Tasting and Learning at the Santa Barbara Food Festivals

Santa Barbara is a mecca for both spectacular food and wine. With over 400 restaurants, it is only natural that Santa Barbara food and wine festivals have proliferated. The advantage of a food or wine festival is that it allows you to sample many different flavors and attend a panel or class to learn a new skill.

If you love great food and wine, plan your stay around one of these festivals and return home with an expanded universe to dazzle your friends and loved ones. While you are here, enjoy our pristine beaches, lively entertainment venues, and balmy weather.

Santa Barbara Wine and Food Festival

When: End of June, 2 pm – 5 pm One Day Event
Location: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

The Santa Barbara Wine and Food Festival is an annual fundraiser for the Museum of Natural History. This popular event usually sells out several months in advance, so make plans well if you have your heart set on attending. VIP tickets allow early access to the event.

For three hours, you can wander outside the Museum’s area along Mission Creek, enjoying wine samples from dozens of wineries and other culinary delights by local bakers, chefs, and epicurean goods.

A person off-loading sea urchins from a boat on the shore

Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival

When: Third Saturday in October, 10 am – 5 pm One Day Event
Location: Santa Barbara Harbor

The Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival began as a “Blessing of the Fleet” for the over a thousand commercial fishermen who made a living in the waters outside of the city. Those same fishermen and their catch are still the event’s focus.

Thousands of people attend and enjoy local seafood specialties like barbecued albacore, lobster, sea urchin, crab, clam chowder, and hamburgers. A humongous seafood paella is prepared for the crowd.

Along with this bounty, there is live music, artist booths, and demonstrations by the Coast Guard and Harbor Patrol fire boat demonstrations.

Taste of Santa Barbara

When: A Week in May
Location: Many Venues

The Taste of Santa Barbara is a week-long event initially inspired by Santa Barbara resident Julia Child’s longstanding love of the culinary scene. Attend dozens of events, such as an abalone farm tour, truffle-making class, multi-course dinners, and wine tastings.

This event is a unique opportunity to sample the variety of offerings available in Santa Barbara—wine, produce, seafood, and all types of culinary artistry.

Santa Barbara Restaurant Week

When: Late April – Early May
Location: Participating Restaurants

Santa Barbara Restaurant Week is your opportunity to sample one or more of the region’s best restaurants at a prix fixe. Participating restaurants (over a dozen) offer a special 3-course menu priced between $45 and $75. The wineries’ tasting rooms also offer special menus, and flights priced at $20, $25, or $30.

California Wine Festival

When: Mid-July, a Friday & Saturday
Location: Plaza de Sol and Chase Palm Park Oceanside

The Santa Barbara portion of the California Wine Festival is on the beach, where else? On Friday evening, rare wine tasting is a ticketed event with exquisite hors d’oeuvres and background music.

The main event is an all-day feast with hundreds of wine vendors, craft beers, plenty of tasty bites, and live music.

Santa Barbara Vintners Festival

When: A Weekend in Mid-October
Location: Vega Vineyard and Farm

The Santa Barbara Vintners Festival is the original local wine festival for the county. Over 50 local wineries will be present, offering samples of the best vintages. Listen to live music throughout the event, and dozens of food vendors will satisfy hunger pangs. You will love the drive through the countryside to arrive!

World of Pinot Noir

When: 3-day event at the end of February
Location: Ritz Carlton, Santa Barbara

If your favorite red wine is Pinot Noir, then you must plan to attend the annual World of Pinot Noir. There are dozens of events, including tastings, dinners, vineyard tours, and an auction. You can also enjoy panel discussions by experts and winemakers.

Other Fun Fabulous Things to Do

If you still haven’t had enough food-related fun, then there are plenty of food and wine tours that you can schedule at your convenience. And, of course, our from-scratch breakfast is always available here at the Eagle Inn. Add a mimosa if you dare!

Plan your visit today to take in these amazing Santa Barbara food and wine festivals. If you need help or suggestions for your itinerary, ask us. We love sharing our favorite restaurants, tasting rooms, and outings with you.

Photo Credit: © millann via canva.com, © olga olgas images via canva.com, © nikiteev via canva.com, © TryMyBest, via canva.com


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