Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hotel Milo

Welcome the dawn of a new year in an unbeatable destination for all kinds of adventures, from wine-tasting at a historic hotel to joining fellow cinephiles at a world-renowned festival or riding some of the best breaks on the West Coast. January in Santa Barbara presents visitors with the opportunity to ditch the chill of winter and embrace a season filled with afternoons of epic excursions and nights that glitter with the glamour of Hollywood.

Start living your New Year’s resolutions to devote more time to self-care, making meaningful connections and travel. Opt for a January getaway to Santa Barbara with relaxed beachside living at Hotel Milo. Situated across from West Beach, the 122-room boutique hotel features sweeping views of Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Harbor. 

The hotel’s Spanish Colonial design takes inspiration from Santa Barbara’s most prolific hotelier, Milo Potter, whose magnificent Potter Hotel (built in 1903) put this picturesque coastal destination on the map. The beautiful lawn framed by iconic California palm trees once served as the grand entrance to the Potter Hotel and the property itself sits in the gardens and petting zoo of the original resort. 

Enjoy sips and ocean views on the terrace at Hotel Milo. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hotel Milo

Today, Hotel Milo features vibrant beachy accommodations, beautiful pools, fire pits and lush bougainvillea-filled gardens. Amenities include continental breakfast, daily wine-tasting, a fitness center and a fleet of Milo beach cruisers for riding along the Santa Barbara Waterfront, while stopping along the way to explore neighborhood shops, restaurants and museums. 

Unwind and uncork with Hotel Milo’s Urban Wine Tasting Tour Package, which includes accommodations by the beach and wine tasting for two at four Funk Zone neighborhood tasting rooms, located within walking distance from the hotel. After a day out and about in Santa Barbara, return to Hotel Milo to nestle fireside and watch the sunset with your complimentary bottle of wine. Learn More

The Arlington Theater, one of the SBIFF’s many locales.


This winter, Santa Barbara will roll out the red carpet at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), taking place January 15 to 25, 2020, when Oscar contenders (like Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, stars of “Marriage Story”) and the industry’s best gather for 11 days of film screenings, celebrity tribute events, panel discussions and star-studded parties. 

Now in its 35th year, SBIFF is a world-renowned festival paying homage to Santa Barbara’s rich history of film production, attracting award-winning filmmakers, actors, students and devoted moviegoers. The festival utilizes all Santa Barbara cinema has to offer with events and film screenings held around town and in historic and beautiful theaters, including The Arlington Theatre, Lobero Theatre and the newly restored Riviera Theatre, to name a few.

SBIFF is a pass-based festival, offering four levels of passes for priority admission to films and events. The festival also offers a variety of free community events including Super Silent Sunday, a unique screening series which makes available classic silent films with live musical accompaniment on The Arlington Theatre’s 1928 Wonder Morton Pipe Organ (one of only five still in existence). Learn More


surfing in santa barbara
A surfer enjoys local breaks. Photo Credit: Mark Weber

Stoked on surfing? Put on some Jack Johnson (a UC Santa Barbara alumnus), grab a board and come to Santa Barbara. With moderate ocean temperatures and a west swell, winter in Santa Barbara offers surfers ideal conditions for riding waves. Whether you’re just learning or a seasoned pro, local surf spots offer something for every ability. The area’s most famous break is scenic Rincon Point, aka the “Queen of the Coast” and home to the Rincon Classic surf championship starting each January. Sandspit, right off the breakwater at the mouth of the Santa Barbara Harbor, is best in winter and ideal for intermediate surfers. Campus Point is a relatively mellow surf spot, but come winter, swells can produce classic top to bottom barrels (perfect waves) off this shale-layered point. Visit our Santa Barbara Surfing Breaks guide to learn more.

Featured January Events

An evening with Los Lobos


Los Lobos, the hard working, constantly touring band comprised of David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin has sold millions of records, won prestigious awards and made fans around the world. The Grammy®-winning…

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