Next Month in Santa Barbara

May

As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” and in Santa Barbara, the truth in that phrase is undeniable. Spring welcomes not only a bounty of wildflowers and lush greenery that delicately drapes across the expansive mountain enclave, but also a myriad of performances and festivals to elevate your visit. And, for National Travel and Tourism Week (which falls between May 5-11 this year), we invite you to relish in the excitement of so many happenings around town. 

If you’re celebrating Mother’s Day in our slice of the central coast, there are plenty of ways to make mom loved with these thoughtful, Santa Barbara-inspired experiences gifts. This May, it’s easy to get energized by the expressions of local artists, taste delectable wines paired with curated dishes and other signature events.

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SPRING BITES AND DELIGHTS

Experience the flavors of Santa Barbara like never before during the sixth annual Santa Barbara Restaurant Week, happening from April 26-May 5, where the city’s finest restaurants and wineries showcase their culinary artistry through exclusive menus. Take this as your invitation to savor special menu items and exceptional pairings at some of Santa Barbara’s premier dining destinations.

It’s time to get wild at the Santa Barbara Zoo! Roar & Pour (May 4) is one of the zoo’s signature wine tasting events, where attendees can taste dozens of local varietals while viewing the animal residents in their outdoor habitats. This unique experience allows visitors to explore the zoo after hours and catch the sun setting over the Pacific from the grassy hilled venue space with a glass of pinot noir in hand. 

Back by demand is the highly anticipated Taste of Santa Barbara, happening from May 13-19. Hosted by Santa Barbara Culinary Experience in honor of the legendary Julia Child, revel in insightful film screenings, soirees, tasting events, cooking classes and other countless ways to connect and celebrate the best of Santa Barbara County’s culinary scene.

Starting May 16, Santa Barbara Sailing Center hosts the popular on-the-water event every third Thursday aboard Double Dolphin, aptly named Sipping on the Sea. In May, Sanford Winery is the featured vendor, however each month features various wineries and breweries from across Santa Barbara County on a rotating basis.

POLO IN PARADISE

Bring out your finest sun hats, dresses and seersucker coats, because Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club’s 2024 Sunday Polo Season kicks off May 3. Nestled in the foothills of Montecito, watch the thrilling equine sport from the grandstands and graze on a chilled charcuterie board under shaded awnings. May through October, the pristine grass and stunning mountain views make an unforgettable backdrop to gaze at while sipping champagne and cheering on the players. Level up your polo experience and book a private field-side cabana, where you will get a front-row seat to the action.

LIVE IN SANTA BARBARA

Musical performances and productions come alive at historic venues across the Santa Barbara South Coast throughout May. At Granada Theatre, see hit musical Come From Away (May 1), catch Rhapsody in Blue at 100 (May 18-19) and Grammy-winning artist Sergio Mendes (May 24). At Lobero Theatre, see Santa Barbara Youth Symphony (May 5), Other Voices by State Street Ballet (May 10-11) and The Canceled Podcast Tour with Tana Mongeau and Brooke Shofield (May 28).

In the hills of the Riviera, not only can you enjoy vast views of the Pacific at the Santa Barbara Bowl, but also four iconic shows throughout May. On May 18, Cody Jinks makes a first-ever Bowl appearance. May 23, see music legend Natalie Merchant. May 24, Queens of the Stone Age. And to close out the month: Brothers Osborne on May 31.

FULL OF HE(ART)

The fan-favorite I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival returns on Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27). Watch as talented local artists (madonnari means “street painter” in Italian) create painted chalk artwork in front of Old Mission Santa Barbara. Artists representing a wide range of local organizations paint throughout the weekend and visitors can admire their gorgeous creations, as well as get a peek at the art process. Make a day out of it and pack a picnic to enjoy in the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden afterward—and don’t forget to stop and smell the blooming roses.

There are plenty of other signature festivals to attend in Santa Barbara—read here for more information on some of Santa Barbara’s most iconic festivals to plan for during your next trip to The American Riviera®.

Featured May Events


The Addams Family

Recurring daily

May 6 - 7, 2025

Time:

A comical feast that embraces the wackiness in every family, The Addams Family is the magnificently macabre hit musical featuring everyone’s favorite creepy, kooky characters. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up…


 

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