San Luis Obispo California
Mountain biking on trails through the hills
Family fun time riding the trolley around the city
Hiking in the rolling hills for spectacular views
Alfresco dining downtown on a beautiful evening
Relaxing yoga session as the sun rises
Enjoying live music at the Concerts in the Plaza series downtown
Visiting Bubblegum Alley to see used gum stuck to the walls
The classic neon marquee of the historic Fremont Theater
Waterfall spotting on a hike through the woods
Exploring the galleries at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
Cultural gems and outdoor escapes in the heart of Central California
Unique SLO Landmarks
Downtown San Luis Obispo, known as SLO, charms visitors with tree-lined avenues, shops, art galleries and restaurants. It’s also a hotbed of beloved local landmarks. Visit the city’s namesake Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, a California Historical Landmark built in 1772 by Spanish Franciscan friar Junipero Serra. The Fremont Theater, opened in 1942, hosts a full lineup of live concerts and movies. Fans of commercial architecture will appreciate its original neon signage and art deco flair. Of course, no tour of downtown is considered complete until you’ve added your own wad of chewing gum to the walls of Bubblegum Alley.
Just a few minutes outside of the city center, catch a double feature at the Sunset Drive-In, then stay the night at the Madonna Inn, famous for its 110 guest rooms adorned with whimsical, vintage décor such as shag carpeting, ornate antique furniture and walls that look like the inside of a cave.
Outdoors for Days
San Luis Obispo County’s mountains-meet-sea terrain is made for outdoor adventures. Hiking is both scenic and abundant. Two of the most popular trails in SLO are the Reservoir Canyon Trail, which starts your trek off with a quaint waterfall before a 411-meter elevation gain, and Cerro San Luis, sometimes called Madonna Mountain, known for its distinctive M-shaped double peaks topping out at 393 meters. They are part of a collection of extinct volcanic peaks, or morros, nicknamed the Nine Sisters, which stretch throughout the county’s western region.
The central coast of California’s famous beaches are just 30 minutes away. Soak in nearly 130 kilometers of coastline and 315 days of sun a year. Try kayaking, windsurfing, kiteboarding, stand-up paddleboarding or surfing.
Irresistible Food and Drink
From freshly caught seafood to award-winning wine, SLO has your appetite covered. Downtown restaurants serve a little something for everyone – healthy breakfast smoothies at Seeds, upscale wine pairings at Ciopinot and huge scoops of homemade ice cream at Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab. Thursdays are for fresh produce, local gifts and live music at SLO’s popular farmers market. The Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo wine countries are home to approximately 250 wineries growing more than 40 grape varieties. Book a winery tour to get the most out of your trip. If wine isn’t your thing, there are dozens of breweries, cideries and distilleries, too.
Bubblegum Alley has an estimated 2 million pieces of gum stuck to the walls of its 21-meter-long alleyway. Add your own.
Two of California’s 21 historic missions, the meticulously preserved San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and San Miguel Arcángel, are still active in San Luis Obispo.
Photo: Dave Garth
Dating to 1950, the Sunset Drive-In movie theater is one of fewer than 20 drive-in theaters remaining in California.
Photo: Brittany App