Situated halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the charming city of San Luis Obispo—often fondly referred to as SLO—makes for a perfect Californian getaway. A haven for those seeking a blend of culture, outdoor recreation, and a laid-back lifestyle, SLO is packed with places to explore. Let’s uncover the top five places to must-visit in San Luis Obispo!
1. Madonna Inn
An iconic landmark in San Luis Obispo, the Madonna Inn is much more than just an exquisite place to stay—it’s an experience! Marked by its unique architecture and individualized rooms, each decorated with an extravagant and playful theme, it’s an adventure just walking around the property. Known for its oversized Champagne Rock waterfall urinal in the men’s room, and the elaborate charm in common areas and rooms, the Madonna Inn is a one-of-a-kind marvel that’s a must-visit for all creators and lovers of exuberant design. And do not forget to try their world-famous Pink Champagne Cake at the on-site bakery, it’s an indulgent treat like none other!
2. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa 1772
Step back in time at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, a living link to California’s mission past. Established in 1772, this Mission is one of the oldest in California and offers fascinating insights into the state’s early colonial history. Besides its historic and cultural significance, the Mission’s serene ambiance, charming courtyard, and beautiful gardens make it a peaceful haven. Whether it’s learning about the daily lives of the mission’s early inhabitants or admiring the well-preserved Spanish Colonial architecture, a visit to the Mission is akin to taking a captivating walk through history.
3. Sunset Drive-In
Experience the nostalgia of a classic American pastime at the Sunset Drive-In, one of the last remaining drive-in theaters in California. Whether it’s a family night out or a romantic date night, the retro ambiance of this 1950’s drive-in promises a memorable movie experience. So grab some popcorn, cozy up under the stars, and relax as you watch a double-feature from the comfort of your own vehicle. This old-school treat is a delightful throwback that captures the essence of simpler times.
4. Bishop Peak
For outdoor enthusiasts, a hike up Bishop Peak is an absolute must-do. The tallest of seven Morros or “Seven Sisters,” Bishop Peak offers captivating views of San Luis Obispo and its surrounding areas. Its moderate 3.5-mile trail involves a climb through woodlands, rocky terrains, and grassy hills, culminating at the summit where the vista is nothing short of breathtaking. Remember to pack a picnic, wear sturdy shoes, and carry plenty of water for your exhilarating ascent up Bishop Peak—it’s worth every step!
5. Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo
If you have a taste for performing arts, don’t miss out on a show at the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo, a jewel in the SLO art scene. From Broadway musicals to Symphony concerts, and ballet performances to stand-up comedy, the center hosts a diverse array of high-quality productions. Immerse yourself in the power of live performance at this modern, state-of-the-art center, offering a packed schedule designed to entertain, inspire, and enrich all who visit.
These five places are just a tip of the iceberg of what San Luis Obispo has to offer. So pack your bags, and embark on an unforgettable trip to this idyllic Californian city. You’re guaranteed to slow down, unwind, and fall in love with SLO!