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guide to holidays in santa barbara

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS: WINTER 2023 SOCIAL CALENDAR

Embrace the Holiday Spirit in Santa Barbara, where the cool winter climate harmonizes with year-round sunshine. Discover an abundance of festive events and activities that make this city the perfect winter wonderland for ‘Season’s Greetings!’

Recurring Events

‘Miracle’ At The Funk Zone | November 10th – January 1st

This Christmas Bar brings the holiday season to life with extravagant decorations and whimsical displays alongside a menu brimming with spirited cocktails served in Christmas collectible glasses. What is one of the most coveted reservations of the season, Miracle provides a joyous and entertaining way to celebrate the holidays with friends and family in a uniquely festive atmosphere.

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Zoolights | November 15th – January 14th

Experience the Santa Barbara Zoo in a whole new light at the 2nd Annual Zoolights! Visit the park after dark and step into a world of lights, interactive exhibits, and light scenes that depict nature from all over the world. Plus, all of the animal exhibits will be open to view.

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Julefest | November 24th – January 6th

Take a quick trip up North to Solvang where the Danish Village transforms into a holiday wonderland. The festivities will include nighttime Makers Market for holiday shopping, a popular scavenger hunt through the town, candlelight tours, daily Light & Music tours, and so much more.

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Christmas Patch | November 24th – December 17th

Immerse yourself in the festive spirit at Lane Farms in Goleta, where Christmas cheer abounds. Take a leisurely stroll amidst rows of Christmas trees, capture holiday memories with photos, and challenge yourself at the corn maze. Don’t miss the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits for a delightful holiday pie, adding a delicious touch to your seasonal celebrations.

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Holiday Harbor Cruise | December 1st – December 22nd

Embark on a weekend adventure every Friday and Saturday aboard the iconic and festively adorned “Lil Toot” along the Santa Barbara Waterfront. Cruise the harbor while discovering captivating insights into local history and marine life. This unique experience combines scenic views and festive cheer!

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Snowfall At Paseo Nuevo | December 1st – December 24th

Every weekend of December, Paseo Nuevo is bringing snowfall to the Santa Barbara Coast. Experience the wonderful sight of snow, the larger-than-life Christmas tree, and do some holiday shopping along State Street. Starts at 6pm.

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Events & Activities

Christmas Tree Lighting | December 5th

Come together with your loved ones to revel in the holiday spirit at El Encanto’s lively Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony! Delight in snacks sourced from the Chef’s Garden, expertly paired with award-winning wines and comforting winter beverages.

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Holiday Stroll, Sip, and Shop | December 7th

Dive into the holiday spirit during a magical evening of sipping, shopping, and strolling along Coast Village Road in Montecito. Explore the shops along the road to find that ideal gift for your loved ones, all while treating yourself to some festive drinks and tasty nibbles. Enjoy the melodic tunes of carolers setting the perfect holiday mood. As the sun sets, don’t miss the dazzling tree lighting ceremony – it’s the cherry on top of a truly festive evening.

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Hanukkah Candle Lighting Ceremony | December 8th

Join the El Encanto staff for a Menorah lighting on the picturesque Terrace Garden Patio, followed by a laid-back latke soirée in the cozy Fireside Room. It’s a warm and inviting way to celebrate the season with a touch of holiday magic.

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37th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights | December 10th

Join the city of Santa Barbara and head down to the Waterfront for an afternoon and evening of festive fun! Gather your loved ones to watch the lively parade, and cap off the night with a dazzling fireworks show. For the best views, check out Stearns Wharf, the breakwater, West Beach, and East Beach. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the season with a blend of community and coastal charm.

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The Nutcracker Ballet | December 16th – December 17th

State Street Ballet brings an enchanting performance of The Nutcracker, a cherished tradition in Santa Barbara. Featuring over 150 professional dancers, musicians, and ballet students, this grand production brings the beloved story to life with all the splendor Santa Barbarans have come to love. Join the community for three magical performances, as the stage comes alive with the beauty and grace of this annual celebration. It’s a festive treat for all ages.

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Christmas Eve Prix Fixe / Four Course Dinner | December 24th

Make your Christmas Eve memorable with The Rosewood at Miramar Beach at one of their hotel restaurants: The Revere Room or Caruso’s. Indulge in a festive four-course dinner at The Revere Room, featuring locally sourced ingredients for a delightful dining experience. Alternatively, join Caruso’s for Seven Fish dinners, accompanied by the melodic tunes of carolers in the nearby Living Room, and savor the enchanting snowfall on the Great Lawn. It’s a perfect blend of culinary delights and holiday charm to celebrate the season.

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Christmas Day Prix Fixe / Four Course Dinner | December 25th

Create lasting holiday memories with an unforgettable Santa Barbara experience. Indulge in The Revere Room’s prix fixe dinner, featuring a blend of regional Christmas classics and a delightful assortment of seasonal dishes. Or, at Caruso’s, toast to the holidays while taking in panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and savoring selections from a sumptuous menu curated for the occasion by Chef Massimo Falsini. It’s a perfect blend of festive flavors and scenic elegance to elevate your holiday celebration.

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New Year’s Eve Dinner | December 31st

Ring in the New Year with a magical evening at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, where the holiday festivities are as enchanting as the Coastal California views. Elevate your evening with a champagne toast upon arrival to dinner, then indulge in the 5-Course Prix-Fix Menu. It’s a perfect blend of gourmet dining, bubbly celebrations, and live music to welcome the New Year in style.

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New Year’s Eve Champagne Cruise | December 31st

Embark on a memorable journey into 2024 along the California coastline aboard The Double Dolphin. Experience the New Year’s Eve Champagne sail, featuring bottomless champagne and breathtaking Riviera views. Set sail in style, welcoming the new year with the soothing sounds of the ocean and the sparkle of celebratory bubbles.

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New Year’s Eve Le Bal Cristal | December 31st

Partake in an unforgettable night a glimmering night of unmatched elegance and exclusive service in the fabulous Baccarat crystal Chandelier Ballroom at The Rosewood. Lively libations, spectacular performers, one of Los Angeles’s top dance bands, Champagne toasts, and much more await. Celebrate the New Year in a way like never before, raising a glass to a night of unparalleled glamour and joy. Black-tie required.

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