News on the Central Coast

Solvang Julefest December 1, 2017 - December 17, 2017

November 16, 2017

One of the top 10 most “Christmassy” towns in America! Enjoy a variety of delightful lights and spirited events during its annual Julefest (Yule-Fest) every December.

Shop, Mingle & Jingle: December 1-3, 8-10, and 15-17

Solvang welcomes holiday shoppers with special events and entertainment. Discounts and deals at Solvang merchants of all sorts, such as art shops and galleries; book-sellers; wine tasting rooms; wine and beer bars; clothing, shoes and accessories boutiques; home furniture, décor and hardware; jewelers and antique stops; and restaurants, bakeries and specialty food stores, plus FREE parking.

Solvang Julefest Tree Lighting: December 1

Julefest sparkles with the annual Tree-Lighting Ceremony – Held in Solvang Park (Mission Drive & First Street) starting at 5 PM, enjoy live entertainment with dancing ballerinas, bands, caroling and the arrival of Santa Claus to Solvang. Photos with Santa, 4-6 PM.

Solvang Julefest Parade: December 2

Solvang Julefest Parade, 11 AM – Along the route of the annual Solvang Julefest Parade. More than 400 participants and 50+ entries march, trot, cruise and stroll along festively decorated Mission Drive, Copenhagen Drive and adjacent streets. Thousands of spectators from near and far enjoy the parade as well as free, post-parade visits with Santa in Solvang Park. Photos with Santa, 12:30-4 PM.


The 32nd Annual Parade of Lights

November 16, 2017

December 10th, 2017 marks the 32nd Annual Parade of Lights! Starting with fun for the entire family at Santa’s Village, the event culminates with a 5-minute fireworks display. The boat parade is preceded by Santa’s Village activities beginning at 3 p.m. on the City Pier in Santa Barbara Harbor (by the boats). Hundreds of families will come out to play in 10 tons of snow and take photos with Santa to get into the holiday spirit. The first 200 children receive free goody bags from Santa’s helpers!

At 5:30 p.m. the annual boat parade begins with approximately 30 boats motoring, sailing, and paddling the Santa Barbara Coastline to the theme of Hollywood Holidays. Judging takes place at Stearns Wharf and boats are awarded donated cash and prizes in five categories. Best viewing locations include Stearns Wharf and the breakwater. Then visitors enjoy a fireworks show after the parade, ending their night with a bang.

Event admission is free! For more parade information contact the Harbormaster’s Office at (805) 564-5531.

65th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade

November 16, 2017

More than 65,000 spectators line State Street each year in anticipation of Santa Barbara’s only nighttime parade, the 65th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade! Officially kicking off the holiday season, this signature Downtown Santa Barbara event brings a colossal contingent of high-stepping marching bands, fabulous holiday-themed floats, spectacular performance groups, local personalities, and our amazing Grand Marshal, Noah Wyle! The Holiday Prince and Fairy, selected from winning artwork best capturing the parade theme, lead the parade and light up the street on their way down the parade route.

When: Friday, December 1 at 6:30 pm

Where: State Street from Sola to Cota

Santa Barbara Ranked As Happiest City

October 22, 2017

National Geographic has ranked the Santa Barbara region as one of the happiest cities in the United States.

Dan Buettner, National Geographic, Gallup and New York Times best-selling author and National Geographic explorer, has announced the 25 Happiest Cities in the United States, based on The National Geographic/Blue Zones Index.

The Index was specifically developed to measure a population’s happiness based on 15 metrics including civic engagement, walkability and healthful food options.

Santa Barbara ranks as No. 12 on the list.

In National Geographic’s November cover story and newly published The Blue Zones of Happiness, Buettner reveals the rest of the world’s happiest places, and explains environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to the overall happiness in these geographic regions.

Buettner, National Geographic and Gallup developed a methodology for measuring where Americans are living their happiest lives.

Eight of the 25 cities recognized are in California.

8th Annual Santa Barbara Chowder Fest

October 22, 2017

Chowder Fest is Santa Barbara’s only chowder competition, food festival, and wine and beer tasting event all in one! The 8th Annual Santa Barbara Chowder Fest will take place on November 5 at the beautiful Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara!

The Santa Barbara Chowder Fest will bring together some of the area’s best eateries to compete for the overall title of Santa Barbara Chowder Champion, and for the first time this year, there will also be a chili competition.

Competitors will prepare and serve fresh, delicious chowders or chilis of all varieties that will be judged by a panel of experts and local personalities. Event guests will have fun tasting each competing dish as well as other foods, wines, beers and spirits — and even vote for their favorite chowder and chili to win the People’s Choice Award. The event will include offerings from Santa Barbara’s finest restaurants, wineries and breweries for guests to enjoy as they listen and groove to the live tunes of local favorites Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan.

The event is presented by Food & Home Magazine.

Santa Barbara County Craft Beer Week!

October 22, 2017

Once an afterthought to local wineries, Santa Barbara County’s craft breweries have stepped out of the shadows and made a name for themselves with their creative, hand-crafted brews. With numerous nationally and internationally awarded beers, some of the best breweries in the world are located right here in Santa Barbara County.

Breweries participating in the Santa Barbara County Craft Beer Week will be Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (Buellton); Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. (Buellton, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Los Olivos); Solvang Brewing Co. (Solvang, Lompoc); Island Brewing Co. (Carpinteria), Rincon Brewery (Carpinteria, Isla Vista), brewLAB (Carpinteria); Captain Fatty’s Brewery (Goleta); M Special Brewing Co. (Goleta); Draughtsmen Aleworks (Goleta); Third Window Brewing Co. (Santa Barbara); Telegraph Brewing Co. (Santa Barbara); Pure Order (Santa Barbara); Santa Barbara Brewing Co. (Santa Barbara); The Brewhouse (Santa Barbara); Brass Bear (Santa Barbara); Topa Topa Brewing Co. (Santa Barbara); Night Lizard Brewing Co. (Santa Barbara); and The Apiary (Carpinteria).

Each community brewery will be hosting special events throughout the week that include pint nights, food pairings, special releases, live entertainment and more.

Jump on the Brew Bus will be available to transport participants from various pickup spots to other communities throughout the week for $10 round-trip. Breweries will be hosting special events throughout the week, and Santa Barbara County Craft Beer Week’s partnership with Jump on the Brew Bus allows craft beer lovers to check out new breweries in other communities on specific days of the week.


(805) 448-7070

$10 for “Jump on the Brew Bus” tickets

Celebrate Día de los Muertos At Casa De La Guerra!

June 02, 2017

On October 29, celebrate Día de los Muertos, “Day of the Dead,” with a free family craft day and exhibit at Casa de la Guerra in downtown Santa Barbara. Discover the fascinating history of this special holiday while decorating sugar skulls and creating block prints, tin art, and more. Traditional food such as pan de muerto (bread of the dead) and Mexican hot chocolate will be served. This event is sponsored by The Outhwaite Foundation and The Towbes Foundation.

OCTOBER 29, 2017
12:00PM - 3:00PM

(805) 965-0093


Santa Barbara Recognized as a “Best Small City” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2015

November 12, 2015

Santa Barbara, CA (November 9, 2015) — The votes are in, and Santa Barbara ranks as one of the best small cities in the U.S. according to Condé Nast Traveler’s 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards! Every year the magazine gives readers the chance to vote for their favorite travel experiences (i.e. best cities, airlines, cruise ships, hotels, and more) in an online survey. For the 28th annual survey, 128,000 travelers participated, up from 77,000 in 2014, according to

“We are honored that Santa Barbara has once again been recognized as a best small city by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler!,” said Kathy Janega-Dykes, president/CEO of Visit Santa Barbara, the region’s tourism marketing organization. “Santa Barbara’s idyllic setting on the Central Coast, stunning beauty, abundance of diverse activities, striking architecture and historic treasures, make it a place visitors want to travel to. Visit Santa Barbara is lucky to promote a destination that has so much to offer, including a fantastic wine and food scene. I am also thrilled that six local hotels made Condé Nast Traveler’s lists of best hotels and best resorts for Southern California.“

For the third year in a row, Santa Barbara made the list of Readers’ Choice Awards for “Best Small Cities in the U.S.” For 2015, Santa Barbara ranked No. 14 out of the top 15 cities with a population of under 150,000. The city was in good company, making the list along with three other California cities: Laguna Beach, Napa and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Santa Barbara moved up from its No. 15 spot in the 2014 rankings.

Six local hotels also made the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2015 for “Top 10 Hotels in Southern California” and “Top 20 Resorts in Southern California.” Santa Barbara dominated the list of “Top 10 Hotels in Southern California” with four properties: San Ysidro Ranch, Spanish Garden Inn, Belmond El Encanto and the Canary Hotel. The list of “Top 20 Resorts in Southern California” included two Santa Barbara properties: Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara and Bacara Resort & Spa.

Downtown Parking Provides Real-Time Parking Availability on the City of Santa Barbara Website

July 28, 2015

The City of Santa Barbara Transportation Division of the Public Works Department has recently developed a Real-Time Parking web application that provides up to date parking availability for all of the Downtown Parking lot locations. The Real-Time Parking web application is accessible through all internet connected devices, either using your home computer, tablet, or a friendly mobile version if you’re on the go using your smart phone.

Updated every 15 seconds, the public can now view how many spaces are currently available in the parking lot nearest to their destination. For visitors and shoppers not familiar with downtown Santa Barbara, the Real-Time Parking interactive map will sync with their phone’s GPS to provide turn-by-turn driving directions to the parking lot of their choice. Whether you’re a local making your way downtown for Fiestas, or a tourist visiting for the weekend, the Downtown Parking Program now has made it even easier to find the parking lot that best suits your destination.

View the Real-Time Parking Web App here:


Goleta Named as One of the 50 Safest Cities in California

May 21, 2015

Goleta Named as One of the 50 Safest Cities in California

The City of Goleta is once again being recognized as one of the safest places to live in California, according to a study conducted by SafeWise. Goleta placed in the top 50 safest cities in California, coming in at number 50. In order to compile this list, SafeWise uses recent FBI crime data and takes into consideration factors such as security programs and initiatives.

“The City of Goleta has always placed a high priority on public safety and it is rewarding to see our efforts acknowledged once again,” said Mayor Paula Perotte.  “I believe the close connections between law enforcement and the community are a significant contributing factor in creating the safe community we enjoy.  I would also like to recognize the efforts of our Goleta Police Department.  Their dedication and vigilance is commendable.”

This is just one of several times that the City of Goleta has been recognized as an exceptionally safe community. For instance, in 2013, Neighborhood Scout ranked Goleta as number 95 in a list of the safest cities in the entire United States and SafeWise ranked Goleta as the 22nd safest city in California.

Since the City of Goleta was incorporated in 2002, the City has contracted with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services and protection.

To see the SafeWise list of the 50 Safest Cities in California, explore

State Street in Santa Barbara Designated as One of ‘10 Great Streets’ in America

January 03, 2015

State Street in Santa Barbara Designated as One of ‘10 Great Streets’ in America

The American Planning Association has announced that State Street in Santa Barbara has earned the designation as one of the 10 Great Streets in America. Since Great Places in America was launched in 2007, APA has designated 230 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces. Places are announced annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.

“Recognizing these special places highlights the role planning plays in adding value to communities,” said William Anderson, FAICP, president of APA. “Planners, working with others, help build better communities in a variety of settings, from urban to rural; the result - better neighborhoods, cities, and regions. We applaud these efforts and congratulate this year’s designees.”

“Goleta, CA. ranked #79 in the “Best 100 Places to Live”

November 08, 2014

Goleta ranked #79 in the “Best 100 Places to Live” once again!

Goleta is being touted as a great place to live. Our small city placed #79 in the Best 100 Places to Live in the United States. This is the second-annual ranking of the best small to mid-sized cities in the U.S. by Livability, an online resource.

“The rest of the country is finding out what we already know – that Goleta is a great place to live and work,” said Mayor Michael T. Bennett. “Events like the Lemon Festival and the Dam Dinner, the community feeling, great schools and the beautiful setting make Goleta a true gem.”

According to their site, “As Livability’s editors and writers crisscross the U.S in search of great stories, we find that time and again, the best tales are told in the Main Street diners, corner churches, park benches and even the mayor’s offices of small to mid-sized cities and towns. Far from letting time pass them by, these communities are doubling down on livability for their residents. Our second-annual ranking of the Top 100 Best Places to Live celebrates the work they are doing.”

Livability worked with globally-known partners to analyze the best public and private data sources. They were advised by the leading thinkers, writers and doers in the place-making space.. More than 2,000 cities were ranked, so every city on this list is in the top 5 percent of livable communities in the U.S.

Santa Barbara Named As One Of America’s Top Small Cities

July 01, 2013

Santa Barbara, CA. - Locals know Santa Barbara is a great place to live. But others around the country are now taking notice as well.

The website “Conde Nast Traveler” has ranked Santa Barbara the sixth best small city in America.

Here’s what the article had to say about why Santa Barbara is a great place for visitors and residents:

“Blessed with an unbeatable location—between the Pacific and the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, a mere hundred miles north of Los Angeles—this capital of the American Riviera is as easy on the eyes as can be imagined. Add a balmy climate, a multitude of wineries, museums, nature preserves, and beaches, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Book well ahead for guided tours of the 37-acre, 1940s Lotusland estate—filled with topiary, exotic plants, and lotus ponds.”

“Conde Nast Traveler” ranks Santa Fe, New Mexico as the top small city in America.

Want to see the rest of the list? Visit:

Cachuma Lake offers Year-Round Nature Programs

May 12, 2013

Cachuma Lake 2-Hour Wildlife Cruises – Offered mornings 10am – noon Saturdays & Sundays, and afternoons 3pm - 5pm Fridays and Saturdays. Santa Barbara County Park Naturalists lead 2-hour cruises that focus on wildlife, local birds, flora, geology, and Native American and settler history. $15/adults $7/kids (4-12 years old; please, no children under 4). Reservations: (805) 686-5050 weekdays, (805) 686-5055 weekends. $10 Park Admission per vehicle. Call (805) 688-4515 for more information or visit and click on “Nature Cruises”.

City of Goleta Receives Award for Roundabout

May 11, 2013

The City of Goleta received a Best in Category award for the roundabout at Los Carneros and Calle Real from the American Public Works Association - Central Coast of California Chapter.  The award was given in the category of Transportation Projects under $5 million. Capital Improvement Program Manager Rosemarie Gaglione attended the APWA Awards luncheon to accept the award on the City’s behalf.

The City’s contractor, Granite Construction, built the roundabout last summer, and completed it on time and under budget.  Wallace Group designed the project which funded through a combination of sources including Goleta Transportation Improvement Program (GTIP), State, Local Partnership Program (SLPP) grants, Measure A and Regional Surface Transportation Program funds.

This is the second award the City has received from APWA.  Last year the City’s Cathedral Oaks Overcrossing and Overhead Replacement Project won a Best in Category award for projects over $10 million

South Coast Railroad Museum Offers Daytrip Aboard Two Historic Rail Cars

May 10, 2013

During one weekend in late June, local railfans and history buffs will have a special opportunity to enjoy the experience of riding two historic American railcars during two scenic one-day roundtrip excursions up the coast to San Luis Obispo. This “Vintage Rail Sampler” event is organized and sponsored by the South Coast Railroad Museum.

Seating is limited to only 52 passengers during each of the two separate daytrips, which take place on Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23. Passengers on each trip will ride the same two vintage railcars, Acoma and Overland Trail. All passengers will ride one of the cars in the morning and the other during the afternoon return, changing cars during the midday stopover in San Luis Obispo.

Solo Exhibition for Santa Barbara based painter, Angela Perko

May 08, 2013

Sullivan Goss presents their fifth solo exhibition for Santa Barbara based painter, Angela Perko. Riffing on early Modernist approaches as diverse as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Cubism, Perko renders a world composed of highly stylized, rhythmic forms. The resulting images evoke a sense of movement that suggests that reality itself is too dynamic to paint as a static image.

Having developed into one of the community’s most distinctive voices in just over a decade, Perko’s exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog featuring the newest works in the exhibition as well as an overview of her evolution over the last ten years. ANGELA PERKO, her eponymous catalog, will feature remarks by Contemporary Curator Susan Bush and renowned songwriter and collector Will Jennings. In addition, there is a lush selection of 51 illustrations. Copies of the limited edition book will be available for sale at the opening reception on 1st Thursday

In her newest body of work, the artist made a pronounced move towards the figure with a series of five large scale paintings of women. Drawing on art history, poetry, and prose, as well as her thoughts on the role of women in both life and art, Perko’s new figurative works at this scale may well challenge people’s perception of her and her work. She has been painting the figure for years, but her representations of the female form are often her most abstracted works, and they have never been seen at this scale.

There will also be a lively selection of the artist’s architectural landscapes. Santa Barbara’s architectural landmarks have all been recast: the Courthouse, the Mission, the Arlington, the Granada, Saint Anthony’s Seminary, the Church of Christ Scientist, Trinity Church, Plaza Rubio, and Crocker Row. Santa Barbara, the small, quiet, elegant city erupts into a brio of color and bold, kinetic shapes.

Angela Perko studied with landscape painter Michael Drury before beginning her exhibition career 11 years ago.

Exciting New Ride Hits Santa Barbara

May 08, 2013

A and J Limousine announces the launch of their new business, Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo. The service features a new vehicle that is a stretched version of a 1927 Ford Model T. The limo has seating for 8 and offers daily tours of downtown Santa Barbara and Montecito.

This unique, custom built car is a “head-turner” in bright yellow and offers 40-minute tours of the downtown Santa Barbara and Montecito areas. Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo departs daily from just outside of the Santa Barbara Visitors’ Center.

They also offer private tours and private bookings for special events & corporate events.

A and J Limousine has been owned and operated locally by Andrea and Justin Plackett for over 10 years and was recently voted “Best Limousine Service” in the Santa Barbara News-Press Readers’ Choice Awards.

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