Things to Do in San Luis Obispo
The Best Activities and Attractions
For more information on our favorite seasonal San Luis Obispo area activities, visit our Boutique Hotel Collection Blog.
Tucked in a valley ringed by ancient volcanic peaks, ten minutes from the Pacific Ocean, the old mission town of San Luis Obispo basks in a perfect California climate. Consistently rated one of the best places to live in the United States, San Luis Obispo could be full of self-importance, but...where else does the bus service call itself "SLO Transit"? And where else can you sit on the curb downtown to eat a plate of barbecue ribs at the Farmers Market?
Stay at one of the friendliest hotels in town and enjoy its beauty. The same creek that runs past Apple Farm meanders through downtown San Luis Obispo, under Higuera Street, and surfaces again by Mission Plaza, home to some of the top things to do in San Luis Obispo. Eat a leisurely ice cream cone in the shade of massive sycamores and eucalyptus, and tour the beautifully restored Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa to learn about the padres who shaped this city way back in 1751.
More recently, San Luis Obispo County became a haven for artists, and you can see their work on display at the SLO Art Center or the Creamery, a former dairy converted to galleries, restaurants and a yoga studio. Younger audiences will love a visit to the interactive Children's Museum on your weekend getaway, also perched above the creek.
Be sure to catch the SLO Trolley on its loop around downtown. (Trolley schedule is listed below.) Jump off to explore the many shops, boutiques and cafes, or catch a movie at the historic Art Deco Fremont Theatre. If it's Thursday afternoon, you're in luck: Higuera Street is transformed to host the famous farmers market, where you can find lots of fresh local produce, as well as live bands and performers for the beginning of your weekend getaway. Afterwards, journey back to the Apple Farm and sip a glass of wine on our garden patio.
Along San Luis Obispo's quiet tree-lined streets you'll find dozens of vintage Victorian homes, many built over a hundred years ago by city notables, their names memorialized on plaques by the front door. San Luis Obispo is also home to two colleges: Cuesta Community College, and the jewel of the California State University system, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, consistently honored as one of the best universities in the nation. The 28,000-plus students provide youthful energy, vitality and diversity to the city. On the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus, you'll also find the best arts venue on the entire Central Coast, the spectacular Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center, bringing world-renowned artists year round.
Consult the Front Desk at the Apple Farm for information on San Luis Obispo activities and happenings on the campus of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. They range from bike races and wilderness hikes to Festival Mozaic, the SLO International Film Festival, SLO Marathon, and the SLO Wine Country Harvest Celebration in November.
Our beautiful Edna Valley and Paso Robles wine country rolls out before your eyes a short drive from the hotel, with a plethora of world-class wineries open for wine tasting. Must-see Hearst Castle rises majestically from the rolling hills to the north, directly off historic Highway 1. On the way to the Castle, visit the towns of Morro Bay, Cayucos, and Cambria for art, outstanding crafts, and excellent food. The hamlet of Harmony (population 18) is easy to overlook, but well worth a stop. Once the site of an old creamery, today the historic structures have been artfully re-purposed to house a glassblowing studio, blacksmith's gallery, garden shop, pottery store, music studio and a cafe. Harmony Glassworks offers one-on-one classes on glass blowing that are truly spectacular and we highly recommend taking part in one during your visit.
If you are looking for a quiet weekend getaway to visit our farmers market or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, or you come to stay awhile longer, San Luis Obispo is just the place you are looking for.
San Luis Obispo Downtown Trolley Schedule:
The trolley loops from North Monterey Street to Downtown every 15-20 minutes. You can catch the trolley at the stop next door to us. The cost to ride is just 50 cents each way. It runs on the following days and times only:
- Thursdays (Year Round) - 5 p.m. to 9p.m.
- Fridays (June-Labor Day) - 5 p.m.to 9p.m.
- Sundays (April-October) - 5 p.m. to 9p.m.
The Trolley does not run on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day.
Explore Things to Do in San Luis Obispo, California:
- Community Calendar
- Hearst Castle
- Golf Courses
- Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove
- For Children
- Weather & Climate
- Outdoor Adventures
- Nature Activities