15 Best Things to Do in Atascadero, CA

Atascadero, CA
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With world-class wines, ciders, and craft beers, Atascadero is a beautiful, small town that you will not want to miss.

It’s in the land of SLO CAL, or San Luis Obispo County, California, and offers a perfectly relaxing getaway in nature.

Explore its many parks and hiking trails or learn about the exotic local wildlife.

Take your time and enjoy the nature scenes.

For a hassle-free vacation, prepare your itinerary beforehand.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Atascadero, California:

Appreciate the Architecture of the Historic Atascadero City Hall

Atascadero City Hall
Logan Bush / Shutterstock.com

History buffs will have the time of their lives in Historic Atascadero City Hall, built in 1918.

It was ravaged by an earthquake in 2003; however, it was able to open again in 2013 after significant renovations.

The building is a towering structure, with large columns in its façade.

Atascadero City Hall
Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com

When you enter, you’ll be greeted with a beautiful dome ceiling with intricate designs and large semicircular windows.

Here, you’ll be able to learn about the city's history and the City Hall building.

Just make sure to book a reservation if you want to have a private tour.

If you’re looking for a venue for a meeting or a special event, the establishment is also available.

Atascadero City Hall
Wayne Via / Shutterstock.com

Ride a Kayak or Paddleboat at the Atascadero Lake Park

Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature in Atascadero Lake Park.

It spans 2.1 km and highlights its majestic lake.

Follow the loop trail along the lake's edge and go on a scenic walk.

If you want to exercise more, you can also go jogging or biking.

Aside from these, there are lots of other activities you can try.

Bring your paddleboat or kayak and float along the waters, admiring the view.

Grill juicy meats on the barbecue and have a wonderful meal with the whole family.

Just remember to call and reserve a barbecue in advance.

The kids can play on the horseshoe pits or at the playground, and you can burn some calories in the workout stations.

Dogs are allowed here as well, provided they are on a leash.

Watch a Movie in the Galaxy Theatres Atascadero

If you’re in Downtown Atascadero and want to catch a movie, Galaxy Theatres Atascadero is a great place to visit.

Grab a popcorn and a cold beverage in one of the many concession stands that offer other food and snacks.

If you’re having trouble looking for a nice gift for your loved one, you can get them a gift card here too.

It has a bright neon sign that’s hard to miss at night.

They also offer a rewards program, which comes with tons of amazing benefits.

Visit their website for movie schedules and more information.

Take a Step Back from the Busy City Life at the Sunken Gardens

Fountain at Sunken Gardens
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sunken Gardens is a rectangular patch of grass and trees right in the middle of the busy city life.

It’s a hub for the local community, sometimes serving as a venue for local events.

Its highlight is its gorgeous fountain, located in its center.

A statue at Sunken Gardens
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can stop and observe the sculptures here too.

On some occasions, you can go to the Movies in the Sunken Gardens event and watch with your friends and family out in its large open area.

You’ll also find the Atascadero Farmers Market here.

Check out the locally sourced produce, perfect if you’re looking for fresh ingredients for your next meal.

Taste Delectable Wines in Grape Encounters EmPOURium

Invite your friends for a day of tasting delectable wines at Grape Encounters EmPOURium.

It is a wine bar that features lots of local and international wines.

On Wednesdays, you can chill with a glass of wine during winemaker tastings while enjoying music on the patio.

It’s perfect if you just want a nice place to sit back and relax with a group of friends.

In addition to selling wines, it also has its own radio talk show that’s all about wine.

Gaze at the Wildflowers in the Jim Green Trail

For a peaceful trip, head to the Jim Green Trail, with a 2.6-km loop trail, and take a walk amid lush trees.

Look for the beautiful wildflowers that adorn the trail and watch and listen to the sounds of various birds.

Get your adrenaline pumping and ride a bike across the trail or go jogging for a light exercise.

If you just want to laze around, you can simply relax and appreciate the scenery as well.

It’s ideal for nature trips with the family and is open at any time all throughout the year.

You can bring your dog as long as he is on a leash.

Stock Up on Art Supplies in The Artery

If you’re a budding artist, you can stock up on supplies in The Artery, a small, family-operated shop.

You can buy paints, drawing and painting tools, canvases, and more.

These are available online through their website as well.

If you need a whole bunch of supplies, you can order an art kit too.

Do you have a special photo of you and your loved ones?

Commemorate the moment with a custom picture frame.

Head to their gallery space and observe the different kinds of artworks made by various artists.

Come and participate in the events that they host, where you can try all sorts of art activities, even making your own artworks that you can take home.

You can also get your loved one a gift card for special occasions.

It’s located in the Atascadero Arts District, and there are other local shops nearby that you can explore too.

Marvel at the Wild Animals at Charles Paddock Zoo

Charles Paddock Zoo
Jenn Johnson Photography / shutterstock.com

Discover exotic animals and learn about their habitat and behavior in the Charles Paddock Zoo.

Wild creatures from around the world inhabit the zoo.

You’ll be able to see rare species of snakes, tigers, and much more.

The zoo also hosts multiple events throughout the year, where you can join in on wholesome recreational activities for the whole family.

View of a Cacatua moluccensis in Charles Paddock Zoo
xpcfan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also book the zoo for birthday parties or sign your kid up for summer camp.

Make sure to check their website for details.

You can also buy tickets and purchase items from their gift shop online.

If you want to have perks and discounts, you can get a membership.

Learn How to Make Glass Artworks in the glasshead studio

Learn useful techniques on making different kinds of glass artworks in glasshead studio, including fused glass, mosaics, and stained glass.

It’s perfect if you’re looking for a fun and educational group activity.

They have special offers for team-building activities, group events, and birthdays, which already come with materials.

What’s more, you can bring food and drinks to the studio.

If you want to enjoy your alone time and make a glass artwork yourself, you can also avail yourself of the open studio time.

For a professionally made art piece, you can commission the studio as well.

Check out their website for details on events and information about the store and if you want to buy something from their online store.

Improve Your Golf Skills in the Chalk Mountain Golf Course

Situated among old, enchanting oak groves, the 18-hole Chalk Mountain Golf Course allows you to enjoy your tee time against a beautiful natural backdrop.

Occasionally, you’ll find wildlife around the area as well, so you’ll really feel immersed in nature.

If you want to learn how to play or just want to improve your skills, you can avail yourself of its passport program, with lessons for different skill levels.

If you’re feeling a little confident with your skills or if you want to play against skillful golfers to raise your skill level, you can join a tournament as well.

Visit their website for tournament schedules, tee time schedules and bookings, and for details regarding fees, lessons, and more.

You can also buy a gift card and sign up for their newsletter online.

Jump around in Hop’s Bounce House

A wonderland for kids and adults alike, Hop’s Bounce House is a bright and colorful activity center with tons of games to try.

Feel the wind as you jump around on its large inflatables, with two bounce houses available.

Have an air hockey match with your friends or try out the arcade games.

Take your toddler to the play area, filled with activities and games.

There’s also a special toddler-only bounce house, so he’ll be safe and sound while playing with his friends.

If your kid’s birthday is coming up, check out their special packages online.

While waiting for your kid, you can use the free Wi-Fi.

After a fun-filled day, get some snacks and drinks to refill your energy.

Discover the Different Kinds of Trees in the Three Bridges Oak Preserve

Three Bridges Oak Preserve
joojoob27 / shutterstock.com

Three Bridges Oak Preserve is a large park with a 3-mile trail system that contains habitat zones for trees.

These habitat zones are for coastal live oak, mixed chaparral, blue oak, and sycamore riparian.

You can hike, ride a horse, or go mountain biking in its trails.

Three Bridges Oak Preserve
joojoob27 / shutterstock.com

However, the Madrone Trail is for hiking only.

It features the highest point in the preserve, offering spectacular views overlooking the San Luis Obispo County.

Aside from the Madrone Trail, there’s also the Lookout Trail, Oak Woodland Loop Trail, and Meadow Trail, with different landscapes for you to explore.

Three Bridges Oak Preserve
joojoob27 / shutterstock.com

Ride the Ramps at Atown Park

Show off your skating and scooting skills in Atown Park.

It offers more than 8,000 square feet of the indoor park and 7,000 square feet of the outdoor park area.

Ride the ramps and go through various obstacles that will test your abilities.

It’s a safe space to play and practice since it is a supervised facility.

For private parties, make sure to call in advance and book a reservation, available for a fee.

Don’t worry if you’re in need of equipment, as the park offers rentals too.

In addition, the park has its own fully-stocked pro shop, offering parts, hardware, safety gear, and much more.

If you want the best experience, you can call ahead of time to set up a personal meet at the shop.

Eat and Drink on the Brews and Burgers Trail

For a whole lot of fun and a ton of food and drinks, try going on the Brew and Burgers Trail.

Hit the road and try out the many food establishments and breweries located here.

A lot of them offer takeout, so you can munch and drink while on the road.

These are local establishments, so you’ll be supporting the local economy as well.

You can check which establishments offer take out online.

And you can also see the restaurants and breweries that are part of the trail.

Watch out for occasional events as well.

Join the Locals and Party at the Annual Tamale Festival

The city comes alive during the Annual Tamale Festival, with all sorts of tamales to try from different tamale vendors and even a tamale contest.

Festive music, sometimes live, will be played during the event, complementing the lively atmosphere.

To add to that, there will be games and activities along with recreational facilities that will be set up for the event.

Additional contests and shows are sometimes added, too, so make sure to check out the schedule and events online.

The best part is that access to the event is free, and you’ll only need to use your wallet if you want to buy from vendors or try out activities.

The event is usually held in Downtown Atascadero and the Sunken Gardens, but you’ll want to check out the details online to be sure.

Final Thoughts

Atascadero hosts a myriad of attractions, ranging from parks with gorgeous natural sceneries and long trails for hiking or biking to establishments in the city offering fun and exciting activities.

If you plan to visit any time soon, make sure to check out the best things to do in Atascadero, California, listed above.