Santa Barbara has an active cultural scene, which means there is always something worth seeing at the theater. Whether you want to watch the newest Hollywood blockbuster or spend an evening listening to a classical symphony, you will find what you’re looking for during your stay. Here are our five favorite theaters in Santa Barbara:
The Arlington is a historic Santa Barbara landmark that serves as the largest movie theater in town, as well as a concert and dance performance hall. Designed in the classic Spanish colonial style of SB, the inside is made to look like the outside compete with a star-lit ceiling and mock houses built out of the walls. Come here for movie premier events, intimate concerts and more. This year we’re looking forward to performances by Cyndi Lauper and James Blake.
The Arlington Theatre. 1317 State Street. 877 789 6684.
The Riviera Theater is a hidden, one-screen, old-fashioned movie theater located in the hills overlooking the city. Playing only independent films that are hard to find anywhere else, this spot is great if you’re looking to escape for awhile and see something different. In fact, the Riviera recently became home to the year-round Santa Barbara International Film Festival program, making it the premiere cultural film hub in SB.
Riviera Theater. 2044 Alameda Padre Serra. 877 789 6684.
The newly-restored and exquisitely beautiful Granada is the place to go if you’re really looking to spend an elegant night at the theater. Ornately decorated and carefully curated, here you will find screenings of classic films, orchestras from around the world, stand-up comedy, and a wide variety of concerts and plays.
The Granada Theatre. 1214 State Street. 805 899 2222.
The Lobero Theater hosts everything a great theater should: live music events, dance performances and specialty films. But perhaps the best thing to look for here are the benefit concerts and jazz nights, as it was named one of the best jazz venues by Downtown Beats Magazine. Originally built as an opera house, the theater has a stunning interior, great acoustics, and is centrally located downtown. Look for shows by Joan Baez, Charles Lloyd and even performances by the local company DANCEworks.
Lobero Theatre. 33 East Canon Perdido Street. 805 963 0761.
The West Wind Drive-In theater located in Goleta is exactly what it sounds like. In true throwback style, this spot allows you to watch a movie from the comfort of your car while you tune in through FM radio. The West Wind specializes in family-friendly films including Pixar favorites, most recently showing Finding Dory. Come here for a night of retro fun to shake things up.
West Wind Santa Barbara Drive-In. 907 South Kellogg Avenue. 805 964 9050.