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Santa Barbara, CA Event Planning

Key Highlights

Hotels 81
Total Sleeping Rooms 4,897
Committable Sleeping Rooms* 360
Committable Meeting Rooms* 41
Largest Exhibit Space 34,375 Sq. Ft.
Largest Ballroom 12,000 Sq. Ft.
Average Hotel Room Rate USD $200
Average Daily Meal Cost USD $66
Average Weekly Car Rental USD $317
*Maximum for a single hotel

Santa Barbara, CA Meeting Planning Overview

There are meeting locations. Then there’s an invigorating crescent of California coast cradling beaches, mountains, vineyards and eclectic enclaves. A walk-able, culturally radiant city with accommodations from luxe to cost-conscious. That’s more than beautiful, it’s Santa Barbara Brilliant.

This singular atmosphere offers unique gathering spaces, epic experiences, exceptional accommodations and a calming coastal ease to every moment. From outdoor adventures to wellness, arts and culture to food and libations, and stunning beauty to a chic beachy vibe, meetings here are a welcoming escape.

A large part of Santa Barbara's meeting charm is an unending list of unique activities that infuse meetings with fun and creativity. Take a tour of 25 distinctly different but gracefully connected exotic gardens throughout Ganna Walska Lotusland. Refresh with an only-in-Santa Barbara adventure such as sea cave kayaking through the Channel Islands. And rejuvenate with a globally recognized local food and wine scene fueled by the area’s fisheries, farms, ranches, and artisan purveyors.

Santa Barbara is also home to a number of hotel and non-hotel meeting and event venues. For large-scale events and conferences, inspiring venue spaces include The Ritz Carlton Bacara Resort and Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. Elsewhere, a welcoming variety of group-friendly hotels and resorts cater to a broad spectrum of needs. From the elegance of Belmond El Encanto or Rosewood Miramar Beach to the unique charm of Kimpton’s two Santa Barbara properties or glamping at El Capitan Canyon, there’s hospitality and then there’s Santa Barbara’s refreshingly diverse portfolio of properties.

The Santa Barbara Airport—located just 8 miles (12.8 km) northwest of downtown—serves twelve domestic nonstop destinations, as well as more than 300 one-stop destinations. You can also arrive via Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), located 90 miles (145 km) southeast of the city. LAX serves 69 international destinations and 87 domestic destinations, offering flights on virtually every major carrier. Your attendees will find it easy to get from one activity or venue to the next with accessible public transit, as well as an open-air trolley that cruises along the city's coastline.

Santa Barbara's attractions, museums and historical sites also double as convenient and unique venues perfect for group gatherings and events. In the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, you'll find the iconic and breathtakingly beautiful Santa Barbara County Courthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This pillar of Spanish Colonial architecture is a signature attraction, and doubles as a beautiful venue facility. Consider holding an event in the Mural Room—a 4,200-square-foot (390-square-meter) space that features stunning hand-painted colonial recreations and can seat up to 100.

Santa Barbara's museums, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation (MOXI), and Santa Barbara Maritime Museum also offer intriguing private event opportunities. The Museum of Natural History features a number of indoor and outdoor spaces, ranging from a Spanish-style building, housing the newly renovated Fleishman Auditorium, to an outdoor stone amphitheater. While the Museum of Natural History Sea Center on Stearns Wharf welcomes private events in its two-story reception hall with spectacular ocean vistas. Situated in the heart of a working harbor, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum can accommodate private events in such spaces as its 88-person Munger Theater.

About Santa Barbara, CA / Additional Info

The real allure of Santa Barbara lies in the endless invitation to explore. At every turn, the senses are delighted with the supernatural. Expansive beaches and enchanting coves are brimming with stand-up paddle boarders, pick-up volleyball games, pop-up yoga classes, and splashing families year-round. Beyond the shore, Channel Islands National Park, widely considered "North America's Galapagos" for its abundance of exclusive flora and fauna—and one of the largest aggregations of blue whales in the world—beckons for a barefoot breakout session.

Santa Barbara County's unique geology, geography, and topography (influenced by the Pacific Ocean and two mountain ranges) produce prominent wines, including our world-renowned pinot noir. Get a taste of this one-of-a-kind terroir with a guided tour of the surrounding wineries, or along Santa Barbara's Urban Wine Trail—an easily walk-able wine tour that includes more than 40 tasting rooms, all located right downtown. The eclectic Funk Zone offers a palpable energy day and night, a special mix of excitement and escape with notable shopping, dining, and an urban wine trail linking dozens of award-winning tasting rooms from the region’s famed viniculture. Follow the sound of the crashing surf and you'll soon come to Stearns Wharf, California's oldest working wooden wharf is one of Santa Barbara's biggest attractions.

Santa Barbara's coastal setting and rich history make it a heavy hitter of culinary excellence. Loquita offers a private patio and mouth-watering Spanish cuisine. Book a private dining room at Wine Cask in the downtown historic El Paseo complex. Then sip what all of the crafty buzz is about with a visit to Hollister Brewing Co. or Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.

Indulge in some French flavor with a visit to Stella Mare's, which serves French country cuisine in a historic landmark house along the local bird refuge. The Lark restaurant highlights local flavors with a menu of artisanal dishes and seasonal ingredients. For a true sea-to-table experience, head to Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant—an iconic place for fresh local seafood and great views of the Santa Barbara Harbor. Whatever your taste, it’s more than delicious, it’s Santa Barbara Sublime.

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