Santa Barbara Rock Gym
322 State St., Lower State
COVID-19 update: Temporarily closed. "Our friends, who have kids with similar ages to ours, took us to this fantastic rock climbing place for an afternoon of fun. That's Moses on the wall..." - GP
600 Olive St., Lower State
A friend with kids said this old school (i.e., it was established in '37) Italian joint is a huge hit: You get to dig into Spaghetti Alle Vongole, grilled salmon, and a pages-long wine list on the lovely patio out back, while they can spend any downtime playing Bocce on one of the two adjacent courts.
131 Anacapa St., Lower State
Co-founded by Eric Railsback and Master Sommelier Brian McClintic (if the name sounds familiar it’s because his journey to masterdom was documented in the film, SOMM), this Funk Zone wine bar/shop is a must. The cool, wood-trimmed space is split into two: Hardcore oenophiles will go nuts for the hand-picked selection of European and domestic wines on the retail side, while those looking to expand their knowledge will benefit from a wine flight at the tasting bar. A tight offering of small plates is available throughout the week; Fridays and Saturdays, weirdly enough, are reserved for ramen.
The Funk Zone
Yanonali St. & Helena Ave., Lower State
The name is actually kind of misleading, because The Funk Zone isn't all that funky—it's an area of Santa Barbara that plays host to tasting rooms for some of the the valley's best vineyards, galleries, plus a handful of the city's greatest restaurants.
Corks ‘n Crowns
32 Anacapa St., Lower State
This popular wine and beer tasting room makes short work of tasting way too many varietals from the Santa Ynez valley—and the best part, is they only source from award-wining wineries, meaning there are no doozies in the flights. Located in The Funk Zone, it's a fun place to go before a dinner reservation—or for a longer, lazier Saturday (they open at 11). They offer beer flights, too.
Alchemy Arts Spa & Cafe (Closed)
35 W. Haley St., Lower State
This full-fledged wellness center offers everything from yoga to acupuncture to cupping and visceral massage. There are more traditional spa offerings, too, including oxygen facials, organic spray tan, and a solid menu of massages. There's also an on-site vegetarian cafe.
33 Parker Way, Lower State
Juice Ranch checks all the boxes when it comes to doing juice right. It's bottled in glass, cold-pressed, and organic, making it the go-to in Santa Barbara for great greens juices and delicious almond milk based drinks.
331 Motor Way, Lower State
Wise people say that everything tastes better in either bowl or smoothie form, which is the abiding philosophy here: Specializing in hot porridge, acai bowls, and every manner of smoothie, this is one of those cheerful joints that entirely revolves around starting days right. They're onto something too, since it's booming: There are now four outposts across California, including a second outpost in Santa Barbara.
131 Anacapa St., Lower State
Tucked inside the beloved Santa Barbara Fish Market, this indoor-outdoor—it’s mostly outdoor, actually—restaurant is named after the overnight train that’s serviced this part of California for the first half of the last century (which also explains the vintage train booths). As evidenced by the generous portions of comfort food staples like deviled eggs, roasted chicken, and cheese fritters (all locally sourced, all delicious), the menu is designed to encourage sharing. The herbed popcorn—which magically appears at your table the second you sit down—is well worth the sodium bomb.
127 Anacapa St., Lower State
The offerings here are blessedly simple: Excellent, wood-fired pizza (interesting flavor combinations, plus all the classics), a smattering of meatball-based sandwiches, plus a handful of well-conceived salads (shaved kale, based arugula). In short, this is exactly the sort of food you want to plow into with a big group of friends, or after an overly raucous night out. They have kid-friendly option as well, and offer takeout.
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