If, like many, you’ve been wondering about the eight-block trek up State Street from Friday’s Fiesta parade — El Desfile Histórico will run along Cabrillo Boulevard this year — to the mercado at Plaza De la Guerra and its booths of fragrant carnitas and tacos and chilled aguas frescas, the city, the Downtown Organization, and Old Spanish Days have your feet in mind. Santa Barbara Trolley Co. will be plying its open-air trolleys back and around from the train station up Chapala Street to Victoria and back down Anacapa Street from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for free rides from the parade route to downtown Santa Barbara.
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The famous horse parade sets off from Pershing Park around noon and will make its way to the Cabrillo Ball Park at Calle Puerto Vallarta and Milpas Street. All parking along Cabrillo Boulevard will close early that morning, said Old Spanish Days spokesperson David Bolton, and remain closed nearly all day. Once the floats have parked at the end of the route and all the horses and carriages have come to rest at the park — which holds the Chromatic Gate sculpture — the equestrians will return to Castillo Street along the boulevard.
Three trolleys will rotate through town and stop near the Metropolitan Transit District bus shelters at:
• State and Yanonali streets, near the Amtrak depot
• The 900 block of Chapala Street, above West Canon Perdido Street
• The 1100 block of Anacapa Street, near the library on Anapamu Street
• The 600 block of Ortega Street, near the De la Guerra Mercado
The trolleys are said to run every 10 minutes, but given the route, it might be more like 20 minutes to a half-hour. Parking will be very limited near Cabrillo Boulevard. More information on other parking lots downtown, which offer 75 free minutes and cost $2.50 per hour thereafter, can be found here.
[Update: August 4, 2022] For road closures in the waterfront area — including lower Milpas — during the parades on Friday and Saturday, please see the SBPD announcement here