Blake Walsh

16 Best Things to Do in Arroyo Grande, CA

  • Published 2022/07/28

Located in the beautiful San Luis Obispo County in California, Arroyo Grande is a city with many attractions waiting for you to discover.

Despite its size, this city has a big personality, which you can see in the numerous attractions.

Blessed with a rich history and fertile soil, the activities here range from learning about history to trying local produce and artisanal products.

From endless murals to vintage-style shop signs, many sights should entertain and pique your interest.

Are you interested in making this charming city your next holiday destination?

Read on to find out some of the best things to do in Arroyo Grande, CA.

Discover Local Historical Architecture by the Swinging Bridge

Swinging Bridge in Arroyo Grande

Pia Benzer /

In the Californian city of Arroyo Grande, you can find an exciting bridge that has belonged to the community for almost 150 years.

Constructed in 1875, the Swinging Bridge goes over the Arroyo Grande Creek at 40 feet above the ground and stretches 171 feet.

Side view of Swinging Bridge

Stilfehler, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Short family originally built the bridge.

Today, the city owns and maintains this piece of historical architecture.

When you come to Arroyo Grande, check out the Swinging Bridge and the many historical structures still standing today.

Learn about Historical Industrial Tools at the Barn Museum

Arroyo Grande is one of many places in the U.S. full of character.

The city preserves its iconic character by sharing its story with interested visitors.

You can find numerous museums and heritage sites when you visit.

One of them is the Barn Museum.

This place is home to a collection of artifacts, mostly mercantile, agricultural, and ranch tools.

People living in the South County area have used these tools throughout history.

It even has vintage carriages and other historical vehicles on display.

Of course, apart from industry-focused items, it also houses a collection of historical clothing, photographs, and other items from the area.

Get to know this city more by visiting the Barn Museum.

See 19th Century Home Life at the SCHS Heritage House

Located near the Barn Museum is the SCHS Heritage House.

You can find this cultural museum in a Victorian cottage.

The displays showcase depictions of home life and period clothes from more than a hundred years.

You can check out these exciting artifacts in their permanent collection and changing exhibits.

Built in the late 1800s, the Heritage House has seen many significant transformations.

Despite its many restorations, it gives tourists a glimpse of how people lived during the 19th century.

The SCHS Heritage House is a must-visit attraction during your trip to Arroyo Grande.

Watch a Live Show at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts

Discover Arroyo Grande locals’ talent by heading to the Clark Center for the Performing Arts.

This haven for the performing arts first opened its doors in 2002.

Since then, it has served as one of the Central Coast’s premier venues where you can find world-class shows.

Despite its intimate setting, this place pulls out all the stops while hosting and organizing some of the best live shows around.

From breathtaking theatrical productions to moving musical concerts, it’s the local go-to venue to discover and appreciate the performing arts.

Head to the Clark Center for the Performing Arts with your entire family, and discover the masterful live shows from local and visiting artists.

Shop for Antiques at a Glance into the Past

If you’re interested in remembering your trip to Arroyo Grande by purchasing antiques, visit A Glance Into the Past.

True to its name, this antique shop has a wide array of collectibles that may pique your interest.

On top of that, the shop prides itself on offering one-of-a-kind pieces at reasonable prices.

The staff here also know a lot about their stock, so they’ll be happy to answer any of your shopping questions.

If you need something quirky or unique, you can check A Glance Into the Past for items you might end up loving.

Pick up Local Produce at Arroyo Grande Farmers Markets

Arroyo Grande enjoys a bounty of fertile soil.

The city produces several fresh and high-quality produce.

If you want to try some fresh fruits and vegetables, head to Arroyo Grande Farmers Markets.

Local farmers and artisans put up their stalls every Saturday at noon at the footbridge of the Old Village.

You can pick and choose whichever you want to try, from meat products to fruits and vegetables.

Apart from these, you can also shop for locally made artisanal goods such as jams, jellies, and baked goods.

Musicians also entertain shoppers and visitors, and you can also check out the work of local artists.

Experience the sense of community in the city by visiting the Arroyo Grande Farmers Markets.

Grab Drinks at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery

You can find numerous vineyards within Arroyo Grande.

One of them is the Laetitia Vineyard & Winery.

Established in 1982, the winery has produced delicious wines representing the region’s distinct character.

Some of the drinks they offer here include Burgundy, Champagne, and a bit of Pinot Noir and sparkling wines.

Apart from producing great-tasting drinks, this vineyard also focuses on the balance of legacy, innovation, and sustainability.

When you come here, you can go wine tasting in a spot with picturesque ocean views.

If you want to go on a picnic, you can do so in their picnic area, with breathtaking views of the vineyard and the Pacific Ocean.

Drop by the Laetitia Vineyard & Winery during your trip to Arroyo Grande.

Play Golf at Cypress Ridge Golf Course

If you want to spend the day playing golf, head to Cypress Ridge Golf Course.

It’s one of the most spectacular courses on California’s Central Coast.

Hidden in this beautiful course is a challenge that is perfect for experts seeking to make difficult plays.

The course designers made sure to use the natural surroundings to provide a gorgeous and challenging area to play on.

The Cypress Ridge Golf Course is a golfer’s paradise that’s within reach in Arroyo Grande.

Try Local Cuisine at Mason Bar & Kitchen

Exterior of Mason Bar & Kitchen

Stilfehler, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located at the corner of Branch and Mason Street is Mason Bar & Kitchen.

It’s a family-friendly restaurant that serves local dishes made with farm-fresh produce.

Adults can also indulge in tasty drinks at their award-winning bar, apart from their sumptuous meals.

They offer alcoholic drinks from a selection of local wines, beers, and hand-crafted cocktails.

When you’re craving to find out how delicious the local cuisine is, check out Mason Bar & Kitchen.

Look for Souvenirs at Hive Supply Co.

If you’re looking for collectibles and souvenirs for your trip to this city, visit Hive Supply Co.

This place sells local products and showcases the works of local artisans.

The things you can find here all have a story, all of which carry with them the distinct character of this city.

On top of that, you can observe the incredible craftsmanship of the artisans from Arroyo Grande.

Apart from shopping, this place also organizes workshops and events you can join.

Don’t miss your chance to visit Hive Supply Co. and bring home something that carries this region’s distinct charm.

Learn Local History at Patricia Loomis Historical Library and Resource Center

Heritage, culture, and history are essential to Arroyo Grande’s distinct character.

The city tries to preserve and share as much local information as possible.

You can see these efforts in one of the city’s many exciting museums and historical centers.

One such place is the Patricia Loomis Historical Library and Resource Center.

This place is home to an extensive collection of research materials discussing the history of the State, with a particular focus on South San Luis Obispo County’s history.

When you come to this place, you can find a collection of hundreds of books, photographs, scrapbooks, and pamphlets.

Local writer Jean Hubbard donated many of these articles.

If you want to take an in-depth look at this region’s history, the Patricia Loomis Historical Library and Resource Center is the place to visit.

Try Out Wacky Flavors at Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab

A trip to Arroyo Grande is incomplete without visiting Doc Burstein’s Ice Cream Lab.

This popular, old-fashioned ice cream place features a wide array of tasty hand-crafted ice cream.

Some of their flavors include sea salt caramel, pecan praline, and Butterfinger Blast.

They even have some flavors with intimidating names, such as Motor Oil, which comprises dark chocolate, and Kahlua.

Apart from tasty treats, the ice cream parlor has quirky decor that can keep both kids and adults entertained.

While Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab has already branched out to several other locations, the one in this city is a must-visit.

Have Some Fun at Mustang Water Park

Have some fun under the sun with the entire family.

Head to the Mustang Water Park to make a splash, cool off, and make great memories with your travel buddies.

This family-friendly water park features amenities that are perfect for the entire family.

Younger visitors can spend some time at the kiddie pools, complete with slides that are safe but exciting for kids.

You can also stay at the water park complex’s campgrounds for more outdoor fun.

Apart from amazing pools and slides, this park also sits amid the beautiful nature found in the region.

Take in the outdoors while going for a swim with your loved ones when you visit the Mustang Water Park in Arroyo Grande.

Take a Stroll at James Way Oak Habitat and Wildlife Preserve

If you like taking a stroll, you might want to discover the wonders of James Way Oak Habitat and Wild Life Preserve.

This attraction features trails perfect for jogging, walking, and horseback riding.

The wildlife preserve spans 73 acres and is home to breathtaking old oaks and wildlife you can spot on the trail.

When you come here, watch out for animals like deer, rabbits, birds of prey, and more, during your hike.

Visitors are welcome to the James Way Oak Habitat and Wildlife Preserve from early morning until sunset.

Go on a Fun Ride at Vista Lago Adventure Park

Are you craving an adrenaline rush at Arroyo Grande?

Come to the Vista Lago Adventure Park, where you and your entire family can experience exhilarating and unforgettable attractions.

Go on different zip line courses, including a couple of high-speed ones that should make you feel your blood pumping.

This place also has several other thrilling attractions that you can try.

Find out if you’re afraid of heights by going to the 45-foot free fall attraction called the Ledge.

Discover many fun and thrilling activities at this incredible Vista Lago Adventure Park.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Butterflies at the Monarch Butterfly Grove – Pismo Beach

Visitors entering the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach

Zach Behrens /

Located just seven minutes from Arroyo Grande is the Monarch Butterfly Grove at Pismo Beach, California.

The place is one of the only five places in California that house over 10,000 butterflies yearly.

Every year, the grove serves as the playground of the majestic monarch butterflies; Pismo State Beach is an essential stopover during their migration.

Butterflies clustering on a tree at Monarch Butterfly Grove

Sundry Photography /

These butterflies cluster up on large eucalyptus trees from late October to February.

You can find these eucalyptus trees growing in a riparian estuary that leads to the Pacific Ocean.

Witness the majesty of the monarch butterfly by taking a detour to the Monarch Butterfly Grove.

Colorful butterflies at Monarch Butterfly Grove

Gary Saxe /

Final Thoughts

The people of Arroyo Grande take pride in their heritage and culture.

You can see this in how this small city carries itself, from its attractions to its local products.

As such, it’s always a pleasure to discover more of its unique and outstanding character.

While it might be tiny compared to major cities in California, you can still have a grand adventure when you come to Arroyo Grande.

Discover its charm for yourself, and you will spot the many things that make this place unique.

For your next holiday, make Arroyo Grande a stop and experience the best it offers.

Book your trip today!

You might find more things to do in Arroyo Grande after you arrive.

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