top of page

Holiday Events in Santa Barbara

November 9, 2023

We are excited for cooler weather, and a delightful holiday season in Santa Barbara. This vibrant city is ready to welcome visitors from all over, offering many exciting events. Santa Barbara is known for its many festive events and celebrations that will get you into the holiday spirit. Whether these events are unique holiday festivities, seasonal theater acts & performances, gift shopping, or holiday-inspired dining, there is something for everyone. Discover the captivating lineup of what Santa Barbara has in store for you this Holiday Season.

Thanksgiving Events

Thanksgiving Wine Tour

November 23, 2023 from 10 am to 4:30 pm

Treat your palette the day before the big meal to a wine tour with Santa Barbara Wine Country Tours, where expert tour guides will conduct wine tastings at three local wineries, provide lunch and door-to-door shuttle service for a day in the Santa Ynez Valley. Your guide will discuss local history and insights about the region and what makes its wine so unique.

Cost: $215 per person. Price varies depending on the selected tour.

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Adventure Company

Thanksgiving 4-Miler

November 23, 2023

The 25th annual running of the Santa Barbara Thanksgiving Day 4-Miler will be held Thanksgiving morning on Thursday, Nov. 23. Come out and enjoy the pre-Thanksgiving dinner festivities featuring a unique course that starts along Hollister Avenue heading to Turnpike Road. There’s a stretch along the bike path before winding through neighborhood streets to the finish at Thunderbird Park.

Bring your family and friends along and earn your day’s indulgence during this fun and festive event.

Admission is $35

Event Location: Magnolia Shopping Center

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara The American Riviera

Arts and Social Events

Zoo Lights

November 15, 2023, through January 14, 2024

See the Zoo in a new light at the 2nd Annual ZooLights! Watch the Zoo transform after dark into a magical world of lights, featuring thousands of handcrafted silk-covered lanterns lit with more than 50,000 LED bulbs.

Walk through the Zoo and enjoy the interactive light exhibit with illuminated lanterns showcasing animal and nature scenes that represent wild places from around the world. Discover the underwater seascape, beautiful birds, interactive areas, and dozens of other animals all on the Zoo’s beautiful grounds during this larger-than-life immersive experience.

Event Location: Santa Barbara Zoo

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Zoo

37th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights

December 10, 2023 @ 5:30 pm

Celebrate the 37th Annual Parade of Lights in the Santa Barbara Harbor. Attendees can kick off the season with a visit to Winter Wonderland at Stearns Wharf, followed by a parade of costumed kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders, a tree lighting ceremony and the grand finale: the boat parade, where over 30 vessels will circumnavigate the wharf, adorned with holiday lights and oftentimes, festive music

Free Admission

Event Location: Santa Barbara Harbor

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara The American Riviera

Holiday Harbor Cruise Aboard Lil' Toot

December 1 to 22, 2023

Experience the magic of the season like never before with a Holiday Harbor Cruise aboard the iconic Lil’ Toot in beautiful Santa Barbara! As you step onboard the festively decorated Lil’ Toot, you’ll be transported into a waterfront wonderland of holiday cheer. The knowledgeable and friendly crew of the Lil Toot is there to ensure your comfort and enjoyment throughout the tour. They’ll provide fascinating insights into the local history and marine life… with a sprinkle of holiday joy.

Admission: $25 per adult and $20 per child

Seaside Sock Skating at MOXI

November 18, 2023 to January 7, 2024

This winter is about to get a whole lot cooler—without the chill. Sock skating is coming to MOXIs rooftop! Opening Nov. 18, this new seasonal exhibit will allow kids and adults to kick off their shoes to enjoy frictionless fun by sliding across a specialty tile floor reminiscent of ice, without the chill.

Admission: Included with the price of admission

Artisan Market Places in Santa Barbara

One of the best ways to support local communities when traveling is to shop small and buy local. You can take that thoughtful act a step further when you buy directly from the local artists, craftspeople and makers. In Santa Barbara, there are several enticing creative marketplaces, arts and craft shows and cooperative boutiques where you can discover a broad variety of objects and artworks made locally.

  • Blissful Boutiques Makers & Wares Market: Located in downtown Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center. Held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm

  • State Street Promenade Market: The State Street Promenade Market is a weekly outdoor event, staged by the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization in collaboration with the City of Santa Barbara and is held every first Thursday of the month.

  • Jules By the Sea: Come experience what Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone truly has to offer, unique and locally made jewelry and gifts. Jules by the Sea is owned, crafted and operated by local Jules Kramer.

Free Admission.

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara The American Riviera

Food and Wine Events

Miracle at the Funk Zone

November 10, 2023 - January 1, 2024 - Recurring every weekday

Experience the holidays in a whole new Christmas light, with over-the-top holiday decor, displays, and a cocktail menu like you’ve never sipped before. With merchandise—like kooky Christmas collectible ceramic cocktail vessels—and yuletide cheer aplenty, this scene is something everyone in Santa Barbara has to see to believe.

Miracle’s reservation-recommended experience is a must for every tinsel-loving, nostalgic Christmas fan and the ideal venue for your social or work crew to ring in the holidays with extra pizzazz. Click here to make your reservation! Space is limited and spots fill quickly.

Event Location: Pearl Social

This event is for ages 21+

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara The American Riviera

Christmas Eve Prix Fixe Dinner

December 24, 2023, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Countdown to Christmas at Miramar. Dig into Seven Fish dinners on the coastline at Caruso’s, revel in the music of carolers in the Living Room, and delight in snowfall on the Great Lawn. Here’s to making this your most memorable Christmas Eve yet!

Admission: Admission: Adults $275; Children (ages 4 - 12) $150

Event Location: Caruso’s at Rosewood Miramar Beach

Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara The American Riviera

Christmas Day Prix Fixe Dinner

December 25, 2023, 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Spend Christmas Day at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, where the holiday offerings are just as wonderful as the Coastal California views. The 5-Course Prix-Fix Menu dinner will be available from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm, with the last reservation at 8:00 pm. The experience will be elevated with champagne upon arrival, festive holiday crackers, and a pianist in the lobby performing from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Admission: Adults $165; Children (ages 6 - 12) $65

Event Location: El Encanto Belmond Hotel

Photo courtesy of Belmond El Encanto


Featured Posts
Related Posts
bottom of page