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Our 2019 Santa Barbara Must Do Summer List

No other city does summer like Santa Barbara! We’re already one of the best cities for year-round outdoor activities, but summertime is arguably THE most fun time to visit and explore the American Riviera.

If you need help putting together some ideas, we’ve put together a Must Do List of our top 10 favorite things to do, see, and eat this summer on and off the land in Santa Barbara and beyond.

Picnic Goers at Outdoor Movie at Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

Catch An Outdoor Flick In The Sunken Gardens

Pack a picnic, grab a blanket or a chair and settle in for a (free!) classic film under the stars at the Santa Barbara Courthouse’s Sunken Gardens. The flick starts when the sun goes down and seats go fast! This year’s series will be Those Fabulous Fifties, starting Wednesday July 5.

Local’s Tip: Put down your blanket at noon to get a good spot and save your spot.

Hand holding a strawberry margarita at an outdoor table

Drink Uno Mas At The Margaritas Y Más Festival

Unlimited tequila and mezcal tastings? We’ll cheers to that! Shaken or neat, tequila lovers are sure to find a drink to their liking complete with sweet ocean and mountain views atop Elings Park on Saturday, July 13. Viva the good life!

Group of people performing yoga at Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara with Yoga Mike

Relax With Yoga On The Beach

Unwind, breathe, and relax during a beachfront yoga class with Mike Lewis on Sunday mornings. Forget the serious yoga classes you’ve taken before. Come ready for fun, laughs, and a great ocean view! For all you sleepy heads: Don’t worry. Classes start at the reasonable hour of 11:30am at Leadbetter Beach.

Hand holding a bucket for blueberry picking with Restoration Oaks' Gaviota blueberry orchard in the background

Go Berry Picking At Restoration Oaks

Head up the road, 30 miles north of Santa Barbara, for a visit to Restoration Oaks where the blueberries are field fresh, natural, and never sprayed with chemicals. They say on a good day you can pick up to 2.5 pounds of blueberries in 15 minutes. That’s a whole lotta summer to savor!

Grand opening is May 20 and runs until the berries are gone.

Ranchero horseback rider on State Street in the largest horse parade in North America during La Fiesta

Kick Up Your Heels During Fiesta

Fiesta is our city’s version of Mardi Gras! July 31-August 4 our city will be rife with special dance performances, parties, and Mexican and Spanish food stands celebrating our rich history. The festivities are kicked off Wednesday night at the Santa Barbara Mission and followed by the largest horse parade in North America on Friday, plus dancers and confetti eggs as far as they eye can see!

The Santa Barbara Polo grandstands with riders riding on the polo field in Summerland

Take In a Sunday Polo Match

Stomp the divets and toast with bubbles at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club every Sunday, May-October. Spectator tickets are available from the grandstand benches to private cabanas. So, don you Sunday best and get ready to cheer on the ponies!

Image courtesy of Riviera Towel Co

Hit The Beach In Style

There’s no shortage of places to “go for the bronze” once the June gloom fades away. If you’re planning to soak up the sun you might as well do it in style with duds from Riviera Towel Co and a rental from The Cabanas!

Call ahead to make reservations with The Cabanas, Santa Barbara that includes everything you could need for the perfect beach day from chairs and umbrellas to waters and toys for the kids.

Hikers feet in foreground with view of Santa Barbara coastline in the background.

Take A Hike

Work off those tasty meals or tasting from our food tours with a hike. We recommend doing the Inspiration Point trail. This short but challenging climb rewards hikers with stellar ocean views and glimpses of the Channel Islands on a clear day. What better way to make room for more foodie adventures this summer?

Photo courtesy SB Sailing Center/Copyright Ali Beck

Sip Suds On The High Seas

Set sail with the wind in your hair and a drink in your hand on the Double Dolphin with Santa Barbara Sailing Center. Every month they feature a different local winery or brewery aboard their catamaran that sails through the harbor and along our Instagram-worthy coastline.

Insider tip: Reservations are required and these sailing adventures sell out quickly! Click here to get your tickets.

Join a Rooftop Party with DJ Darla Bea

Rock out, sip tasty cocktails, and enjoy sunset selfies and dancing the night away with local talent DJ Darla Bea on the rooftop of The Canary Hotel. This monthly event kicks off in June and wraps up October 2019. This special event is a hit every summer and often sells out once our June gloom wears off.

Insider tip: You can get tickets months in advance and this popular event tends to sell out! Click here to get your tickets.