose from 16 different graduate programs ranging from psychology to oceanography to cultural studies (which you should know if you want your next party guest list ready!).

5. UC San Diego

Located in the University Heights neighborhood of San Diego, California, UC San Diego is one of the 10 campuses of the University of California system. It is a public research university with an undergraduate enrollment that was 21,968 in the Fall of 2017.

UC San Diego offers 128 bachelor’s degrees, 60 master’s degrees, and 38 doctoral programs through its 15 schools and colleges including basic medical sciences; arts; business administration; engineering; environmental sciences; ethnic studies/diversity studies; journalism and media studies; kinesiology (physical education); liberal arts and sciences; medicine; nursing practice & health professions education (undergraduate); pharmacy practice & pharmaceutical sciences (graduate).

6. UC Davis

UC Davis is a public research university located in Davis, California. It is the flagship institution of the University of California system and offers 124 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across its 10 colleges. UC Davis has an enrollment of over 36,000 students.

UC Davis was established in 1908 as the state’s agricultural college. Now it is one of three University of California campuses that offer an English language international program for undergraduate students at other UC campuses (the others being Berkeley and San Diego).

7. San Diego State University

San Diego State University is a party school for many reasons. First, the school has a large Greek life and student population. Second, students who live off campus and study abroad contribute to the party scene on campus. Third, students from SDSU are known to frequent many bars in San Diego (a popular party city). Fourthly—and most importantly—SDSU’s mascot is Montezuma the Aztec Warrior, which means that he wears nothing but his golden sash and loincloth. The fact that this man can fight all day long without clothing makes him an inspiration to all young men looking to live it up at their college campuses

8. UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley is a public research university in Berkeley, California. It was founded in 1868 and serves as the flagship institution of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system.

UC Berkeley offers 104 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines to approximately 40,000 students. The university has been perennially ranked among the top five U.S. universities by U.S. News & World Report, with its academic programs consistently ranked among the top two percent worldwide.


UCLA is the second oldest public university in the state of California and the largest campus in the UC system. UCLA offers a wide variety of academic programs in more than 200 majors and over 130 minors. The school’s faculty is made up of some 2,700 research scientists, 1,300 full-time professors, and 700 lecturers.

UCLA students come from every county in California as well as over 100 countries around the world.

10. Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University is a public university located in Arcata, California. The university is part of the 23-campus California State University system and was founded in 1923, making it one of the oldest colleges in California’s higher education system.

Humboldt State offers over 80 undergraduate degrees and 20 graduate degrees on its campus. Students can choose from programs such as art history, environmental studies, and biology among others at Humboldt State University.

This list is compiled from three reputable sources which show a high level of consistency in their ratings.

To determine the best party schools in California, we compiled a list of ten prestigious universities that were highly rated by three different sources. These sources included U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges list, Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges ranking and Niche’s Party Schools ranking. They are:

  • University of California-Berkeley
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University (CT)
  • Harvard University (MA)
  • Princeton University (NJ) * Princeton Review Top Party School Ranking 2018 #1


In conclusion, California has some of the best party schools in the United States. We hope this list helps you find the perfect school for your needs!

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