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  • Writer's picturePrinceton North


Consider your holiday calendar booked, Santa Barbara has endless holiday events and activities that are guaranteed to fill you with glee. With new events added daily, be sure to check back so you don’t miss a single jovial moment.

ZooLights at Santa Barbara Zoo, Now through Jan. 14, 2024 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. To ring in the holidays, Santa Barbara Zoo debuts its brand-new walk-through light show, ZooLights. Here, guests will experience a glowing display of handcrafted, silk-adorned animal- and nature-themed lanterns with interactive zones, photo opportunities with Santa Claus (select dates) and festive libations and snacks for purchase. Cost: $22 per adult, $20 per child ages 2-12 (ticket prices vary by day).

Holiday Movie Nights at the Steward, Now through Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. Snuggle up with your loved ones and enjoy showings of Terra’s favorite family holidays movies and cult classics in the garden theater. Movies are complimentary and all are welcome! Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and movie starts at 7 p.m., and snacks and drinks will be able for purchase from Terra. Cost: Admission is free.

Seaside Sock Skating at MOXI, Now through Jan. 7, 2024 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This winter is about to get a whole lot cooler—without the chill. Sock skating is coming to MOXI’s rooftop! Opening Nov. 18, this new seasonal exhibit will allow kids and adults to kick off their shoes to enjoy frictionless fun by sliding across a specialty tile floor reminiscent of ice, without the chill. Cost: Included with the price of admission.

Holiday Snowfall at Paseo Nuevo, Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. Embrace the glittering “snowfall” in Santa Barbara at Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center, where you don’t have to bundle up to feel the magic. Cost: Admission is free.

Lane Farms Christmas Patch, Nov. 24-Dec. from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Get into the holiday spirit and shop for the perfect, or perfectly imperfect, Christmas tree at the Lane Farms Christmas Patch. Browse through the vast inventory and select from fresh Noble Fir, Nordman or Douglas Fir trees. While there, test your puzzle skills by going through the challenging corn maze, made people of all ages. On your way out, grab fresh fruits at the produce stand to make a homemade holiday pie. Cost: Admission is free.

28th Annual Christmas Walk, Nov. 29 from 5-8 p.m. Gather the family for a festive and joyful evening against the charming backdrop of La Arcada Plaza. Savor delightful holiday treats, indulge in fresh-popped popcorn and immerse yourself in the enchanting melodies of holiday music and carolers. Don’t forget to capture a special moment with Santa, and keep a lookout for the magical possibility of “snowflurries” in the air! Cost: Admission is free.

Holiday Harbor Cruise Aboard Lil’ Toot, Now through Dec. 22 Experience the magic of the season like never before with a Holiday Harbor Cruise aboard the iconic Lil’ Toot in beautiful Santa Barbara! As you step onboard the festively decorated Lil’ Toot, you’ll be transported into a waterfront wonderland of holiday cheer. The knowledgeable and friendly crew of the Lil Toot is there to ensure your comfort and enjoyment throughout the tour. They’ll provide fascinating insights into the local history and marine life … with a sprinkle of holiday joy. Cost: $25 per adult, $20 per child.


Snowfall at Rosewood Miramar Beach, Weekly beginning Dec. 1 Rosewood Miramar Beach is bringing snow to the California coast. Every week in December, gather on the property and experience snowfall on the resort’s event lawn. This magical experience is accompanied by hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts, kid’s activities and more. Cost: Admission is free.

Christmas Tree Lighting at El Encanto, Dec. 5 from 5-7 p.m. Gather together to celebrate the magical joy of the holiday season at El Encanto at its fun and festive annual tree lighting ceremony. Enjoy savory nibbles made with fresh herbs from the chef’s garden paired with award-winning wines and warm winter beverages. Cost: Admission is free.

Holiday Sip, Shop & Stroll Along Coast Village Road, Dec. 7 from 2:30-6 p.m. Experience the magic of the holidays on Coast Village Road and immerse yourself in a festive evening of sipping, shopping and strolling where the joy of the season comes alive. As you meander looking for the perfect gifts, you will enjoy festive libations and nibbles. Let the music of holiday carolers lead you to a dazzling tree lighting ceremony at dusk. Cost: Admission is free.

Hanukkah Candle Lighting Ceremony at El Encanto, Dec. 8 from 5-7 p.m. From a sunny sanctuary to cinematic soirées, the festive season is all about celebrating timeless traditions with loved ones. Join El Encanto staff for a Menorah lighting on its beautiful Terrace Garden Patio and latke soirée in the Fireside Room to follow. Cost: Admission is free.

Una Noche de Las Posadas, Dec. 8 from 7-10 p.m. Join El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park for the Una Noche de Las Posadas (“The Inns”) event, which celebrates the cherished holiday tradition still observed throughout Latin America. In the evening, you’ll embark on a procession from the Chapel at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park to Casa de la Guerra, singing holiday songs in Spanish. Las Posadas is a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging, a beloved tradition of seeking shelter and welcoming all. Cost: Admission is free.

Winter Gift-Making Workshop, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. At this winter gift workshop, children ages 5-12 are invited to draw inspiration from works of art in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA)’s collection to draw, paint, print, collage and sculpt artful gifts to share with friends and family. Cost: $150 per person.

Holiday at the Ranch, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Meet Santa Claus and his “rein-goats” at Rancho La Patera & Stow House! Families are invited to this open house that includes holiday music, craft-making, tractor rides and food trucks. Cost: $10 per adult, $5 per child (ages 2-12 years old).

Holiday Paint & Sip, Dec. 10 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Unleash your inner artist at Fox Wine Co. with Danielle Renee Art as you craft a festive Holiday Starry Night painting. Whether you’re an experienced painter or a complete novice, Danielle ensures a fun and creative experience, complete with a canvas and all painting supplies, with the option to purchase wine separately at the bar. Cost: $45 per person.


Parade of Lights Kayak & SUP, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. Join Paddle Sports Center on the water for the human-powered portion of the Annual Parade of Lights! Come dressed in your holiday costumes to receive 25% off your rentals. Cost: Varies by rental.

37th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights, Dec. 10 Get in the holiday spirit Santa Barbara style and head down to the harbor and waterfront for an afternoon and evening of fun at the 37th Annual Parade of Lights! Some of the best viewing locations for the boat parade and fireworks include Stearns Wharf, the breakwater, West Beach and East Beach. Get there before the parade begins to witness the annual holiday tree lighting on the wharf. Cost: Admission is free.

Photos with Buddy the Elf, Mrs. Claus & the Grinch Dec. 10, 16 and 23 from 12-3 p.m. Snap photos with an iconic holiday duo Buddy the Elf and Mrs. Claus (Dec. 10, 16 and 23) and the Grinch (Dec. 10 and 23) at the Peppermint Parlor in Paseo Nuevo! Cost: Admission is free.

California Crafts Holiday Workshop, Dec. 11-21 Get into the spirit of the season at El Encanto with two weeks of holiday crafts workshops, including Holiday Trim Calligraphy, Living Succulents Wreath-Making, Elegant Printmaking and Olfactory Senses and Hand-Poured Candle Making. Cost: $75 per workshop.

Challah Braiding and Mindfullness, Dec. 13 from 2-4 p.m. Join El Encanto for a hands-on challah braiding and mindfulness workshop with Dr. Beth Ricanati. “Making challah with my hands and then sharing the product with someone is a gift unto itself. I call it ‘Challah Diplomacy,’” said Dr. Ricanati. Cost: $75 per person.

Photos with Santa Claus, Weekends between Dec. 16-24 from 12-5 p.m. On weekends between Dec. 16 and Dec. 24, stop by Paseo Nuevo to snap a photo with Santa! Photos will be taken indoors at the Peppermint Parlor, and package options will be available for purchase. Cost: Admission is free.

Snowfall at Paseo Nuevo, Now through Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. Every weekend through Dec. 24, witness the miracle of “snowfall” in Santa Barbara at Paseo Nuevo. Cost: Admission is free.

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