Treat yourself (and your taste buds) to a Santa Barbara getaway this October, when locals and visitors gather at festivals and culinary takes center stage. Grab a front-row seat as local fishermen kick-off the beginning of lobster season and winemakers rejoice with the success of a fruitful harvest. We invite you to celebrate with reckless abandon this October.

When visiting Santa Barbara this fall, take the stress out of traveling and fly to the convenient and accessible Santa Barbara Airport. With daily, nonstop flights from Denver, Dallas, Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, Seattle and San Francisco, arrive in Santa Barbara carefree and just minutes from downtown.

So, in the name of all things delicious, take that extra bite, have one more sip of wine and savor your vacation just a little longer with this list of popular October events and festivals. After all, you deserve it.


Before the foodie fun of October begins, lend your ears for the Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration. This modern guitar festival invites music fans of all interests to embrace the craft and art of music making. During this festival, various locations around Santa Barbara will host instrumental concerts, master classes, and an Acoustic Trade Show where you can purchase some of the world’s finest handmade instruments directly from the builders.


grassini-family-vineyards-lesleymurphySpend four glorious days frolicking through the vineyards during Santa Barbara Vintners Association’s Celebration of Harvest. Quite literally, this signature fall festival pays tribute to the bounty of the year’s harvest, during which vintners take a break from the vineyards and cellars to pour their wines and share tales.

Throughout the weekend, attend winery events ranging from winemaker dinners to barrel tastings, all leading up to the Festival Grand Tasting on Saturday, October 8. Taste the different varietals of six unique winegrowing areas, featuring nearly 100 wineries that call Santa Barbara County home. In addition, live music, cooking demos and almost two dozen restaurants and food providers will be in attendance to complete the experience.

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Grab your best-buds, it’s going to be one fun fall afternoon of phenomenal micro-brews, food and tunes at the Santa Barbara Beer Festival. Attendees will receive a tasting glass and the opportunity to cruise the beautiful grounds of Elings Park, sampling the best brewers in the west. Plus, your ticket purchase helps support two local Santa Barbara nonprofits, so you can feel good about it to boot.

If you’re not in the mood for beer, don’t worry. Wine and cider will also be available for tasting.


santa-barbara-sea-urchin-seastephaniefishIn Santa Barbara, seafood is our specialty. At the first glimmer of sunlight in the Harbor, local fishermen have already been hard at work bringing in their fresh catch from the Santa Barbara Channel. Does the thought of crab, lobster, mussels and oysters whet your appetite? If so, you’re in luck at the Harbor & Seafood Festival. Did you know Santa Barbara sea urchin are a delicacy. Treat your taste buds to freshly cracked uni, before hopping on a free boat ride around the Harbor.

At the Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival, meet the fishermen themselves and get a first-hand look (and taste) as seafood makes it from boat deck to your plate. Bring your appetite! This annual event also happens to coincide with lobster season. Tip: Arrive early before crowds swoop up the good stuff.


A whole festival dedicated to chowder? The Santa Barbara Chowder Festival is now in its seventh delicious year, where attendees get to relish in savory-goodness as the area’s best restaurants and chefs compete for the title of “Best Chowder in Santa Barbara.” Also in attendance are local wineries and breweries, sampled alongside live music, and both silent and live auctions. Last year’s winner was Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. Don’t miss out on the crowning of this year’s “Chowder Champ.”

Featured October Events

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Much Ado About Nothing

Location: UCSB Studio Theater

UCSB's NAKED SHAKES turns to one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies and crowd pleasers, Much Ado About Nothing. This timeless story of two of literature’s all-time greatest lovers, Beatrice and Benedick, features some of the…

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Shakespeare’s masterpiece about blind and bloody political ambition arrives just in time for election season! Spurred by his wife’s unquenchable thirst for influence, and achilling prophecy from three witches, Macbeth murders King…

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Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration


The 2016 Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration will feature the finest luthiers from around the world presenting 650 handmade instruments for demonstration and sale from September 30 to October 2, 2016. Professional recording musicians will…

Thievery Corporation & Café Tacvba


Thievery Corporation’s 7th studio album, Saudade is filled with the essence of true bossa nova and the Brazilian-Born genre that first connected them as a band. The album draws influence from classic Brazilian performers like Antonio Carlos…

White Knights at The Museum


Support Domestic Violence Solutions lead the charge to end the cycle.White Knights at the Museum will be a remarkable opportunity to join our community heroes for an exciting evening of entertainment and interactive exhibits showcasing our services…

Jerry Douglas Band

Time: Location: Lobero Theatre

Dobro master and 14-time GRAMMY® winner, Jerry Douglas is to the resonator guitar what Jimi Hendrix was to the electric guitar: elevating, transforming, and reinventing the instrument in countless ways. Since 1998 he’s been a key member…

“Napa Meets Verona” Opera & Winemaker Dinner

Time: Location: Bacara Resort & Spa

Offered within the beautiful surroundings of Bacara's new signature restaurant, Angel Oak, this special evening features wines by Trinitas Cellars and Fumanelli, and performances by Opera Santa Barbara. Wednesday, October 5 6:30 p.m. Wine Reception…

Larissa MacFarquhar: Strangers Drowning


How far would you go to help a stranger? Would you adopt a child in distress? Would you donate a kidney? Spend the majority of your income on saving others? Why do we decide to help, or not? In her recent book Strangers Drowning, Larissa…

CAMA presents Philharmonia Orchestra

Time: Location: Granada Theatre

Local favorite Esa-Pekka Salonen, Conductor Laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic where he was Music Director from 1992–2009, returns to Santa Barbara for his second appearance as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the…

Brian Culbertson Funk! Tour


Brian Culbertson is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer who crosses genres between contemporary jazz, R&B, and funk. Heralding from the musically rich city of Chicago, he began his musical studies at the early age of 8…

The Who with special guest Tal Wilkenfield


The Who make their first ever visit to Santa Barbara, CA! THE WHO have sold over 100 million records since forming in 1964; they brought together four different personalities and in effect produced a musical hurricane. Each of them was a pioneer.…

Family 1st Thursday: Modernist Landscapes


Bring the whole family and enjoy 1st Thursday together in SBMA’s Family Resource Center located across from the Museum Café on the Lower Level. Museum teaching artists will assist families in creating special exhibition-based art…

Lecture by Peyton Skipwith


Peyton Skipwith, guest curator and art historian, discusses the background and context of the British Art from Whistler to World War II exhibition and some of the key figures-James Whistler, Walter Sickert, Roger Fry, and Wyndham Lewis-whose…

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Celebration of Harvest Weekend

The Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest is four days of wine, food and fun throughout Santa BarbaraWine Country Friday, October 7th - Monday, October 10th. The highlight of the weekend is the Festival Grand Tasting on Saturday, October…

Paint in The Vineyard at Sarloos + Sons

Time: Location: Sarloos + Sons

Are you looking for something unique to do in the Santa Barbara County Wine Country? Why not join us at the scenic Saarloos + Sons Vineyard in Los Olivos to grab your glass of wine and a paintbrush. Our painting in the vineyard classes provide a…

Opening Night Concert & Party

Time: Location: Lobero Theatre

The Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra kicks off its 2016-17 season with a duo of exceptional works: Dvořák’s richly emotional “New World” Symphony and Gershwin’s spirited Concerto in F – featuring acclaimed…

Alonzo King LINES Ballet


Celebrated contemporary ballet company Alonzo King LINES Ballet imbues classical ballet with new expression. Guided by the unique artistic direction of Alonzo King, “one of the few bona fide visionaries in the ballet world today” (San…

Crafted Presented by Mi Bella Boutiques 805


Local artisans will be located throughout the Plaza with handmade jewelry, clothing, pottery and much more! Artisans scheduled to attend: Dawn Carlson ~“DCBlue Designs” - Fine jewelry artist Sue Hatler ~ “Susie’s Homemade…

Paseo Nuevo Runway Show presented by Sephora


Rack to runway, all your favorite brands are hitting the runway straight from the stores. Then shop the looks with exclusive one day only sales! Runway Show with looks from Nordstrom, Lorna Jane, Macy’s, Evangelina Boutique, White House…

Women in Santa Barbara County Wine Seminar

Time: Location: Hotel Corque - Root 246

On Saturday morning join us for the Santa Barbara Wine Seminar from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. at the Hotel Corque in Solvang (walking distance to the Festival.) The seminar features six winemakers from Santa Barbara County sharing their wines, expertly…

Studio Sunday on the Front Steps: Watercolor


Visitors of all ages are welcome to participate in this hands-on workshop with SBMA Teaching Artists on the Museum’s front steps. Each month explore a different medium, including clay, metal, ink, wood, photography, and paper, and gain…

6th Annual Grassini “Crush Cookout”


Grassini Family Vineyards is hosting the 6th annual "Crush Cookout" on Sunday, October 9th from 1-4pm! Spend the afternoon noshing on delicious food, while sipping your favorite GFV wines. Relax under the shade of our 400 year-old oak trees,…

The Medford Brig Pilgrim – 1825


Randy Biddle will focus on the brig PILGRIM. Many of us are familiar with Richard Henry Dana, Jr. and his voyage aboard the brig PILGRIM to Alta, California, in 1834 from Boston, and of his return on the ship ALERT in 1835. However, much of what…

The Mersey Beatles


Meet John Lennon's sister and The Mersey Beatles – not your ordinary Beatles tribute band!This all Liverpool born Beatles tribute band was the resident band for over a decade at the world famous Cavern Club, where the Beatles got their start.…

Van Morrison

Time: Location: Santa Barbara Bowl

Van Morrison announces a date at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday, October 15 at 7:30 PM. Tickets go on sale Saturday, April 9 at Noon.

Paint in The Vineyard at Brander Winery

Time: Location: Brander Winery

Are you looking for something unique to do in the Santa Barbara County Wine Country? Why not join us at the gorgeous Brander Vineyard in Santa Ynez to grab a glass of wine and a paintbrush?! Our painting in the vineyard classes provide a beautiful,…

Pints For the Park: Santa Barbara Beer Festival

Time: Location: Santa Barbara Beer Festival

Join us from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday October 15, 2016, for some phenomenal brews, food, and tunes. Your ticket gets you a tasting glass and the opportunity to cruise the grounds of beautiful Elings Park for an afternoon, sampling the best…

Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival


Meet and swap stories with oceanic and marine-related organizations. Tour the Tall Ship Spirit of Dana Point and come aboard the United States Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin. Experience a real “Working Harbor” featuring local fishing boats…

Santa Barbara Wine & Seafood Pairing


During the Harbor & Seafood Festival, join our world-class Chefs and Speakers for an afternoon of great food, wine and informative conversation. A selection of Santa Barbara County wines will be featured along with bites from local, world-class…

Tall Ship Dockside Tours & Public Sail


Come join us for the Tall Ship Dockside Tours during the annual Harbor & Seafood Festival. Please check-in at 3 PM. The tour will begin at 3:30 PM. Please call the Museum to reserve your spot early.

Red Feather Ball


Join United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) for their 20th Annual Red Feather Ball, a fabulous autumn Seaside Soiree at the Coral Casino, Four Seasons Biltmore. Proceeds from the ball will support UWSBC’s Fun in the Sun, a national…

7th Annual Santa Barbara Chowder Fest

Time: Location: The Fess Parker: A Doubletree by Hilton Resort

Chowder Fest is Santa Barbara's only chowder competition, food festival, and wine and beer tasting event all in one! The 7th Annual Santa Barbara Chowder Fest will take place on October 16th, 2016 at the beautiful Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort in…

Joey Alexander Trio


Piano wunderkind Joey Alexander’s deft touch, adventurous spirit and captivating verve have quickly brought him to the forefront of today’s budding musicians. Born in Bali in 2003, his meteoric rise has already yielded a Grammy Award…

Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age


UCSB Arts & Lectures presents a free community screening of the acclaimed documentary Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, with an introduction and post-screening Q&A with Scilla Andreen, one of the film’s producers and the CEO…

SB Audubon Eyes in the Sky Open House


Eyes in the Sky is the Santa Barbara Audubon Society’s educational outreach program, and is the only licensed raptor education program in Santa Barbara County. Come visit us on the grounds of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Tour…

Françoise Mouly & Anita Kunz


Françoise Mouly is one of the most influential editors in comics and illustration of the last 40 years. As art editor at The New Yorker, she has transformed the magazine’s cover space into a mirror that reflects the cultural and…

James Blake


GRAMMY® Award-nominated artist JAMES BLAKE announces the itinerary for his 2016 North American headline tour this fall. He will make an appearance at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on October 18th.

Jethro Tull

Time: Location: Nederlander Concerts

The new Jethro Tull concert tour comes to the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on October 19, in which Ian Anderson celebrates the life and times of English agriculturalist Jethro Tull.

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When the Lights Go Out

Location: Lobero Theatre

Kerrilee Gore And Zen Arts present When The Lights Go Out: An Immersive Theatrical Experience for four spellbinding performances October 20-22. Lights Out, created by Kerrilee Gore is an innovative theatrical experience onstage at the Lobero…

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Pop-Up Performance: Invertigo Dance Theatre

During two, ten-minute performances, Invertigo Dance Theatre presents Descent of the Docent, a museum guide’s docent tour of a contemporary dance piece offering a witty look at how we understand and interact with art. A recent Bloomberg…

Tasty Thursdays


Join us the third Thursday of every month for tasty treats, DJ music, face painting, a balloon twister for the kids and more fun and games. Everything will be located by Macy's. Food trucks scheduled to attend: Cuba Tacos, Kona Ice, The Burger Bus,…

Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour


Telluride Mountainfilm was launched more than 30 years ago by a group of climbers and friends dedicated to educating and inspiring audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving and conversations worth…

An Evening of Stand-up with Marc Maron


Marc Maron’s intelligent, frank and open comedic voice has made him one of today’s most respected entertainers. His critically-acclaimed podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, has featured interviews with the likes of the late great Robin…

Santa Barbara 100

Location: Leadbetter Beach

The Santa Barbara 100 takes place in one of the most beautiful and challenging locations in the United States. We offer four distinct courses to suit every cyclist's ability - each course offering a world class Santa Barbara cycling experience.

Ensemble Basiani of Georgia

In two magical performances in the soaring acoustic splendor of the Old Mission Santa Barbara, Ensemble Basiani, master performers in Georgia’s ancient polyphonic tradition, will perform their internationally-acclaimed renditions of religious…

Lil Buck


Memphis jookin’ phenomenon Lil Buck recently wrapped up a stint on Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour, performed a highly-praised program at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, took his act to the Kennedy Center and appeared on The…

Norah Jones with special guest Valerie June


Norah Jones has announced the October 7 global release of Day Breaks (Blue Note Records), her stunning sixth solo album which is a kindred spirit to the singer’s breakout debut Come Away With Me and finds the 9-time GRAMMY-winner returning to…

Maceo Parker with The Jones Family Singers


Legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker embodies the soul of funk music. A key member in shaping the scene, he played alongside icons like James Brown, George Clinton and Prince; it’s almost impossible to separate which came first, Maceo Parker or…

The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet


For over three decades on the concert stage, the members of the GRAMMY® Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet have continually set the standard for expression and virtuosity among guitar ensembles, while perennially redefining themselves in…

Jimmy Eat World


Jimmy Eat World will kick off their 2016 Tour with a handful of special and intimate fan shows including a stop at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on Friday, October 28 at 8:00 PM. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 9 at 10:00 AM via…

Sabrina Carpenter


Though she’s established a rabid international fanbase by playing rebellious Maya Hart on the popular Girl Meets World, music remains Sabrina Carpenter’s first love. The Los Angeles-based multitalented singer/songwriter, who has played…

Boocara Family Dance Party


In celebration of the most spooktacular time of year, Bacara Resort & Spa is pleased to present our annual Halloween party, the Boocara Family Dance Party!Boocara takes place on Sunday, October 30 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and includes:- DJ for…

Ramada Santa Barbara

Nestled amid lush gardens, a fresh-water lagoon, and colorful koi ponds, stay at the award-winning Ramada Santa Barbara during the month of October. Mention Visit Santa Barbara and you’ll receive 20% off all rooms*. To redeem, call direct at 800-654-1965.

*Certain restrictions and blackout dates do apply

Special Offers

When planning your trip to Santa Barbara, let us help to sweeten your stay. From lodging to one-of-a-kind experiences, view our list of special offers. With countless ways to stay and play, each of these offers will give you plenty of reasons to come back again and again.

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