While the truth is that Santa Barbara is a great place to visit at any time throughout the year, there is something distinctly special about spending the holidays here. From fantastic California weather to helpful strangers, there are hundreds of reasons to come for a stay this winter. Here’s our list of top qualities that make this time of year better in Santa Barbara:

Warm Weather

This is the most obvious reason on our list, but also one of the most convincing. Why spend the holidays in freezing cold, stormy weather when you could enjoy clear skies, warm sun and the beach instead? Likely Santa Barbara’s most famous quality is the year-round sunshine, mild temperatures and seemingly endless beach days, so why not spend this winter basking in the sand and soaking up as much of California as possible.

Kind Locals

One of the worst parts about going somewhere new for the holidays is the potential to feel lost or confused amongst the hustle and bustle; in Santa Barbara, this will be no issue. People here are generally very friendly and more than happy to help point visitors in the right direction. You can expect to start a conversation with a stranger and end up with a great dinner recommendation and maybe insight into the best, local spots. Not only does it make traveling less stressful, but it adds to the holiday spirit this time of year.

Great Shopping

While we know the holidays are not about material things or how much money you spend, we still think hitting downtown and going shopping is part of the fun of this time of year. Fortunately, Santa Barbara has only outdoor malls and an idyllic State Street that makes the experience all the more festive and enjoyable. Plus, you’ll find amazing gifts for all your friends and family at any one of the city’s boutiques and independent shops.

Fewer Crowds

Santa Barbara is undoubtedly growing in popularity every year, so we won’t say there are no crowds; however, when compared to many other holiday destinations, you’ll be relieved to find them in smaller numbers here. For the most part, the city is spread out enough that even when there are many tourists in town, it never feels overwhelmingly crowded. Even during the holiday season, you’ll always be able to find a quiet place to sit or go for a walk undisturbed.

Family Friendly

Last, but certainly not least, Santa Barbara is an extremely family-friendly town. You won’t have to worry about safety and security, nor will you be uncomfortable in upscale shops or restaurants. No matter how chic the city becomes, it will always have a small town vibe first and foremost. We encourage you to bring the whole family on your next visit and experience SB’s hospitality for yourselves!