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.

Book Your Stay

SELECT your Holiday Adventure

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.

ZooLights at Santa Barbara Zoo, Now through Jan. 14, 2024 from 4:30-8:30 p.m.
To ring in the holidays, Santa Barbara Zoo debuts its brand-new walk-through light show, ZooLights. Here, guests will experience a glowing display of handcrafted, silk-adorned animal- and nature-themed lanterns with interactive zones, photo opportunities with Santa Claus (select dates) and festive libations and snacks for purchase.
Cost: $22 per adult, $20 per child ages 2-12 (ticket prices vary by day).

Holiday Movie Nights at the Steward, Now through Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.
Snuggle up with your loved ones and enjoy showings of Terra’s favorite family holidays movies and cult classics in the garden theater. Movies are complimentary and all are welcome! Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and movie starts at 7 p.m., and snacks and drinks will be able for purchase from Terra.
Cost: Admission is free.

Holiday Chocolate & Art Box Workshop, Now through Dec. 30 from 2-7 p.m.
Menchaca Chocolates hosts a festive Chocolate & Art Workshop every Friday and Saturday in December, where guests can create personalized chocolate bars and decorate keepsake boxes. This joyful event, perfect for all ages, offers a creative and indulgent activity amidst the holiday season.
Cost: $35-$45 per person.

Seaside Sock Skating at MOXI, Now through Jan. 7, 2024 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
This winter is about to get a whole lot cooler—without the chill. Sock skating is coming to MOXI’s rooftop! Opening Nov. 18, this new seasonal exhibit will allow kids and adults to kick off their shoes to enjoy frictionless fun by sliding across a specialty tile floor reminiscent of ice, without the chill.
Cost: Included with the price of admission.

Holiday Snowfall at Paseo Nuevo, Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning Nov. 24 at 6 p.m.
Embrace the glittering “snowfall” in Santa Barbara at Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center, where you don’t have to bundle up to feel the magic.
Cost: Admission is free.

Holiday Harbor Cruise Aboard Lil’ Toot, Now through Dec. 22
Experience the magic of the season like never before with a Holiday Harbor Cruise aboard the iconic Lil’ Toot in beautiful Santa Barbara! As you step onboard the festively decorated Lil’ Toot, you’ll be transported into a waterfront wonderland of holiday cheer. The knowledgeable and friendly crew of the Lil Toot is there to ensure your comfort and enjoyment throughout the tour. They’ll provide fascinating insights into the local history and marine life … with a sprinkle of holiday joy.
Cost: $25 per adult, $20 per child.

Snowfall at Rosewood Miramar Beach, Weekly until Dec. 25
Rosewood Miramar Beach is bringing snow to the California coast. Every week in December, gather on the property and experience snowfall on the resort’s event lawn. This magical experience is accompanied by hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts, kid’s activities and more.
Cost: Admission is free.

California Crafts Holiday Workshop, Now through Dec. 21
Get into the spirit of the season at El Encanto with two weeks of holiday crafts workshops, including Holiday Trim Calligraphy, Living Succulents Wreath-Making, Elegant Printmaking and Olfactory Senses and Hand-Poured Candle Making.
Cost: $75 per workshop.

Snowfall at Paseo Nuevo, Now through Dec. 24 at 6 p.m.
Every weekend through Dec. 24, witness the miracle of “snowfall” in Santa Barbara at Paseo Nuevo.
Cost: Admission is free.

Photos with Buddy the Elf, Mrs. Claus & the Grinch Dec. 23 from 12-3 p.m.
Snap photos with an iconic holiday duo Buddy the Elf and Mrs. Claus (Dec. 10, 16 and 23) and the Grinch (Dec. 10 and 23) at the Peppermint Parlor in Paseo Nuevo!
Cost: Admission is free.

Photos with Santa Claus, Weekends between Dec. 16-24 from 12-5 p.m.
On weekends between Dec. 16 and Dec. 24, stop by Paseo Nuevo to snap a photo with Santa! Photos will be taken indoors at the Peppermint Parlor, and package options will be available for purchase.
Cost: Admission is free.

Santa’s Workshop at Paseo Nuevo: Felt Ornaments, Dec. 20 from 5-8 p.m.
Discover the holiday spirit at Paseo Nuevo where kids can create delightful felt ornaments in shapes like gingerbread men, snowmen or Santa. For teens and adults, there’s a chance to craft intricate felt wreath ornaments, adding a personal touch to the season’s joy.
Cost: Free

Complimentary Gift Wrapping at Paseo Nuevo, Dec. 21-24
Make your holiday gift-wrapping stress-free this year with complimentary gift wrapping at Paseo Nuevo‘s Peppermint Parlor! Just show a receipt from any Paseo Nuevo store to get up to two of your items beautifully wrapped at no cost.
Cost: Free

Party at the Peppermint Parlor with DJ Darla Bea, Dec. 22 from 6-9 p.m.
Join DJ Darla Bea the Friday before Christmas and get your holiday cheer on at the Peppermint Parlor in Paseo Nuevo with upbeat holiday hits to kick off Christmas weekend.
Cost: Admission is free.

Back to top

Holiday Performances

Holiday theater, 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.

A Cowboy Christmas, Nov. 24-Dec. 23 from 3-7 p.m.
Santa Ynez Valley welcomes back A Cowboy Christmas, offering another year of memorable holiday festivities suitable for all ages! Visitors can journey into the valley and savor exclusive holiday animal encounters, embark on the exciting Daring Elf Adventure (an experiential pony ride through the North Pole), partake in the Tipsy Ornament Challenge (a horseback challenge), relish in delicious food and drinks (including beer and wine), meet Santa (while sitting in Gene Kelly’s vintage sleigh!), engage in games and obstacle courses, bounce around in the inflatable house, conquer the hay bale pyramid, enjoy a hot cocoa bar and experience the Rowdy Reindeer Ride (mechanical bull).
Cost: $19.95 per adult, $16.95 per child

Kerry Irish Productions Presents: An Irish Christmas, Dec. 23 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
An Irish Christmas takes audiences on an international journey with superb dancing, singing, and traditional Irish music. The cast is led by World Champion Dancers and features singers from the Kerry Voice Squad and music from the Kerry Traditional Orchestra. Celebrate the holiday season Irish-style and share your support for Lobero Theatre.
Cost: $30-$80 per person.

Back to top


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. 

A Crimson Holiday, Now through Dec. 31
A Crimson Holiday is a collection of local artisans offering an amazing collection of handcrafted gifts for the holidays. Stop by La Cumbre Plaza to pick out the perfect treasure this holiday season!
Cost: Varies by item.

Streets of Vintage Holiday Market, Now through Dec. 23 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Embrace the festive spirit at De La Guerra Plaza, where Mistletoe Mall beckons you to explore a series of enchanting vendors spotlighting Santa Barbara’s small businesses. This is the ultimate destination for one-of-a-kind, locally crafted holiday treasures that make perfect gifts.
Cost: Admission is free.

State Street Promenade MarketEvery first Thursday of the month from 3-8 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, and experience as it transforms into a local marketplace every first Thursday of the month 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.
Cost: Admission is free. 

The Yes Store, Ongoing
Santa Barbara’s original artists’ gift gallery, The Yes Store is continuing its tradition of highlighting the finest area artisans including woodworking, ceramics, fine jewelry, glasswork, fabric, leather and more.
Cost: Varies per item.

Back to top

Food & Wine Events

Miracle Cocktail Pop Up Bar, Now through Jan. 1, 2024
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 décor, 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. Stay tuned for special events held at this festive bar throughout December, like live DJ sets on Tuesdays, Thursday theme nights and drag nights.
Cost: Varies per menu item. Reservations recommended.

Holiday Bar Cart at Terra, Now through Dec. 28
The Holiday Bar Cart at Terra is stocked with festive treats for everyone! Enjoy holiday cookies, s’mores kits with house-made graham crackers, vegan marshmallows, chocolate bars, decorate-your-own gingerbread houses, and create your very own Steward ornament to take home.
Cost: Varies by item.

Breakfast with Santa, Dec. 23 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Enjoy a festive breakfast at Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort‘s Roundhouse Restaurant, featuring a traditional buffet and a holiday menu for kids. Enjoy cookie decorating and a special appearance by Santa, making it a delightful start to the holiday season for all ages.
Cost: Varies by menu item.

Christmas Eve Brunch at The Revere Room, Dec. 24 from 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Celebrate Christmas Eve at The Revere Room and enjoy a la carte brunch menu crafted from the freshest locally sourced ingredients.
Cost: Varies per menu item.

Christmas Eve Dinner at The Revere Room, Dec. 24 from 5-9 p.m.
Celebrate Christmas Eve at The Revere Room at Rosewood Miramar Beach and enjoy a festive dinner menu crafted from the freshest locally sourced ingredients.
Cost: $130 per adult, $65 per child (ages four to 12 years old; children under age four dine for free).

Christmas Eve at Caruso’s, Dec. 24 from 5-9 p.m.
Embrace la dolce vita of the American Riviera with ocean views, fine wine and dinner at Caruso’s at Rosewood Miramar Beach. 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.
Cost: $275 per adult, $150 per child (ages four to 12 years old; children under four dine for free).

Christmas Eve Specials at Costa Kitchen & Bar, Dec. 24 from 5-9 p.m.
Elevate your holiday experience at Costa Kitchen & Bar at Mar Monte Hotel with chef Sean Conway’s exclusive Christmas menu. Indulge in the enchanting flavors and culinary delights of the season, savoring every moment of this festive feast.
Cost: Varies by menu item.

Christmas Eve Dinner at The Stonehouse, Dec. 24 from 5-9 p.m.
Be serenaded by joyful Christmas carolers as you savor a memorable dining experience filled with festive flavors and heartwarming music, featuring delightful holiday specials for a magical Christmas Eve at The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch.
Cost: Varies by menu item.

Christmas Eve Prix Fixe Dinner at El Encanto, Dec. 24 from 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Spend Christmas Eve at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel with a special five-course “Feast of Fishes” dinner.  The experience will be elevated with champagne upon arrival and a live jazz duo to set the holiday mood.
Cost: $165 per adult, $65 per child.

Christmas Eve Dinner at Angel Oak Dec. 24
Experience a memorable Christmas Eve at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara‘s Angel Oak with a special prix fixe menu full of holiday classics. Celebrate the season’s joy and spirit in an exceptionally merry ambiance this year.
Cost: $139 per adult, $65 per child.

Christmas Day Breakfast at The Revere Room, Dec. 25 from 7 a.m.-10 a.m.
Share an unforgettable holiday repast drawn from the bounty of Southern California at Rosewood Miramar Beach. The Revere Room’s a la carte breakfast menu will pair regionally influenced Christmas classics with an extraordinary assortment of seasonal dishes.
Cost: Varies per menu item.

Christmas Day Brunch at Angel Oak, Dec. 25
Indulge in a sumptuous Christmas Day brunch at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara‘s Angel Oak, featuring a festive buffet filled with holiday favorites and an incredible view to boot.
Cost: $139 per adult, $55 per child.

Christmas Day Buffet at Finch & Fork, Dec. 25 from 12-7 p.m.
Gather your loved ones for a festive holiday celebration at Finch & Fork in the charming Kimpton Canary Hotel. Delight in a meticulously curated holiday buffet, showcasing the best of Santa Barbara’s locally sourced produce from family farms, alongside a stunning raw bar, carving stations and irresistible dessert spreads. Sip on hand-crafted cocktails and sparkling bubbles as you revel in the joy of the season in the heart of Santa Barbara.
Cost: $110 per adult, $55 per child.

Christmas Day Dinner at The Stonehouse, Dec. 25 from 12-7 p.m.
The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch invites guests to unwrap the magic of Christmas Day, offering a special four-course prix fixe meal complemented by an optional wine pairing. Visitors can relish in the festive atmosphere with a visit from Santa and his elves, who will make an appearance from 3-8 p.m.
Cost: $250 per person.

Christmas Day Dinner at Caruso’s, Dec. 25 from 3-9:30 p.m.
The holidays are synonymous with joyful moments and the flavors of the table. On Christmas Day at Rosewood Miramar Beach, 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, while in the evening, take in views of the Pacific Ocean as you toast to the season and enjoy selections from a sumptuous prix fixe menu with Christmas specials crafted for the occasion by Executive Chef Massimo Falsini.
Cost: $215 per adult, $95 per child (ages four to 12 years old; children under four dine for free).

Christmas Day Dinner at The Revere Room, Dec. 25 from 5:30-9 p.m.
Experience a memorable holiday inspired by the abundance of Southern California. At The Revere Room, indulge in a prix fixe dinner that skillfully combines regional Christmas favorites with an exceptional array of seasonal culinary creations.
Cost: $130 per adult, $65 per child (ages four to 12 years old; children under four dine for free).

Christmas Day Prix Fixe Dinner at El Encanto, Dec. 25 from 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Spend Christmas Day at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, where the holiday offerings are just as wonderful as the coastal California views. The five-course prix fixe dinner will be available from 5:30-9:30 p.m. (last reservations will be seated at 8 p.m.). Sit back and soak in the holiday cheer with a glass of champagne upon arrival, festive holiday crackers and a pianist in the lobby.
Cost: $165 per adult, $65 per child.

Christmas Day Dinner at Angel Oak, Dec. 25
Gather for an exquisite Christmas Day dinner at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, with a prix fixe menu of traditional holiday specials. Celebrate the season surrounded by loved ones, creating cherished memories over a delightful feast.
Cost: $165 per adult, $65 per child.

Back to top