10 Best Holiday Attractions in Santa Barbara this Winter



Heading to Santa Barbara for the holidays? Lucky you! This coastal California beach town gets extra festive during the winter season with parades, live performances and much, much more. 

If you're looking for lights, you can book a ride on the Santa Barbara Trolley of Lights to scope out the best houses around town. Or you can plan a DIY tour and drive yourself around. The one place you absolutely must visit is known around these parts as The Miracle on East Quinientos Street. The private residence is so bright that you might want to bring sunglasses!

Visitors who like live performances will be thrilled to know they can catch the Nutcracker Ballet at either the Granada Theatre or the Arlington Theatre. Both of these historic venues are stunning, and there are dozens of mouthwatering restaurants right nearby.  

For family fun, look no further than the brand new ice rink in Goleta. Ice in Paradise is an indoor rink with a casual restaurant onsite. It's a good place to take a lesson, catch a hockey game or even see a holiday ice show. 

This list of the 10 best holiday attractions in Santa Barbara can help you get any Scrooge in the Christmas spirit. So get out those jingle bells and get going!




Two of Santa Barbara's most enduring Christmas traditions take place at the historic El Presidio every December: Una Noche de Las Posadas and La Pastorela. Una Noche de Las Posadas commemorates Mary and Joseph's journey from Nazareth to...  Read More


Casa del Herrero


Architecture enthusiasts should visit the Casa when it is all dressed up for the festive season. Visitors are invited to enjoy a cup of hot spiced cider as they tour the gardens and have a glimpse of how a Montecito Christmas in the 1930's might...  Read More


8
Santa Barbara
La Arcada
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


Don't miss the annual La Arcada Christmas Walk! Enjoy strolling carolers, freshly popped popcorn and a visit from Santa at this quaint, character-filled shopping venue that's as good for relaxing as it is for shopping. Marked by a multi-faced,...  Read More




Catch the Nutcracker Ballet at the Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara's most splendid and impressive performing arts venue, boasting over 1,500 seats, multiple patron lounges and a custom orchestra shell. Originally built in 1924, the theater...  Read More


6
Santa Barbara
Arlington Theatre


Don't miss your chance to see the annual performance of the Nutcracker Ballet with a live symphony orchestra at this beautiful Santa Barbara theater. Crowned by a grand tower and a red tile roof, the Arlington is a gem of Spanish Revival...  Read More




Nothing says Santa Barbara like, surf, sun and... ice skating?!? Yep, after many years of waiting, Santa Barbara now has it's very own ice rink for sport and leisure. And wouldn't you know it - they put on an awesome holiday ice skating show...  Read More




Explore the best Christmas light displays in Santa Barbara during this jolly, open-aired trolley tour. A caravan of lighted trolleys take groups around town after dark for a 90-minute ride. Hot cider is sipped, carols are sung, neighbors come...  Read More




For the best Christmas lights in Santa Barbara, look no further than this house on the east side. Local man Peter Estrada layers on the twinkles at this private residence that draws a crowd from far and wide. We feel sorry for the other homes in...  Read More




What's better than a parade? A boat parade! And what's better than a boat parade? A boat parade with lights and fireworks! The annual Santa Barbara Parade of LIghts boasts all of this and more. Join the locals for this Santa Barbara holiday...  Read More




What could be more magical than a twinkling, sparkling holiday parade just a few blocks from the beach? Head to downtown Santa Barbara during the week after Thanksgiving to catch this festive happening on Friday night. Beautifully lit floats and...  Read More


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Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva

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