San Luis Obispo, also known as SLO and the “Happiest City in America”, is a small, quiet California town tucked away on the west coast. It’s positive ambience and happy attitude is what brings many people to this self-assured city. Located in the middle of wine country, a halfway distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this town is one of the main places to visit in San Luis Obispo County.
10. Mission Plaza
The Mission Plaza is the best place to start your journey into the city. This is where many events, concerts, festivals, and community meetings are held. The Taste of San Luis happens every year during the summertime where food from all over the county are sold and tasted here. There is a creek connected to the Mission Plaza, where people can stand around and admire its natural beauty. The Mission Plaza is the starting point in the city for finding museums, restaurants, activities, theatres, and shopping centers in the area.
9. Santa House
The Santa House is a small house that kids can visit during Christmastime to see Mr. Santa Clause. He will be sitting there on his chair waiting for the kids to sit on his lap and tell him what presents they want for Christmas. This activity is available from Nov. 27 – Dec. 24th. Every child will be given a toy, some candy, and a nice coloring book to remind them of their fun trip with Santa Clause. The cost is only $5 to take a picture with him, and $7-$11 for a framed photo.
8. Hearst Castle
The Hearst Castle is a museum that resembles a real life castle. It has swimming pools, gardens, old-style architecture and deco from the 1930’s. There are hundreds of rooms in this castle with marble floors, a theatre, and a private zoo. You will be able to roam this castle to see how real luxury lives. It is one of the most popular things to do in San Luis Obispo. It is open daily from 8am to 5pm and free parking is available. You can reserve your tickets online today up to 56 days in advance.
7. Wine Tasting
This is wine country, so wineries and breweries are everywhere. Some of the most fabulous Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the world are produced here. The wine from this area is sweet tasting, has the best aroma, and the grapes are grown in an all-natural organic environment. Some of the wineries to visit are the Talley Vineyards, Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards, Tolosa Winery, Chamisal Vineyards, Saucelito Canyon Tasting Room, and the Niven Family Wine Estate. All of these wineries are near each other so you will have many to choose from. This is a great activity to do for a romantic weekend.
6. SLO Museum of Art
This museum is near the Mission Plaza, so it’s very close to other tourist attractions in the city. Families will get an orientation of the museum’s sculptures, exhibits, and artwork. This museum is open 6 days a week from 11am to 5pm, except on Tuesdays. They close during major winter holidays such as Christmas, New Years and New Year’s Eve. Admissions are free, but visitors can give donations to help the museum continue operating. There are many live events and educational classes that the whole family can take part in for daily fun.
5. Farmers Market
The Farmers Market in this city is more like a street party than an actual market. There is so much going on every Thursday evening that it resembles a really live festival. The Farmers Market in this town is very popular because agriculture is important in this area. At this market you can sell and buy organically grown produce, which puts more money into the local economy. This Farmer’s Market is the second largest in the US, which makes it a destination within itself. This is one of the best tourist attractions in San Luis Obispo.
This city has lots of hiking trails around the lakes, cliffs, and in national parks. Some of the views from these trails are spectacular where you can oversee the ocean and get a stunning view of the city. There are also mountain bike paths near these trails that are great for endurance training. The easy-to-hike trails are available for children, making this the best opportunity to get them started on the right hiking footing. Some the easy trails are Johnson Ranch and Bishop Peak. Some of the more challenging trails are Cuesta Canyon, Cerro, and Irish Hills.
No matter where certain tourists go, they want to know where the beaches are. This city is only 10 miles (14 minutes driving distance by car) from Avila Beach. This beach is family and pet-friendly, and the perfect place where you can take your dog for a run and play catch. Pismo Beach is another great beach that is further down the coast. This beach has of lots of physical activities take part in such as fishing off the pier and sailing. This beach is absolutely picture-perfect with smooth sand, interesting rock formations, and wild animals to look at.
2. Piedras Blanca Elephant Seal Rookery
If you have some extra time on your hands for a brief day trip, then you can travel 46 miles northwest (less than an hour drive) to San Simeon. This is where the Elephant Seal Rookery is at. As you walk on the trail, you will see a bunch of elephant seals just relaxing on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and doing what elephant seals do. This is their natural habitat where they are making noises and you can possibly witness them giving birth, if you’re lucky. This is a great time for family and friends to bond with each other.
1. Bubblegum Alley
Bubblegum Alley feature rows of walls with different types of bubble gum pressed on them. You can walk through this Hall of Fame of Bubblegum where people from all walks of life has chewed their bubblegum and plastered them on the wall. You can even put yours up there! Many kids love this place because it is a fun attraction. These walls are 12 feet high and 70 feet long. This is the number one thing to do in this city because of its uniqueness. This is one of the main tourist attractions in San Luis Obispo.
San Luis Obispo is a nice little quaint city with lots of charm. This is the ideal destination for a quiet and friendly vacation. Travel Tip: If you’re from a sprawling metropolis, where frowns abound, turn that frown upside down in San Luis Obispo because you’re in a happy place now!