Let's Hear It for Live Music in Santa Barbara

Get ready to rock, Santa Barbara! Or roll. Or swing. Or snap your fingers. Whatever the case may be, there's a music venue for you. Although live music can be a little tricky to find in the sleepy city by the sea, it's not impossible. Let 10Best be your guide to the best live music finds in Santa Barbara.

If you don't read any further, come away with this: do not miss an opportunity to see a show at the Santa Barbara Bowl. This stunning outdoor amphitheater books all the biggest stars from April through September every year - from local boy Jack Johnson to legendary acts. Bob Marley played his last show here, in fact. Adding to the wow factor is the aerial view of town.

If you're looking to have a fun night out with friends, visit one of the local bars to catch a live band in the act. The Velvet Jones and Soho both host bands regularly. Or head to the James Joyce for Irish folk music and other jazzy live acts almost every night of the week.

For a more sophisticated evening, look up the schedule at the Lobero theater. This beautiful venue is home to symphonies, ballets and other visiting guest artists. 



Whiskey Richard's is a bar and music venue on lower State Street. It is dark and welcoming for a night of casual drinking. They have pool tables, pinball and a photo booth. Drinks are strong and prices are fair. There is both indoor and outdoor...  Read More



This funky little coffee house is a find! Only locals and in-the-know travelers visit this bohemian hideout a few blocks off bustling State Street in Santa Barbara. During the day, it's the perfect place to grab some caffeine and do some...  Read More

Santa Barbara


If you're planning on spending a Thursday night in Santa Barbara this summer, don't miss your opportunity to embrace a little al fresco fun at Chase Palm Park. Starting in late June, the Parks & Recreation department hosts free weekly...  Read More



Are you looking for an eclectic place to enjoy a drink (and maybe a nibble) in Santa Barbara? Somewhere fun and exciting that's a little bit off the beaten path? Then pop into Reds Bin 211 in the Funk Zone. This bar and tapas place is just steps...  Read More

Santa Barbara


In a past life, Cold Spring Tavern was a stagecoach stop, a place for travelers to rest beside the stream, warm up at the fireplace and steel themselves for the trip ahead. These days, the character-laden restaurant and entertainment venue...  Read More

Santa Barbara


When the day's over and folks need a place to kick back for an evening or a few hours, they often migrate to this inviting pub. Hanging out and downing brews with friends appeals to many. Others take advantage of dart boards, pool tables and the...  Read More

Santa Barbara


The best place to hear live music on State Street, this thumping club promises high-energy entertainment and an enthusiastic clientele. Known for its powerful sound system, Velvet Jones puts its speakers to good use with top DJs and amazing...  Read More

Santa Barbara


No matter what night you step into Soho, you'll be regaled by live music and have access to fresh, Californian cuisine. A clean-lined interior welcomes visitors to relax into Thai shrimp, roasted chicken or a petite filet mignon and enjoy the...  Read More

Santa Barbara


The best live music venue in Santa Barbara! This outdoor amphitheater has an aerial view of the city, multiple concessions stands and wonderful accommodations. Bands big and small (but mainly big) play at the Santa Barbara Bowl. The concert...  Read More



Founded in the 1800s, the Lobero Theatre is the oldest continuously operating theater in California. Originally founded in 1873 and rebuilt in 1924, it is recognized as one of Santa Barbara's architectural jewels. It is also a state and city...  Read More


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