Thanks a lot for the info! No, I haven't been able to visit because I'm still continuing my master's and don't have much time to travel. To me, UCI seems much better climate-wise (I would love to live somewhere where it's always sunny) but I'm trying to base my choice on the academics (maybe I'm wrong in doing that
) since I will be applying for post-doc positions after my PhD. It's nice to know that they have a similar West Coast Culture. I already have my research advisor set at UBC and I'm in contact with him and love his work. I emailed profs at UCI after my acceptance and they haven't returned my email yet (seems like a bad sign). But it seems like they are doing much more computation than theory, and I want more theoretical work. This is only based on their webpages though, so hopefully they will get back to me and I'll know more. Honestly, I would much rather live at Irvine but UBC seems like a better choice academically, although I'm not so sure.
I had felt like asking them "your school or some other school" would be a bit rude. It's nice to know that they respond well to those type of questions. I will probably email again and ask their opinion on the schools specifically then.