It’s safe to say that those who have traveled to the Santa Barbara South Coast at any point in the year know that the weather is gorgeous for nearly all 365 days. But true veteran travelers of the area know that September is one of the best times to visit The American Riviera®. Smaller crowds, an idyllic climate and a third night free—need we say more? From art festivals and marketplaces to epic outdoor adventures and electrifying live performances, read on to discover that there’s no shortage of Santa Barbara fun in the fall.
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS
Back for its 21st year, the Santa Barbara Studio Artists’ 2022 Open Studios Tour will return on Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2 to 5). For four memorable days, artists, gallery owners and art students will open their studios for patrons to discuss and appreciate the art pieces displayed in each gallery along the way. This well-known, sought-after event is one of the largest along the Central Coast, so be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity to speak directly with the artists about their incredible work.
For the third year in a row, the Margaritas y Más Festival will be making a welcomed return—and who can say no to bottomless tequila tastings!—on Sept. 10 at Elings Park, where attendees can enjoy live music and local food trucks to pair with libations made with some of Mexico’s finest tequila and mezcal.
On Sept. 24, the monthly Farmer and the Flea outdoor market will take place at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. Grab a coffee and pastry across the street at Handlebar Coffee Roasters or Alessia Pâtisserie and Café before you indulge in vintage, hand-crafted and boutique wares from local vendors. Historically held in October, this year, the Goleta Lemon Festival will fall on Sept. 24 and 25 for a family-friendly weekend at Girsh Park packed with games, a bounce house, obstacle courses, pie-eating contests, the Goleta Fall Classic Car and Street Rod Show and more.
Dress your best and attend Sunday Polo, hosted by the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, every Sunday through Oct. 9. There’s nothing quite like sipping champagne and cheering on the players from the sidelines to wrap up another glamorous weekend in Santa Barbara.
There are countless ways to spend an extended weekend in the Santa Barbara South Coast, but this Labor Day and beyond, get inspired to spend it outdoors. Start your morning with a hike at Inspiration Point or a bike ride on a picture-perfect bike route. If a more adventurous activity is on the bucket list, head out to sea with Channel Island Expeditions for a day-long excursion to Channel Islands National Park. On this trip, guests can kayak through giant sea caves and snorkel among diverse kelp forests with species unique only to the Channel Islands. For more ways to hit the great outdoors, read this outdoor guide to some of Santa Barbara’s finest natural wonders.
We can’t forget to mention, at this time of the year, the sun sets over the ocean, making for a picturesque view of an iconic Santa Barbara golden hour. Experience the magic of the evening glow during a sunset kayak with Santa Barbara Adventure Company, a cruise at sea with Celebration Cruises or Sunset Kidd, dinner on the patio at Reunion Kitchen + Drink or a picnic at Butterfly Beach.
MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT
September in Santa Barbara has a star-studded lineup of performances all month long. Cozy up at the intimate Lobero Theatre for performances from Tab Benoit (Sept. 2), Cat Power (Sept. 9), Accentuate the Positive (Sept. 15), Trap at 25 (Sept. 24), Suzanne Vega (Sept. 28) and Get the Led Out (Sept. 30).
The roster at the Santa Barbara Bowl is not shy of amazing shows, either, including Flume (Sept. 1), Goo Goo Dolls (Sept. 3), Jackson Browne (Sept. 7), Leon Bridges (Sept. 8), Nine Inch Nails (Sept. 13), Maren Morris (Sept. 15), Bonnie Raitt (Sept. 22) and Oliver Tree (Sept. 30).
BOOK YOUR STAY
Extend your stay (and your dollar) in the Santa Barbara South Coast with the third night free campaign. It’s easy: When you book two nights at participating hotels, your third night is on us. A well-deserved three-day trip to Santa Barbara is calling your name, because two days just isn’t enough. With deals like these, a vacation to The American Riviera® is an easy choice. You’ll thank us later.