Holiday Events in Santa Barbara

Winter in Santa Barbara is the season for festive merriment, tasty culinary delights, and extra time with loved ones. As the season changes and stars sparkle through the night sky, come explore all of the events and other holiday happenings in Santa Barbara. We hope you use this events guide to make lasting memories in Santa Barbara this holiday season.

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Holiday Events & Activities

Consider your holiday calendar booked, Santa Barbara has endless holiday events and activities that are guaranteed to fill you with glee. With new events added daily, be sure to check back so you don’t miss a single jovial moment.

Letters to Santa Creation Station, Now through December 24, 2021, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Visit the Center Court at Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants with the little ones to write letters to Santa, draw masterpieces, and create gift wish lists. All supplies are provided, including complimentary crayons that are yours to keep. Send off your lists and letters, and you can expect a postcard reply for Santa himself! Learn More
Cost: Admission is free.

holiday decorations at Paseo NuevoPhotos with Santa at Paseo Nuevo, Now through December 24, 2021
Santa Claus is back and ready to receive your wish lists! Visit Old St. Nick in Center Court at Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants, and your kiddos will delight in receiving a gift from Santa and a festive photo opp. Bring the whole family down to enjoy the holiday spirit, and furry friends are welcome too. December 7, 14 and 21 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. are designated Pet Photo times, where you can snap a pic of Fido and Santa for the holidays. Learn More
Cost: Admission is free; No reservation required.

Let it Snow at Paseo Nuevo, Now through December 31, 2021, 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Santa Barbara’s night sky fills with “snow” bringing the magic of winter to shoppers and families at Paseo Nuevo. Meander to Center Court where “snow” will safely fall twice each evening, where the family can enjoy the wonder before greeting Santa at his workshop. Learn More
Cost: Admission is free. Please note that there will be no shows on Christmas Day, December 25, 2021.

Solvang Julefest, Now through January 1, 2022, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Solvang lights up during the holidays, and Julefest is one seasonal offering you won’t want to miss. Enjoy the cozy Christmas lights and displays, sip on warm cocktails and indulge in local wine as you peruse Christmas-bedecked storefronts, and participate in traditional Danish Christmas activities while you walk through town. Feast on sugary treats and fill your bellies with European-style pretzels and sausages, and pick up a few gifts for loved ones at home. Learn More
Cost: Ticket prices vary.

Holiday Zoo, Now through December 31, 2021, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Grab the whole family and experience the Zoo transformed into a winter wonderland while visiting the animals. Santa will be making weekend appearances beginning Friday, November 26! Visitors are encouraged to wear their favorite holiday garb, ugly Christmas sweater, or dress up in a frosty costume. Seasonal treats and adult holiday spirits are also available for purchase. Learn More
Cost: Free with Zoo admission or Zoo membership; Reservations required.

Christmas at Belmond El EncantoPhotos with Santa at La Cumbre Plaza, Now through December 24, 2021
He’s making a list and checking it twice! What better way to make sure you’re on Santa’s “nice” list than a visit to old Jolly Saint Nick himself? At La Cumbre Plaza, there will be plenty of opportunities to snap a pic and hear a few “ho, ho, ho’s.” Get a photo with Santa Claus at his home at La Cumbre Plaza across from Chico’s. Learn More
Cost: Admission is free; Photo packages available for purchase. Reservations required.

Kids Holiday Crafts at Montecito Country Mart, Every Thursday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Enjoy some kid-geared holiday fun in the courtyard of Montecito Country Mart this holiday season. Pack up the whole family and create take-home artwork, as well as enjoy festive snacks and treats. This is a great opportunity to explore all the Montecito Country Mart has to offer. Learn More
Cost: Admission is free.

10th Annual Trolley of Lights Tour, December 4 through 24, 2021, 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9 p.m.
Rockstar Trolley announces the return of its popular Christmas lights tour for the 2021 holiday season. Available for private charters, tour through Santa Barbara’s most festive neighborhoods and get into the seasonal spirit. Christmas music and candy canes will be plentiful as you sing and celebrate with the whole family. Learn More
Cost: $650 for a 1-20 passenger trolley. $700 for a 21-26 passenger trolley. $750 for a 27-32 passenger trolley. Reservations required.

Scarlett Begonia After Dark, December 21, 2021, 5 p.m.
Join Scarlett Begonia, known for their ample outdoor seating and inimitable brunch menu, for an “After Dark” speakeasy-themed Christmas party. Enjoy cocktails, live music by the Brogonias and hors d’oeuvres with friends and family before the holiday festivities ramp up. Learn More

Seasonal Spa Treatments, November 30 through December 31, 2021
Visit Rosewood Miramar Beach and indulge in a relaxing holiday-inspired treatment this December at Sense®, A Rosewood Spa. Treatments range from a Ginger Snap Scrub and Massage, designed to melt away stress, to a Contouring Gua Sha Organic Facial, whose ultra-hydrating and anti-aging properties reveal a radiant glow. Gift yourself some self care this holiday season! Learn More
ost: Varies per treatment.

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Holiday Performances

Holiday theatre, musical acts, and festive performances in Santa Barbara will surely get you into the joy and merriment of the season. From annual productions to one-of-a-kind shows, the stage is set for a bright winter season.

Holiday Music & Carolers, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 26 through December 24, 2021
Paseo Nuevo brings the holiday joy as live music and carolers roam the outdoor shopping center each weekend. Follow along by swinging “fa la la la la la!” and enjoy costumed carolers, holiday horns, and colossal choirs. Learn More

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Artisan pop-ups and seasonal marketplaces are in plentiful supply this holiday season. Show your support for local makers and shop local goods straight from the source! Another way to shop small is by visiting local independent retailers. This gift buying guide will steer you to shops and products that can only be found on The American Riviera®, along with premier purveyors of Santa Barbara’s signature style and some delectable Central Coast goodies to boot. 

couple shopping on state street

State Street Promenade Market, Every Thursday, 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Give the gift of signature Santa Barbara products and goods this holiday season by shopping at the State Street Promenade Market. Taking advantage of State Street being closed to vehicular traffic, the 1000 block of State Street between Carrillo Street and Figueroa will be transformed into a local marketplace each Thursday for shoppers to meet and shop the local makers of Downtown Santa Barbara. As you browse and buy, enjoy temporary art and light installations and sample eats and drinks from downtown purveyors. Learn More
Cost: Admission is free.

Blissful Boutiques Holiday Market, Now through January 9, 2022, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Created by local entrepreneur Lisa Green to showcase and support local artisans, this dedicated holiday pop-up store at 621 Paseo Nuevo takes place Wednesday through Sunday. Among the 30+ vendors, find quartz rocks hand-picked from U.S. mines, jewelry, clothing, gourmet foods, dolls, photography, and much more. Learn More
Cost: Admission is free.

The Yes Store, November 4 to December 24, 2021
Santa Barbara’s original artists’ pop-up gift gallery, The Yes Store returns to downtown Santa Barbara for its 54th year, continuing its tradition of highlighting the finest area artisans including woodworking, ceramics, fine jewelry, glasswork, fabric, leather and more. Learn More
Cost: Admission is free. 

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Food & Wine Events

Miracle Cocktail Pop-Up Bar, November 19, 2021 through January 2, 2022
The Funk Zone’s Pearl Social has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland, and now is your chance to enjoy holiday cheer inside the festive and incredibly decorated cocktail bar. Relish in over-the-top holiday decor, displays, and a cocktail menu like you’ve never sipped before. With yuletide wishes aplenty, this scene is something everyone in Santa Barbara has to see to believe. Learn More
Cost: Varies per menu item. Reservations recommended.

Festive Brunch at Angel Oak, December 25 through January 2, 2022, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Savor this luxury 2-hour experience with expansive ocean views, and choose from a wide selection of à la carte brunch delights. Featuring a prix fixe menu, celebrate the holidays with a culinary journey and toast to good food with family and friends. Learn More
Cost: Varies by dish. Reservations recommended.

Christmas Eve at The Lark, Loquita, Helena Avenue Bakery and La Paloma Café, December 24, 2021
This Christmas Eve, The Lark’s Executive Chef Jason Paluska will be cooking up a Creekstone 16 oz Prime Ribeye platter with duck fat fingerling potatoes, creamed Swiss chard, crispy shallots and smoked beef tallow emulsion. This delectable menu offering serves 2-3 and is priced at $125. Over at Loquita, Executive Chef Jasmine Shimodal will offer holiday specials along with the traditional à la carte menu including signature paella, seasonal craft cocktails and an expansive menu of gin & tonics. Helena Avenue Bakery is the go-to stop for pre-Christmas breakfast and lunch and grabbing holiday breads and pies (available for pre-order). Lastly, La Paloma Café’s Executive Chef Jeremy Tummell will be serving a special edition of his “Gaucho Steak” – an Oak-grilled 8-oz Wagyu tenderloin with warm bacon and jalapeno chimichurri, with Yukon gold potatoes, local green beans and horseradish. Don’t miss these delectable holiday offerings!
Cost: Varies per menu item.

Christmas Eve at Caruso’s, December 24, 2021, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Embrace la dolce vita of the American Riviera with ocean views, fine wine and dinner at Caruso’s. For the occasion, the beachfront restaurant will offer Chef Massimo Falsini’s Feast of the Seven Fishes. Also known as La Vigilia or The Eve, this traditional Italian-American meal consists of exquisite fish and seafood dishes. Learn More
Cost: Prix-fixe dinner menu is $225 per adult, $85 per child (ages 4 to 12 years old; children under age four dine complimentary)

Christmas Eve and Day at El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel, December 24 at 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and December 25 at 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Offering a timeless sense of tranquility from its vantage point high in the foothills, El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel is one of Southern California’s most iconic hotels. This Christmas, in The Dining Room & Terrace, Executive Chef Bruno Lopez offers guests a fine festive dining experience. The holiday menu includes offerings ranging from Wagyu beef tartare, butter-poached white sea bass and prime rib, and decadent holiday desserts such as chocolate yule log and sticky toffee pudding. Learn More
Cost: $125 per person, $60 per child (age 12 years and younger)

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Angel Oak, December 24 to 25, 2021, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.  
Celebrate with family and friends on The Bluff at Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara. Chef de Cuisine Alexander James Bollinger has created extraordinary holiday culinary offerings to be enjoyed on both Christmas Eve and Day. Select from a specialty seaside prix fixe four-course menu with holiday specials. Learn More
Cost: Varies by dish. Reservations recommended.

Christmas at the Revere Room, December 25, 2021, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Share an unforgettable holiday repast drawn from the bounty of Southern California at Rosewood Miramar Beach. The Revere Room’s brunch buffet will pair regionally influenced Christmas classics with a cut-your-own-salad garden and an extraordinary assortment of seasonal dishes. Learn More
Cost: $145 per adult, $65 per child (ages 4 to 12 years old; children under age four dine complimentary)

Christmas at Caruso’s, December 25, 2021, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The holidays are synonymous with joyful moments and the flavors of the table. On Christmas Day, Caruso’s offers two opportunities to savor a delectable meal, graciously served in a stunning oceanfront setting. In the early afternoon, celebrate early with a Christmas Day five-course prix fixe brunch. In the evening, take in views of the Pacific Ocean as you toast to the season and enjoy selections from a grand prix fixe menu with Christmas specials crafted for the occasion by Executive Chef Massimo Falsini. Learn More
Cost: $165 per adult, $65 per child (ages 4 to 12 years old; children under age four dine complimentary) 

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New Year’s Eve Events

Pop, fizz, and clink in Santa Barbara this New Year’s Eve. Ring in 2022 with memorable dining experiences, seasonal performances, festive events, and many more “only in Santa Barbara” moments. Click here to get the complete guide to New Year’s Eve Events in Santa Barbara.

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