Located near lower State Street and Santa Barbara’s famed waterfront, The Funk Zone is one of Santa Barbara’s most vibrant and evolving neighborhoods. Once a manufacturing hub and industrial area where artists, surfboard shapers and pioneering urban winemakers originally set up shop, the walkable 13-block area is now home to some of the city’s best restaurants, wine tasting rooms, breweries, boutiques, creative collectives, galleries, hotels and more. It’s also a hot spot for delectable tacos created by our welcoming “Like a Local” Funk Zone insider, Monica Diaz, owner of Mony’s Mexican Food.
To help you get in on all the Funk Zone eats and action, we’ve compiled a complete guide on what to do, taste and shop in this dynamic destination:
THINGS TO DO
It all starts with art. Check out the colorful murals adorning walls throughout the neighborhood. Stop by the Funk Factory to create your own masterpiece in their splatter-paint chamber. Attend a Funk Zone Art Walk, when 20 venues open their doors to host art openings, talks, performances and wine tastings. The bimonthly events are held on the third Friday of the month in January, March, May, July, September and November. See “Like a Local” insider Erika Carter’s artwork at Green House Studios, a space she shares with fellow artists. Erika has lived and worked in the Funk Zone for 20 years and can also be spotted at Dart Coffee Co., of which she’s a co-owner.
The luxurious and stylish Hotel Californian hosts an array of events and experiences open to the public. Check their calendar for info on Goat Yoga (yoga with goats), First Fridays (live music and cocktails), Sunset Sessions (DJs, light bites and libations Sundays 3 – 9:00 p.m. on the Mirador rooftop) and Howl at Djinn (full moon cocktails and tarot card readings).
The interactive MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration & Innovation is The Funk Zone’s star family-friendly attraction. The museum also hosts a series of after-hours events for the grown-up set. Get crafty at MakeNight classes held in the Innovation Workshop and Exploration Lab. Or get festive with friends at an Afterparty at MOXI.
You could spend days tasting your way through The Funk Zone’s 16 wineries—pick up an Urban Wine Trail map to plot your course. Beer lovers, wet your whistle at Figueroa Mountain Brewery Co., Brass Bear Brewing & Bistro, Lama Dog Taproom and Topa Topa Brewing Co. If you prefer something stronger, try the hand-crafted gin, vodka and bourbon at Cutler’s Artisan Spirits—Santa Barbara’s first post-Prohibition distillery.
Places to Eat
Street tacos and burritos are on the menu at Mony’s Mexican Food, where our “Like a Local” insider Monica Diaz and her team will treat you like one of the family. More delicious tacos can be had at The Project –Corazon Cocina & Taproom, the newest addition to the neighborhood. A Santa Barbara institution for 40 years, family-run Shalhoob’s Meat Company opened The Funk Zone Patio restaurant featuring a well-rounded menu of snacks, sliders, salads, sandwiches and BBQ.
Every establishment in the ACME Hospitality culinary empire gets our stamp of approval. Helena Avenue Bakery is a counter service breakfast and lunch spot. Cute and casual Lucky Penny serves wood-fired pizzas early afternoon until evening. The Lark and Loquita are prime dinner destinations, serving seasonal Californian cuisine and Spanish tapas, respectively. Tyger Tyger specializes in Southeast Asian fare for lunch and dinner. And for a sweet finish, Monkeyshine makes highly Instagrammable frozen Asian desserts.
SPOTS TO SHOP:
Score vintage denim, custom graphic tees and original Americana art at Loveworn. Hunt for vintage treasures and pristine Mid-Century Modern pieces at the tri-level Blue Door antique collective. Peruse the clothing, accessories, footwear and home goods at The Shopkeepers boutique. Elevate your style at the Isla lifestyle boutique in Hotel Californian while, grabbing your next favorite pair of sneakers at SeaVees, a quintessential California brand.
Discover local artisans and makers at Seaside Makers Collective. Find more local Santa Barbara brands and thoughtful souvenirs at the State Street Visitors Center. Stop by the flagship Channel Islands Surfboards shop to pick up exclusive Santa Barbara-branded apparel.
Visit on the first and third Saturdays of each month to shop the Funk Zone Farms farm stand pop-up. The urban farm surrounds our “Like a Local” insider Erika Carter’s Green House Studios.
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