San Luis Obispo is a culturally active town with museums, historical landmarks, galleries, restaurants, micro-breweries, wine-tastings and events. For an American town of its size, it has a compact, walkable downtown. Most restaurants, pubs and bars are best explored around Monterey, Higuera and Broad street. There are great locations, restaurants and pubs on the coast too, and can be accessed by regional transit bus line 12 to Morro Bay and Los Osos as well as line 10 to Shell Beach and then Avila Trolley to Avila Beach, or by rental car.
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
The Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (Spanish: Misión San Luís Obispo de Tolosa) is a Spanish mission founded in 1772 by Father Junípero Serra in San Luis Obispo, California. Today, it offers tours of the beautiful church, gardens, school and small museum that holds a collection of its artifacts.
751 Palm St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, missionsanluisobispo.org
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA) is one of the most innovative and accessible museums on the Central Coast. From outstanding exhibitions by California and international artists to classes for kids, SLOMA allows visitors of all ages to indulge their artistic passions.
1010 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, sloma.org
San Luis Obispo County Historical Museum
The History Center collects, preserves, and exhibits historic artifacts, records, images, and documents and provides access to its collections in both traditional and digital forms for research, study, and educational purposes. The History Center cooperates with other regional organizations and promotes their goals and programs.
696 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401, historycenterslo.org
Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California, United States. Designed by architect Julia Morgan, it was a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947.
750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452, hearstcastle.org
The Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market is undoubtedly one of the most treasured events on the Central Coast and has a long history of bringing locals and visitors together to eat, shop, listen to music and connect with their community.
The Market takes place every Thursday evening from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (weather permitting and excluding major holidays) on Higuera Street between Nipomo and Osos streets.
Novo Restaurant & Lounge
Global fare offered in a multispace eatery with intimate cellar, upstairs lounge & creekside patio.
726 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
+1 805 543-3986
Giuseppe's Cucina Rustica
Glass doors open to sidewalk dining at this place serving specialities from Italy's Pugliese region.
849 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
+1 805 541-9922
Italian restaurant serving classic dishes & wine in a white-tablecloth space with a patio. Famous for fresh handmade Lasagne.
1137 Garden St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
+1 805 548-1750
The Galley Seafood Grill & Bar
Waterfront place with island decor turning out seafood dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients.
899 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442
+1 805 772-7777
Tognazzini's Dockside Restaurant
Bustling, informal spot offering a menu focusing on West Coast-caught seafood, with weekly specials.
1245 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442
+1 805 772-8100
Craft breweries have become nearly ubiquitous. Throw a dart at a California map and you’ll likely hit a town that offers stellar beer-drinking opportunities. And if that dart lands on the Central Coast, you’re in luck. San Luis Obispo County alone boasts nearly three dozen craft breweries that range from mid-size to micro and even nano.
Central Coast Brewing Monterey Street
Awesome beer, great atmosphere, fast service, and reasonable prices, especially at happy hours.
1422 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
+1 805 783-2739
Barrel House Brewing SLO
Wide selection of brews with a helpful staff. You must go through the barber shop first!
1033 Chorro Street, Basement Level, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
+1 805 296-1128
Libertine Brewing Company
Huge selection of beer and wines. Famous for sour beer. They are located in SLO as well as in Morro Bay.
1234 Broad St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
801 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442
+1 805 548-2337
Three Stacks and a Rock Brewing Company
Decent small brewery. They have a small selection of their own brews, along with a few from other craft breweries.
3118 Main St Ste. D, Morro Bay, CA 93442
+1 805 771-9286
When it comes to wine, California accounts for nearly 90 percent of American wine production with more than 1,200 wineries in the state, ranging from small boutique wineries to large corporations with distribution around the globe. Wines from California gained an international top reputation. While Napa Valley in northern California is well known outside of the US, the second most established area is Paso Robles, which is part of San Luis Obispo County and lies just 30 min north from SLO. However, there are great wineries distributed all across the county border. Wine tastings are generally open daily until 5 pm, in some cases 6 pm, so plan ahead! There are several wine tasting opportunities around SLO, but getting to Paso Robles vineyards and wineries is tricky due to their distance from the town, as well as how far they are spread around the County. While one can reach tasting rooms around SLO fairly easy with Uber, it is recommended to go by car for Paso Robles wine tasting.
Just 5 min south-east of San Luis Obispo, one can find several remarkable tasting rooms, most of them in walking distance to each other. Still, take an Uber going there. Excerpt:
Biddle Ranch Vineyard biddleranch.com
Edna Valley Vineyard ednavalleyvineyard.com
Saucelito Canyon Tasting Room saucelitocanyon.com
Kynsi Winery kynsi.com
Baileyana Tasting Room nivenfamilywines.com
Avila Beach and Canyons
At the coast, south of SLO, there are several great wine tasting opportunities in smaller outlets directly on the peer of Avila Beach, great ocean view included, as well as on the vineyard itself in the close-by, beautiful canyons. Take RTS Bus line 10 to Shell Beach and then the free Avila Trolley to Avila Beach. Excerpt:
As one of the most well-known wine area of California, the Paso Robles country side harbors excellent vineyards and wineries in a dramatic scenery of smooth wine-hills. The locations are too widespread for walking, as well as farther away from town, therefore we strongly recommend going per car. However, discovering the area is an adventure. Once inside the Wine-Country Paso Robles (west of town), there a post signs for wine-tasting literally all around you. A wine-location map can be found here. Excerpt of some outstanding wine-tastings: