Why You Should Have a Santa Barbara Christmas This Year

Christmas in Santa Barbara brings lovely weather and several lively events. There’s a certain kind of magic in the air, enhanced by the glittering lights and happy crowds. See below for some of the things you can expect during a Santa Barbara Christmas!

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Why You Should Have a Santa Barbara Christmas

Santa Barbara December Weather

Not a fan of cold weather, but still love the holidays? Enjoy the best of both worlds when you spend Christmas in Santa Barbara! The thriving city transforms into a warm and balmy winter wonderland in December, so you can still enjoy sunny days while celebrating the holiday season. An added bonus of visiting in December is that the summer crowds will have thinned out a bit.

graphic of blurry christmas lights with words "santa barbara vacation guide" on topSanta Barbara Christmas Events

Santa Barbara Trolley of Lights

For a fun twist on a classic tradition, take a tour on the Santa Barbara Trolley of Lights! You’ll cruise by spectacular light displays throughout town on an open-air trolley. This unique event is quite popular, so be sure to get your tickets in advance, as the tour tends to sell out each year.

66th Annual Santa Barbara Holiday Parade

Thousands of revelers line State Street each year for the signature Santa Barbara Holiday Parade. The Santa Barbara Holiday Parade is the city’s only night parade. Marvel as marching bands, spectacular holiday floats, performance groups, and more float down State Street. This year’s theme is “celebrating the fact that Santa Barbara shines,” so you can expect an abundance of glimmering lights, glitter, and gold and silver hues!

32nd Annual Santa Barbara Parade of Lights

The Santa Barbara Parade of Lights combines the holiday spirit with unique Santa Barbara flair to create a festive boat parade! Watch as they sail through the Santa Barbara Harbor, decorated with colorful Christmas lights. The show kicks off at Santa’s Village and ends with a sparkling 5-minute firework display.

Last-Minute Gifts

Night Market

The Santa Barbara Night Market premiers this year at what was formerly Macy’s in the Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants. The market is modeled after European-style night markets in which display goods from artisans, winemakers, craftsmen, and more! You can expect to see beautiful holiday decor and hear live music and carolers. It’s the perfect place to find that last-minute gift for a loved one while getting into the holiday spirit! The Night Market opens on Black Friday and will afterward be open Thursdays-Sundays until December 29th.

The Yes Store

For a one-of-a-kind gift, visit the Yes Store! This original pop-up gift gallery has been a tradition in Santa Barbara since 1968. Among its offerings, you’ll discover treasures made by local artists, from custom jewelry to handmade Christmas ornaments to photography and more. The Yes Store is in Paseo Nuevo (next to Nordstrom) and will be open from November 1st until December 24th.

Homespun Holiday Craft Fair

The historic Casa de la Guerra will play host to the Homespun Holiday Craft Fair on December 8th. Peruse handmade goods from 60 artisans amongst the adobe walls of the iconic building turned museum for that perfect gift.

Stay in an Elegant Wonderland

Extend the festive feelings by staying at the Cheshire Cat Inn! You’ll find a delightful blend of whimsy and elegance here. The Cheshire Cat Inn is inspired in part by the innkeeper’s home in Cheshire, England, and in part by the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Our charming lodgings are a short four blocks away from the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, putting you within walking distance of some of the best attractions that the city has to offer.

view of living room of Woodford CottageWhether you stay in a lovely themed room or an entire cozy cottage, you’re sure to awaken completely refreshed each morning. Many of our accommodations feature original fireplaces, sitting areas, and balconies that afford views of our gardens or the mountains. And, when you stay here, you won’t have to worry about breakfast—every morning, you are welcome to a complimentary buffet-style breakfast in the dining room. There’s also a social hour in the evenings complete with local wine and hors-d’oeuvres.

Take a look at all of our accommodations and book your stay for a Santa Barbara Christmas today!

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