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San Luis Obispo, roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, impresses visitors with its scenic setting. Here, the natural beauty of California is visible in vineyards, mountains and the nearby Pacific Coast. The town was raised around the mission of Father Junípero Serra, which was established in 1772. Today the downtown area presents a well-preserved collection of Victorian homes and historic landmarks.
All the main attractions of San Luis Obispo are closely grouped around downtown, so it’s easy to get around on foot. Set out to discover centuries-old landmarks, such as the house of Pierre Hyppolite Dallidet, the town’s first winemaker.
Learn about the town’s modern history at the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. This active church also has a museum that illustrates the history of Native Americans and Californian missionaries. Surrounding the site is Mission Plaza. In summer, this is one of the venues of the Festival Mozaic, a popular chamber music festival. While in this area, visit San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. Free events, such as the I Madonnari chalk art and Art After Dark open-house festivals, take place here.
To the north of town is Leaning Pine Arboretum, part of California Polytechnic State University. Here you can see displays of regional plants as well as Australian, Chilean, Mediterranean and South African varieties. Check out the views from the nearby Bishop Peak Trail.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the hiking and biking trails of Montana Oro State Park to the west of town. To the east, Lopez Lake has trails for all fitness levels.
Be sure to visit the pier and restaurants at San Luis Obispo Bay and Avila Beach, which are just a 15-minute drive from the town center.
San Luis Obispo’s food and drink scene promotes homegrown produce, and a farmer’s market takes place every Thursday on Higuera Street, the main shopping area in town. Sample barbecued tri-tip beef, a traditional Californian dish, while you watch street performers and local bands. Wine connoisseurs will appreciate the wineries in nearby Edna Valley, just 10 minutes from the town center.
Accommodation in San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo provides numerous hotels and short stay apartments to suit people from all walks of life. With the Expedia lodging guide visitors can take their pick from 162 San Luis Obispo hotel listings.
The Dolphin Bay Resort And Spa, situated at 2727 Shell Beach Rd, and the Avila La Fonda Hotel, at 101 San Miguel St, are both good examples of upscale San Luis Obispo accommodation options. The La Bellasera Hotel And Suites, 206 Alexa Ct, and the Avila Lighthouse Suites, 550 Front St, are other great Expedia-listed lodging options worth looking into.
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Paso Robles Event Center, Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, and Barney Schwartz Park. Ravine Waterpark and Paso Robles Children's Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).
This retro chic Pismo Beach hotel is located on California's Central Coast in the Five Cities area, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Located in Santa Maria, 13 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, the hotel is in the heart of the Central Coast wine country; between Los Angeles and San Francisco along California's El Camino Real.
Located in the heart of San Luis Obispo, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Cerro San Luis Obispo and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. San Luis Obispo Children's Museum and Bubblegum Alley are also within 10 minutes.
The hotel is within a 20-minute drive of dozens of wineries in the surrounding hills. Golfers can choose between 7 top courses, and shoppers need only walk a couple of minutes to 2 neighboring malls. The nearby resort town of Avila Beach is a great place to see the sun set over the Pacific.
Located in the heart of San Luis Obispo, this motel is 2.6 mi (4.2 km) from Cerro San Luis Obispo and within 6 mi (10 km) of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and Mission Plaza. History Center of San Luis Obispo County and San Luis Obispo Museum of Art are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Located in the heart of Paso Robles, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Carnegie Library and Paso Robles Children's Museum. Anglim Winery and Paso Robles Pioneer Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km).
The golden sands of Pismo Beach are a 5-minute drive from this cozy hotel. Travelers in need of retail therapy can walk 10 minutes to Pismo Beach Premium Outlets. From November to February, guests can visit the Monarch Butterfly Grove, 4 minutes away by car.