Approximately 90 minutes long, this walking tour covers the Funk Zone: Santa Barbara’s converted warehouse district. With 12 stops, you will learn about the history of this blue collar/industrial part of town and how it has transitioned over time, while also getting an overview of the wine tasting rooms, brew pubs, eateries and art galleries offered in the 10 square block area. All tour goers get a Funk Zone Map; a very handy reference guide that lists more than 60 tasting rooms, restaurants and art studios. A wine tasting option ($8 per person for 3 tastings) adds to the experience. (The tasting occurs in the middle of the tour and adds 30 minutes to the tour length.)
The tour is led by John Ummel, a retired, long-time resident of Santa Barbara. John started the Funk Zone tour after successfully launching his Waterfront Tour in June of 2017. Hand-picked 11 x 17 old photographs add to the experience. The tour begins and ends at the palm plaza directly across from the Hotel Californian (36 State St), one block up from Stearns Wharf.
What You Will Learn
Not only will you learn about the history of this former blue collar, industrial part of town but you will also learn how the Funk Zone has transitioned into a wine tasting, brew pub, and art and restaurant scene today and how it continues to evolve. Topics include but are not limited to:
- History and evolution of the Funk Zone
- The Old and New Hotel Californian
- 1925 Earthquake: Impact on SB’s Architecture
- The Founding of Lockheed Aircraft
- Art in the Funk Zone
- History of McConnell’s Ice Cream
- How SB Became a Premier Wine Producing Region
- Funk Zone’s Contribution to Surfing and Fishing
- Key landmarks: Bekins/Sonos building, old Weber Bread plant, the Lucky Penny, the Lark Restaurant, the Waterline and “Plant 59” a WWII aircraft manufacturing site.
In addition, we’ll visit a brewery or winery and maybe even chat with a local artist all the while becoming more familiar with what the Funk Zone has to offer in terms of wine, beer and grub. Each tour goer is given a Funk Zone Map/Brochure that identifies all art galleries, wineries, pubs, and places to eat – over 60 places in all!
The tour begins and ends at the palm plaza (120 State St) directly across from the Hotel Californian, one block up from Stearns Wharf.
Things to Know
- The tour is free, though tips are very much appreciated (cash only) with 15% donated to local charity.
- Reservations are recommended. Use the reservation system to see available dates and secure a spot.
- The tour is limited to a maximum of 10 persons. Four (4) person minimum needed to run the tour.
- The tour will last about 90 minutes and is over level ground. We do walk across train tracks. Seating is generally not available along the tour route and one must be prepared to stand 5-8 minutes in between stops. Most stops are in the shade.
- See the Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.