10. EL PRESIDIO DE SANTA BARBARA STATE HISTORIC PARK
Two Christmas traditions that most locals Santa Barbarians will know about happen every Christmas at the El Presidio: Una Noche de Las Posadas and La Pastorela. Songs, refreshments and activities for the kids are some of the fun happenings at these events. La Pastorela is the tale of the shepherds journey to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Christ. Una Noche de Las Posadas commemorates Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. There is a performance (entirely in Spanish). And, it is held at one of Santa Barbara’s oldest buildings. This year the performance is on Friday, December 16th at 7:00 PM. For more information on attending this special holiday production, call (805)965-0093.
9. CASA DEL HERRERO
The Casa Del Herrero is a beautiful Montecito home that was built in the 1930’s. A Spanish Colonial Revival home, its name meaning “house of blacksmith” pays tribute to the owners’ machinery industry. Owners George and Carrie Steedman and a host of architects, designers and horticulturists are all behind this beauty. There are several dates in December where the public can visit the house when it’s dressed up for the holiday season, but, reservations must be made in advance.
8. LA ARCADA
One night out of the entire year, you don’t want to miss this annual Christmas celebration complete with carolers, freshly popped popcorn, and a visit from Santa. There are many things to do in this area as it is directly off of the popular State Street. You can browse the shops, have dinner at a nearby restaurant, or even visit the turtle pond. Did we mention the statues? Don’t forget to go visit the painter...
7. THE GRANADA THEATER
This is the place to go if you want to see The Nutcracker Ballet, a Christmas tradition for some. And, for local Santa Barbarians, this is our place to go just for that! This venue is one of Santa Barbara’s most beautiful performing arts venues, with over 1,500 seats. The Granada Theater was built in 1924 and went through a dramatic restoration in 2008. Visit their website for a complete list of the upcoming shows to catch at this beautiful theater!
6. ARLINGTON THEATRE
The last venue is beautiful, but there’s a reason we put this at the spot in front. This venue is absolutely gorgeous! They also have an annual Nutcracker Ballet but with a live symphony orchestra. This beautiful piece of architecture was built in 1931, part of the Spanish Revival architecture time. You will not be disappointed if you choose this place to see the Nutcracker this year!
5. ICE IN PARADISE
Every December, Santa Barbara’s local ice skating venue puts on a fun holiday ice skating show! Check out their facebook page to get a list of dates and to stay up to date on their upcoming events.
4. SANTA BARBARA TROLLEY
Want to ride around the city and see all the awesome Christmas lights?! YES! And, ride a trolley, sipping cider while you do it?! YES YES YES! Where do I sign up?! This is a 90-minute ride on an open-aired trolley. The only problem is that is usually sells out every year around October so you have to really be prepared for this fun-filled night!
3. THE MIRACLE ON EAST QUINIENTOS STREET
Want to see the BEST Christmas lights in Santa Barbara? The MOST lights in Santa Barbara? This is the house to visit! Local man, Peter Estrada, draws a crowd to his house year after year. And, once you visit, you will see why! He lights up the entire east side with the lights on his house.
2. SANTA BARBARA PARADE OF LIGHTS
This isn’t just a parade. It’s a BOAT parade! A boat parade with lights and fireworks! This is an annual tradition in Santa Barbara and is preceded by Santa’s Village activity on the City Pier in the Harbor starting around 3pm. Around 5:30PM is when the boat parade begins with dozens of boats competing to win prizes. Admission is free and it’s not a bad view either!
1. HOLIDAY PARADE
For over 60 years, this parade has been a local favorite event to welcome us into the Christmas season! Always the week after Thanksgiving, this parade is the only evening street parade of the year. At the end, you will be greeted by Santa Clause himself and all the kids will be cheery and bright!