Festivals To Plan For

No matter the month, you can expect a flurry of fun for all ages when visiting Santa Barbara. From wine tasting, film debuts, musical performances, outdoor adventures food festivals and art exhibitions, Santa Barbara has an event or festival for every palate. Plan the perfect getaway to our seaside haven with the use of this helpful guide and explore the thrill of festivals in Santa Barbara!

AUGUST

Santa Barbara’s rich heritage comes alive during the first week in August with the music, dance and pageantry of Old Spanish Days Fiesta, the granddaddy of city celebrations, reaching back to 1925. Mark your calendars for August 3 to 7, 2022 and heed this guide for the ultimate Fiesta experience.

SEPTEMBER

Santa Barbara Studio Artists’ Open Studios Tour returns Sept. 3 to 5, 2022, and you won’t want to miss this renowned and highly anticipated opportunity to meet the area’s incredibly talented artists and get a glimpse into their creative process. Santa Barbara is a haven for artisans, makers, designers and those who are passionate about local craftsmanship, and what better than to celebrate the art that can be created using the natural gifts from the ocean? The Santa Barbara Sea Glass & Ocean Arts Festival, to be held in Sept. 2023, is the perfect place to shop gorgeous sea glass jewelry for loved ones and explore ocean-themed art inspired by our seaside paradise. Artists from all over gather to display their oceanic wares, so don’t forget to mark your calendar next year for this incredible event.

Celebrate fresh seafood straight from the Santa Barbara Channel during the Harbor and Seafood Festival. Photo Credit: J. Sinclair

OCTOBER

Santa Barbara Vintners is hosting the Vintners Festival, Oct. 8, 2022, in beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. More than one hundred wineries pour alongside many of Santa Barbara’s best chefs as live tunes fill the air. The festival is flanked by open houses, dinners and seminars that always inspire a long weekend visit to wine country. Santa Barbara’s waterfront is the ideal setting for the Harbor & Seafood Festival — a tribute to hardworking local fisheries — each October. This year, on Oct. 15, 2022, fresh seafood is on the menu (of course!), while the roster of activities focuses on all things marine, including boat tours, rides and dockside demonstrations, as well as live music and arts and crafts vendors.

NOVEMBER

If your travels to Santa Barbara are during November 3-6 2022, make sure to plan ahead to attend the Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival. Held at the New Vic Theatre, this annual film festival will include five days of exceptional films from around the world on themes of Jewish culture and identity, including a wide range of documentaries, dramas, comedies and shorts by American, European and Israeli filmmakers.

Looking for a way to work out and see the coastal sights of Santa Barbara? The Santa Barbara Half Marathon on November 6, 2022 is a fantastic opportunity to get your sweat on and explore the area on your own two feet. The athletic event is open to all ages and skill levels, and brings together runners and joggers from all walks of life before the craziness of the holiday season sets in. On top of the killer views, you’ll love the post-run endorphins!

DECEMBER

Bring the whole family and ring in the holiday season at the Annual Downtown Holiday Parade held each December. Witness high-stepping marching bands, fabulous holiday-themed floats, spectacular performance groups and more. The ceremonial lighting of the community Christmas Tree will also take place on this wonder-filled holiday night.

Celebrate the end of the year with holiday cheer at Santa Barbara’s annual Parade of Lights on Dec. 11, 2022. Bring the entire family to the waterfront, as 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.

February 2023

Get out on the town in glittering fashion with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. From Feb. 8 to 18, 2023 there’s a morning-to-night cinematic feast: Films from around the globe, new releases, classics, avant-garde entries, documentaries and both animated and live shorts. Panels of directors, writers and producers offer behind-the-scenes stories and industry information, while evening tributes to actors and filmmakers highlight the stellar, often Oscar-worthy work of veteran and emerging artists.

World of Pinot Noir is a savory celebration that brings Pinot Noir producers from the most exceptional and unique regions around the world together with enthusiasts to celebrate this notable grape variety. March 2 to 4, 2023, the World of Pinot Noir will be highlighting this stellar varietal through seminars, lunches, dinners and the sought-after grand tasting event held at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara.

March 10-12, 2023, Santa Barbara will bloom with orchids in every imaginable shape, color, pattern and texture at the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. This three-day event, noted as one of the country’s largest and oldest celebrations of orchids, brings together more than 50 orchid exhibitors and vendors from around the world.

APRIL 2023

Tucked against a hillside within walking distance of downtown, the 5,000-seat Santa Barbara Bowl is a stunning and historic open-air venue for musical performances, April through October. Headliners of every genre of music—from rock, pop and jazz to mariachi and classical—take the stage of the intimate amphitheater into October.

JULY 2023

Wineries large and small will show off their wares at the outdoor California Wine Festival, July 14 and 15, 2023. This two-day event kicks off on Friday evening with an educational seminar that compliments a reserve and rare wine tasting. On Saturday, the festivities move beach-side for a showcase of some 250 wines from 70 wineries, and the offerings of noted chefs, food purveyors, and wine-related vendors. Enjoy tri-tip from top Santa Barbara-based restaurants as local chefs compete for best barbecue! As the cool ocean breeze wafts the sweet tang of barbecue through the beer tents, grab a plate and browse the various pop-up shops throughout the festival.

Say “Bonjour!” in 2023 to all things French at the Santa Barbara French Festival held at Oak Park each July. This French fête includes pop-up market and shopping stalls, mouth-watering food vendors, wine, beer, colorful performances and thrilling fully-armored sword fights. Check back for more information regarding the 2023 festival.

Later this month, don’t miss the Santa Barbara Greek Festival, held at the same location in Oak Park. Relish in delectable, handmade Greek favorites like gyros and moussaka. Explore pop-up shops and various Greek-themed vendors, jive along to musical entertainment and treat yourself at the end of the day with homemade pastries from Yia Yia’s traditional recipes: Baklava, melomakarona, and kataifi. Opa! Check back for more information regarding the 2023 festival.