Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

Safe & Fun Holiday Activities in Santa Barbara & Solvang

This year’s holiday activities might look a little different, but that doesn’t take away from all of the jolly good fun to be had. So make your lists and check it twice, even if you’re naughty or nice! Keep reading to explore our list of things to do in Santa Barbara during this holiday season.

a sunset over a cityThe Jeff Shelton Architecture Self-Guided Tour

Jeff Shelton is the visionary architect who has given Santa Barbara’s traditional architecture a more modernized interpretation of the Spanish Colonial Revival look. Over the last 15 years of his career, he has taken a playful approach, adding whimsy and creativity to the landscape. Within a 10-block area in the downtown area, you will find eight of his most noteworthy designs. You can download a map for a self-guided tour here.

a large clock tower in front of a houseRed Tile Walking Self-Guided Tour

Santa Barbara’s skyline shows off its charm with Spanish, Mission, and Moore styles. Red tile roofs and light-colored structures are striking reminders of the city’s Spanish history. This self-guided walking tour includes 17 stops and 22 historic adobes from the 1700s through the 1800s. You can download a map for a self-guided tour here. If you’re feeling peckish with all that walking, you won’t be far from the newly reinvented State Street Promenade where you’ll find a number of tasty bites.

State Street Promenade Holiday Market

Closed to car traffic, this area of downtown Santa Barbara is now a pedestrian mall with bars, restaurants, entertainment, and other businesses extending out to the street. On Thursday evenings through December 17th, there is also an extended holiday market featuring local artisans and goods. The marketplace is located on the 1000 block of State Street between the blocks of Carrillo and Figueroa Streets.

a group of people standing next to a personUrban Wine Trail

For the fellow oenophiles, check out the Urban Wine Trail, which encompasses Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito, and Summerland featuring 33 wineries. Due to the pandemic, some wineries have adjusted their hours, so you’ll want to check with each location to verify they are open. You can download a map for a self-guided tour here.

Let It Snow at Paseo Nuevo

Santa Barbara may be warm this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have snow! Visit Paseo Nuevo from November 27 to December 31, to enjoy a winter snowfall while shopping. The snow will fall four times each evening at 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7 p.m – strolling through the snow is also encouraged to help maintain social distancing protocols. To learn more click here.

a person holding a plate with a fork and knifePainting in the Garden

Spend a relaxing and creative afternoon in the gardens of Belmond El Encanto, while sipping on local wines and enjoying sweet holiday treats. All while creating a wonderful work of art under a local artist’s helpful instruction. Recommended for beginner and intermediate painters. This event will take place outdoors with plenty of space for safe social distancing. To learn more click here. Cost: $89 per person. Reservations required. The ticket price includes two glasses of selected local wines and an individual cookie plate.


Christmas Eve at Caruso’s a room filled with furniture and decor

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is the traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve meal, comprised of  fish and seafood dishes. You can make reservations at this beachfront restaurant with stunning views at 805-900-8388. Rosewood Miramar Beach 1759 S Jameson Lane Montecito, 93108 Cost: $225 per adult
$85 per child (ages four to 12). Children under four dine complimentary. Call ahead to make reservations and to confirm current dining options.

Solvang Julefesta group of colorful flowers

This annual month-long celebration, featuring candlelight tours, shopping, and elf tracking is set to kick off Saturday, Nov. 28, and run through Friday, Jan. 1. This year due to the pandemic, there will be limited or modified activities to ensure everyone’s safety. We’re even hosting a special holiday-themed version of our own Solvang Food Tours. You won’t want to miss it! To learn more click here.