January in Santa Barbara presents visitors with the opportunity to ditch the chill of winter and embrace a season filled with afternoons of epic outdoor excursions and performances that light up the night. Ring in the new year with these noteworthy recommendations for a wide variety of wellness-centered activities that invite you to treat yourself in more ways than one.
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 shows to attend, shops to enjoy and outdoor excursions to be had, do yourself a favor and add on an extra night.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
The first thing on your 2024 to-do list should be an extravagant New Year’s Day brunch or dinner at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel. Take in the breathtaking resort grounds overlooking the Riviera and enter the new year in luxury. Speaking of luxury, there’s nothing like starting the year off right by treating yourself to a day at one of these spas to soothe your soul.
Want to knock something off your bucket list (on the first day of the year, nonetheless)? Take the plunge during the annual New Year’s Day Polar Dip at East Beach. Participate in New Year’s Day kayaking with Santa Barbara Adventure Company at Channel Islands National Park and find bountiful wildlife, beautiful waters and impressive sea caves. If you’re looking to relax and venture inland, this New Year’s Day wine tour with Santa Barbara Wine Country Tours takes guests through several vineyards and tasting rooms; all you have to do is sit back and cheers to the new year.
LIVE MUSIC & EVENTS
Lions, tigers and bears—oh my! Pay a visit to the Santa Barbara Zoo before ZooLights comes to a close on Jan. 14 and watch the zoo grounds come to life with illuminating lanterns that represent the zoo’s residents.
This January, Granada Theatre boasts a spectacular lineup of musical talent from musicals to live performances. Starting with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Jan. 17, Ride of the Valkyries on Jan. 20 and 21, Pretty Woman: The Musical on Jan. 22 and 23 and Limón Dance Company on Jan. 27.
Performances at Lobero Theatre don’t fall short in the new year, either, with shows like Brad Williams on Jan. 6, Lewis Black on Jan. 19, Gary Gulman’s Misfit Book Tour on Jan. 20 and Los Lonely Boys on Jan. 26 and 27.
WELLNESS & OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Jumpstart your fitness after the holiday season and take advantage of the fresh air and ocean breeze that blows through the epic landscape of the Santa Barbara South Coast. Bust out your hiking boots and explore the best hikes in Santa Barbara (furry friends are welcome!). If biking is more your speed, the coastal enclave boasts a number of popular bike trails that range from beginner to intermediate and offer sweeping vistas from various lookouts. Hit the trails with local cycling companies, like Santa Barbara BCycle and Cal Coast Adventures. Santa Barbara is home to a wide array of yoga studios for you to get your om on in the new year, as well as being an excellent place to practice overall mindfulness activities.
Other ways to get outside involve a bit of walking, like this self-guided Santa Barbara Courthouse tour or a stroll through the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Montecito’s stunning Lotusland or a tranquil visit to The Sacred Space. And finally, dive into that new hobby you’ve always wanted to try with stand-up paddleboard lessons with Paddle Sports Center or surfing lessons with Surf Happens Premier Surf School.