Throughout the month of July, there’s no shortage of exhilarating summer adventures to be had in the Santa Barbara South Coast. Whether you explore the natural beauty of the Channel Islands National Park, practice your warrior yoga pose under the summer sunshine, or set sail with cooling coastal breezes and breathtaking views, Santa Barbara is sure to impress. To guarantee we make good on our promise, use this list as your jumping-off point for the best Santa Barbara activities and events happening this July.
Before making your way to The American Riviera®, it’s important to read up on what’s currently open and allowed during your travels. We encourage all travelers to come prepared with a face covering (they’re required) and knowing how to be a healthy and responsible traveler.
Book Your Stay
Fourth of July Weekend
While the Fourth of July celebrations might look a bit different this year, we’re here to provide you with a few safe and socially distanced recommendations on how you can spend your holiday weekend.
From coast to coast, there’s nothing quite like our National Parks Service which cares for special lands across the 50 states so that all may experience our nation’s heritage. In fact, Santa Barbara is blessed to have the Channel Islands National Park, aka “Galapagos of North America,” right in our front yard. This Fourth of July weekend (or any time for that matter), take in the stunning landscapes, marvel at the pristine waters, and get to know the local wildlife. Depending upon the level of exploring you’d like to do, the park and its outfitters have options to hike, kayak, snorkel, and more.
If gathering with a small group of family and friends sounds more your speed, we recommend taking the festivities to Santa Barbara’s wide-open spaces with plenty of room for your group to stretch out, while also keeping a safe social distance from others. From personal backyards to area parks, please note that all groups are to be limited to no more than 10 people. We kindly ask that you be aware of our surroundings. If you see that an area is crowded, please turn around and seek other places to enjoy.
Finally, as your taste buds begin to crave the sweet traditional tang of BBQ, here are a few local eateries that will be offering to-go, delivery, or dine-in meals to celebrate– Shalhoob’s, Neighbor Tim’s BBQ, Mylestone BBQ at Draughtsmen Aleworks on Sundays, Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch, Woody’s BBQ, Barbareño, and Hitching Post 2.
Art for the Soul
Beginning July 8, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is pleased to welcome the public back to explore the museum’s outdoor spaces. Exhibits available include Butterflies Alive!, where guests are able to walk through a beautiful garden while nearly 1,000 live butterflies flutter freely around, as well as the Museum Backyard, an ADA-accessible nature play area nestled in the oak woodland along Mission Creek. To secure your next visit, please be sure to schedule in advance as reservations are required.
The magic of going to the movies can now be enjoyed at West Wind Santa Barbara Drive-In, thanks to UCSB Arts & Lectures. Beginning July 15, audiences can safely drive in to enjoy Grit, Grace & Glory—Movies Under the Stars in Your Cars, a weekly series of family-friendly, feel-good flicks about overcoming the odds every Wednesday evening. A League of Their Own is scheduled to kick off this free summer series on July 15 at 8:30 p.m, followed by The Karate Kid on July 22 and a double feature of 42 and Field of Dreams on July 29.
Gates will open at 7:30 p.m., and cars will be ushered in on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who arrive early can enjoy food trucks, concessions, and entertainment directly from your vehicle. Each week will have a featured vendor, so be sure to check which of your favorite Santa Barbara eateries will be in attendance.
Al Fresco Fun
Get your body moving and flowing with Divinitree’s Outdoor Summer Yoga Series. After months of being cooped up indoors, your body deserves a little TLC in the form of open-air movement and meditation. Held at La Mesa Park, feel comforted knowing that class sizes will remain small and spaced out. With classes available on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, there’s no reason not to get up and get active.
Yoga Dance Magic presents Soundwave Sessions, a beachside silent disco yoga affair. While breezily stretching your body into classic yoga poses, this energizing experience will all be set to music, controlled by your own YDM headphones. That’s right! Discover the magic of yoga with wireless headphones. Not to mention, these classes are a total body workout featuring an aerobics-inspired yoga and dance flow followed by relaxing restorative poses, a sweet savasana, and meditation. Classes are available every day of the week but remain extremely limited in size. Pre-registration is required.
Set sail with the fresh ocean breeze and a chilled glass of Grassini Family Vineyards wine at Sipping on the Sea, July 16. Aboard the Double Dolphin, a representative from the winery will be in attendance to pour tastings and provide education on their selection of local wines. Bask in the golden glow of a famed Santa Barbara sunset near the end of your 2-hour excursion. After sailing the seas and indulging in locally grown libations, fill up on seafood from Stearns Wharf, or grab a bite at one of the many open-air restaurants downtown Santa Barbara.
Presented by Blissful Boutiques, shop Santa Barbara’s area artisans at Makers Market, every Tuesday and Saturday. Located in Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara’s open-air mall in the heart of downtown, explore, browse and purchase one-of-a-kind treasures made by creative locals. Each week offers the opportunity to discover your next favorite piece of jewelry, apparel, home good, or artwork.