Not to brag–(Who are we kidding? We’re totally about to brag!)–but Santa Barbara’s got it going on when it comes to all things food and drink, and we’ve got the inside scoop on where to get the goods anytime of year. You can easily wine and dine your way through our sunny city with us just about any day of the week, but if you really want to max out your foodie experience (and taste buds!) try planning your next trip to Santa Barbara around one of our scrumptious foodie or drink festivals!
Film Feast during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival
If you love movies and you love good eats check out Film Feast, happening every year during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Get a glimpse of the stars on the red carpet at Arlington Theatre, watch a few up-and-coming flicks in the movie houses around town, and then let your palate get pampered at various restaurants and wine tasting rooms around town featuring specialty menus and pairings.
Fermentation Fest and Wild Brew Fest
Holy fermented foods, Batman! These foodie and boozy fests are dedicated to spreading the word about all things fermented complete with demonstrations, tastings, samples, and one heck of a cocktail competition. Learn about the benefits of eating (and drinking!) fermented foods while your taste buds go nuts savoring healthy and delicious samples.
Fork ‘n Cork Classic
Eat your heart out and feel good about it! Buy the full price ticket (food & drink tastings) or just a designated driver ticket (food tastings only) and pat yourself on the back as 100% of the ticket sales go to local charities like the Santa Barbara Foodbank. Stuffing your face never sounded so good, amiright?
Food & Wine Weekend at Bacara Resort & Spa
Join the masses at this decadent resort for a weekend filled to the brim with outstanding food tastings, foodie seminars, cooking demonstrations, and wine tastings galore. All 3 days are worth attending, but if you’re on a budget and looking to join in for just a portion of the weekend, check out the Neighborhood Market Tour & Tasting in the main entrance courtyard for a self-guided gastronomical tasting tour featuring nationally-acclaimed chefs, local artisans, winemakers and farmers’ best eats and drinks.
Roar ‘n Pour at the Santa Barbara Zoo
Wine Tasters, get your glasses ready and your pinkies out! Enjoy a night where the wine is flowing and the animals stay up late while you stroll and sip your way through the zoo. Enjoy endless tastings from over 20 different Santa Barbara County wineries while you get your grub on at one of the city’s local food trucks like Georgia’s Smokehouse or The Burger Bus.
Zoo Brew at the Santa Barbara Zoo
What’s better than brews with the bros? Brews at the zoo…s. Yeah. Anyway, if you’re a beer lover you won’t wanna miss this beer festival featuring over 30 breweries with tasty pub food to boot. Don your spirit animal hat and get ready to chug your way through the day!
Note: The countdown is on every year for this wildly popular event. Don’t believe us? Just wait 5 minutes after the tickets go on sale and you’ll see what we’re talking about! So, be sure to get your tickets literally the instant they go on sale or suffer the agony of seeing everyone’s awesome #zoobrew pics on social media while you sit at home. Alone. Crying into your lone beer.
California Wine Fest
Sip, swirl, sniff, and savor local Santa Barbara County wines at this larger than life 3-day weekend, beachfront festival featuring special tasting events and passes that will help you get your wine blanket on in no time! Sway to the live music while you refine your tasting palate, and sample tasty treats, and let the good wines flow!
California Lemon Festival
Pucker up and kiss a boring weekend on the couch goodbye! Join hundreds of locals at this free, informative, and fun weekend that features something for everyone from pony rides and mini golf games for the kiddies to ziplining for teens to tasty lemon infused brews and homemade lemon pies for the grown-ups. Get a true local taste of the Goodland’s good life at this family-friendly event held at Girsch Park.
California Avocado Festival
Take a detour to Santa Barbara County’s south end and stroll the quaint streets of Carpinteria for a free, family-friendly, guac-tastic weekend. Catch a few live music shows on the main stage while you dig into bowls upon bowls of guac and chips. Looking to take your avo fest experience to the next level? Make your way to the ice cream stand and give the one-of-a-kind avocado ice cream a try!
Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival
She savors sea urchins by the seashore! Celebrate the opening of commercial lobster season with the city’s salty seafarers and savor a taste of the deep blue sea. Enjoy succulent lobster and sea urchin fresh off the boats, learn a thing or two from a seafood cooking demonstration, or simply join in for a sea shanty sing-a-long at this chargeless event.
Thirty-one days dedicated to cuisine, libations, and culture? Don’t mind if we do! Check out Visit Santa Barbara‘s website or pick up a handy guide at just about any restaurant or tasting room in Santa Barbara to find daily deals, special tasting menus, and fun educational events being featured all over the county during this month-long event. Want to max out your time during this month? We highly recommend a 3-4 day weekend plan!
Santa Barbara Vintner’s Celebration of Harvest Weekend
It’s all cheers not tears during this 4-day weekend that celebrates our local wine harvest with special tasting events, seminars, foodie tours, and the pièce de résistance–the Vintners Visa. If you’re looking to get smarter about Santa Barbara County wines, the events are usually worth the cost–and of course we think highly of last year’s food & wine tours (ahem….hosted by yours truly)–but the real show stopper at this festival is the visa that gets you into dozens of tasting rooms throughout the county for endless tastings of all that white and red, red wine that’ll make you feel fine.