You may not have heard of San Luis Obispo, but this beautiful Californian city is a fabulous place to visit.
Located in the Central Coast region, San Luis Obispo offers a perfect blend of city culture and a laid-back beach scene. It’s known as a student city, but is actually one of the oldest communities in California.
The city was founded by the Spanish in 1772, and the Spanish influence is everywhere you turn. You can find out all about it at the History Center of San Luis Obispo County. And while you’re on the museum trail, you simply must check out the excellent San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.
If you’re a surfer, you’ll want to make a beeline for Pismo Beach. It’s one of the best surf spots in the state, with 17 miles of shoreline, warm waters and some brilliant breaks at high tide. It’s also just a lovely beach, if you fancy watching the action from the comfort of your beach towel.
This part of California has not one but two excellent wine regions, Arroyo Grande and Edna Valley. Each is short drive away, but well worth it for a fascinating winery tour and a chance to sample the best pinot noir and chardonnay in the region. Another top tip for foodies is the Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market, held every Thursday evening and showcasing the best food, drink and produce the city has to offer.
San Luis Obispo also has its fair share of more unusual sites. You must at least pop your head into the Madonna Inn, a colourful and delightfully kitschy landmark with over 100 uniquely themed rooms. If you’re staying there, check out the hot pink tennis court. Another must-see is the extravagant art deco movie house, the Fremont Theatre.
But one of the weirdest attractions in San Luis Obispo is Bubblegum Alley. This alleyway is exactly as it sounds – with walls full of pieces of old gum, some dating back to the 1970s. It’s not for everyone, but it is strangely fascinating.
Plan your trip to SLO today!