Santa Barbara
An alternative family holiday vacation on the Central Coast

Not a cold winter family? Try the temperate climate in Santa Barbara to soak up holiday cheer, enjoy festive traditions, and take advantage of stellar shopping without big city crowds.

The 56th Annual Downtown Holiday Parade will light up State Street Friday, December 5. The holiday spirit takes to the sea Sunday, December 7 for the 23rd Annual Harbor Parade of Lights. Kids can go sledding at the Santa Barbara Zoo during the Snow Leopard Festival December 7.

Casa Del Herrero, a beautifully-preserved Montecito Architectural Heritage site, offers holiday-infused tours December 12, 13, 17, 19 and 20. Take in a performance of the State Street Ballet’s Nutcracker December 13-14, Santa Barbara Theatre’s Peter Pan December 17-28, the Granada Theatre’s Christmas Carol December 20 or PCPA Theaterfest’s White Christmas through December 21.

Savor the sounds of the season at special holiday concerts set in historic venues and theatres, including the Santa Barbara Symphony’s New Year’s Eve celebration with Gershwin at the Granada Theatre December 31.
Got Art?

Santa Barbara Museum of Art presents Shooting Star: The Photographic Journey of Gina Lollobrigida January 17 - April 5. Known as one of Hollywood’s most beautiful women, Gina Lollobrigida appeared in over sixty films from 1946 to 1970.

Photography became a new passion in the 1970s and 1980s as her film career wound down, and this exhibition of approximately 100 photographs reveals another aspect of her artistry. Her photographs record the great personages of our time, including Salvador Dali, Fidel Castro, Henry Kissinger and Gandhi. She also focused her lens on more familiar scenes, including images of city street life, family intimacy, political and religious events and village traditions.

Santa Barbara Film Festival

The American Riviera is anything but ordinary, but when the Santa Barbara International Film Festival rolls out the red carpet January 22-February 1, it becomes truly extraordinary. Screening more than 200 films from around the world, there is a genre for every type of film-lover. SBIFF presents quality American and world independent films, Latin American and Asian sidebars as well as documentary cinema within the beautiful setting of downtown Santa Barbara. State Street transforms into an urban hiking trail as filmgoers make their way from one theatre to another to catch the most talked about films.

Adding to the glitz are high-profile celebrities honored for their outstanding work in films of 2008, including Penelope Cruz, Mickey Rourke and Kristin Scott Thomas. Panels about directing, screenwriting and producing bring the year’s most gifted to the forefront for a candid, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a movie. 


DETAILS: - Information about the area and places to go.


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