You don't need a car to enjoy San Luis Obispo. The beautiful rolling hills or the historic downtown district are best explored on foot, through biking, using public transit services or private transportation services. Excursions to outlying areas, including the enchanting Hearst Castle, romantic wine country, historic Missions, magnificent Morro Rock, and pristine coastal areas are available through private boat, bus and tour operators.
Spend the day discovering Downtown San Luis Obispo! Walk, bike or take SLO Transit to the Downtown Transit Center. Walk south two blocks, and turn right on Higuera Street into the heart of downtown SLO. Enjoy your time shopping at small boutiques and large retail stores alike. Take a self-guided or guided tour of the historic downtown. Your vacation to SLO wouldn't be complete without going to the weekly Farmers' Market on Thursday evenings - when Higuera Street transforms into a festival of flavors and sounds!
To learn more about the history of San Luis Obispo, click here to go to the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce's website and to enjoy discovering the Path of History walk in Downtown SLO!
What is that big hill just to the north of SLO? The one with all the rocks on top? Why it's Bishop Peak, the tallest (at 1559') of a dramatic range of hills called the Nine Sisters that run from SLO northeast to Morro Bay. The Nine Sisters are volcanic in origin and most of them have very dramatic granite-like rock outcroppings. A hike to the top or just along the flanks of Bishop Peak is one of the most popular day hikes in the SLO area, and with good reason.
Explore the Historic Village of Arroyo Grande, the Central Coast's unique turn-of-the-century downtown village. You'll find an array of antique and specialty shops plus fine dining nestled within the scenic atmosphere of historic buildings and natural beauty. The Village is a true picture of Americana on the Central Coast of California.
The Village of Arroyo Grande is well known for its annual Festivals and weekly Farmer's Market that are enjoyed by thousands of visitors and local residents. Join us in celebration of the local harvest and major holidays when the Village of Arroyo Grande abounds with a variety of arts and crafts, tempting treats, and fun activities.
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo California. The emphasis of the University is a "learn by doing" educational experience for its more than 18,000+ students. Many students seek admission to Cal Poly not only because of its excellent academic reputation, but also because the 6,000-acre main campus is nestled in the foothills of San Luis Obispo, just minutes from California's Central Coast beaches. Tour the University on your own, or register for a college specific tour.
Come experience the diversity in plant life of the Mediterranean climate zones of the world in this educational and beautiful botanical garden. Located just north of SLO in the El Chorro Regional Parkthe botanical gardens feature a preview garden with a small creek and a sustainably-constructed Educational Center. The garden is open to the public daily during daylight hours. Admission is free. The business office and gift shop are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Downtown San Luis Obispo has a number of tasting rooms that feature local wines from around the region! Stop in at one or hop from one to the next, leisurely walking through the downtown or taking the SLO Trolley. Many of the restaurants in the downtown carry local wines as well. For a list of tasting rooms in the downtown, click here.
Just south of SLO lies one of the best winery areas in all of California for cycling, the Edna Valley. There is bike path access from the Amtrak train station heading south to the edge of town, and then the fun begins. Several loops are possible, with everything from a moderately easy 13 mile loop with very few hills to a longer 29 mile loop that has several interesting out and back additional options. Every option is a scenic delight, with hills rising all around the valley and vineyards or ranches lining the roads.
Experience the beautiful wine country of the Central Coast by private bus, shuttle or limousine! Plan your trip today using the following listings for wine tour buses and shuttles:
Where can you see zebras and cows grazing together on the coast against the backdrop of a castle? At Hearst Castle, of course! Located 45 miles north of San Luis Obispo is La Cuesta Encantada® – The Enchanted Hill® – once home to the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst from 1919 until 1947. Hearst Castle is now maintained as a state historic monument and is open to viewing from the public daily. The castle features 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools, 165 rooms in four houses, a movie theater, an airfield and even a zoo. You can even get to Hearst Castle without a car, if you’re up to the challenge!
Just north of SLO along the coast lies the picturesque fishing village of Morro Bay. The main harbor in Morro Bay lies at the north end of a spectacular National Estuary, which abounds in birds, seals, otters and other types of wildlife and is easily accessed by kayak. A four mile long isolated sandspit on the other side of the harbor offers one willing to kayak the short distance out to it, a stunning beach all to oneself. Click here to learn more and find out about great discounts for kayaking!
As an international landmark destination, Madonna Inn, welcomes day visitors as well as hotel guests. Enjoy a day of horseback riding, hiking, boutique shopping or relax by a beach-entry pool after a luxurious spa treatment. Be swept away by two award-wining dining experiences, a cocktail lounge, and nightly entertainment. Hotel guests enjoy onsite bike rental, complimentary tennis, basketball and garden games. Or just stop by to marvel at the Inn’s amazing architectural and historical points of interest.