In February, Santa Barbara begins to warm up, bringing tidings of spring on the horizon. With more days of sunshine, comfortably cool afternoons and longer daylight hours, it’s one of the perfect months to discover this coastal city. Enjoy a refreshing pint of craft beer or a glass of local pinot noir with that special someone during Valentine’s Day weekend, or celebrate Hollywood’s acclaimed films (and its stars!) of the year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Read on for the top reasons to visit Santa Barbara during the month of February.
Seasonal tip? Explore the Santa Barbara South Coast at your leisure and choose from these local accommodations offering a third night free when you book a two-night stay. With so many one-of-a-kind boutiques to shop and decadent meals to savor, do yourself a favor and add on an extra night.
SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Experience Santa Barbara’s cinematic side during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), which will be held on Feb. 8-18. The film industry’s best will gather in The American Riviera® for 11 action-packed days of film screenings, celebrity tribute events, panel discussions, parties and more. This year, the festival is celebrating Brendan Fraser, Austin Butler and Cate Blanchett, among other leaders in the film industry. Read here for more information on this year’s events.
Love is in the Air
February in Santa Barbara provides the perfect opportunity for a romantic getaway. Spend Valentine’s Day in Santa Barbara getting cozy on a beach walk, taking in epic views on a hike through the backcountry or savoring a delicious candlelit meal. For the wine lovers, Santa Barbara boasts a number of restaurants with amazing wine lists to sip your way through during your stay. For those looking veer off the beaten path on your next romantic excursion to The American Riviera®, we encourage you to embark on one of these unique date night ideas. If the time is right, Santa Barbara also has an inviting atmosphere for an unforgettable proposal, where the stunning landscape will make the ideal backdrop. Celebrating Galentine’s Day this year? Grab your gals and head to the Santa Barbara South Coast with this girlfriend’s guide in tow, which features plenty of wine tasting, mouthwatering meals and incredibly relaxing spa experiences.
What tastes better together than wine and chocolate? Show your sweetheart some love this February with handmade artisan chocolates from one of Santa Barbara’s premium purveyors. Enjoy offerings from Jessica Foster Confections, like the passionfruit white chocolate or apple cinnamon truffles—and don’t miss out on the hand-rolled caramels that will melt in your mouth. Twenty-Four Blackbirds in the Haley Corridor gives visitors a chance to try single-origin chocolates from various countries, including Madagascar and the Dominican Republic. Twenty-Four Blackbirds also offers a tour of the facility accompanied with a wine and chocolate pairing; the hand-painted, bright and glossy truffles are a true sight to behold. (Tip: Try the dark chocolate covered espresso beans for a real caffeine kick.)
Located in Sevilla Square, Chocolate Maya sells local and imported bonbons and chocolates in unique, seasonal shapes and flavor combinations for the purist and for those that like a little adventure with each bite. On State Street, try Menchaca Chocolate, a true bean-to-bar experience that sources its chocolate from Guatemala and Ecuador. Menchaca Chocolate prides itself in creating completely vegan treats by using oat milk powder and the owners often host workshops for chocolate-lovers to concoct their own sweet creations.
In February, Lobero Theatre kicks off its 150th Anniversary Ovation Celebration with a year full of exciting events. A few highlights include Ukrainian-born guitarist Vlad De Briansky, who helms the stage on Feb. 1 with tunes from his latest blues studio album “Dreamland.” Arturo Sandoval, one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, launches the Jazz at the Lobero Ovation Series on Feb 10. And multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter Jack Johnson, known for his poetic lyrics and relaxing jams, returns to Santa Barbara on Feb 21.
At SOhO Restaurant and Music Club, We the Beat Presents: The Moss for an evening of easy-going surf rock tunes on Feb. 2. On Feb. 3, hip-hop duo NB Ridaz take the stage; Feb. 4, Black Joe Lewis brings the funk; Feb. 8, San Francisco band The Stone Foxes bring their rock ‘n’ roll tour to Santa Barbara.
At Granada Theatre, American-rooted band Pink Martini showcases their musical talent from across the globe on Feb. 3. On Feb. 5, Cirque troupe FLIP Fabrique are slated to impress with death-defying acts that display a level of artistry and grace that is a must-see of the season. On Feb. 27, world-renowned pianist Lang Lang makes his first Santa Barbara appearance in eight years.
Black History Month
February is Black History Month, and through the work of local Black-led organizations, like Healing Justice Santa Barbara, the community will honor the historical achievements with performances, film screenings, panel discussions and more. The 2023 theme is “Black Resistance,” which explores how African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression. At Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the film Keeping the Light: The Story of the Bravery, Heroism and Courage of African American Lighthouse Keepers and Lifesaving Service will be shown on Feb. 1. At Soul Bites Restaurant, Santa Barbara Black Culture House is hosting events like “Coffee with a Black Guy” (Feb. 5) featuring journalist and community leader James Joyce III and a pre-taped video panel discussion highlighting five women in rock (Feb. 18). Another way to celebrate Black History Month is through supporting Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs. Read here for a list of businesses to support throughout the Santa Barbara area.