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San Luis Obispo

Photo Credit: Alamy

San Luis Obispo

Photo Credit: Alamy

San Luis Obispo

Photo Credit: Alamy

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Welcome to San Luis Obispo, CA

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. - Copyright © 2014 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. Explore

Things You Can't Miss

1/5
Splurge on a Night at the Madonna Inn

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.

Splurge on a Night at the Madonna Inn

Image Credit: John Blower/Flickr

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

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.

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Image Credit: Robert Harding/Alamy

Something to Chew On

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.

Something to Chew On

Image Credit: Silicon Valley Stock/Alamy

Architecture Students Dreamed These Up

Take a walk through the Poly Canyon design “village,” built over decades by imaginative students at California Polytechnic State U.

Architecture Students Dreamed These Up

Image Credit: Terry Tyson/Flickr

Catch a Butterfly Convention

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.

Catch a Butterfly Convention

Image Credit: ZUMA Press/Alamy

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