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

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

Colorful wall art in downtown San Luis Obispo, also know as SLO.

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. You can bring your own wad of bubble gum to stick on either side of Bubble Gum Alley or pick up a pack of gum at the shop next door. BYO gum anyone?

Seeing a lot of college students in downtown San Louis Obispo? San Luis Obispo  is home to Cal Poly State University. Go Mustangs!

You’ll also want to visit Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market. You can tell a lot about San Luis Obispo from visiting the Farmers Market or watching Cal Poly Homecoming.

San Luis Obispo Dining

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 Life of Pie in downtown SLO or Splash Cafe in nearby Pismo Beach. Beef lovers will want to stop at Firestone Grill for the famous tri-tip sandwich.

For a filling and quality meal, go to Brasserie SLO on Garden Street or Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica on Monterey Street. Higuera Street offers the best people watching on Thursday night at the Farmers Market.

If you are a night owl, Novo Restaurant and Lounge is the spot for late night dining.

San Luis Obispo Outdoors

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.

READ  Water Aerobics Posterior Hip Replacement Tips

Looking for a little exercise? Walk along Bishop’s Peak Trail or Cerro San Luis Obispo trails. The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Bishop’s Peak and Madonna Mountain.

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 Mother’s Tavern, aka MO TAV.

If you are like me, and still appreciate reading newspapers and magazines, The Tribune, New Times and the Mustang Daily will keep you posted on what’s happening in San Luis Obispo.



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.

Related Posts:

Horseback Riding on California’s Central Coast

READ  Napa Valley Festival del Sole

Things to See and Do in Cambria, CA


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

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

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

  3. 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. 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!!

  5. Pingback: Los Osos Insider Tips: California Things to Do | Nancy D Brown

Comments are closed.