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The Santa Barbara
Holiday Light Tour

(Last updated on Wednesday, December 9, 2015.)

Every year in December, there are wonderful displays of holiday lights in Santa Barbara, California. If you live there or if you happen to be visiting, you can have a wonderful time driving around looking at the festive decorations — if you know where to look.

When you have some time on a December evening, the directions below will take you on an amazing tour of the Santa Barbara holiday lights. If you drive at a reasonably slow pace, the entire route will take you about an hour and a half.

If you only have time to visit one place, the most spectacular display is on 1209 E. Quinientos St, on the east side of Santa Barbara, just past Soledad Street (map).

For your holiday pleasure, here is an extra special holiday Web site for you to visit:

Accidental Santa

For information about Santa Barbara: places to stay, restaurants, activities, attractions, and so on:

Directions for the
Santa Barbara Holiday Light Tour

The full Holiday Light Tour takes 1½ hours if you drive slow. I recommend starting your tour between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm.

There are two parts to this tour: Part 1 takes you through Santa Barbara downtown and the West Side. Part 2, which is shorter, takes you to the East Side.

Hint: If you don't know your way around Santa Barbara, it is a good idea to take a GPS, or a map, or a real estate agent with you, in case you accidentally stray from the route.

The beginning of the Holiday Light Tour.

The tour starts heading north (away from the ocean) on State Street at Yanonali, so we can begin with the wonderful lights on lower State Street.

If you are not sure how to get to State and Yanonali, here are the directions:

• Take Highway 101 to the Garden Street exit and turn towards the ocean. (From the north, turn left; from the south turn right.)

• Drive one block south to East Yanonali Street.

• Turn right, and drive five blocks to State Street.

To start the tour, turn right (north) on State Street, away from the ocean.

Start of Part 1 of the Holiday Light Tour: State and East Yanonali
Right State
To start, go under the bridge and enjoy the wonderful holiday lights downtown.
Continue on State Street all the way through the downtown area, until you pass Victoria and see the big Christmas Tree in the center of the street. This is the point at which the city's holiday light display ends.
Continue on State two more blocks to Micheltorena.
Left Micheltorena
As you pass De La Vina, slow down to admire the very old house with many lights across the street on your left.
Then keep going all the way over the bridge, continuing straight on Micheltorena to the West Side, driving slowly, looking at the lights, until you get to Mountain Avenue.
Right Mountain Ave
Right Pedregosa
Right Chino
Right Valerio
Left Gillespie
Immediate Right Valerio
Right Mountain
Continue to the end of Mountain, where you will see a stop sign at a T-intersection.
Left Portesuello
Drive up the curving hill and continue on Portesuello for a few minutes. Look for Crestline on your left. It comes after Bel Air.
Left Crestline
Right Rialto
At the end of the street, make a U-Turn.
U-Turn Riato
Left Crestline
Cross Portesuello and continue straight on CRESTLINE, which curves to the right. At the end of the street, make a U-Turn.
U-Turn Crestline
Left Sonora
Right Portesuello
Continue until you go down a hill to the stoplight at LAS POSITAS Road. Go straight and cross Las Positas. Continue until you see VERONICA SPRINGS, which will be the first street on your right.
Right Veronica Place
At the end of the street, make a U-Turn.
U-Turn Veronica Place
Left Veronica Springs
Left Las Positas
Look for the first left around the gentle curve.
Left Las Positas Place
At the end of the street, make a U-Turn.
U-Turn Las Positas Place
Be careful making the left turn onto Los Positas.
Left Las Positas
This is the end of Part 1 of the Holiday Light Tour.
Although Part 2 is short, it ends at a spectacular display of lights, so don't skip it. It won't take you long to get there.
Drive to the East Side.
To get to Part 2 of the Holiday Light Tour, you will take a short drive on Highway 101 South to the East Side.
Continue north on Las Positas, through the stoplight at Modoc Road.
Right Highway 101 South
Right Exit 96A, Milpas Street North
Slow down as you exit the freeway. There is a very sharp curve. As you come out of the exit, continue to the stoplight. Turn right on MILPAS.
Right Milpas
Drive under the bridge and onto the roundabout. Within the roundabout, take the first right-hand turn onto CARPINTERIA. (It comes up fast.)
Start of Part 2 of the Holiday Light Tour: Milpas and Carpinteria
Right Carpinteria
Left Voluntario
After you turn onto Voluntario, look for the house with a lot of lights halfway down the block on your right.
Right Quinientos
When you get to Soledad Street, park your car. Get out and look on your left for 1209 East Quinientos across the street. You can't miss it. There is a marvelous display of colorful lights.
Take a few minutes to look around The Miracle on East Quinientos Street, the home of Peter Estrada. While you are there, be sure to explore the short path that lets you walk right inside the display.
If you want a preview, use the link below to look inside Peter Estrada's wonderful world of holiday lights:
The Miracle on East Quinientos Street (video by John Dickson)
End of Holiday Light Tour: Soledad and Quinientos
You are now at the end of the Santa Barbara Holiday Light Tour. To leave the neighborhood, continue on Quinientos to Cañada.
Continue Quinientos
Right Cañada
Right Carpinteria
To return to Highway 101, continue west on Carpinteria to Milpas. At Milpas, turn right to enter the roundabout.
101 North: Look for the sign on your right on the other side of the roundabout.
101 South: Go all the way around the roundabout and drive under the bridge. Continue south on Milpas (towards the ocean). Look for the sign for 101 South on your left.

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