The Santa Barbara South Coast is ripe with activity during June, whether your goal is to catch a lively polo match, revel in on-the-water tours and entertainment, colorfully celebrate the year-round sunshine in our beachy paradise—or all of the above. Discover what makes Santa Barbara an exciting summer destination and soak up the energy of Santa Barbara’s many festivals and summer happenings this June.
If you’re itching for a family getaway once school lets out or are just in need of a solo retreat, we’ve compiled a list of quintessential Santa Barbara activities that are sure to make for a memorable visit to our seaside city.
Festivals & events
Santa Barbara Zoo‘s annual fundraiser Zoo Brew (June 3) delights all who arrive at the grassy, oceanview hillside dotted with shaded tents offering unlimited beer tastings from over 30 local breweries and live entertainment. Taste craft brews from local purveyors and explore the zoo after hours during this iconic summer event.
The third Annual Santa Barbara Surf Film Festival, which will be held over two days at Lobero Theatre on June 9-10, celebrates this rich surf history and the diverse storytelling styles of filmmakers, artists, board shapers and surfers who spearheaded it all. A highlight to look forward to is the outdoor Surf Film Festival Block Party, where you’ll find a variety of surf exhibitors, local artisans, live music, delicious food and craft drinks.
Celebrate Juneteenth at Santa Barbara’s annual Juneteenth Santa Barbara Block Party (June 18) in the Funk Zone. The annual event welcomes everyone to commemorate the freedom of enslaved African Americans in the United States. The theme of this year’s Juneteenth celebration is “nourishing the people,” and will honor local Black artists, business owners, performers and organizations and will feature free food, dancing and singing.
The 49th annual Summer Solstice Celebration (June 23-24) is back with flying colors—literally. Gather in downtown Santa Barbara to usher in the summer season, and revel in the bold costumes, colorful displays, dazzling entertainment and local culture. This year’s festival theme is “roots,” and the Summer Solstice parade on June 24 will light up Santa Barbara Street with dancers, music, floats and more.The parade will end at Alameda Park, where there will be boutique shopping, live music, a beer and wine garden and sweet treats galore all weekend long.
Explore the Santa Barbara Lavender Festival—brand-new to Santa Barbara this year—on June 24 at Old Mission Santa Barbara. This unique arts and crafts festival will celebrate creativity through the artistic expression of lavender and lavender themes, featuring works from over 75 local artisans, lavender farms and small business owners.
And, between now and Sept. 4, the experts at Old Mission Santa Barbara present the city with a special replicated exhibition of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The paintings have been reproduced as close as possible to their original sizes, allowing for admirers to take in the artwork at a distance impossible to achieve in the real Sistine Chapel.
This June, walk through a beautiful garden inside the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History while nearly 1,000 live butterflies flutter freely around you. Butterflies Alive! features a dazzling variety of butterflies including local favorites and exotic tropical species. Learn about the life cycle and behavior of these spectacular invertebrates while observing them up close. The exhibit is included in museum admission and will be open through September.
music & Entertainment
Wharf Wednesdays kick off in June and continue through October. Celebrate Stearns Wharf’s storied history and enjoy live music at the monthly Wharf Wednesday concerts. On June 7, The Do No Harm Band takes the stage. Local businesses situated on Stearns Wharf will also be offering shopping discounts and specials to celebrate the occasion, so linger with delicious cocktails or dig into an oceanside meal, stroll the shops and listen to live music as the sun sets on the gorgeous coast.
Running through nearly the entire month of June at The New Vic are performances of Seared, a play about a talented chef that narrates the age-old dilemma of where art ends and capitalism begins, put on by the Ensemble Theatre Company.
On June 15, celebrate the music of Frank Sinatra at Granada Theatre, hosted by the Santa Barbara Symphony. And, on June 17, get glowing at the Glow Gala at Lobero Theatre, a dance performance by Momentum Dance Company that features everything from hip-hop to ballet.
Looking for a memorable outdoor concert experience? Catch one of the following shows during the Santa Barbara Bowl’s jam-packed summer season. You’ll quickly see why the ocean views seem even more spectacular when accompanied by a cold beer and a glittering light show under the stars. Right out of the gate is comedian Trevor Noah (June 2 and 3), then Garbage & Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (June 7), Diana Ross (June 13) and Kelsea Ballerini (June 16).
Speaking of unbeatable views, Santa Barbara Sailing Center’s yearly Music on the Water series combines live music, refreshing libations, on-the-water panoramas and the fresh ocean breeze aboard Double Dolphin. Catch David Segall (June 2), Chris Fossek (June 9), Gavin Roy (June 16) and Justin Claveria (June 23). Third Window Brewing will be featured aboard Double Dolphin, Sipping on the Sea (June 15), where guests will enjoy hand-picked wine for the occasion as they take in the stunning mountain and beach vistas from the water.
Looking for more on-the-water fun? Santa Barbara has a number of outfitters that provide a wide variety of tours and water-based activities for all ages. Santa Barbara Adventure Company and Paddle Sports Center offer a multitude of guided kayaking tours, stand-up paddleboarding, rentals and more for the active-minded.
If you want to get out on the water in a more relaxed setting, The Landshark provides land and sea tours of downtown and the harbor, and the amphibious boat is something you’ll need to “sea” to believe! Celebration Cruises provide boats for all occasions, and its fleet includes Lil’ Toot, Santa Barbara’s legendary water taxi that shuttles riders from Stearns Wharf to the harbor and back. Or, if you’re looking for an exhilarating adventure, head out to sea with Santa Barbara Parasail, where you’ll glide over 1,000 feet over the ocean and take in once-in-a-lifetime views of The American Riviera®. Needless to say, in Santa Barbara, you’re guaranteed to find an aquatic activity that suits your needs.
POLO IN PARADISE
The grassy fields at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club boast an iconic ocean view and the cool sea breeze is a welcomed addition to the exhilarating atmosphere. Sip on a chilled glass of Champagne and nibble on charcuterie under the shaded grandstand awning, and cheer for your favorite jockey to score. Keep an eye out for the royals also attending the matches, as Prince Harry joined team Los Padres. At halftime, take part in a fun polo tradition and help stomp the divots, where you’ll get a spectacular view from the fields!