What to do

There is a reason why San Luis Obispo is the “Happiest Place in America” and on the Lonely Planet's Top 10 Destinations (#4) to Visit in 2014. Can you say Miles of Road, Hiking, Cycling, Foodie Restaurants, Surfing, Music, Shopping, Art Galore, Kayaking, BBQ, Farmerʼs Markets, Really Nice People and Wine Tasting. Yeah, ya gotta come here.

Cycling in San Luis Obispo


Thomas R. Vendegna, MD Pulmonary and Critical Care, Central Coast Chest Consultants

San Luis Obispo County is home to some spectacular riding. Professional riders call SLO home and love the miles of coast, canyon and vineyard lined roadways. Short but sweet is the Perfumo Canyon ride, 25 miles out and back with 1300 feet of climbing. Cycling out Huasna Road and back is beautiful with rolling hills and lots of wildlife (watch out for the turkey buzzards). Finally, a favorite ride is up the coast, around the Old Creek down Hwy. 46 loop. It has great climbing and a spectacular coastline for a 70 mile dream.

Kayaking in San Luis Obispo


Stacey Ritter, MS, ATC San Luis Sports Therapy, Competitive Outrigger Canoe Racing

Avila Bay is a great place for kayaking. From Port San Luis out to Smith Island it's usually calm water with interesting up close views of the cliffs, sea birds, and early in the morning, sea lions and otters. There are always sea birds of all sorts, as well as an occasional gray whale visiting inside the bay.

South of Avila, along the bluffs of Shell Beach is beautiful to view from the water; sea caves, carved out rock formations and currents and swells to ride for the more adventurous.

Head North to Morro Bay for the calmest waters; again, quite a bit of wildlife to see up close, especially in the morning. Great for beginners because of the protected harbor.

Art in San Luis Obispo


Heather Hellman, Partner Get Off The Couch Potato Sports Productions

Art thrives in San Luis Obispo. There really is something for every taste. First, just walk around our quaint downtown, through the Mission, along the creek, in the shopping areas along Higuera and Marsh streets and you will see many displays of public art - sculptures and painted transformer boxes along the street. Or better yet, walk into the San Luis Obispo County Art Museum or some of the local businesses and galleries that display our local artists.

I also marvel and love San Luis Obispoʼs historic architecture, from the turn-of- the-century brick buildings like our Historical Society Museum on Broad Street (that was a Carnegie Library) to the classic Fremont Theater on Monterey Street (love the neon at night), the Frank Lloyd Wright building at Santa Rosa and Pacific Street (now a doctorʼs office) to Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and the Johnson building on Monterey and Osos Street (once a bank) They're all on the course to marvel.

Hikinh in San Luis Obispo


Herb Stroh, Attorney and Partner, Sinsheimer Junke McIvor & Stroh, LLP

One of my favorite local hikes is the Valencia Peak Trail in Montana De Oro State Park. This trail offers exceptional views of the Central Coast, Cuesta Ridge, and Morro Rock. Elevation gain is about 1,300 feet in 2 miles, so you will feel like you got some exercise. Return the way you came or take in the bluffs by turning left on the Badger Trail and then north on the Bluffs Trail to your car. The Valencia Peak trailhead is located just past the parkʼs visitor center. Note: beware of ticks and poison oak on the Badger Trail.

Music in San Luis Obispo


Leslie Cotham, CMT at Energy in Motion Massage

On any given day of the week, there is live music happening in San Luis Obispo. Many of the cityʼs cafes and restaurants offer acoustical nights. One of my favorites is grabbing a coffee at Linneaʼs Cafe on Garden and enjoying music in their back patio.

The Steynberg Gallery often hosts a Songwriters Showcase and local artists - Inga Swearingenʼs jazz and Jill Knightʼs guitar always packs the place. For some blues or rock nʼ roll, the Creeki Tiki back patio or SLO Brew is the place to go (unless you want to come back during the summer for Music in the Plaza at the Mission every Friday night starting in June). Lastly, The San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Nowak, is always a spectacular evening.

Wine tasting in San Luis Obispo

Wine Tasting

You know you are in the heart of wine country. Back country roads lined with vineyards, rolling hills, a light breeze, and blue, blue skies. A feeling of peace sets in. From the people who greet you, to the laid back setting of San Luis Obispo, an un-crowded, un-hurried and un-pretentious wine tasting getaway awaits.

Midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the SLO (that’s what we locals call it) wine region is comprised of three pristine viticulture areas: the Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley and Avila Valley. Our small, mostly family-owned wineries are well known for their hand-crafted bottlings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, Zinfandel and more.

The marine influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean provides a mild summer and warm fall, resulting in an unusually long growing season. Combined with the region’s rocky volcanic soils, these growing conditions produce fruit with intense varietal character and complex flavors that are typically found in the world’s greatest wine regions. The SLO life. Wine tasting with family and friends. It’s how we live. And you’re welcome to join us.

Find more activities

After your race is over, when you have completed that 26.2/13.1 mile journey, it’s time to enjoy what we locals call “The SLO Life.” It has all to do with people, places and things that evoke a state of mind...

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Shop SLO Dine SLO

There are a plethora of fantastic places to dine and shop in San Luis Obispo. Take in the local ambiance and enjoy the hospitality that awaits you. Shop SLO Dine SLO is the perfect starting point for all things local.

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