Guide to San Luis Obispo: how to get there and where to stay, what to see and where to go in the evening. The best things to do in San Luis Obispo: fresh reviews and photos, places to see, branded entertainment and shopping.
San Luis Obispo is almost exactly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, at a point where nine low volcanic peaks descend into the Santa Lucia Valley. This campus is nestled just between these two peaks. Its architecture is beautiful, the cultural life is not too vibrant, but quite interesting, the surroundings are full of natural beauties, and the vineyards that surround the city provide it (and not only) with excellent wines. Some will find San Luis Obispo boring; but Oprah Winfrey in her show called it the happiest city in America. Perhaps both are true. See citypopulationreview for state facts, symbols and history of Delaware.
Oprah Winfrey called San Luis Obispo the happiest city in America on her show.
How to get to San Luis Obispo
The city has its own airport, which receives regular flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix. There is also a charter flight between San Luis Obispo and San Diego or Sacramento. In addition, the city can be reached by train (approximately 7 hours from San Francisco and 8 from San Diego) or by bus from Santa Barbara.
A bit of history
The city was founded in 1772 by a Spanish Franciscan monk who arrived here to convert the Indians to Christianity. This year, with the help of five soldiers and two new converts, the Mission of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa began to build on this site, which then grew into a city. In the 19th century, it was a popular stop on State Route 101 and California Highway 1. In the 20th century, the city acquired a clearly youthful character: at the beginning of the century, the California Polytechnic University opened here, where about 20 thousand students study today (this number is almost half the population of today’s San Luis Obispo).
Reducing the name of the city to an abbreviation, the locals call San Luis Obispo “slow” – that is, “slow.” And this is a very apt characteristic.
Attractions and attractions in San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo boasts a carefully preserved 19th century Downtown with a restored 18th century Catholic Mission at its centre. A museum has been opened in it today, although the mission still performs its functions. The Mission Building is part of the Mission Plaza area, including several good shops and restaurants. Although in general Downtown San Luis Obispo has changed a lot over the past couple of decades – chain restaurants, shops and hotels have opened here, but it still retains the charm of a small town with narrow sidewalks between streets.
The famous Gum Alley is a must to visit. It is located in the southern part of Higuera Street, between Broad Street and Garden Street. The length of the alley is just over 20 m, the height of each wall is about 4.5 m. Hundreds and thousands of people have been sticking gum here since the 60s. of the last century, as a result of which it is better not to lean against the walls.
Also, be sure to check out the quirky themed Madonna Inn, even if you’re not staying there. The hotel looks very interesting from the outside thanks to the openwork balustrades and ladders, but inside it is even more interesting. It was opened in 1958 by Alex Madonna and today has 40 rooms with unique interiors and catchy names: Yahoo, Love Nest, Austrian Suite, Old Mill, Hearts and Flowers. Grab a drink in the luscious red of the hotel’s ornate café. Check out the Pink Room and see the famous waterfall in the men’s room. “Madonna Inn” is located south of the old center, and you can get to it along the road of the same name.
4 things to do in San Luis Obispo:
- With full right and a sense of accomplishment, stick chewing gum on the wall.
- Try to get into the “underground city” – a system of tunnels surrounded by many secrets.
- Taste excellent local wine.
- Drive along the famous California highway number 1 past strawberry fields. Stop and buy berries – enjoy.
In addition, the Fremont Theater on Monterey Street can be considered a kind of city landmark. It can be seen from afar thanks to a recognizable neon sign. The theater was built in Art Deco style in the 1940s. 20th century. The beautiful theater hall is mainly used for large-scale film screenings, while something more avant-garde is usually shown in a room with a small stage. In another cinema in the city, Palm, you can always watch excellent independent films – including foreign films and all kinds of art house. In addition, Palm is notable for being one of the few that runs entirely on solar energy. It is also where the annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival takes place.
The city has a museum of the history of the district, located on Monterey Street. It occupies the former Carnegie Library, built in 1905 and listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The visit to the center is free. Also, a trip to the art museum can be curious, it is located in the western part of Mission Plaza on Broad Street. It can also be visited for free. And in San Luis Obispo there is an interactive children’s museum with learning programs through the game.
Finally, the Christopher Cohen Center on the university campus is considered an important cultural center of the city. There are many venues for performances by students and local artists, concert and exhibition facilities, as well as the Spanish Theater.
Events San Luis Obispo
The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival lasts five days and includes both classic and contemporary films. The festival has been held in the city since 1993. In addition, the city hosts the annual Mozart Festival in July. They also celebrate on a grand scale May 5, the day of the Battle of Puebla and a great Latin American holiday.
And every Friday in the summer, the Mission Plaza hosts open-air evening concerts.
On the first Thursday of every month, bike enthusiasts gather at the intersection of Monterey and Khorro Streets for a themed bike parade – Bike Knight – through the streets of the old town. The parade starts at 21:30. The city also hosts the Tour of California.
On Thursday evenings from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Higuera Street hosts a weekly farmer’s market, one of the most famous in California. It is full of not only farmers, but also musicians and college students. At this time, the street is closed to traffic, and the public can freely enjoy various shows and performances.
Neighborhood of San Luis Obispo
The landscapes surrounding the city provide ample opportunities for hiking and mountain biking. The Nine Sisters peaks surrounding the city are a great place to admire the city or the surrounding area from above. The most popular trails are Bishop’s Peak (walkers only) and Cero San Luis (cyclists too).
Montana de Oro State Park is about 15 km west of the city. The Los Angeles Times called it the state’s best-kept secret a few years ago, and with good reason. This is an amazing place for walking and active recreation, where there is an ocean, and mountains, and picturesque bays with caves, and kilometers of sandy beaches and tidal ponds. There are several excellent routes here, ranging from the most easy ones to those that involve climbing the steep slopes of the peaks of Valencia and Oates.
Also interesting for cycling is Poly Canyon, which is northeast of the university campus. It is an open hilly green area where many engineering and architecture students construct their thesis. On campus you can get hold of everything you need for kayaking and other sports activities. The best place for kayaking in the area is considered to be between Shell and Pismo beaches: there are many beautiful sea caves.
Those who are tired of outdoor activities can be advised to relax by going to the Edna Valley. Actually, for this you only need to go out of the city along Broad Street: vineyards will appear almost immediately on the left.
About a dozen small wineries constantly offer something to taste here.
Approximately 15 km separate San Luis Obispo from the town of Pismo Beach and the beach of the same name. The beach here is remarkable in itself, and besides, the town is on the path of the annual mass migration of butterflies. Therefore, in winter, there are a lot of photographers and just tourists here. In addition, a shellfish festival is held in Pismo Beach in October: the city is even unofficially called the shellfish capital.
And to the north of San Luis Obispo is the famous Moro Bay, also with an excellent beach and a local attraction – a rock of the same name about 175 m high. Oddly enough, this small rock is actually a volcano, only sleeping.