Photo Credit: Brisas Del Mar of Santa Barbara Hotel Group

What’s December like in Santa Barbara? We’re like the rest of the country, but with fewer layers and more beach days. Rather than spending the holiday season cooped up indoors, we invite you to experience this special time of year in a special place, one that’s covered in sunshine and exudes relaxation.

To guarantee your December travels are ones to remember, Santa Barbara Hotel Group is here to provide you with a warm winter wonderland, that doesn’t skimp on the holiday fun in the sun. The best gift is one that includes an experience you’ll never forget, a getaway with all the fixings. With the help of Santa Barbara Hotel Group, choose from an array of travel packages such as the Sweet and Salty, a retreat complete with welcome Rosé, local chocolates and a meditation session at Salt Cave Santa Barbara; 4 Days in Paradise, your escape to tour wine country and sail the Pacific at sunset; or the Adore and Explore, a family-filled getaway filled with activities on everyone’s holiday wishlist. Don’t know your travel dates? Gift certificates are available to guarantee travel in the year to come. Learn More


No need to sacrifice your dreams of a winter wonderland for a beach vacation getaway. Forgo missing out and have the best of both worlds. Whistle the tune “Let It Snow” as you experience traditional winter activities with a twist in Santa Barbara. Each year the Santa Barbara Zoo invites you and your kiddos to the Snow Leopard Festival. This year’s festival takes place on December 2 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and includes sledding down the Zoo’s “mini-Himalayan” mountains. Celebrate the beautiful and endangered Snow Leopard while you romp in the snow. Learn More

Held along the Santa Barbara’s main thoroughfare, State Street is home to the 66th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade on December 7. Free to attend, this is a traditional, not-to-be-missed holiday extravaganza. Whether you grab a window seat at one of downtown Santa Barbara’s restaurants, or post up along State Street itself, you’re guaranteed to leave feeling the excitement of the season. Learn More

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Like the quintessential coastal town we are, we can’t let the holiday season pass without cheer, merriment and a Parade of Lights along the waterfront. Held December 9, this annual event is by far one of the season’s stand-outs, drawing hundreds of families to watch as 20-30 brightly decorated boats parade around the Santa Barbara harbor to the theme of Hollywood Holidays. During the festivities, make a visit to Santa’s Village, where the kids play in 10 tons of snow and take photos with Santa. Learn More

If you’re looking for a location that’s practically on the sand, Hotel Milo is conveniently located along Santa Barbara’s Waterfront, making for a premium locale to watch the Parade of Lights. During the month of December, reserve a premiere Ocean View King Room and receive 15% off during your stay. Considered to be the most coveted guest rooms, guests are treated to panoramic Pacific Ocean views stretching down West Beach from Stearns Wharf to the Harbor. With views like these,winter travel never looked so good. Learn More



Folk & Tribal Arts Marketplace at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, November 30 – December 2.

The entire month of December is a shopaholic’s paradise, beginning November 30 through December 2 at the Folk & Tribal Arts Marketplace. For three full days, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will transform into a diverse marketplace, representing goods from over 50 countries. Admission is free, but you’ll want to bring your wallet to purchase one-of-a-kind items including beautiful jewelry, colorful textiles, intricate baskets, unique pottery, art, worldly decor and more. Whether your shopping for a gift or “just because”, you’ll find whimsical, practical and exotic treasures from around the globe. Learn More

Continuing well into December, shopper’s can find a variety of different neighborhood market places to purchase the perfect piece of Santa Barbara, made from local artisans. Santa Barbara’s first-ever European Night Market will be open November 23 through January 6, offering live music, carolers, food, beverages and all the best products the Central Coast has to offer. Learn More

November 1 through December 24, Santa Barbara’s original artists’ pop-up gift gallery will return for it’s 51st year! The Yes Store will continue its tradition of highlighting the finest area artisans including woodworking, ceramics, fine jewelry, glasswork, fabric, leather and more. Learn More

Last but not least, Homespun will make its Santa Barbara debut with the Homespun Holiday Craft Fair on December 8. Located at Casa De La Guerra in Santa Barbara’s Presidio Neighborhood, more than 60 makers of homemade goods will gather together to showcase everything from jewelry and housewares to essential oils and holistic skincare. 


As night falls on Santa Barbara, the lights of the theatre shine bright. During December, theatres across town offer can’t-miss world-class performances. Here are a few upcoming events exclusively in December: Rudolph (December 1), Hallelujah Project 6 (December 8-9), Santa Barbara Festival Ballet’s The Nutcracker (December 8-9), State Street Ballet’s The Nutcracker (December 15-16), The Blind Boys of Alabama Holiday Show (December 16), The Christmas Revels: An Irish Celebration of Winter Solstice (December 22-23) and New Year’s Eve Pops (December 31).

Featured December Events

Terlato Caribbean Yachting Wine Voyage

John Terlato invites you aboard the SeaDream II to enjoy complimentary wine tastings and winemaker dinners* while sailing through the Caribbean. The quintessential host, John will share his family’s passion for wine and food, their unique…


Holiday Events in Santa Barbara

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