The holiday season is almost here and with it comes a variety of incredible events and activities right here in Santa Barbara. If you or your family are looking for the perfect holiday getaway look no further than Santa Barbara. Our coastal home is the ideal vacation destination year-round including around Christmas. You will find the holiday-themed activities and events will bring a joyous time for you and your family. Take a look at some of the best Santa Barbara Christmas activities and events we have here:
Holiday Shows at Granada Theatre
There is nothing more magical than seeing your favorite Christmas stage production live in person. Santa Barbara is home to Granada Theatre, the local theatre house that showcases a variety of live talent including live musical performances, live symphonies, stage-up comedians, and much more. This holiday season Granada Theatre will be hosting a variety of holiday-themed productions to celebrate Christmas. Families looking for a religious experience during their stay can join in on the Westmont Christmas Festival taking place on December 3rd and 4th. This festival features various choirs singing your favorite Christmas songs and hymns. Nothing is more classic to see in person at Christmas than The Nutcracker and Granada Theatre will be hosting State Street Ballet for their rendition. This incredible production will feature the Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra and students of the State Street Ballet Academy. Expect to see an amazing performance that celebrates the holiday season with virtuosic dancing and lively comedic moments. The Nutcracker will have three performances between December 17th and December 18th. Last but certainly not least is a thrilling performance found at A Magical Cirque Christmas taking place on November 28th. Host Lucy Darling will host this dazzling event full of incredible cirque artists performing daring stunts. The love for the holiday season will be on full display for you and your family to enjoy. Don’t miss out on these Christmas-themed events taking place at Granada Theatre!
36th Annual Parade of Lights
The holiday season would not be complete without a light show displaying countless Christmas lights. You too can enjoy a lovely Christmas light display when you attend this year’s Parade of Lights found at Santa Barbara Harbor. This annual event will be in its 36th consecutive year as motor boats are decked out in thousands of Christmas lights for an incredible parade show. This year’s theme is ‘Deck the Hulls’ and instantly tells you about the kind of fun locals and visitors can expect to have. The event starts off at 3:00 PM where visitors can enjoy some time at the Winter Wonderland found at City Pier at the harbor. 10 tons of snow will be brought in for some light-hearted fun. Additional activities for early guests include interacting with holiday elves and holiday music; there is a rumor that Santa Claus himself will be on hand! At 4:00 PM the Human-Powered category for the parade show begins where kayakers and paddles paddle by with their best festival attire. At 5:00 PM guests can enjoy the tree lighting ceremony that is accompanied by live music from Dos Pueblos Jazz Choir. The parade itself will start at 5:30 PM where approximately 30 different watercrafts will light up the night sky as they head to Stearns Wharf from Ledbetter Beach. The event will conclude with a thrilling fireworks show over the wharf where the reflection of the lights over the water makes an event you will never forget. This year’s Parade of Lights will take place on December 11th and is always free to attend.
Ice Skating at Ice in Paradise
While Santa Barbara does not get any snow during the winter you can still enjoy some winter activities during your visit. This includes going ice skating at Ice in Paradise, a more recent addition to Santa Barbara. This ice skating rink will let you and the whole family take to the ice to practice this exciting winter activity. Ice in Paradise also hosts various hocking games and ice skating shows so check out their schedule to see if there is anything that interests you!
Visit Paseo Nuevo
Come experience the holiday magic at Paseo Nuevo, the outdoor shopping center here in Santa Barbara. The plaza will have its own giant Christmas tree and even “snowfall” that takes place each day at 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM. Complete your holiday shopping or enjoy the holiday lights displays. A little retail therapy is always a welcome addition during the holidays!
Experience These Santa Barbara Christmas Activities
As you can see there are quite a few Santa Barbara Christmas activities and events to enjoy. Book one of our luxury vacation rentals today and find your favorite here in town.
It is never too early to start planning ahead for your much-needed holiday getaway. When looking for the perfect spot to celebrate Christmas this year, we highly recommend our home of Santa Barbara. Enjoy the beauty of California, comfortable weather, exciting holiday events, and the best vacation rentals you can find around the area. Seriously, the average temps in December typically stay in the mid-60s! Check out how you can spend Christmas in Santa Barbara this year:
Holiday Fun at Paseo Nuevo
Locals know that the best place to find your holiday gifts is over at Paseo Nuevo. This beautiful outdoor shopping center features a variety of winter activities to hold you over until Christmas Day. From November 27th to December 31st you can find it “snowing” at Paseo Nuevo so you can get your white Christmas. The “snowfall” takes place at four different times each evening so guests can come and still maintain social distancing. While you are waiting for the “snow” make sure you go visit Santa! That’s right, Santa will be at Paseo Nuevo on November 27th and 28th and December 19th and 20th to hear all about what you kids want for the holidays. The kids will even be able to get a photo with Santa in front of the beautiful Christmas tree! They can also drop off handwritten letters asking for gifts for Christmas and possibly get a response back. Santa is available on these days from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
9th Annual Trolley of Lights Tour
Residents of Santa Barbara really know how to go all out for the holiday season. Local neighborhoods are always in the festive spirit and will decorate their homes with beautiful displays and lights. You can go see all of this in person by reserving a charter with Rockstar Trolley. Each year they take exciting charters out to the neighborhoods on their rustic trolleys. Due to COVID-19 restrictions Rockstar Trolley is unable to host public trolleys but private charters are available. You and a group of up to 32 passengers can enjoy this festive trip to go see all the lights. The Trolley of Lights Tour takes place from December 5th to the 24th.
34th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights at the Harbor
Each year Santa Barbara hosts Santa’s Village by the City Pier in Santa Barbara Harbor. Similar to Paseo Nuevo’s event, the City Pier will be covered in fake snow to make the holiday feel even more festive. Children can play and meet Santa and tell him what they want for the holidays. The holiday culminates with the Holiday Parade of Lights at the Harbor that is viewable from the pier and is all things festive. Approximately 30 boats take to the water and put on their dazzling display of holiday lights. Each contestant works hard in having the best display to win one of five cash prizes. Fireworks will shoot of into the sky to bring the event to a close. Do not miss out on the 34th consecutive year of this incredible event. While COVID-19 has caused other large events to be canceled, the Holiday Parade of Lights at the Harbor is still scheduled to take place. Do not miss out on the 34th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights at the Harbor on December 13th. Regular activities start at 3:00 PM with the parade and fireworks starting at 5:00 PM.
Incredible Vacation Rentals
You can plan all you want for an exciting vacation getaway but having the perfect vacation rental will make the trip one to remember. Our holiday vacation rentals can be found all around Santa Barbara allowing you to stay close to each of these exciting events. Pick a rental that is near the beach and see our beautiful shore. Or choose to stay in the fabulous downtown district with urban floor plans. Our rentals come in a variety of sizes so you can pick a property that best suits your family’s needs. Enjoy a variety of amenities such as open floor plans, flat-screen TVs, full-size appliances, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and so much more. Reserving a private vacation rental lets you maintain your social distancing by staying away from large crowds found at local resorts. Once you have enjoyed the holidays in one of our exclusive vacation rentals you will never want to go back!
More Fun During Christmas in Santa Barbara
We cannot get over how incredible Santa Barbara is for the holiday season. Take the vacation getaway you deserve and come see it for yourself. Reserve one of our vacation rentals today so you can be close to all of these exciting activities and more during Christmas in Santa Barbara!
As the holidays quickly approach, you may find yourself overwhelmed and underprepared; 2017 has been a crazy busy year! Wasn’t it only yesterday you were breaking your first resolution, just minutes after you made it? Now, you look around you and realize Thanksgiving is next week, the Christmas decorations are already up in the stores, and you want to know, “WHERE DID THE TIME GO?”
Because you need an infusion of holiday cheer and one last chance to slow down before the year ends, we suggest that a festive vacation in sunny Santa Barbara with your family is the perfect way to do so! Here’s a list of festive activities that will help you get in the mood during the holiday in Santa Barbara!
La Arcada Christmas Walk
The sun is always shining in Santa Barbara, but that won’t stop you from feeling the holiday spirit when you participate in the Annual Christmas Walk! Carolers dressed in their Dickensonian finest will sing for you as you stroll, mingle, and shop in a winter wonderland on November 29th from 5PM until 8PM.
The Nutcracker Ballet
The holiday tradition of seeing the Nutcracker is only enhanced by the opportunity to watch it at the Granada Theater! This historic venue, built in 1924, has three performances of everyone’s favorite ballet scheduled: December 16th at 2:30 & 7:30 PM and December 17th at 2PM. Reserve your tickets now before they sell out!
Santa Barbara Trolley
Ride around this holiday in Santa Barbara in a historic trolley decorated for the season in a 90-minute tour that allows you to view festive homes, also decorated for the season, while sipping cider and singing Christmas carols.
The Miracle on East Quinientos Street
Speaking of lights, this special neighborhood located in the heart of Santa Barbara goes all out for the holidays, creating a magical Christmas display that will bring warmth, light, and love to even the staunchest Christmas Grinch!
We Love a Parade!
Especially when it is a holiday parade held on the water! December 10th is the date and 5:30 is the time you want to find yourself sitting along this watery parade route, cheering on the holiday light decorated boats that glide smoothly through the water!