October in Santa Barbara doesn’t fall short when it comes to iconic festivals and events. Get your avocado, wine and seafood fill this month at the California Avocado Festival, Santa Barbara Vintners Festival and Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival—three things that encompass the essence of the Santa Barbara South Coast. 

More reasons to vacation to The American Riviera®: There are fewer crowds, the weather is divine, wine harvest season is in full swing and there is still so much outdoor fun to be had. Read on for some of the best ways to welcome autumn in our slice of coastal paradise.

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October is one of the best times to visit Santa Barbara, most notably for the perfect mid-70s temperatures and sorbet sunsets. All the more reason to attend one of these signature festivals!

Break a sweat during your vacation at Hotel Californian’s Pilates Brunch Club on Oct. 1. Here, you’ll enjoy a breathtaking (literally) pilates session, beats from DJ Darla Bea, bottomless mimosas, brunch, mini massages, shopping and more. 

From Oct. 3-22, you don’t want to miss Pianos on State. Held annually in October, Santa Barbara’s famed downtown corridor is graced with vibrantly designed pianos, decorated by local artists, encouraging locals and visitors to step up to the keys and play a spontaneous tune. 

Discover the magic of the outdoors at the NatureTrack Film Festival, celebrating its fifth anniversary in Goleta from Oct. 6-8, a haven for nature aficionados and film buffs alike. Since its inception in 2018, the festival has dazzled thousands with cinematic masterpieces from around the world. This year, be inspired by the theme “Igniting passion for nature through film.” Kick off the celebration on Oct. 6 with the festival’s opening night party at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, featuring a cocktail reception prior to the screening of “Wild Waters,” a documentary film about French kayaker Nouria Newman, revered as the best kayaker in today’s world.

Perhaps one of the most iconic California festivals to take place is the 37th Annual California Avocado Festival, held on Oct. 6-8, which features the endless ways to eat an avocado. Attendees can also enjoy local vendors and plenty of live entertainment in the heart of the neighboring town of Carpinteria. Make it a day trip and hop aboard the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, which picks up in both Goleta and Santa Barbara, and makes a stop in Carpinteria. You won’t have to worry about parking or designating a sober driver, and soaking in the coastal views from the railroad car is an added plus to an already quintessential South Coast weekend.

Be sure to add the coveted 39th Annual Santa Barbara Vintners Festival to your itinerary this October and venture out to the acclaimed Santa Barbara wine country for a day. On Oct. 14, the festival invites attendees to taste over 50 of the area’s best wine and food purveyors at Vega Vineyard and Farm, about 33 miles north of Santa Barbara. Want to discover more ways to fill your glass? Check out these unique ways to wine in the Santa Barbara South Coast. Because there is limited parking at the venue, the festival is partnering with Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort to offer free off-site parking and transportation to the event.

If wine tasting isn’t calling your name, Goleta Valley Historical Society’s Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention & Festival will also be held on Oct. 7 for its 51st run at Rancho La Patera & Stow House. After listening to some old-timey music, pay a visit to the festival’s “Instrument Petting Zoo,” where you’re able to take banjos and fiddles for a spin or take part in a free banjo or yodeling workshop.

One of Santa Barbara’s most beloved seaside events, the Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival, returns for another year of fresh catches and live entertainment on Oct. 21. With local fare being served up—dockside!—all day long, satisfy that seafood craving with dishes like mussel and shrimp paella, fish tacos, freshly cracked uni (sea urchin) and more. Take home your choice of freshly caught fish and a fisherman can filet them for you on site—a truly “sea-to-table” experience. 

During this popular seafood celebration, get the full waterfront experience and set sail on a free boat ride aboard Lil’ Toot, Azure Seas (Celebration Cruises) or 35-foot Kelpie (SunSwept Sailing), receive discounted entry to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum or keep the ocean-faring festivities afloat all weekend long with this seafood lover’s guide to Santa Barbara.

Experienced cyclists are invited to participate in the Ride Santa Barbara 100 on Oct. 21, which offers an entire day of cycling events, such as the 100-mile course and 100-kilometer Coastal Route, that challenges riders to put their pedal to the metal as they take in breathtaking views of the city.


While wine tasting is a year-round activity in the Santa Barbara South Coast, there’s something special about sipping newly released varietals in the fall in one of the most coveted wine destinations in the country.

Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail takes wine enthusiasts through the streets of Santa Barbara—starting in the Funk Zone and ending in the bustling Presidio neighborhood. In addition to sightseeing your way through urban Santa Barbara, check out these unique ways to wine taste here in The American Riviera®.

Tour multiple vineyards throughout Santa Barbara wine country during harvest season and learn about the wine-making process with outfitters like Rooted Vine Tours or Totally Cali Tours of Santa Barbara. No need to worry about a designated driver—the wine tour companies will do all the driving for you.

If you want more of a multifaceted wine tasting experience during your stay, this guide to the ultimate Santa Barbara wine getaway will be your new go-to resource.


Catch the Santa Barbara Bowl’s last few shows of the season under the twinkling stars: The Postal Service & Death Cab for Cutie on Oct. 14 and Hozier on Oct. 28.

Hit the historic Lobero Theatre for a variety of live performances and shows this October with artist Valerie June (Oct. 6), comedian Matt Mathews (Oct. 13), virtuoso musicians Avi Avital and Hanzhi Wang (Oct. 16), The Wallflowers (Oct. 17) and Patty Griffin and Todd Snider (Oct. 20).

At Granada Theatre, a stunning landmark in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara (that also doubles as the city’s tallest building), see live performances like Carmen (Oct. 1), Martha Graham Dance Company (Oct. 4), Nickel Creek (Oct. 8) and Giselle (Oct. 21 and 22).

The Arlington Theatre is not shy of a robust roster in October, featuring groups like Intocable (Oct. 1), Rumours of Fleetwood Mac (Oct. 4), Charley Crockett (Oct. 6), Wilco (Oct. 13), ZZ Top (Oct. 20) and more.


Of course, Halloween in Santa Barbara is full of tricks—and treats!—so come dressed your best to enjoy these ways to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve this year. From pumpkin patches and corn mazes to Halloween-themed events at some of your favorite Santa Barbara attractions, there are plenty of spooks to be had in The American Riviera®.

For more inspiration on ways to enjoy fall in Santa Barbara, click here.

Featured October Events

Santa Barbara Indie Film Fest

Recurring daily

Oct. 4 - 6, 2024

Come celebrate the art of cinema at the historic Alhecama Theater in downtown Santa Barbara for the Second Annual Santa Barbara Indie Film Fest! Enjoy a weekend of a wide range of films all produced by an impressive selection of independent and…

Sunday Polo: Pro-Pool All-Star Challenge

Oct. 6, 2024


Plan a visit to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club for a Sunday match, where ladies don their finest hats and gentlemen dress to the nines to watch the thrilling equine sport. Revel in the speed and agility of both the jockeys and horses,…

Music on the Water with Catalina Esteves

Oct. 11, 2024


See Santa Barbara’s local musician, Catalina Esteves, perform while enjoying the sunset and soaking up the majestic views of the Santa Barbara coastline. Music on the Water feature a variety of music that is fun for friends and family of all…

Painting in the Vineyard

Oct. 12, 2024


Are you looking for something unique to do in Santa Barbara County Wine Country? Why not join us at the picturesque Kaena at the Ranch in Solvang to grab a glass of wine and a paintbrush?! You’ll spend the afternoon sipping delicious wine and…

Music on the Water with David Segall

Oct. 25, 2024


See Santa Barbara’s local musician, David Segall, perform while enjoying the sunset and soaking up the majestic views of the Santa Barbara coastline. Music on the Water features a variety of music that is fun for friends and family of all…


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