If you are a Santa Barbara local, or if you know months ahead of time that you will be spending the holidays in Santa Barbara, then you can be one of the lucky few to snag a ticket on the Santa Barbara Trolley of Lights tour. The tickets supposedly sell out by October, so if you schedule to visit Santa Barbara over the holidays, like me, then you have already missed out on getting tickets to the tour. However, someone was kind enough to put together a self-tour guide to the best lights around Santa Barbara. I followed the directions here, which I printed out and directed the passengers in my car to read out loud to me, because trying to follow it on my phone would be a disaster.
If you are directionally challenged, or do not have the time or patience for an entire tour of Santa Barbara holiday lights, then I recommend just two stops. The street Veronica Place, is the best street for holiday lights in Santa Barbara. Multiple houses have over-the-top displays, and almost every house on the block has some sort of festive item in their yard. (I always think about ending up in a neighborhood like that, where everyone is expected to decorate for the holidays. What if you end up in a neighborhood like that by accident? Maybe I should only look for homes during the winter season.) This street is very busy, and happens to also be a tight street, so I recommend trying to go around 6:00pm and then parking and walking along the street.
The “Holidaze” house, my favorite house on the block.
I also loved the way they had these lights setup at this house, it was very soothing to stare at.
You must also make a stop at Santa Barbara’s most decorated house, 209 E Quinientos, where resident Peter Estrada puts on an insane display each year.