ADVENTURE: A California vacation weekend in San Luis Obispo! // EATING: So many spots! // CRAVE: The burrata bar at Foremost Wine Company!
The other week we decided we wanted a explore a new part of California and settled on spending a long weekend in San Luis Obispo. Beyond the usual Bay Area vacation choices (Napa, Tahoe, Yosemite, etc.), San Luis Obispo was a fun place to mix it up with tons of great activities, awesome food, and fun bars that can easily entertain you for a few days. Read on for the full guide to what to do and where to eat!
What To Do
San Luis Obispo is surrounded by rolling green hills and small mountains which makes for some amazing hiking trails. One of the best trails is Bishop’s Peak, a 3.5 mile in-and-out trail of switchbacks up a huge mountain.
The trail is relatively easy, but you’ll definitely be sweating by the end of your hike after a lot of uphill — make sure to take a few breaks and soak it all in!
The views at the top looking over San Luis Obispo are worth it!
Exploring a new wine country area is always a fun activity! About 15-20 minutes outside of San Luis Obispo there are tons of different wineries you can explore. We made a day of it and took Ubers between three different wineries.
Start at Claiborne Churchill Winery, a cute winery with a huge outdoor patio space and tasting area set up outside on the grounds.
Next try Chamisal Vineyards, a winery with a semi-modern vibe with a huge patio overlooking the vineyards and shaded by lrge triangle-shaped canvas awnings.
Finally, stop by Baileyana Winery, another quaint tasting room with tons of outdoor tables for picnicking, bocce ball, and other games to entertain you.
Bubble Gum Alley
Another quintessential spot to check out is Bubble Gum Alley. This street is lined with sticky used gum in a collage of colors. Free admission and worth a quick walk through!
Avila Beach is a very small beach town just a quick 10-minute drive to the coast from San Luis Obispo. Grab a coffee, enjoy the beach, walk out on the pier, and take in all the local surfers.
Pismo Beach is another cute seaside town, just 20 minutes from San Luis Obispo. Make a morning of it with cinnamon rolls for breakfast from Old West Cinnamon Rolls, or a few crepes on the back patio from Mon Ami.
Spend some time after exploring the shops and many restaurants along downtown and the waterfront. Grab a drink or two at Wooly’s Beach Bar & Grill right on the ocean and enjoy the view!
Where To Eat
Everybody who has been to SLO knows that they are known for Firestone Grill, their local BBQ spot with amazing tri-tip. Get off the beaten path and save some room to try these amazing spots below (and, of course, Firestone if you’ve never been).
Luna Red is a delicious spot for brunch, lunch or dinner in San Luis Obispo. The restaurant is right next to a cute river that runs through town and is set up with a huge outdoor patio. The vibe is definitely festive and lively with a fun tapas menu with a fusion of American and Latin American flavors.
We stopped in for brunch and enjoyed their chilaquiles with guajillo tomato sauce, queso fresco, onion, radish and sunny-side up eggs, as well as their grilled chicken torta refried peruano beans, avocado, and aioli on a French roll. Beans on a sandwich is amazing. Trust me.
Other brunch spots: Sally Loo’s, Big Sky Cafe (pancakes!),
Foremost Wine Company
Foremost Wine Company is the perfect choice for dinner. This spot was hands-down one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time! The vibe is definitely trendy and a little on the pricier side, but you get totally amazing food that’s worth it. Definitely make a reservation or get there when they open to snag a spot. Whatever you do, you have to start with a dish from the burrata bar! We sampled the “Bee Keeper” with burrata, honeycomb, rosemary, sea salt, fruit, and almonds. Unreal!
Try the crispy potato tacos with vegetarian chorizo vinaigrette, chipotle aioli, shaved cabbage, lime, and cilantro (a surprisingly delicious choice!).
For your main dish, go for the grilled hanger steak with charred miso butter, fingerling potatoes, cipollini onions, asparagus, and topped with a fried egg.
Other great lunch and dinner spots to try: Granada, Novo (cute back patio!), Firestone, High Street Deli (Oprah’s favorite sandwich spot in the world!)
There are numerous bars around mainstreet in San Luis Obispo. Some of the most fun ones include:
- Barrelhouse Speakeasy: A cool bar with a fake barber shop as the store front. Show your ID to the bouncer and head down a small staircase to the real bar hidden beneath!
- Blast 825 Taproom: This is one of those bars where you get a wristband to serve yourself your own beers! Simply swipe your wristband in front of each beer dispenser lining the walls, pour as much as you’d like to taste, and pay when you’re done!
- SLO Brew: This is an awesome, huge bar with tons of counter space and tables. Bonus: they often have live music!
Where To Stay
There are tons of different hotel options depending on what you are looking for. Either grab a room at one of the main chain hotels, or opt for something different with the choices below.
The Madonna Inn quirky hotel filled with random rooms of completely different themes like cave rooms (all rocks), crystal rooms or “old world” rooms. Definitely stop into the restaurant for a slice of their famous cake!
The SLO Brewlofts are a new space downtown, situated above a bar. The vibe in these rooms is fun and trendy — perfect to book a few for a get-away with friends or a bachelorette party!
Granada Hotel & Bistro
The Granada Hotel & Bistro is a beautiful hotel with a ton of modern charm. If you’re looking for something fancy, this is your spot!
Hope you enjoyed this guide and all my tips! Have any other must-see spots in San Luis Obispo? Add them in the comments below!
Looking for another fun weekend getaway idea closer to the Bay Area? Check out this post about spending a weekend in Petaluma in a treehouse!