10 Popular Festivals In Santa Barbara, California

festivals in santa barbara
Sharon A.
Sharon A.
Updated

Santa Barbara is a destination you can visit at any time of the year; sunshine is constant and the weather is perfect nearly throughout the year. However, if you are interested in attending the festivals, then you may need to check your calendar to confirm the specific states. It has a rich blend of festivals, featuring traditional fetes that have been around for decades, as well as international events that attract visitors from all corners of the world. Whether it is art, music, wine, or food, Santa Barbara has an event for it, and all you have to do is know when and where they are held so that you can plan your time. Read below for a brief description of some of the most popular festivals in Santa Barbara, California.

1. Santa Barbara International Film Festival

On the red carpet at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival with The Artist (6995078085)
Source: Photo by user Louise Palanker used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is one of the most exciting events on the city’s calendar. It takes place between January and February of each year, during which, thousands of film enthusiasts, directors, producers, actors and other peripheral players in the industry gather to celebrate and get various kinds of awards. It is an 11-day event that will delight you with panel discussions, themed parties, and lots of special screenings that will make you fall deeper in love with the movie industry.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Address: 1528 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States

Website: Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Takes place: January 15th, 2020

Price: From 325 USD

2. Santa Barbara Earth Day

Thank you to Lil' Planets for the amazing artwork!

Posted by Santa Barbara Earth Day on Monday, 11 February 2013

Santa Barbara appreciates the vital role Mother Nature plays for the survival of humanity, and the Santa Barbara Earth Day is a day set aside on the annual calendar to celebrate nature. The festival is usually held at Alameda Park and it attracts thousands of people who join in various activities to raise awareness on the need to preserve the environment. Other than the educational and awareness part of the event, it is also a chance to indulge in local organic foods, dance to live tunes and enjoy lots of other special performances.

Santa Barbara Earth Day

Address: Alameda Park, Santa Barbara, California, United States

Website: Santa Barbara Earth Day

Takes place: Saturday, 18 April 2020

Price: Free

3. I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival

Chalk art
Source: Photo by user Plane777 used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

If you are an art enthusiast and you are in Santa Barbara in May, then this will be one of the most memorable festivals you will ever attend in that year. The festival is usually held on Memorial Day and it is an event to celebrate the ancient-old Italian tradition of street painting. It features hundreds of local artists who showcase all manner of chalk murals. And as is always the case with all festivals, you will also find lots of Italian food and wine, as well as soothing live Italian music to help you make the most of the moment.

I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival

Address: Santa Barbara, California, USA

Website: I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival

Takes place: May 23rd - 25th, 2020

Price: Free

4. Old Spanish Day Fiesta

Old Spanish Days Fiesta 2009 - Santa Barbara
Source: Photo by user Damian Gadal used under CC BY 2.0

The Old Spanish Day Fiesta is like the heartbeat of festivals in Santa Barbara. It is a highly anticipated event designed to celebrate the rich Spanish heritage in the city. Think of it as a fiesta weekend of everything fun about the Spaniards – lots of delicious Spanish foods, thrilling flamenco shows, and endless drowning of tequilas. With all the confetti and the Spanish foods and music covering all the street downtown, this is an event you will regret missing if you have an iota of admiration for the Spanish culture.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta

Address: Casa de la Guerra, 15 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Website: Old Spanish Days Fiesta

Takes place: August

Price: From 35 USD

5. Annual Downtown Holiday Parade

Santa Claus arrives.
Source: Photo by user tweber1 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Every year, just a few days to Christmas, the city of Santa Barbara comes to a standstill with the Annual Downtown Parade. This is one of the most fabulous holiday-themed celebrations in the city known to attract crowds of more than 70,000 spectators. It is characterized by high-stepping marching bands, eye-catching group performances, and delicious street foods. The event culminates in the ceremonial lighting of the community Christmas Tree before the crowd can separate for each family to embark on their private celebration of the holidays.

Annual Downtown Holiday Parade

Address: Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, California, United States

Takes place: 7th December, 2019

Price: Free

6. Harbor & Seafood Festival

The Harbor Restaurant, Santa Barbara (7618169264)
Source: Photo by user Alex Proimos used under CC BY 2.0

Regrettably, this is one of the best free opportunities to sample all manner of fresh, local seafood, yet it is one of the most underrated festivals in Santa Barbara. The Harbor & Seafood Festival is all about the seafood culinary diversity of the region. Many seafood restaurants set-up shop to offer samples of their delicacies, and to share more about the incredible seafood in the region. It is also a good chance to meet and talk with the local fishermen, enjoy boat tours and discover new things you might have not known about the harbor. Don’t be surprised to find that the fish you will eat at this festival will be fresher than any fish you have eaten in any restaurant.

Harbor & Seafood Festival

Address: Santa Barbara Harbor, Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

Website: Harbor & Seafood Festival

Takes place: October

Price: Free

7. Santa Barbara French Festival


This is a French celebration designed to celebrate and appreciate the vibrant French culture abroad. It is the festival to attend if you want to rest all your fascination with the French. It features hundreds of vendors bringing to the residents of Santa Barbara merchandise, French foods and wines, and eclectic French performances, including fully armored French sword fights.

Santa Barbara French Festival

Address: Oak Park, at the corner of W. Junipero Street and Alamar Avenue, Santa Barbara

Website: Santa Barbara French Festival

Takes Place: 18th July, 2020

Price: Free

8. Santa Barbara Restaurant Week


Santa Barbara Restaurant Week Festival comes in the last week of February of every year, and it is a two-week event designed to bring more illumination to the Santa Barbara dining scenes. During this festival, the participating restaurants will be offering their menus at discounted prices to their guests. It offers endless exceptional dining experiences featuring international cuisines, classic seafood, local delicacies, and prime steaks. This is your chance to enjoy a three-course dinner menu for between 25USD and 45USD – it is Christmas come early for every foodie in the region.

Santa Barbara Restaurant Week

Address: Downtown Santa Barbara, California, USA

Website: Santa Barbara Restaurant Week

Takes place: Last week of February

Price: From 25 USD

9. Summer Solstice Celebrations

Posted by Summer Solstice Celebration on Thursday, 27 June 2019

Summer Solstice Celebration is a fete to welcome the summer season after the longest day of the year. In Santa Barbara, the celebration is characterized by thousands of elegantly consumed participants, floats, marching bands, and drum and dance parades that begin at State Street and end at Alameda Park. Inside the park, you will find art and crafts booths, food stalls, and more live music to continue with the entertainment after the parades.

Summer Solstice Celebration

Address: Alameda Park, Santa Barbara, California, USA

Website: Summer Solstice Celebration

Takes place: June

Price: From 45 USD

10. Santa Barbara California Wine Festival

festivals in santa barbara | santa barbara california wine festival
Source: instagram

This is a two-day event that brings together “makers and partakers” of the California wine industry. It features both large and small wineries, and it is always a good opportunity to sample some of the finest wines produced in the region. With more than 250 wines to choose from over 70 wineries, it is a chance to not just sample, but also learn and appreciate the depth of the craft in the region. Other than the wines, reputable chefs and wine-related vendors will also grace the festival to showcase what they’ve got.

Santa Barbara California Wine Festival

Address: Dummy address1114 State St Suite 295, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States

Website: Santa Barbara California Wine Festival

Takes place: July

Price: 80 USD

Sunshine and dance at the Santa Barbara festivals

If you happen to be around during any of the festivals, make time to be a participant in one. Santa Barbara already has a lot of attractions and exciting experiences for her visitors, but there is no harm in including some of the festivals on your list. Read our descriptions of the popular festivals in Santa Barbara, California, above to enrich your stay during the trip.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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My name is Sharon, but I won't get offended if you called me Shaz. I live in the City in the Sun. I travel, interact with cultures, eat their foods, dance with them and then write about my...Read more

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