The city is both dominated by Christian Chavacano speakers and the Muslim Tausug people. It serves as the economic center of Basilan, though it has been separated from Basilan after the rest of Basilan voted for inclusion into the Bangsamoro. The surrounding area remains volatile due to the ongoing Islamic insurgency, and the tourism industry has stagnated.
There is regular ferry service from Zamboanga port to Isabela City. See the Basilan page for details.
There are no flights to Isabela City; the nearest one is in Zamboanga.
- Basilan Fish Port.
- Basilan Provincial Capitol. Constructed with elegant Middle-Eastern architectural lines reflecting the majority Muslim population (70%) of the Island Province
- Cabunbata Falls.
- Cathedral of Santa Isabel de Portugal. The seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Basilan and Prelature of Isabela, built in 1960s modern-art style with a distinctively Classical Roman mosaic for an altar wall.
- Kaumpurnah Mosque (Basilan Mosque). Historic seat of Islamic faith and teaching in Basilan, can be seen as you enter the Isabela Channel.
- Mount Basilan.
- Annual Cocowayan Festival - Anniversary of the Cityhood of Isabela, April 25
- Fiesta Santa Isabel - Annual Feast of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, July 8
- Alano White Beach Resort - located on the northern part of scenic Malamawi Island, features white sand beaches, day cottages and basic amenities for a day of fun with family and friends
- Barandino Farm - located on the eastern part of city, it is 12 kilometers from the main city and has hectares coconut and fruit trees
- Sumagdang Beach Resort - a publicly owned beach resort
- Isawad Resort - an inland pool and water park located in Cabunbata Barangay
- Yakan Crafts - showcasing authentic Yakan cloth designs and souvenir products, located at J.S.Alano (Zenith) Bldg.
- Lolo Jose Grille and Restaurant.
- Font's Restaurant.
- JJ Twin's Pavilion.
- Mon's Kitchen.
- Emerald Cafe.
- Eathel's Burger Joint.