A Guide to Santa Barbara’s Arts District

Mural | © Chris Barbalis / Unsplash
Dominic Bertolami

Freelance writer

Santa Barbara’s flourishing arts district—known by locals as the “Funk Zone”—is an eclectic haven for craft brews, small-batch wineries, artisan shops, and local art shows and galleries.

This hip destination is an ideal stop-off for wine enthusiasts, art lovers, or couples looking for an offbeat retreat. Explore the eccentric side of Santa Barbara, with this guide to the city’s colorful arts district.

1. The Blue Door


© Charisse Kenion / Unsplash

In the heart of Santa Monica’s Funk Zone, this three-story, industrial, brick building was first constructed in 1922 as a car dealership before later serving as a center for fish processing. Officially opening in 2014 as The Blue Door, this eclectic vintage boutique houses a treasure trove of artwork, mid-century modern furniture, ornaments, and effects inside an antique, museum-like setting. Get lost amid the locally-sourced vintage and handmade trinkets and accessories from this impressive catalog of authentic SoCal design.

2. Corks n’ Crowns

Craft Ale Bar, Wine Bar, American

© Tim Bennett / Unsplash

Located on the Urban Wine Trail inside Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, Cork n’ Crowns is both a tasting room and a wine and craft beer club. This lively retreat offers an arsenal that changes monthly, and highlights the best in local crafters from the neighborhood. Enjoy a tasting, have a glass, or buy a bottle (no corking fee) while taking in the view on the relaxed open-air patio just a block from the ocean. Drop in for happy hour for great deals on fine wine and beer Monday through Wednesday from 4:30 to 7 p.m., including $6.00 (€4.85) glasses of wine.

3. Gallerie Silo: Artist Studio

Art Gallery

© Edgar Shapparo / Unsplash

Silo118 is an art gallery on the ground floor of a repurposed grain silo in SB’s Funk Zone. With 18 local artists showing at any time, this funky nook offers a variety of unique works from international students, residents, and both emerging and established artists and photographers. A flagship in the bi-monthly Santa Barbara Artwalk, stop in to meet the artists and savor a glass of wine or two in the facilities tasting room.

4. Funk Zone Food & Photo Tour


© Pexels / Pixabay

Hosted by the “Eat This, Shoot That” tours out of Santa Barbara, this one-of-a-kind experience combines food photography and eight tasting locations. A professional tour guide highlights hidden graffiti art and local galleries, while also teaching foodie photo tips and tricks. Become immersed in the local culture and hear interesting stories about the burgeoning art scene exploding out of SB’s happening Funk Zone.

5. Loveworn


© Becca McHaffie / Unsplash

The brainchild of local style maven Jill Johnson, Loveworn is a rugged, all-American brand specializing in vintage denim and leather. The one-of-a-kind clothing housed in a retro boutique setting creates a comfortable atmosphere for hunting out the perfect hidden gems. Johnson also sells and designs her own signature brand from this hip one-off, providing an authentic Santa Barbara shopping experience.

For more information about Santa Barbara’s arty Funk Zone, check out the videos below.

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