Christmas Time in Santa Barbara – What To Do


‘Tis the season for savory wine pairings, bustling night markets, festive light tours, and of course, holiday parades filled with glee! As the winter days turn brisk and stars poke through the night sky, explore all the holiday festivities Santa Barbara has to offer, ranging from family-friendly and snow-centric fun to romantic candlelit dinners for two. Get ready to make lasting memories with loved ones this holiday season

Nightly Snowfall at Paseo Nuevo, Now – December 31, 2018
As the holiday lights twinkle and caroling songs drift through the shops, watch as the night sky fills with snow at Paseo Nuevo! Every night in the Center Court at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., snow will fall as kids greet Santa at his workshop. Don’t be surprised if a few snow angels appear on the ground! Please note: No shows on Christmas Day, December 25.
Cost: FREE

Santa at Paseo Nuevo, Now – December 24, 2018
Starting Thanksgiving weekend, head down to Paseo Nuevo for a chance to snap a photo with Santa Claus! He’s making his list and checking it twice, and every child that attends will receive a free gift from Santa. Please note that December 2 and 9 are “Santa Cares” dates, marked especially for children with special needs and would like a little extra time with Santa.
Cost: FREE

Rockstar Trolly Lights Tour, December 6 – 30, 2018
This family-friendly 90-minute tour takes riders all around Santa Barbara through stunning holiday displays and beautifully lit neighborhoods. The trolley can get chilly so be sure to dress warmly! Pick-up is at the Santa Barbara Zoo, and check-in begins an hour prior to your scheduled ride.
Costs: Adults – $27.00, Children 2 -12 – $17.00, Children 2 and under (must sit on lap) – FREE

Una Noche de Las Posadas, December 14, 2018
Una Noche de Las Posadas is a special reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter in Bethlehem. The historical procession starts at the Presidio Chapel and continues through De La Guerra Plaza as holiday songs are sung in Spanish. The parade concludes at Casa de la Guerra where tamales, traditional desserts, and hot chocolate are served to attendees. Bring the whole family to this time-honored event.
Cost: FREE

Holiday Lights Tour in Solvang, December 17, 2018
Tour Solvang’s most magically lit neighborhoods and fa-la-la-la in love with this Danish town’s holiday spirit. Hot chocolate and christmas music are sure to accompany the one hour and fifteen minute trolley tour, so don’t forget your carrolling skills!
Cost: $13/Person

Santa Barbara Night MarketNovember 23 – December 29, 2018
Stroll down to Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants to experience Santa Barbara’s first-ever night market. With over 1 million people expected to pass through within the six weeks the market will be open, this exciting pop-up is the perfect place to begin your holiday shopping and spend time with loved ones. Visitors can expect holiday themed décor, live music, carolers, food, beverages, and all the best products the Central Coast has to offer.
Cost: Admission is Free

State Street Ballet’s The Nutcracker at The Granada, December 15-16, 2018
Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra and Gustafson Dance’s talented students team up with State Street Ballet to bring Clara and her Nutcracker Prince to life in this highly anticipated show. Fantastic musical scores, pristine choreography and gorgeous costumes are just the beginning! There will only be three coveted performances available so don’t miss out.
Cost: $24-104

Santa Barbara Sings at The Lobero, December 16, 2018
“Santa Barbara Sings! – A Free Christmas Concert” is the highlight of the winter performance season, and you have to see it to believe it! The free family-friendly concert features Navidad Nuestra, a folk drama of the Nativity, based on the rhythms and traditions of Hispanic America. The American Riviera Children’s Chorus will debut along with other performers, and the show’s finale includes an audience sing-along of Christmas carols. Warm up those vocal cords and get ready to sing your heart out!
Cost: FREE

The Blind Boys of Alabama Holiday Show at Campbell HallDecember 16, 2018
Gospel titans The Blind Boys of Alabama return to Santa Barbara for their show-stopping holiday gospel, and are joined by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster to rock the house. The powerful and uplifting holiday show will include hidden gospel gems, seasonal classics, and originals.
Cost: General Public $35 – $50, UCSB Students (Current student ID required): $15

The Christmas Revels: An Irish Celebration of Winter Solstice at The Lobero, December 22-23, 2018
The Christmas Revels: An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice evokes the spirit and strength of Irish Emigrants to America in the early 1900’s. The Revels Company is joined by award-winning actors, Irish dancers, vocal soloists, a brass ensemble and a string and wind quartet. The heartwarming and exciting performances showcase classic Irish holiday traditions and prove fun for all ages.
Cost: $15-$79

New Year’s Eve Pops at The Granada, December 31, 2018
Ring in the New Year with the Santa Barbara Symphony! Guest Conductor Bob Bernhardt will conduct popular hits as well as Broadway classics, and aerial performers from Troupe Vertigo make for a rousing show. Make your last show of the year the best, and get tickets before they sell out!
Cost: $39-$119