Best Things to See and Do in San Luis Obispo, California

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Nancy D. Brown, Bubble Gum Alley, San Luis Obispo, Travel

When you come to San Luis Obispo, get your picture taken at Bubble Gum Alley

Are you visiting San Luis Obispo for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in SLO town, as well as some other Central Coast Secrets.

If you are looking for high quality California organic cuisine, I recommend Big Sky Cafe or you might like F. McLintocks Saloon & Dining House.

Perhaps you are seeking a quiet place to escape and unplug? Check out the creek at Mission San Luis Obispo.

When you come to San Luis Obispo, get your picture taken at Bubble Gum Alley or Bishop’s Peak.

Seeing a lot of college students? San Luis Obispo  is home to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Go Mustangs!

You’ll also want to visit Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and the Thursday Night Farmer’s Market.

Firestone Grill, food, Nancy D. Brown

Meat lovers should check out Firestone Grill in San Luis Obispo

Looking for cheap food in San Luis Obispo? Go to Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach. Beef lovers will want to stop at Firestone Grill for the famous tri-tip sandwich.

For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Palazzo Giuseppe.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Bishop’s Peak and Madonna Mountain.

Higuera Street offers the best people watching on Thursday night at the Farmers Market.

In San Luis Obispo, outdoor enthusiasts will want to hike, bike, horseback ride, surf, kayak and walk everywhere. San Luis Obispo rocks the Central Coast for all things outdoors.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk along Bishop’s Peak Trail or Cerro San Luis Obispo trails.

If you are a museum lover,  Old Mission San Luis Obispo and San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum should be on your list.

Looking for a night out on the town? Head to the downtown area for a night of dancing at The Graduate or MO TAV.

Novo Restaurant and Lounge is the spot for late night dining.

The Tribune, New Times and the Mustang Daily will keep you posted on what’s happening in San Luis Obispo.

You can tell a lot about San Luis Obispo from visiting the Farmers Market or watching Cal Poly Homecoming.

mustang, sculpture, cal poly, Nancy D. Brown

Mustang Sculpture “Unbridled Spirit ” by Roy Harris

In the spring you should attend the many wine and beer festivals.

If you like music,  you’ll enjoy Concerts in the Plaza during the summertime.

Did you know that San Luis Obispo is known for wine tasting.  Plan a visit to the Edna Valley wine region in the fall.

Come to San Luis Obispo for The Beach and Holiday Parades in the winter.

Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked Upper Crust Trattoria in San Luis Obispo.

Go to Copper Café at Madonna Inn or Apple Farm Restaurant for a great breakfast treat or coffee.

Just outside of  San Luis Obispo you can visit Pismo Beach, have lunch at the Cracked Crab.

The best way to see San Luis Obispo is to walk or ride a bike.

Don’t miss  Sunset Drive-In, Bubble Gum Alley or the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum if you have kids traveling with you.

What are your favorite things to do in San Luis Obispo, California?

Thanks to San Luis Obispo County Visitors & Conference Bureau for assistance with this post.  All photos  and YouTube video courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown.

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7 Responses to “Best Things to See and Do in San Luis Obispo, California”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Great list — super informative, just what a traveler really needs when figuring out where to go and what to do there. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous says:

    So this is where the gum wall is! I have always wanted to see this unique tourist attraction!

  3. Sue Smith says:

    Great list! I’m so happy to see that you included NOVO Restaurant on your list–it is my favorite place to dine when I am in San Luis Obispo. Dining on the patio at NOVO next to the creek is the most perfect setting. Make sure to order the salmon bisque!

  4. @ Sue
    So glad you liked the article. Salmon bisque at NOVO Restaurant – yum!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Great list! I would add the Paso Robles area for a day of wine tasting, or visit during the Wine Festival and head to Pappy McGregor’s in the square after the festival closes…quite the dance party! Also, a visit to Firestone Walker, home of the 805 brew…delish! The Creeky Tiki in downtown SLO was also a favorite and I absolutely loved this movie theater that we walked into to look around. I do not know the name of it but it was amazing inside! Cheap movies too! One last thing: The Kreuzberg coffee house on Higuera has an amazing atmosphere and was the perfect sit down break from walking the chilly Farmer’s Market on a Thursday night. Love that place!!

  6. @Jennifer
    Thanks for adding some great tips to the San Luis Obispo post. I, too, enjoy Paso Robles.

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