Reimagining the Walking Food Tour in Downtown Santa Barbara

By Claudia Schou   |   January 14, 2021

How do you gather food lovers together for a tour of downtown Santa Barbara’s most notable eateries in the midst of a global pandemic in which both indoor and outdoor dining are off limits? Taste Santa Barbara Tours seems to have found the answer: by offering safely social distanced walking tours featuring take-out food that’s perfect for local picnicking.

A Grazing Box, one of many tasting selections available at Taste Santa Barbara Tours

“The to-go tours are equally awesome to our ‘normal’ tours,” explained owner Evan Elizabeth Berger, who started the tour in 2014. “We’re leaning toward private groups versus various groups joining one tour. Anyone can sign up for a tour, but the goal is to keep friends and family in their own bubble.”

The tour starts at El Paseo and weaves on and off State Street with stops at some of Santa Barbara’s popular foodie spots: street tacos at Los Arroyos Downtown, Rueben sandwiches at South Coast Deli, spicy tuna roll at Sun Sushi, savory Asian noodles at Public Market’s Empty Bowl, wine from Cebada, veggie plates at Satellite and pasta at Arnold’s Cafe.

Tasting selections and restaurant locations are constantly revolving to keep the tours fun and interesting, Berger said. Tour goers enjoy some of their meals on disposable picnic blankets at the courthouse before concluding the tour at McConnell’s Ice Cream, where they can choose two flavors of their choice. 

It’s not just a food tour, there’s a historical tour element to it in which Berger discusses the architectural history as a backdrop for a thriving local food scene. “Guests can take in the sites, learn about Santa Barbara and enjoy some local food on a daytime, walking food tour,” she said. “Our guides use safe distancing to show guests around town and of course, feeding them. We want to help our local restaurant partners as much as we can.”

Tours start at $300 for two guests and run about three hours. For more information or book a tour, visit


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