The SB Post

20+ Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Santa Barbara

Posted On: Thursday, Dec 3, 2015 10:39 AM

Looking for a unique way to celebrate the winter holidays? Stop the search! Santa Barbara is just the place for you and your loved ones to have a winter vacation. Thanks to Southern California’s temperate climate, holidays in the The American Riviera ® are always merry and bright. Play by the seashore instead of the snow, or linger over a glass of local sparkling wine. You might just glimpse monarch butterflies on their annual migration — if not reindeer! How’s that for holiday enchantment?

Holiday Guide to Santa Barbara
Photo By Insragram Fan @EyeSeeSB

Come together with friends and family at Santa Barbara’s many festive gatherings and experience traditions new and old, from the famous Parade of Lights with its sparkling boats to tasty Christmas tamales. The South Coast’s stroll-able scale and welcoming community make it easy to remain true to the spirit of the season. And if you need to get your shopping done, artisanal holiday boutiques and area shopping centers offer crowd-pleasing gift options.

Go ahead, read on for more ideas:


Sun., Dec. 6, 5:30 p.m., Santa Barbara waterfront

Santa Barbara’s annual Parade of Lights celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015. More than 30 boats adorned with thousands of lights and festive decorations will illuminate the waterfront as they navigate through the Santa Barbara Harbor and around Stearns Wharf. This year’s theme, “A Red, White and Blue Holiday,” honors past and present military veterans. Festivities start at 3 p.m. with Santa’s Village at the City Pier on Santa Barbara Harbor, featuring 10 tons of snow, elves with goody bags and visits with Santa. It all ends with a bang in a fireworks show launched from West Beach immediately following the boat parade. FREE. Click here for more information.

Fri., Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m., State Street (from Sola to Cota street intersections)

Families won’t want to miss the 63rd annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, led by very special Grand Marshal R2D2 (the droid from “Star Wars”)! More than 65,000 spectators will gather along State Street to cheer on a colossal contingent of high-stepping marching bands, fabulous holiday floats, spectacular performance groups, the Holiday Prince and Fairy, and Santa Claus atop his festive sleigh. This year’s theme is “World A’Glow.” Before the parade, join Santa for photos from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Paseo Nuevo Center Court. FREE. Click here for more information.

Fri., Dec. 11, 7 p.m., starts at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park, 123 E. Canon Perdido St.

Experience one of Santa Barbara’s oldest holiday traditions during “Una Noche de Las Posadas,” presented by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.The evening begins with a performance of holiday songs in the candlelit Presidio Chapel, followed by a procession that reenacts Mary and Joseph’s nine-day journey to Bethlehem in search of lodging (at “posadas” or inns). Stroll to historic Casa de la Guerra, where festivities continue with more singing, traditional refreshments and piñatas. FREE. Click here for more information.   

Holiday tours throughout December, Casa del Herrero, 1387 E. Valley Road, Montecito

There’s nothing like enjoying Casa del Herrero (the “house of the blacksmith”), a historic 11-acre estate in Montecito, when it’s decked out in finery for the holidays. During a special tour, get a glimpse of what Christmas in 1930s Montecito might have looked like. Visitors are invited to enjoy a cup of hot spiced cider while touring the gardens and rooms, which some liken to a miniature Hearst Castle for their splendor. A limited number of holiday tours in December are available by advance registration.

 “Christmas at the Casa” soirée, Sat., Dec. 5, 5 to 8 p.m., Casa del Herrero
In addition, Casa del Herrero’s year-long 90th anniversary celebration culminates with its annual “Christmas at the Casa” soirée, Sat., Dec. 5. History and interior design buffs won’t want to miss these rare treats. Ticket prices and more information: 805-565-5653 or click here for more information.

Sun., Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Santa Barbara Zoo, 500 Niños Drive

It’s a winter wonderland beneath palm trees at the Santa Barbara Zoo’s Snow Leopard Festival. More than 75 tons of snow are used to fashion sledding runs, create children’s play areas and placed in exhibits for snow leopards, gorillas, meerkats, otters and other animals. Kids can zoom down the zoo’s hilltop, play in the fresh powder and learn about these endangered creatures. Also offered are face painting, a California Condor Climbing Wall, photos with Santa and arts and crafts. FREE with zoo admission ($10-$15), $3 snow-area access. Click here for more information.  

Snow leopard Festival santa barbara zoo
Photo Credit: Santa Barbara Zoo


Sun., Dec. 6, 3 p.m., The Granada Theatre, 1214 State St.

“Merry-Achi Christmas” is a colorful and traditional Mexican holiday celebration full of seasonal songs and merriment. Headlining the exciting extravaganza is the twice Grammy-nominated Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández. Joining the group on stage is America’s first all-female, Grammy-nominated mariachi band, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles. Tickets start at $28. Click here for more information.

Sat., Dec. 19 and Sun., Dec. 20, shows both days at 2 and 7 p.m., Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St.

Santa Barbara Revels presents “The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of the Winter Solstice.” Subtitled “The Treasures of Spain,” this year’s engaging performance transports audiences to the crossroads of Andalusia in southern Spain, where indigenous Iberian, Moorish and Sephardic traditions converge. The costumed company performs lively dances and glorious music from more than four centuries of Spanish culture, accompanied by a brass ensemble and a troupe of traditional string and wind instruments. Tickets start at $15. Click here for more information.  

Sat., Dec. 19, 12:30 and 5 p.m., Ice in Paradise, 6985 Santa Felicia Drive, Goleta

Ice in Paradise, the brand new 46,500-square-foot recreational ice rink that opened in October, presents its inaugural holiday ice show. The seasonal spectacular features ice skating champions from around the U.S. and the world, including Olympian Brendan Kerry, plus members of the rink’s Figure Skating Club. A VIP Dessert Party follows at the Bacara Resort & Spa. Tickets start at $15. Click here for more information.

Santa Barbara Festival Ballet: Sat., Dec. 12 at 2:30 and 7 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St.  
State Street Ballet: Sat., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m., The Granada Theatre, 1214 State St.

No Christmas is complete without that time-honored tradition, “The Nutcracker” ballet, and Santa Barbara has two versions of the family favorite to choose from. Santa Barbara Festival Ballet’s production includes a cast of more than 100, including guest artist Russell Janzen of the New York City Ballet (as Cavalier), and live music by the Santa Barbara Symphony. State Street Ballet’s performance features Gustafson Dance students with live accompaniment by Opera San Luis Obispo Orchestra. Ticket prices vary.
Click here for more information on Santa Barbara Festival Ballet.
Click here for more information State Street Ballet.


Tuesdays through Saturdays through Dec. 19, 5 to 7:30 p.m., downtown Santa Barbara

Take a walking tour of downtown Santa Barbara focusing on the holiday splendor of State Street, starting at La Arcada Plaza, and learn to take successful photos at night with your cellphone or camera. Night photography can be challenging, but Eye See Santa Barbara will teach you to use flash, proper exposure and already illuminated subjects in a scene to reduce blurry images, as well as other techniques you can use year-round. Capture festive portraits while learning about iconic Santa Barbara landmarks, including theaters in the Historic Theatre District. $55. Click here for more information.

Sat., Dec. 5 and Sun., Dec. 6, Santa Barbara Public Market, 38 W. Victoria St.

Celebrate the most magical time of the year during the second annual Holiday Festival. Join the fun with free cookie decorating, visits with Santa and caroling on Saturday. Then come back for more on Sunday, with $5 tasting passports, ornament making, a holiday dessert cooking class, live entertainment and more. Holiday arts and crafts classes will take place both days. Click here for more information. 

Fri., Dec. 4 through Sun., Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open to 6 p.m. Friday), Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta del Sol

The 30th annual Folk & Tribal Arts Marketplace, the largest folk art show in Southern California, is a goldmine for treasure seekers. This shopping extravaganza features unique and exotic treasures sourced from 50 different countries, including Peru, Indonesia, Spain, Turkey, and more, with a fantastic selection of baskets, décor, ethnographic art, furniture, jewelry, pottery, rugs and sculpture. FREE admission. Click here for more information.

Open seven days a week, now through Thurs., Dec. 24, 807 State St.

A Santa Barbara tradition since 1968, the Yes Store is the original pop-up boutique for one-of-a-kind arts, crafts, jewelry, clothing and accessories handmade by local artisans. Among the store’s offerings, you’ll find wooden cutting boards, ceramic housewares, tooled leather purses, ornaments, printed cards, pendants, photography, wall art and more. Last-minute shoppers take note: the Yes Store is open through Christmas Eve. Click here for more information.

Fri., Nov. 27 through Thurs., Dec. 24, 651 Paseo Nuevo

Holiday festivities at one of downtown shoppers’ favorite malls kick off Black Friday, when many stores open early at 7 a.m. (and several the night before). Highly anticipated nightly “snowfall” takes place each evening in Paseo Nuevo’s Center Court, Monday through Saturday at 7 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 and 6 p.m., beginning Fri., Nov. 27. Sing along to classic wintery songs. Snap photos with Santa (every child gets a free gift!) and visit with his elves Fri., Nov. 27 through Thurs., Dec. 24. Photo packages start at $22. More than 20 live entertainment ensembles will serenade shoppers nearly every day, including costumed carolers and holiday brass. Click here for more information.

Snowfall at Paseo Nuevo Santa Barbara


Goleta’s premier luxury resort celebrates the holidays with special activities throughout December. In the week leading up to Christmas, join the resort for nightly tree lighting ceremonies in the lobby and enjoy a cup of hot cider and cookies. With a theme of “A Coastal Christmas,” this year’s centerpiece is a one-of-a-kind art holiday installation of Agave Americana, a native plant that blooms only once in its lifetime. You can carol your way through the resort’s beautiful grounds on festive jitney carts in the evenings. Snuggle up in your pajamas and head to the resort’s Screening Room to sip hot cider and watch screenings of classic holiday movies, including “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Christmas Story” and more, most Friday and Saturday evenings in December. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, let The Bistro’s chef do the cooking and savor an exquisite four-course dinner with favorite holiday dishes.

Click here for more information.


Head to the Montecito resort for its beloved Teddy Bear Tea, Sun., Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. An annual holiday tradition that benefits local children’s charities, the Four Seasons’ special tea time is designed for parents and children and is the stuff of cherished memories. The hotel’s acclaimed Bella Vista Restaurant serves a festive Christmas Eve dinner created by Executive Chef Alessandro Cartumini and the next day offers a Christmas Buffet, featuring an extensive selection of traditional dishes and gourmet items including seafood, salad, pasta and carving stations.

Click here for more information. 


Throughout the month of December, Belmond El Encanto’s lobby is transformed into a winter wonderland with hot apple cider and holiday cookies ready to welcome guests. The “Season of Serenity” package (available now through the end of 2015) includes bungalow accommodations, daily breakfast for two and a reinvigorating peppermint foot scrub in Belmond El Encanto’s resplendent spa. Plus, seasonally inspired treats and a custom-blended bottle of pinot noir welcome your arrival. The resort’s Dining Room and Terrace features an à la carte menu on Christmas Eve, with festive live music by crooner Luca Ellis. Then on Christmas Day, chefs will create a special three-course à la carte menu designed to bring guests the best of the season.

Click here for more information.


Centrally located downtown, The Canary offers a “Santa Barbara Holiday Cheer Package” (Nov. 25 through Jan. 4). In addition to deluxe accommodations, the package includes family-friendly treats, such as “make your own cocoa” bar, DVDs and more. Guests can also enjoy quality family time in the heart of Santa Barbara by renting complimentary public bikes from the hotel for a ride through town and down to the beach. Let the hotel dazzle you with its stunning holiday suites (Nov. 25 through Jan. 4). Each is decked out with a beautifully decorated tree, festive ornaments and a special Santa Barbara ornament boxed under the tree for you to bring home. If you stay a minimum of eight nights Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, you’ll receive eight special Santa Barbara gifts.

Click here for more information.


This holiday season, thaw out in the sun in Santa Barbara with Hotel Milo’s “Holiday in Paradise” package (available through Dec. 24). Enjoy trolley rides, ice skating and sunny beach days for the best of both worlds this winter. Rates start at $201.

Click here for more information.

2nd Annual Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend: Starring Julia Child & Kurt Russell

Posted On: Tuesday, Apr 7, 2015 3:38 PM

Decadent, culinary delights? Check. Savory, award-winning wines? Double check. Kurt Russell? Triple check! Join in on the delicious fun of the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend April 16-19th. And yes, actor and apprentice winemaker Kurt Russell will be in attendance with his wine label GoGi Wine.

bacara food and wine weekend winemaker kurt russell
(Photo Credit: Justin-Melnick)

Now in its 2nd year, the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend has continued to draw foodie fanatics and wine aficionados to the Bacara Resort and Spa for a four-day culinary weekend inspired by America's first and most beloved celebrity chef, Julia Child. The extended weekend, produced by Bacara Resort together with The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, includes more than 25 events, from cooking classes and educational panel discussions to wine tastings and grand dinners.

How can you maximize your time (and waistline) while in attendance? With the help of Bacara Resort and Spa, we've reviewed the five star line-up and are here to provide the top 5 can't miss events of the weekend.

bacara food and wine weekend neighborhood tasting 
(Photo Credit: Bacara Resort & Spa)

5. Neighborhood Market
Now drawing national acclaim, Santa Barbara's culinary community has been cooking up a new name of itself, and Santa Barbara is no longer simply known for its beautiful beaches and laid-back lifestyle. From farmer's market fresh to home-style cooking, each of Santa Barbara's neighborhoods have a flavor all their own. During this event, each of Santa Barbara's neighborhoods will be serving up samples of these local tastes. This year's even includes the featured regions of The Funk Zone, The Presidio, Arts District, Old Town Goleta, Santa Barbara Public Market and Santa Ynez Valley.

4. Local Seafood Lunch with Celebrity Chefs Suzanne Goin & David Lentz
Calling all seafood lovers! Enjoy the culinary talents of celebrity chefs and restaurateurs, Suzanne Goin and David Lentz, operators of the acclaimed restaurants a.o.c., Lucques, Tavern and The Hungry Cat. This LA-based duo will be there to talk about the lunch menu, featuring locally-sourced seafood, Alma Rosa Wine, Crazy Good Bread and McConnell's Ice Cream. Is your mouth watering yet?

3. Short Film Screenings featuring The Lexicon of Sustainability
Don't miss this one-of-a-kind opportunity to hear from Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard-Gayeton, the masterminds behind The Lexicon of Sustainability. Together, their projects have received national acclaim for educating, engaging and activating people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system in America. This session includes three short film screenings of The Story of an Egg, Food Waste and True Cost Accounting, followed by discussion with Douglas and Laura.

2. Grand Wine Dinner with Actor & Apprentice Winemaker Kurt Russell
Wine aficionados (and Russell fans) will have the rare opportunity to hear directly from Kurt about his label, GoGi Wine, as well as Hudson Bellamy Wines and Ampelos Cellars. Kurt will present the stories behind the wines, their inspiration and their unique qualities driven by how they are grown and blended in the renowned Sta. Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County. This exceptional evening includes a wine reception with live music followed by a four-course "Ranch to Table" sit-down dinner with Kurt's wine pairings. (Autograph book optional.)

1. Opening Reception & Julia Tribute
And the number one can't miss event? The Opening Reception that honors the woman we're all here to honor, Julia Child. As one of last year's fan favorite events, this wine reception includes more than 40 varietals by the region's top Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association winemakers, and is preceded by a special video tribute to Julia Child hosted by Dorie Greenspan, the multi-award winning baking authority and author, and Geoffrey Drummond, Julia's former TV producer and director.

bacara food and wine weekend Julia Child 

The Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend takes place at Bacara Resort & Spa on April 16-19, 2015. Advanced reservations are recommended as events do sell out. Bacara is offering an All Access VIP weekend getaway includes a two-night stay over the festival, two All Access VIP Passes and valet parking. Proceeds benefit The Julia Child Foundation. For tickets or more information, please visit


Spring into Santa Barbara this March

Posted On: Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015 11:28 AM

From the blues of the Pacific coastline to the golden rays of sunshine, the Santa Barbara South Coast is surrounded by beauty all year round. Walks on the beach get better with every sunset and hikers are blessed with breathtaking views as they reach their peak. These vivid colors, that are signatures of Santa Barbara, can also be seen bloomed within the flowers grown in Santa Barbara County each year.

In fact, did you know that Santa Barbara County is the highest producing flower region in the United States? It’s true! Friends, family and loved ones across the US are gifted with a bit of Santa Barbara, when they receive or purchase a bouquet of flowers!

Field to Vase Dinner Carpinteria

To honor the coming of spring, and all the beauty that it brings to our region, here are two special upcoming events that will make you want to stop and smell the roses:
  • Make your way to Westland Orchids on March 5th, as Certified American Grown Flowers kicks off the 2015 Field-to-Vase Dinner Tour. In the first of 10 pop-up dining experiences held across the country, participants of this Santa Barbara County event will enjoy a private, guided tour of the orchid farm, meet floral designer Margaret Lloyd of Montecito-based Margaret Joan Florals, savor local fare served family-style at farm tables, and enjoy domestic wine and craft beer. As the decorative lights twinkle, the flowers will delight and the convivial mood of this unique event will be unforgettable. You'll leave with all of your senses stimulated, and a newfound appreciation for the story of America's flowers, the people who grow them and the artists who design with them.

    For more information, please visit:

  • Celebrating its 70th Anniversary, The Santa Barbara International Orchid Show is the longest running and premier international orchid show in the United States. March 13-15, visitors will delight in the exuberant displays of blooming orchids, with exhibits designed to this year’s theme of “Celebrate withOrchids!” A step into the Exhibit Hall is a step into the lush colors and fragrances of exotic, beautiful orchids. In addition to the lavish garden displays of orchids for which the Show is famous, floral arrangements and corsages feature orchid blooms on an intimate scale. Additional activities include free workshops on orchid care led by orchid experts, an orchid photo booth, interactive orchid puppet show and much, much more.

    For more information, please visit:

Until the celebration begins, here are 5 interesting facts about Orchids!

For year-round botanical fun, Santa Barbara is also home to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden where you can wander 65 acres of exquisite exhibits of California native and Ganna Walska Lotusland, a rare botanical nirvana in Montecito, CA.

Opening Night: 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Posted On: Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 3:13 PM

As movie goers grabbed their popcorn, savored a few milk duds and picked the perfect seat, the opening night of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicked off its 12-day festival to a sold out crowd at the historic Arlington Theatre. Marking its 30th Anniversary, the  2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival will be host to a vast array of films representing 54 countries, 23 world premieres and 53 US premieres, tributes with the year’s top talent, panel discussions, and free community education and outreach.

desert dancer film premiere film festival
Director, Richard Raymond as he arrives at the historic Arlington Theatre

During its opening night, SBIFF debuted the US Premiere of Desert Dancer, directed by Richard Raymond and starring Freida Pinto. Showcasing the importance of freedom of expression, Desert Dancer is a powerful and unbelievable true story that follows the brave ambition of Afshin Ghaffarian. During the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election, where many cultural freedoms were threatened, Afshin and his friends risk their lives and form an underground dance company. Through banned online videos, they learn from timeless legends who cross all cultural divides, such as- Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Afshin and Elaheh also learn much from each other, most importantly how to embrace their passion for dance and for one another.

Desert Dancer was an inspiring movie for all and a cinematic start to another successful Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

For more information on the 2015 Santa Barbara Film Festival Line Up, click here.

And, if you’re looking to grab a bite to eat or drink before your movie, discover over 25+ dining offers and 10+ wine tasting flights as part of Film Feast 2015. Or if you’d like to stay and indulge a little more, we’ve got you covered with 17 cinematic lodging packages.

Santa Barbara Holiday Guide 2014

Posted On: Friday, Nov 21, 2014 10:35 AM

The holiday season is no longer just around the corner, in Santa Barbara, our menus are planned, party outfits have been picked out and we're ready to celebrate the rest of the year surrounded by friends and family. Whether you're planning a Thanksgiving getaway or if Santa Barbara is your Christmas vacation destination, we're here to help plan your stay with some of our favorite events of the season. With so many holiday events and gatherings to choose from, your calendar is sure to be booked from now until 2015. 

In between planning your Santa Barbara Thanksgiving and putting the final touches on your holiday menu, take the time to attend one of our November events. From cooking unique side dishes to running off those holiday pounds, you'll have a "smashing time" at the following events:

  • November 22-23: Holiday Marketplace 2014
    From hand-thrown ceramics to one-of-a-kind jewelry to custom-sewn textiles to custom crafted leather goods - the Holiday Marketplace is one-stop shopping for even the most difficult-to-buy-for person on your holiday list. 

  • November 23rdVeggies Gone Wild, A new Spin on Holiday Dishes
    Experience some decidedly non-classic but uniquely delicious sides for your holiday (or anytime) meals.

  • November 23: 5K Gobble Run
    The 5K Gobble Gobble Run is the run with fun! Your prize for crossing the finish line? A glass of wine from Fess Parker Winery! Or, you can choose to walk through 2-3 wine tasting stations along the 1K course.

  • November 27th: Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Smash
    Have a “smashing” time at the Santa Barbara Zoo with the family on Thanksgiving! Watch as the elephants, gorillas and other Zoo animals play and interact with pumpkins during this holiday favorite event.

For a complete list of November holiday events, please visit our November Events Calendar.

During your California Christmas vacation, dash through Santa Barbara in December. We're more than a winter beach vacation. Below, you'll discover holiday traditions that include a few of our favorite things, parades, trains and a toast to champagne.

  • December 3rd: Secrets of a Tamale Chef
    This entertaining and interactive class shows how to make tamales you'll love to eat and serve.

  • December 3rd: 20th Annual Arcada Christmas Walk
    Get into the holiday spirit with a stroll in Santa Barbara’s La Arcada, complete with photos with Santa, strolling carolers, local music groups, popcorn and other holiday cheer!

  • December 5th62nd Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade
    Join Grand Marshall Alan Thicke and more than 50,000 spectators to cheer marching bands, floats, performance groups and of course - Santa Claus in  the 2014 Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade. This year’s theme, "Winter Nights & Holiday Lights", is presented by Consumer Fire Products, Inc.

  • December 5-7: Folk & Tribal Arts Marketplace at Museum of Natural History
    Attend the largest folk art show in Southern California, as they return to Santa Barbara with nearly 30 vendors representing more than 50 countries. This show will featuring an amazing selection of baskets, décor, ethnographic art, furniture, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, and more!

  • December 6: Gustafson Dance Presents: Rudolph
    Holiday season isn’t complete without a visit to see Santa’s trusted reindeer, Rudolph. Also included in this ballet of the holiday classic are Clarice, the Abominable Snow Monster, and even Santa. 

  • December 7th: Cheese and Sparkling Wine Class
    This is one delicious event you won’t want to miss! Join C’est Cheese as they celebrate the holiday season with sparkling wines & cheese! Attendees will taste through 3 sparkling wines, a Prosecco from Italy, a Cap Classique from South Africa & a Champagne from France - each of which will be paired with 2 cheeses.

  • December 7-9: Holiday Festival of Trains
    Those of all ages are invited to enjoy a sampling of Dave Halbeisen's extensive model train collection as the Santa Barbara Public Library System presents "Holiday Festival of Trains" at the Goleta Library for a special 3-day holiday display.

  • December 10: A Very Electric Christmas
    Get ready for a Very Electric Christmas at the Granada Theater. Performed in complete darkness this show is sure to entertain and features creative storylines centered around Nutcracker soldiers, candy-canes, naughty Rats, an electric Christmas tree surrounded by presents, glow worms, dancing flowers and many other holiday creatures that light up the stage.

  • December 13: Healthy Holiday Cooking
    Held at the Santa Barbara Public Market, learn how to make healthy holiday dishes without breaking tradition. Replace high fat holiday foods with healthier, delectable versions that will fool even your pickiest guests!

  • December 13: Nutcracker at the Arlington
    A cherished Santa Barbara holiday tradition, Nutcracker at the Arlington Theatre will be performed by Santa Barbara Festival Ballet at the Historic Arlington Theatre with a live, full symphony orchestra.

  • December 14th: 29th Annual Parade of Lights
    A Santa Barbara tradition the whole family can enjoy! The 29th Annual boat parade will begin as 20-30 boats motor, sail, and paddle the Santa Barbara Coastline. Best viewing locations include Stearns Wharf and Santa Barbara Breakwater.

For a complete list of December holiday events, please visit our December Event Calendar.

6 Savory Sips in Santa Barbara’s Newest Wine Neighborhood

Posted On: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 11:34 AM

As a lover of Santa Barbara and even bigger lover of Santa Barbara wine, I’m happy to announce and cheers to Santa Barbara’s newest wine tasting neighborhood, the Wine Collection of El Paseo. Located in the heart of fine dining and high-end shopping on State Street, these 6 ultra-premium wine tasting rooms are the perfect pairing for an afternoon (or two!) of wining, dinning and shopping.

Photo By Mark Weber

But what sets this new tasting neighborhood apart from others in the area? The new Wine Collection of El Paseo features small-production, boutique wineries that produce ultra-premium wines sourced from local Santa Barbara County vineyards.  In addition to tasting great wines, while you sip and swirl, you’ll be able to earn how these wines are locally crafted and about the terroir of where the grapes are grown in Santa Barbara County. It’s truly a grape to glass experience!

Tasting rooms of the Wine Collection of El Paseo includes Au Bon Climat Winery, Grassini Family Vineyards, Happy Canyon Vineyard, Jamie Slone Wines, Margerum Wine Company and MWC32.

Spend the afternoon in Downtown Santa Barbara and taste for yourself! All tasting rooms are open daily from 12-6 pm. Keep in mind the final tastings of the day begin no later than 5:30 pm.

Follow Grassini Family Vineyards on Instagram @grassinifamilyvineyards

For your insider tip, enjoy special tasting flights from:

Grassini Family Vineyards, featuring “Savor The Sauv” October 1-31
Jamie Slone Wines, featuring “Showtime at the Cabernet” October 1-31
Au Bon Climat Winery, featuring “Monster Mash Tasting Flight” October 24-31 and “Halloween” on October 31st

Cheers! Inside Scoop: How To Crack Sea Urchin in 4 Easy Steps

Posted On: Friday, Oct 3, 2014 2:07 PM

Have you ever taken a look at the purple and prickly shell of the sea urchin and thought, how am I supposed to eat that? Believe us, it's not as hard as it may appear, and the results are too delicious not to try. In Santa Barbara, sea urchin is our specialty, and we're here to show you how to crack and enjoy this local delicacy in 4 easy steps.

In honor of, a 31-day celebration of cuisine, libations and culture during the month of October, Stephanie Mutz, President of Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara is here to guide you and provide the inside scoop. Here we go:

Step 1: Open the urchin by turning it upside down with mouth facing up. Hold two spoons back to back and squeeze together.

how to crack a sea urchin step 1

Step 2: Turn the sea urchin over to dump the sea water and algae.
how to crack a sea urchin step 2

Step 3: Pull out the maroon membranes.
how to crack a sea urchin step 4

 Step 4: With a spoon, scoop pieces of the bright orange uni.

how to crack a sea urchin step 3
That's it! The traditional way to eat sea urchin is raw, right out of the shell. Not feeling that adventurous? Don't worry. Visit for recipes or click here for your complete guide to all the eats, drinks and experiences during


5 Reasons the Santa Barbara South Coast Wins at Summer

Posted On: Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014 8:26 AM

We all know the struggle of deciding where you're going to take the next summer vacation. With travel bucket lists that are miles long, it's hard to settle on just one location. Luckily for you, the Santa Barbara South Coast the shining star on any travel wish list. While it's true that this majestic destination is great for visiting all year round, summer is definitely no exception, and we're here to provide 5 reasons why the Santa Barbara South Coast wins as a summer vacation hot spot.

1: Like any other sunny destination, the Santa Barbara South Coast provides 300+ days of sunshine a year. But what makes our sunshine even better? Our Mediterranean climate provides remarkably consistent daytime temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, usually accompanied by low humidity and a gentle ocean breeze. Expect to remain refreshingly cool during those summer nights. What does that mean for you? Pack light and schedule plenty of time to explore the mountains, the sea, and everything in between.

Santa Barbara Summer surfer
  (Photo By: Mark Weber)

2: In the Santa Barbara South Coast, we know how to celebrate. Specializing in festivals, summertime is packed with parades, celebrations, and plenty of family fun for all ages. In the summer months alone, there are 5+ annual celebrations that are accompanied by countless supporting events and activities. On any given weekend during the summer months, there is sure to be a festival celebrating Santa Barbara's rich heritage. So bring the confetti and get ready to fiesta!

Santa Barbara Summer Festivals 
(Photo By: Thomas Jacob)

3: As already stated above, summertime in Santa Barbara is great for being outside and relaxing in the breathtaking surroundings. Another way you can take in the great outdoors and satisfy your culinary cravings is to eat on your feet! What is that, you may ask? In the Santa Barbara South Coast, we're equipped with culinary tours, food trucks and plentiful outdoor patios for you to enjoy your eats and still be active on the Santa Barbara streets!

Savor Santa Barbara Food Tours 

4: If relaxing in the summer sun and taking a sip of a refreshing libation sounds like a good time, you'll most definitely want to make your way to the Santa Barbara South Coast. Lovers of wine can uncork their way through the Urban Wine Trail or head to the Santa Ynez Valley for an afternoon of great wines and good times. More a beer lover? We've got 8 unique microbreweries to quench your thirst. Or if you're looking for spirits, Santa Barbara's Funk Zone includes hand crafted cocktails, made farm fresh and there's even a vodka distillery on location.

Santa Barbara Micorbreweries 

5: Family meets fun in the Santa Barbara South Coast. Kids of all ages are delighted to run, see, play, and do while on their stay. Full your days with 60+ kid and parent approved activities. Think educational mornings at the museum and active afternoons in our outdoor splendor. Parents can't go wrong with a family vacation to our sandy shoreline.

Family Friendly in Santa Barbara 
Photo By: Stephan Figge 

Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend

Posted On: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:27 PM

"I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food..." -Julia Child

As we prepare our taste buds for the delectable flavors that will surely be available during the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend, the statement above couldn't be more fitting, especially for those who live (and cook) in the Santa Barbara South Coast. The immense bounty of our land is realized each night as dinner is served and a glass of Santa Barba County wine is poured. Because of our climate, there's never a shortage of seasonal foods and wines to pair. Not only does Santa Barbara have a thriving scene of farm-to-table eats, we're also known for our sea-to-table cuisine!

Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend

Has your mouth started watering yet? Don't worry! You can savor all of the flavors of Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, June 6-8. During this festival, you'll experience Santa Barbara County's top culinary talent for three unforgettable days of food and wine, all set within the luxurious surroundings of the Bacara Resort & Spa. We're getting hungry just thinking about it!

Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend Chef

This event is meant to be relished and is a celebration of Julia Child and her lifelong passion for learning, love of eating well and appreciation for Santa Barbara's coastal bounty. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

For more information and tickets, please visit


Santa Barbara Bowl 2014 Line-Up

Posted On: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1:17 PM

The beat of a Santa Barbara summer begins at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Warm summer nights under a diamond filled sky will set the stage for a season of unforgettable performances by world-famous entertainers. Did you know, the artists themselves even request to perform at this one-of-a-kind open air amphitheater? Because of its design, the sounds of summer are heard clearly from the front row, all the way to the top. And with an intimate setting chart of 4,900 seats, guests are pleased to know that there is not a bad seat in the house.

Santa Barbara Bowl

The Santa Barbara Bowl's 2014 Season Line-Up is set to impress, and more concerts will be announced as the season continues. Whether you are planning a summer road trip or week long getaway, be sure to include a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

  • May 15th: KJEE Summer Round-Up Featuring 311, Young The Giant, Big Data, Birds of Tokyo 
  • June 4th: James Taylor and His All Star Band
  • June 15th: Hunter Hayes with Special Guest Dan + Shay
  • June 19th: Michael Franti & Spearhead with Special Guests SOJA, Brett Dennen and Trevor Hall
  • June 25th: Sarah McLachlan
  • June 26th: Maxwell
  • July 2nd: Joan Baez & Indigo Girls
  • July 3rd: Bob Weir & RatDog with Special Guest The Chris Robinson Brotherhood 
  • July 12th: Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band Featuring Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Greg Rolie, Todd Rundgren, Greg Bissonette 
  • July 13th: Jurassic 5 with Special Guests Dilated Peoples and Beat Junkies 
  • July 15th: Slightly Stoopid with Special Guests Cypress Hill and Stephen Marley
  • July 27th: Foreigner & Styx with Special Guest Don Felder
  • August 4th: Arcade Fire
  • August 9th: Sarah Brightman
  • August 15th: Rebelution with Special Guests Iration, The Green, Stick Figure and DJ Mackle 
  • August 31st & September 1st: Jack Johnson with Special Guest Michael Kiwanuka
  • September 13th: George Lopez


Can't wait to enjoy the sounds of Santa Barbra? Listen now with Visit Santa Barbara's Pandora Station.



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