Photo Credit: Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Guide to holiday events in Santa Barbara
‘Tis the season for savory wine pairings, bustling night markets, festive light tours, and of course, holiday parades filled with glee! As the winter days turn brisk and stars poke through the night sky, explore all the holiday festivities Santa Barbara has to offer, ranging from family-friendly and snow-centric fun to romantic candlelit dinners for two. Get ready to make lasting memories with loved ones this holiday season!
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WINE AND FOOD EVENTS
Holiday Tea at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, December 14, 15, 21 and 22, 2018
Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara is renowned for its afternoon tea, and now you have the chance to partake in a specialty holiday rendition. Relax in the cozy fireside ambiance of Bella Vista and savor a freshly brewed pot of one of dozens of fine teas along with finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, pastries, tea cakes and homemade accoutrements. Heighten your festive experience with a glass of bubbly. Please note 24-hour advance reservations are required.
El Galeon Speakeasy at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, December 14, 2018
This December, experience the 1920s like never before at the resort’s nautical-themed room, El Galeon. Following the 1920s speakeasy theme, the room was originally used during Prohibition as a drinking and poker lounge. For two nights only, El Galeon will be outfitted for the evening with white glove service, champagne, poker and cocktails from the era that pair perfectly with Chef Marco Fossati’s modern twist on 1920s hors d’oeuvres. Guests are encouraged to follow the 1920s dress code, and tickets for the event are limited so book now!
C’est Cheese Caviar & Champagne Pairing, December 14, 2018
A rich and delicious hors d’oeuvre, caviar is a showstopper in itself. Learn pairings from the pros at C’est Cheese and enjoy two glasses of champagne while you’re at it. Ticket price includes two glasses of Champagne, six caviar tastes, plus accoutrements such as freshly made blinis, hard boiled eggs, chopped chives and crème fraîche.
Special Bonus: Don’t forget to stop by the C’est Cheese La Maison Rouge Holiday Market, a specialty housewares boutique where you can purchase homeware gifts and ensure your home is fully stocked for the holidays! La Maison Rouge is open daily until December 31st.
Skål Stroll Wine and Beer Walk, December 15-16, 2018
Relish in Solvang’s top wine and beer offerings this holiday season. The Skål Stroll Wine and Beer Walk is your two-day passport to taste wine and beer from over a dozen locations, as well as judge participating wineries in their traditional Gløgg uncorkings. This small Danish town means business, and the Skål Stroll is one festivity you won’t want to miss!
Feast of the Seven Fishes, December 21-24, 2018
Chef Weston Richards of Les Marchands Restaurant & Wine Shop brings the classic Italian Christmas Eve tradition to Santa Barbara with his Feast of the Seven Fishes. Originating in the 1900’s, Italian families would gather together on Christmas Eve and share seven different seafood dishes, all bursting with unique seasoning and flavors. Accompanied by delicious wine and hand-crafted cocktails, the Feast of Seven Fishes is your chance to witness the laughter and merriment that was a staple at those classic Christmas Eve dinners. The four hearty courses includes the likes of American Caviar with potato chips, crème fraîche, chives, as well as Chilled Squid Ink Noodles with Dungeness crab, jalapeño, and tobiko. Don’t miss out because space is limited!
Cost: $75/Person, $45/Person for wine pairing
Brunch at San Ysidro Ranch December 22, 23, 29, and 30, 2018
Beloved resort hideaway San Ysidro Ranch is welcoming back visitors to their renowned brunch service on four coveted days this December. From 10:30am – 2:00pm, delight in a three course themed brunch with free-flowing champagne and other beverages. Curated by San Ysidro Ranch’s chef Matt Johnson, the menu features both traditional and new dishes to savor. Reservations are required as spots at the Champagne Brunch are limited, so don’t wait to experience this gorgeous affair.
FESTIVALS AND PARADES
Nightly Snowfall at Paseo Nuevo, Now – December 31, 2018
As the holiday lights twinkle and caroling songs drift through the shops, watch as the night sky fills with snow at Paseo Nuevo! Every night in the Center Court at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., snow will fall as kids greet Santa at his workshop. Don’t be surprised if a few snow angels appear on the ground! Please note: No shows on Christmas Day, December 25.
Santa at Paseo Nuevo, Now – December 24, 2018
Starting Thanksgiving weekend, head down to Paseo Nuevo for a chance to snap a photo with Santa Claus! He’s making his list and checking it twice, and every child that attends will receive a free gift from Santa. Please note that December 2 and 9 are “Santa Cares” dates, marked especially for children with special needs and would like a little extra time with Santa.
Rockstar Trolly Lights Tour, December 6 – 30, 2018
This family-friendly 90-minute tour takes riders all around Santa Barbara through stunning holiday displays and beautifully lit neighborhoods. The trolley can get chilly so be sure to dress warmly! Pick-up is at the Santa Barbara Zoo, and check-in begins an hour prior to your scheduled ride.
Costs: Adults – $27.00, Children 2 -12 – $17.00, Children 2 and under (must sit on lap) – FREE
Una Noche de Las Posadas, December 14, 2018
Una Noche de Las Posadas is a special reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter in Bethlehem. The historical procession starts at the Presidio Chapel and continues through De La Guerra Plaza as holiday songs are sung in Spanish. The parade concludes at Casa de la Guerra where tamales, traditional desserts, and hot chocolate are served to attendees. Bring the whole family to this time-honored event.
Holiday Lights Tour in Solvang, December 17, 2018
Tour Solvang’s most magically lit neighborhoods and fa-la-la-la in love with this Danish town’s holiday spirit. Hot chocolate and christmas music are sure to accompany the one hour and fifteen minute trolley tour, so don’t forget your carrolling skills!
Santa Barbara Night Market, November 23 – December 29, 2018
Stroll down to Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants to experience Santa Barbara’s first-ever night market. With over 1 million people expected to pass through within the six weeks the market will be open, this exciting pop-up is the perfect place to begin your holiday shopping and spend time with loved ones. Visitors can expect holiday themed décor, live music, carolers, food, beverages, and all the best products the Central Coast has to offer.
Cost: Admission is Free
State Street Ballet’s The Nutcracker at The Granada, December 15-16, 2018
Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra and Gustafson Dance’s talented students team up with State Street Ballet to bring Clara and her Nutcracker Prince to life in this highly anticipated show. Fantastic musical scores, pristine choreography and gorgeous costumes are just the beginning! There will only be three coveted performances available so don’t miss out.
Santa Barbara Sings at The Lobero, December 16, 2018
“Santa Barbara Sings! – A Free Christmas Concert” is the highlight of the winter performance season, and you have to see it to believe it! The free family-friendly concert features Navidad Nuestra, a folk drama of the Nativity, based on the rhythms and traditions of Hispanic America. The American Riviera Children’s Chorus will debut along with other performers, and the show’s finale includes an audience sing-along of Christmas carols. Warm up those vocal cords and get ready to sing your heart out!
The Blind Boys of Alabama Holiday Show at Campbell Hall, December 16, 2018
Gospel titans The Blind Boys of Alabama return to Santa Barbara for their show-stopping holiday gospel, and are joined by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster to rock the house. The powerful and uplifting holiday show will include hidden gospel gems, seasonal classics, and originals.
Cost: General Public $35 – $50, UCSB Students (Current student ID required): $15
The Christmas Revels: An Irish Celebration of Winter Solstice at The Lobero, December 22-23, 2018
The Christmas Revels: An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice evokes the spirit and strength of Irish Emigrants to America in the early 1900’s. The Revels Company is joined by award-winning actors, Irish dancers, vocal soloists, a brass ensemble and a string and wind quartet. The heartwarming and exciting performances showcase classic Irish holiday traditions and prove fun for all ages.
NEW YEARS EVE EVENTS
New Year’s Eve Pops at The Granada, December 31, 2018
Ring in the New Year with the Santa Barbara Symphony! Guest Conductor Bob Bernhardt will conduct popular hits as well as Broadway classics, and aerial performers from Troupe Vertigo make for a rousing show. Make your last show of the year the best, and get tickets before they sell out!
For a complete guide on New Year’s Eve Events in Santa Barbara, click here.