About halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo—nicknamed SLO—spreads out below gentle hills and rocky extinct volcanoes. Its main appeal lies in its architecturally diverse and commercially lively downtown, especially several blocks of Higuera Street. The pedestrian-friendly district bustles with shoppers, restaurant goers, and students from California Polytechnic State University, known as Cal Poly. On Thursday from 6 pm to 9 pm a farmers' market fills Higuera Street with local produce, entertainment, and food stalls. SLO is less a vacation destination than a pleasant stopover along Highway 1; it's a nice place to stay while touring the Wine Country south of town.
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Things You Can't Miss
This hotel is like no other. Its 110 rooms have names like Barrel of Fun and Caveman, and the tennis and basketball courts are hot pink.
History buffs have to stop at this mission, founded in 1772 by Father Junipero Serra. Take advantage of a free tour or attend the daily Mass.
Is it art or litter? You be the judge on a stroll down Bubblegum Alley. The walls of the narrow lane are covered by thousands of wads of discarded gum.
Silicon Valley Stock/Alamy
Take a walk through the Poly Canyon design “village,” built over decades by imaginative students at California Polytechnic State U.
Thousands of monarch butterflies gather annually in a grove of eucalyptus trees at Pismo Beach. When they’re not around, swim and relax on the sand.
Shared Trips to this Destination
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