Parade of Lights Santa Barbara
Each December, the festive spirit is in full swing in Santa Barbara as families come together to enjoy the annual Parade of Lights at Stearns Wharf and the Santa Barbara Harbor. But this is no ordinary boat parade - it's a magical spectacle of illuminated boats, accompanied by dazzling fireworks, and a winter wonderland for children.
Date: Sunday, December 10th
Time: Board at 4pm (5pm-7pm)
What is the Parade of Lights?
The festivities kick off at 3 pm with Santa's Village on the City Pier at the harbor in Santa Barbara. Kids can experience the joy of playing in tons of snow and even get a chance to meet Santa Claus himself. The excitement builds as Santa arrives, greeted by cheers from eager children eager to snap a picture with the beloved Old St. Nick. Then, at 5:30 pm, the Parade of Lights takes center stage.
The waterfront comes alive with a fleet of boats adorned with enchanting holiday lights and decorations. The parade follows a route from Leadbetter Beach to the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion, then returns along the shore to Stearns Wharf. The local boaters from the 1,100 slips in the harbor compete in the parade, showcasing their creativity and craftsmanship. At Stearns Wharf, the boats are judged, and winners receive donated cash and prizes across five categories.
For the best viewing experience, head to the Condor Express to get the best view of the light-decorated boats. And just when you thought the evening couldn't get any better, the Parade of Lights concludes with a spectacular fireworks show. Starting around 7pm over West Beach, the fireworks display lasts for approximately 5-7 minutes, providing a grand finale to this magical event.
So mark your calendars and book your tickets aboard the Condor Express and make sure not to miss the Santa Barbara Parade of Lights - a cherished tradition that combines the beauty of boats, the sparkle of lights, and the joy of the holiday season all in one unforgettable experience.
Photos by Christopher Bell