Free Walking Tour Santa Barbara

Free Walking Tour Santa Barbara

Free Walking Tour Santa Barbara
5
City ToursHistorical & Heritage ToursWalking Tours
About
Select from three tip-based public walking tours or optional fee-based private tours given at a time convenient for you. The 105 minute Waterfront Tour is ideal for those wanting a broader understanding of Santa Barbara's rich history. The 90 minute Funk Zone Tour explores Santa Barbara's converted warehouse district now home to wine tasting rooms and restaurants. Finally, the 105 minute Old Town tour covers our lower downtown area, how Santa Barbara adopted the Spanish-Colonial style of architecture, the Brinkerhoff Victorian District and three of Jeff Shelton's architectural masterpieces. 11 x 17 old photos compliment all tours and help place you back in time. Every tour goer receives "2 for 1" wine or beer tasting vouchers.
Santa Barbara, California

Awards
Travelers' Choice
2024

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(9 reviews)
(7 reviews)
(4 reviews)

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles295 reviews
Excellent
288
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7
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Erika H
32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021 • Solo
I tried to explore the Funk Zone on my own and thought I covered it. Turns out I had barely scratched the surface! After a thorough and informative tour with John, I realized how much I missed trying to figure out the Funk Zone on my own :) I learned so much from John’s rich historical knowledge and insights into the growth of this area. I also appreciated his various restaurant recommendations! And getting to meet one of the artists who painted a Funk Zone mural was a special treat.

For all the tour options available in Santa Barbara, this 90 minute tour is the most affordable (entirely tip-based) and broad in its knowledge base (without getting boring!) You will come away able to truly enjoy the area on your own, having gone below the surface to understand its evolution.

Definitely take this tour (and/or John’s nearby waterfront one)! John even makes available heavily discounted $8 wine tastings at the Santa Barbara Winery!
Written May 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jay t
Los Angeles, CA9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We just got back from the AMAZING Waterfront Tour in Santa Barbara this weekend. John, our tour guide, was extremely knowledgeable about the Santa Barbara area. Not only did he have photographs picturing the various stops along the waterfront tour over the last couple of centuries, but he had us captivated with his stories and local insight at each stop. He answered all of our questions and left me wanting more. It was a terrific waking tour and would highly recommend for visitors of all ages. Cannot wait to check out his Funk Zone Tour next!
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

roberth1950
Northampton, MA21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
John's Funk Zone tour provided an outstanding overview of history of this part of Santa Barbara and the many transitions it has undergone. John's knowledge of the area was excellent and he was a very engaging and entertaining guide. It was especially helpful that he brought large pictures of many of the buildings we viewed to see the changes over time. The tour also included a visit inside the barrel room of a winery and into a small art gallery with a chance to chat with the owner (and artist). Finally, tour concluded with an opportunity for one group member to win free ice cream (me)!

This is a FREE tour. It is clearly something John does out of love. Please give a generous tip.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brianna
Santa Barbara, CA1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
John did an incredible job tailoring his tour to our unique group of blind and visually impaired adults and seniors. We all had a wonderful time exploring our own city and learning about the interesting and unique history of the "Funk Zone." He even gave us a chance to win a free ice cream at the best artisan creamery in town at the end of our tour. His attention to detail and ability to share information in an easy to follow format, along with photos which he made sure to describe to our group, was very thoughtful and made the experience that much more enjoyable. We look forward to returning for the Waterfront tour next. Thank you for your effort to make the tour accessible to our group, much appreciated!
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mapman_Phila
Silver Spring, MD32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
We had a leisurely 2.25 hour walk through the harbor area. Several stops were made where John would display old photographs of the spot and explain how the city developed in the past 100 years. It was a most informative tour, and highly recommended if you want to earn how this sea-side community developed.
Written January 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael S
Anglesea, Australia53 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Couples
I came across the free walking tour of Santa Barbara whilst researching things to do in Santa Barbara.
The tour is free, but it is sort of expected that you would tip the guide.
You can book your tour on line, you receive confirmation by email, and your guide will meet you outside the Maritime Museum at the pre-arranged time.
The guides are retired Santa Barbarans who love their city and love showing it to people.
Our guide was David and he was very knowledgeable, very friendly and a very nice guy. We learned a lot in a pleasant 1 hour 40 mins ramble through the waterfront and downtown areas. The terrain is flat and the total distance covered is about one mile, so anyone can take this tour.
There were places and sites of significance that we had previously walked past obliviously which David was able to point out and explain to us. We got so much more out of our Santa Barbara visit as a result of this tour.
I would highly recommend the free walking tour of Santa Barbara.
Written August 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tom C
Sonoma County, CA16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
John was well prepared, interesting and conveyed a lot of historical and present day facts about the city. We spent the majority of the time on the harbor, which was perfect. Ended up in the Funk Zone after visiting "the tree" Thanks John
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Solo
This is an excellent introduction to SB's famed Funk Zone, its storied history, rebirth and current cultural offerings. The guide, Mr. John Ummel, engagies participants while presenting useful, accurate information with good humor. He speaks clearly, employs visual aids, and invites interaction. I recommend this entertaining stroll to natives and visitors alike.

David Echols
Director, Personal Tours Ltd.
Written May 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rose
Omaha, Nebraska2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022 • Couples
This was a wonderful experience. David had tons of information to share about Santa Barbara and the Funk Zone. He took us on streets with street art, wine tasting rooms and packed the 90 mins with lots of cool facts. Thank you for a very enjoyable afternoon!
Written March 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

patricia p
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Friends
Whether you're a Santa Barbara resident or tourist, these 2 walking tours are a must! The delivery of the history regarding both The Funk Zone and Waterfront tours is not only dynamic but also compelling. When guests are in town, at least one of the tours is on the agenda.

Although I have taken each tour more than once, there is something to be learned each time. John gave the Waterfront tour to the
vistaslifelonglearning members with his animation and photos which was of special significance.



TAKE THESE TOURS
Written June 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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