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Bubblegum Alley

Colorful pieces of chewed gum, some of which have been turned into art pieces, decorate the walls of this narrow lane.

Bubblegum Alley is one of the most unusual attractions in San Luis Obispo yet one that attracts droves of curious travelers. Squeezed among the pleasant tree-lined streets of the city’s downtown district, Bubblegum Alley is artistic, gaudy, inventive and ugly all at the same time. Stop by and make your own judgment about a landmark that divides public opinion. 

The alley is just 65 feet (20 meters) long and has 15-foot-high (4.6-meter) walls. People began sticking their unwanted gum here in the 1950s; however, the reason for doing so is unclear. One theory suggests that it started as a rivalry between two local schools while another implies that it is a post-World War II graduation ritual. Note that the wall was cleaned completely in the 1970s but the gum returned soon after. 

Both walls are mosaics of hardened gum. While most pieces have been stuck on in their purest chewed form, others display an element of creativity. Look for peace signs, people’s names and smiling faces. Some visitors have even taken the time to write messages on the back of gum wrappers. 

Make your mark on the attraction by becoming part of the gum-sticking movement. Purchase gum from a downtown convenience store. You might want to wash your hands after carrying out the act. 

The attraction is located in the city center of San Luis Obispo. Walk here or look for limited on-street parking available nearby. San Luis Obispo railway station is less than a 20-minute walk to the east.  

Bubblegum Alley is a free attraction and is open to visitors 24 hours a day. It can easily be combined with several other city attractions. Among these are the 18th-century Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum and San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. Follow the north side of the alley to connect with Higuera Street, a popular nightlife district with brewpubs, burger joints, nightclubs, steakhouses and themed bars.


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Best Lodging Options Near Bubblegum Alley

See all 367 properties near Bubblegum Alley
Madonna Inn CA $143
Madonna Inn

Madonna Inn

100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in San Luis Obispo, this spa hotel is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Laguna Lake Park and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Cerro San Luis Obispo and Emerson Park are also within 1 mile (2 km).

    La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham San Luis Obispo Downtown CA $154
    La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham San Luis Obispo Downtown

    La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham San Luis Obispo Downtown

    1845 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo, CA
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in San Luis Obispo, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Fremont Theater and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. California Polytechnic State University is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) away. San Luis Obispo Station is 25 minutes by foot.

      Avenue Inn Downtown San Luis Obispo CA $87
      Avenue Inn Downtown San Luis Obispo

      Avenue Inn Downtown San Luis Obispo

      345 Marsh St, San Luis Obispo, CA
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Cerro San Luis Obispo and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. California Polytechnic State University is 2.6 mi (4.2 km) away. San Luis Obispo Station is 21 minutes by foot.

        Sands Inn & Suites CA $69
        Sands Inn & Suites

        Sands Inn & Suites

        1930 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, CA
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of San Luis Obispo, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Fremont Theater and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. California Polytechnic State University is 1.4 mi (2.3 km) away. San Luis Obispo Station is 25 minutes by foot.

          Olive Tree Inn & Suites CA $75
          Olive Tree Inn & Suites

          Olive Tree Inn & Suites

          1000 Olive St., San Luis Obispo, CA
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in the heart of San Luis Obispo, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Santa Rosa Park and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. California Polytechnic State University is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) away. San Luis Obispo Station is 24 minutes by foot.

            Garden Street Inn CA $140
            Garden Street Inn

            Garden Street Inn

            1212 Garden St, San Luis Obispo, CA
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown, this bed & breakfast is within a 5-minute walk of Bubblegum Alley and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. California Polytechnic State University is 2.3 mi (3.6 km) away. San Luis Obispo Station is 12 minutes by foot.

              Granada Hotel & Bistro CA $269
              Granada Hotel & Bistro

              Granada Hotel & Bistro

              1126 Morro St., San Luis Obispo, CA
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Downtown, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Fremont Theater and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. California Polytechnic State University is 2.1 mi (3.3 km) away. San Luis Obispo Station is 11 minutes by foot.

                San Luis Inn And Suites CA $67
                San Luis Inn And Suites

                San Luis Inn And Suites

                404 Santa Rosa St, San Luis Obispo, CA
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in the historical district, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Santa Rosa Park and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. California Polytechnic State University is 1.4 mi (2.3 km) away. San Luis Obispo Station is 22 minutes by foot.