Photo Credit: Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

Treat yourself to a Santa Barbara getaway this October, where the arts come alive, festival celebrations parade through the streets, and culinary delights take center stage. Without a doubt, the 31 days of October are some of the best times to travel to The American Riviera®. From the first glimmer of dawn to the slow swirl of an evening Chardonnay, October invites you to savor the plentiful bounty of Santa Barbara. If you’re feeling the need for a quick getaway before the holidays hit, our coastal paradise is waiting with open arms and a bottle of wine begging to be uncorked.

As you begin to realize the array of activities and festivals happening in October, we understand, it can be overwhelming. There really is a lot to choose from. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the best-of-the-best, highlighting premium events at the top of every traveler’s list.

Before heading our way, pick a place to call home while in Santa Barbara. For the month of October, San Ysidro Ranch is offering special mid-week rates that include continental breakfast for two at The Stonehouse. If you choose to book two nights or more, a bottle of champagne will greet you upon arrival and two 80-minute Swedish Messages will send you into a vacation state of mind. From there, we recommend making reservations for dinner at The Stonehouse, honored with Wine Spectator’s Grand Award for the past four consecutive years.

Relax with views of the Pacific Ocean at San Ysidro Ranch. Photo Credit: Instagram @sanysidroranch

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA IN Santa Barbara

Latin American and Latino art come to the forefront during the month of October with Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. Led by the Getty, this collaboration is a far reaching and ambitious exploration in dialogue with arts institutions across Southern California—from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is thrilled to be one of the presenting destinations with four significant exhibitions at six venues throughout the community.

During the month of October, and continuing through December 2017 and January 2018, be sure to visit the following exhibits, starting with “Valeska Soares: Any Moment Now” at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. “Guatemala from 33,000 km: Contemporary Art, 1960–Present” will be presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB), the Community Arts Workshop and Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. UCSB’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum (AD&A) and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum will showcase “Sacred Art in the Age of Contact: Chumash and Latin American Traditions in Santa Barbara.” AD&A Museum will also exhibit “The Schoolhouse and the Bus: Mobility, Pedagogy, and Engagement, Two Projects by Pablo Helguera and Suzanne Lacy / Pilar Riaño-Alcalá.” These exhibitions present a unique opportunity for encouraging cross-cultural dialogue and critical investigation of Latin American art within local context.

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA in Santa Barbara will culminate in a special Santa Barbara Weekend, October 20 through 22, and educational programming in the form of lectures, workshops and a Latin American Film Series, will be offered.

Can’t make it during October? Most Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA exhibits will run through December 2017 or January 2018.

Book Your Stay


California Brew Festival

Organizers of the ultra-popular California Wine Festival are back in Santa Barbara for the highly anticipated California Brew Festival, October 7. Top breweries, food purveyors and musicians will line the coast at Chase Palm Park, as guests get to sample libations from 50+ breweries, cider makers and wineries.

This ocean-front event will include famous names from the beer world like Ballast Point, Firestone Walker Brewing, Lagunitas and Stone Brewing, as well as a top-notch lineup of Santa Barbara County breweries including Brass Bear, The Brewhouse, Captain Fatty’s, Draughtsmen, Figueroa Mountain, Hollister Brewing, M. Special, Pure Order, Rincon Brewery, Third Window and Topa Topa. While you responsibly indulge in this beer-filled afternoon, One2Tree, a soulful reggae band, will keep the beat for this feast for the senses where beer is king.

Cheers to beers along the Santa Barbara coastline.

Last but not least, your ticket purchase helps support Surf Happens Foundation, an organization who enriches the lives of local youth through environmental education and the sport of surfing, so you can feel good about it to boot.

Didn’t get your fill? Get another pour of craft brew at Pints in the Park (October 14) and the 1st Annual Craft Brew Week (October 23 through 29).

Wine & Polo Festival

Don your finest sundress and seersucker suits, for this event is Santa Barbara living at its finest. Combining wine, polo and music, the Wine & Polo Festival invites you to an afternoon of high-class fun. Held on October 7 at the Santa Barbara Polo Fields, guests 21+ over will be entertained with two polo matches, five music performances, access to wines from the area’s exceptional wineries, beautiful Santa Barbara scenery, mouth-watering food pairings, and much more.

Performances include Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaries, LP, Nick Waterhouse and more. Finally, this event will include a traditional Champagne/Wine Divot Stomp, where patrons take to the field at the close of each match to flip over divots and drink champagne. Let the games begin!

Harbor & Seafood Festival

In Santa Barbara, seafood is our specialty. At the first glimmer of sunlight in the Harbor, local fishermen have already been hard at work bringing in their fresh catch from the Santa Barbara Channel. Does the thought of crab, lobster, mussels and oysters whet your appetite? If so, you’re in luck at the Harbor & Seafood Festival on October 14. Did you know Santa Barbara sea urchin are a delicacy. Treat your taste buds to freshly cracked uni, before hopping on a free boat ride around the Harbor.

From boat to plate, get the freshest seafood at the annual Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Fest.

At the Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival, meet the fishermen themselves and get a first-hand look (and taste) as seafood makes it from boat deck to your plate. Bring your appetite! This annual event also happens to coincide with lobster season. Tip: Arrive early before crowds swoop up the good stuff.

Pianos on State

Each October, Santa Barbara’s famed State Street is graced with vibrantly designed pianos that encourage locals and visitors alike to step up to the keys and play a spontaneous tune. Decorated by local artists, more than 12 colorful pianos will be on display at various locations from The Funk Zone to Victoria Street.

One of the colorful creations during Pianos on State. Photo Credit: Instagram @s_cugnier

If you’re visiting Santa Barbara from October 2 through October 16, we challenge to you to visit all locations and take a photo of our favorite. Even if you’re simply strolling down State Street, be sure to listen as the sound of music fills the streets of Downtown Santa Barbara.


Featured October Events

Soweto Gospel Choir, Songs of the Free

Time: Location: The Granada

The Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir returns for an infectiously joyful performance of spirituals, freedom songs, gospel and pop hits to commemorate the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. Formed to celebrate the unique and…

Travel Associates USPA Wickenden Cup Final


The Travel Associates USPA Wickenden Cup Final kicks off on Sunday, October 7 at 2:30PM at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. The Sunday Polo main match check in time is 2:30 pm at the Engel & Völkers Polo Stadium, with the Pony…

Cirque Mechanics, 42FT

Time: Location: The Granada

Step right up ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, to Cirque Mechanics’ world of gears and canvas, pulleys and sawdust. 42FT: A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels is the latest invention from Cirque Mechanics, a premier American circus with…

Ojai Storytelling Festival on Tour

Time: Location: UCSB Campbell Hall

Whether it’s a tall tale filled with hilarity or a journey of the imagination, master storytellers will deliver a program your children will never forget. These charismatic yarn-spinners incorporate sign language, movement, song, puppetry and…

Joan Halifax

Time: Location: UCSB Campbell Hall

Joan Halifax is many things – activist, author, caregiver, teacher, Zen Buddhism priest – but in all her roles, she is consistently courageous and compassionate. Halifax runs the Upaya Zen Center in New Mexico, a Zen Peacemaker…

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